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Archive for June, 2008

lumpy spending

June 30th, 2008 at 10:43 pm

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.50 coffee + $12 lunch + $2 groceries (fruit)

Lumpy spending today. I had every intention of it being a very cheap day. I brought my lunch to work, and we went to see a free premiere of the movie _Hancock_. (Fun summer movie - not sure I would pay 10$ to see it, but its worth a matinee and a total blast.)

But I got lured into a lunch with lawyer friend, lawyer friend's partner and screenwriter friend. I put my lunch in the work refrigerator and went. Right now, without any temp staff the refeers are clean and clear.

Net worth, first half 2008

June 30th, 2008 at 10:36 pm

Net worth 2008

Grandmother's inheritance has been dispersed (dad's was in December 2007), which is why the net worth jumped radically again. Since I am now the oldest direct descendant, no more big inheritances now and forever.

I've pruned a number of accounts - I've put all but 10$ from Paypal into ING, I've shifted some money from one bank to another to keep under the $100K FDIC limit, and put all but .80 of grandma's Ameriprise money into Vanguard. I expected to shelter most of the Vanguard money into tax-free or tax deferred accounts. Now with grandma's gift total and the ability to shelter at 15K/yr for 403B and 5K/yr for a Roth, it won't happen. I have to be okay with that.

Snapshot of net worth, first half of 2008

$136,780 IRA/403(B)
$197,000 Vanguard taxable (cash that will be put into equities...eventually)
$17,322 stock (5 DRPs)
$27,762 EE bonds, I bonds, T bills
$125,464 CDs
$18,999 ING, PayPal savings
$934 immediate cash in checking/savings
----
$524,261 grand total

By comparison:
June 2008 ($524,261 total, $387,481 in taxable accounts)
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)

caught a mild case of decluttering

June 29th, 2008 at 08:09 pm

I have my files of all the slips of paper that I keep on my DRP stocks. The paper that I get was/is:

transaction receipts
optional cash forms
monthly list of transactions
envelopes
website account stuff
emails and correspondence (I ask a question and they obey Smile)
1099-DIVs

Often I saved them from the first, so I have KO paper from 2000, MMM paper from 2004, and a couple of these DRPs changed transfer agents, so well, you get the idea... lots of paper, most of which is old.

I saved the DIVs, saved all transactions from 2008, saved a couple of current envelopes and optional cash forms - most of the time I send money electronically, saved anything giving current website settings, and saved the December monthly list of transactions because they list the activity for the entire year. Checked, though, that rolled-over totals in Jan matched the previous December totals.

I tossed: old correspondence, non-December monthly lists, and any routine correspondence/non-IRS forms from the old transfer agent.

I now have a grocery bag full of paper from 2002-2007. Its a bit much for my little 3-sheet shredder, so I'm bringing it to work tomorrow to dump in our shredder.

Greenwood Car Show

June 28th, 2008 at 08:17 pm

Happened today. For the financial diary part, I spent only $1.00 at it. The recession and $4 gas has hit here a bit also - in past years, the car show sprawled from 87th to 66th or so. This year, it "only" extended to 71st. But there were some very fun and frugal things at it.

For Ima Saver - a 60s red corvette. I think its a '62. There also was a '67 there.


My favorite exhibit - MEHVA (Metro Employees Historic Vehicle Association) always brings one of these babies out at the car show. If you were trying to get to downtown Seattle from Greenwood 40 years ago, your 5 bus looked like this.


The other reason why these old buses are great is that the MEHVA run historic Seattle tours on these old buses - 4 hours for $5. I wanted to get a schedule and remind myself to try it out. Much better cost to time than a Duck (1.5 hrs for 25$) - although no intentional water trips.

http://mehva.org/schedule.php

Many more solar and electric cars and trucks than in years past. This is a solar truck. Battery storage underneath the truck bed.


Perhaps a Boeing engineer had a tad too much time on his hands? The driver's cockpit of blue velour looks comfy, but there is a jet engine about 6 feet behind you.


Finally, high tech to a much lower tech: the leather car. I thought when I came up to it the leather was a case for the car underneath, but the door handle was attached into it, and in places you can see the metal frame underneath where the cow hide stretched over it. This car was made in Czechoslovakia in 1962. Only 10 exist in the US.

drop some more, please

June 27th, 2008 at 09:11 pm

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $10 lunch + $7 groceries

The meeting on my calendar was spurious - months ago, I registered for it but not in time. I was not too disappointed, I had plenty to do. Picked up a bento box and a 24 oz iced green tea at Uwajimaya. Drinking the 24 oz can behind my desk made me look like I was kicking back with a malt liquor somehow.

Well, it was a quiet Friday afternoon.

Took a look at my DRP stocks. One, MMM, is now at its lowest point since I bought a whomping amount (okay $2K) nearly two years ago. Too delicious for me to resist. Tonight I wrote a check for another whomping amount (another $2K) to buy some more MMM. I'll put it in the mail tomorrow. It will take about three weeks for the check to get there, opened, check cashed (if its cashed by Tuesday the shares will be bought on that Friday), and the shares to be bought (every Friday).

So here's for a very strange hope: go down baby, go down!

planning - lunches and stocks

June 26th, 2008 at 09:43 pm

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.70 coffee + $3 groceries

More home cooking for lunch today. So far this week its been $7 lunch split over 2 days, yesterday a $3 bahn mi (Viet bagette sandwich and fantastically frugal), today homestyle. I have an all day training tomorrow, so I'll probably go for the old habits and get a regular lunch. Unless, since its Friday, all the places will be packed. But then we have ... the supermarket.

I've looked at my Drip stocks. Even after the 350 pt drop, I still show a profit on two of them. There are some fantastic deals here - blue chips on sale. Not really time to buy anything right this minute, but its time to look, research, and plan on adding more.

The funds that I moved from Ameriprise are now in a money market fund in Vanguard. Time to think about when to put them into equities and the funds I'd put them in. Again, no moving this minute, but as the stock market in general gets lower, the NAVs of the funds get cheaper and you can buy more shares.

what I love about gardening

June 25th, 2008 at 07:01 pm

Killing things. Big Grin No, seriously. I discovered what had been munching on my broccoli plants. (the ones I got for free in April when I went to a friend's one act play)


It was a green worm anywhere between 1/2 - 1 inch long. They rest along the rib of the broccoli leaf, hiding out. Me: picked worm off, set worm on grass, stepped on, then twisted, repeated until no worm was seen. Savagery was much, much fun. I think I got them all and it was satisfying to figure it out. One of my plants might not make it (and I'm showing it to encourage the newbie gardeners out there that no one's perfect), but I'm going to kill everything that will try to eat it. RAAAUUUR!


In other gardening news, the tomato that I've been following. It is getting bigger but the leaves are curling in an odd way (odd to me), so I'll be keeping my eye on it. It could just be its quality of the tomato variety--

June 25


June 10

photo reminders

June 24th, 2008 at 10:41 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $1.50 coffee + $22 energy bars

I had every intention to make it a no-spend day, but my trainer asked me to buy a box of energy bars from her to get a bonus. She's never asked me before because as she says, "she sucks at selling supplements", so I don't expect her to ask again. Besides, I can always say that I'm finishing off the box I bought. It just so reminds me of high school band selling candy bars that it made me laugh.

Did look at the grocery flyers today - the sales start on Wednesday finish on Tuesday. Coming up on the 4th of July, its an okay week for produce - $1/lb for peaches, broccoli, cauliflower. But $1 seems to be the floor this year which is depressing compared to years' past.

Took a couple of pictures of items that I want to remember. The Ballard Denny's got destroyed this morning. I had eaten here in the past couple of years - Just pick any Saturday that I blogged in 2006 or early 2007.


And to remind myself of persistance, I took a picture of the last holdout of Ballard condo development. She didn't sell, despite being offered up to $1M for her little house. She died in her house a couple of Sundays ago - some folks stuck flowers in her fence. I have to admire that, but when sister and I faced a similar decision, we sold.

need a cigarette

June 23rd, 2008 at 07:31 pm

Saving log - $600 + $5.64 dividend
Spending log - $1.50 coffee + $7 lunch (for two days) + $8 groceries

I need a cigarette because I FINALLY got stimulated in the mail box this evening. I was about to tap the IRS on the shoulder and say forget it. Big Grin

Goes into ING.

Also going into ING was a bit of prunings from my savings that I was saving for the farmette. It was getting okay interest, but that account plus the two CDs were over 100K. I just wanted to be under the FDIC limit.

another superlong walk

June 22nd, 2008 at 09:43 pm

My coworker claimed that the bike/pedestrian trail leading from the Olympic Sculpture Park, then Myrtle Edwards Park, then Elliott Park would go all the way to Fisherman's Terminal.

Didn't quite.

Past Elliott Park, it goes through Magnolia Connector to Pier 84, then it goes through a very funky bypass along land owned by the Port of Seattle, along railroad tracks (trail was well marked and fenced, so it was safe but the view was very industrial), and ends up at Pier 91. There was a sign pointing to Fisherman's Terminal. I still had plenty of energy so I followed it. It turned into the Magnolia Bike Path. Not bad, but it was at least another mile crossing the Dravus Bridge, and another 1/2 mi further to Emerson. Crossing Emerson, it was another 1/4 mi to Fisherman's Terminal.

So I made it that far, but I can tell you from personal experience that its at least another 2 mi from the edge of Puget Sound Park System to Fisherman's Terminal. I figure all told it was about 6 mi.

Thinking about all of these superlong walks as urban hikes. I pick my destination, my rules are simple. If I see a sidewalk or stairs with railing I can walk it. When you think about it, while nature is beautiful and inspiring, if you need the physical challenge, why drive 50 miles to walk 10 miles? Why not walk the 10 miles from home?

So far I've found out:
-I have my choice of 3 direct routes to walk from work to home. (Aurora, Dexter, Westlake).
-I need a Sherpa to get to the top of Queen Anne Hill. Brutal for a hill. Phew!
-It takes only 1 hour 15 minutes to walk from home to University of Washington.
-It takes only 20 minutes to get to Green Lake and another hour ten to walk around it.
-Walking the Ballard Bridge is only slightly less scary than walking the Aurora Bridge.

worried about the farmette

June 21st, 2008 at 03:41 pm

There has been a lot of press about the floods in IL, IA, and MO, but there's still plenty in WI. Just clicked into the NOAA Flood map for the upper Fox River Valley in Berlin (about 15 mi south of Omro, and Omro is 3 mi west of the farmette).

Now the river level is at Major, 25 yr flood stage.
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=mkx&gage=be...

I wonder what is happening at the farmette. I remember the April 1973 flood well - the fields were flooded, but the house was fine and we could get to the road.

Now the fields are owned by the WI DNR to be reclaimed as wetlands, so the fact that they are wet is not so tragic (except for that mosquito repellent dip we'll need before we go outside), but I wonder how close the water is to the farmette in general. No doubt sister's 75 tomato plants are going to be in a world of hurt.

Oh yes, for you new readers out there, farmette = house, barn, sheds, 7 acres of land that sister and I were co-deeded as the final settlement of dad's estate. Pictures of the then dry land are in the "Farmette" category.

sigh, still unstimulated

June 20th, 2008 at 08:40 pm

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.65 coffee + $17 groceries

The IRS claimed that they cut my stimulus check by 6/20/2008 (today). I opened my mailbox with bated breath.

Nope, unstimulated by the IRS.

Not that its horrible, because I already spent my stimulus check on starting another DRP, so the check will be used to replenish my savings. The twist on that DRP is that reinvestment (the R) doesn't occur until you accumulate 25 shares. I have 22, so the transfer agent sends me dividend checks until I get those 25 shares.

Ironically, I got the dividend check of the DRP I started in the mail - before the stimulus check.

downtown supermarket

June 19th, 2008 at 08:23 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.50 coffee + $10 supermarket lunch

Found out that the bus pass will cost us $4 more/month, for a total of $171/yr that we shelter pre-tax.

The really thrilling frugal news is that downtown Seattle actually has a supermarket at 3rd/Pike. They had their grand opening today.


You go in and immediately head down the escalator and into the produce section...


No screaming great deals but a few good ones - 10/$10 odwalla bars, .79/lb bananas, .97/lb asparagus (not fond, but you might like). No parking - its downtown. And it was a bit of a mad house so the checkout lines were crazy. Matter of fact, the person behind me in line had enough time to notice the sale prices on a couple of items were higher than the regular price. Ha ha, be careful, supermarket, most of your customers will be accountants!


I know it sounds like a shameless plug for spending money, but its really great - now I can do the Rick Steves frugal picnic trick for lunch, rather than hitting the restaurants all the time. Pioneer Square has a couple of places, but their only produce is an apple and a whole lot of distilled grape products, if you know what I mean. And its so nice to know that when you have 5 people bring chips to the workplace potluck, you've got options. The Pike Market (3 blocks away) is great for produce and great bread, but what about the salad dressing and the butter?

Anyhow - bought my lunch and apple at the downtown supermarket and got a free cloth bag (note what the bagger was holding in the last picture) to add to my bag-of-bags collection.

Also found 10 cents on the street today. Big Grin

bus pass tax writeoff

June 18th, 2008 at 08:45 pm

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.70 coffee

Another creamy bean lunch brought from home, so I didn't buy lunch and thus I had a very cheap day.

We got a notice from HR that our bus pass was going to be paid "pre-tax" versus how it is normally paid - post tax. I think the implication is that our bus pass is going to be treated like our 403B - deducted from our income in such a way that we don't pay taxes on the bit of the salary that funds the pass. Not sure what our yearly bus pass costs us ... I'm thinking its about $200. Every little bit helps.

Speaking of transit and bus passes, I ran across this article in the Seattle PI.
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/transportation/366371_busridin...
The article didn't tell me anything that I didn't already know - I'm riding with many more people.

What was especially interesting was the comments - the Soundoff link at the bottom. The fascinating thing was the reasoning of the many bus haters out there. The hating part was interesting - of course the one person who puked on your shoes on the bus is going to put you off. Funny how ones' first car breakdown or accident, more scary and catastrophic, doesn't put the bus hater off nearly so much. Must give car another chance, whiplash be damned!

But the truly fascinating thing was...why hate the bus so strongly that you tell the rest of us in such gory detail? Why?? Wouldn't you want to encourage as many people as possible to take the bus? We know you are already never going to ride, but wouldn't you understand that if everyone else took the bus, traffic would be lighter and you will have a better, safer, faster drive to work? You would use slightly less gas with no stop-and-go traffic, and if demand for gas drops slightly with the same supply, price should drop slightly too. Win-Win-Win. Wouldn't you want that? C'mon! If I was a bus hater, I wouldn't say anything - or I'd encourage folks to take the bus, then snicker in my sleeve.

Or maybe they secretly take the bus and want to get a better seat? Dang I'm confused. Big Grin

People are smart .... Bwahahhahaha!

over 500,000 served

June 18th, 2008 at 04:04 pm

Yowsa! Over 500,000 visits!

Seriously, folks, you all need a hobby! Big Grin

all better

June 17th, 2008 at 08:54 pm

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.70 coffee + $12 lunch + $7 groceries

We got an apology from the real estate management company, or rather, from the guy who was subbing for our contact when he went on vacation. The water bill had been paid and soon we will get our bill.

I get to stand down. Not only did I fill our water bottles last night, I also ran the dishwasher, and I took an extra-long shower after gym this afternoon, just in case it was to be my last for a few days.

Had lunch with the gang - lawyer friend, lawyer friend's partner, screenwriter friend. We ate at Bush Gardens, which is the oldest Japanese restaurant in Seattle. It was fascinating - a bit like the Japanese version of The Doghouse (old time diner in Seattle which closed in 1994). Not comparing the food, rather I'm comparing the old school mood. Despite the classic Japanese versus American diner, they were very similar - both places are/were institutions, each have/had their specific ways of doing things, each have/had wait staff as old as the hills (motto of The Doghouse: don't annoy the waitstaff - good waitstaff are harder to replace than customers), each had their peculiar etiquette and rules that you MUST CONFORM TO because conforming to the rules is the key to their success.

Which explains why I got scolded for asking for miso when I ordered ramen ...

renting aint idyllic either

June 16th, 2008 at 09:07 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.70 coffee + $20 chiropractor + $1 apple

Brought my lunch today - a tupperware of the creamy beans and a large tortilla.

Deposited my tip box collection for this month - $44.

Got the notice that the IRS is sending the stimulus check sometime this week.

Now for the oddball thing that happened this evening. We got a call from the water company that we're being shut off. WTF? The real estate management (our landlord) pays the bill then bills us. DH hit the phone and called the management. We think that our contact guy - the guy who signed our lease - left. On vacation, or for good, we don't know.

In the meantime, I filled all our water containers. So there!

creamy crockpot beans

June 15th, 2008 at 06:18 pm

Peri peri shrimp yesterday, creamy crockpot beans today. I'm confused - high end one day, low end the next.Smile

No real recipe here - just a willingness to clean out the counters and use what was in the pantry.

First off, the beans were ones that sister sent me from her garden at the farmette. So while they were dried - they were freshly dried if that makes any sense.

Started soaking the beans at 5pm Saturday. Then at 11pm I drained them and put them in my crockpot with 2 chopped onions, what was left of the peri peri sauce (chile, olive oil, lemon juice, cilantro, parsely, garlic pureed into a smooth paste), excess chopped parsely and cilantro.

Set the crockpot to low at 11:30pm. (Gutsy to sleep with an 80s era crockpot turned on, I know, I know.)

I woke up at 9am to a wonderful smell, but I turned it off because I was going to be out and about. When I came back, I added to the crockpot a jar of simmer sauce from Trader Joe's, and a small can of tomato paste, then cranked the crockpot up again.

They turned out creamy and delicious, a happy accident. We had them with rice, but it would be great by itself or with a tortilla. Hopefully they won't be too musical in my digestive tract tomorrow.Big Grin

WWSDD?

June 14th, 2008 at 11:31 pm

For the 40+ among us.

Remember when in every darn episode of Scooby Doo the mystery hung on a real estate agent trying to scare away buyers?

So what would Scooby Doo do? Or did? Perhaps The Onion has the answer. Warning: spit takes are bad for your monitor. Big Grin

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/realtors_blame_housing_...

poaching cashiers

June 13th, 2008 at 09:17 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.50 coffee + $13 lunch + $7 groceries

Nearly every time I land in my cashier's line at the Safeway, she asks me if I would "round up" my grocery purchase in donation for something. A few months ago it was easter seals, right now its for prostate cancer.

She's a fast cashier, very personable, witty (with me, wickedly) and more likely than not she gets me to round up. When DH was in another, much slower line, I waited and watched as my cashier got 3 people in quick succession to donate, while checking people out quickly and laughing most of the time. (a cookie if you gave more than a buck!) I got to thinking - hey she'd be a great fundraiser! I mean she has a rare ability to ask, do something fast at the same time, and if she gets a no, she goes right on to the next person. Kinda rare even for a sales person.

Our non-profit looks for temporary staff to help fundraise in the fall, and we are supposed to be looking for talent. If we recommend someone and they get hired as a temp, we get $250.

So this afternoon at work I printed out the ad, stapled my business card to it, folded it in quarters so that it stays neat in my purse. When I bought cherries, salad dressing and turkey ham in her line, I pounced.

Of course, she recognized me right away, and asked if I would round up my purchase.

I said, "sure.... you know you should think about fundraising as a career." I handed her the folded sheet.

She took it, and asked me if it was volunteer work.

"Heck no," I said, "they'll pay you for it." Her look was priceless - an excited "really?" look.

"Check it out and see if you are interested." I said.

Hope it all works out, and not just for the $250. Big Grin

shifting spending

June 12th, 2008 at 09:36 pm

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.70 coffee + $20 hair cut

An out of the routine day.

DH drove me this morning. Actually, he drove this morning, and I'm on the way. Traffic on Aurora Ave (we don't bother with I-5) was light.

Then my schedule got all changed - I got my performance review and I'm up for a possible 6% raise. It looks good, but we will see. It would happen in August. It will shift a couple of things - I have to recheck my withholding of my 403B to make sure the raise doesn't bump it past the 15.5K limit.

Then another schedule change - gym at noon. Gym at noon is popular, but blegh I'm shaky because I want to eat at noon. Even if I have a little something like a banana, I'm shaky.

After gym at noon, a break. I was going to go for lunch, but there was free food of reasonable nutrition - chicken pad thai and a square of carrot cake. A little sweet, but free is free so I took it.

Then on the walk home, since I had a very low spend day, I shifted my spending to get a very, very much needed haircut. Still have $15 left, savings of $48 and I get paid tomorrow.

cutting it close

June 11th, 2008 at 08:46 pm

Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $1.70 coffee + $9 lunch

I get paid this Friday, but I just got $40 which is enough for a couple of days, leaving $48 still in the checking account, and I have $37 total in the tip box...

I haven't cut it this close successfully in years. Feeling that frugal burn, but checking to see if I pulled something.

I've been taking pictures of my tomato plants every couple of weeks or so. The weather in Seattle has been crappy, so I'm lucky that my plants are just chilling, instead of dying. This one's the "Taxi" tomato - a yellow/green determinate variety.

May 25


June 10 (with mulch)

must read article about thrift

June 10th, 2008 at 08:48 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.70 coffee + $10 lunch

This is the best article on saving that I've read in weeks. It really is true in 2008 that one "spends together, but saves alone". But even 30 years ago it didn't used to be that way.

http://www.the-american-interest.com/ai2/article.cfm?Id=458&...

I will warn you that the piece above is a tad long, so here's an op ed neatly summarizing the original from the New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/10/opinion/10brooks.html?_r=1...

OT - snow

June 9th, 2008 at 11:08 pm

5 to 10 inches of SNOW in JUNE on Snoqualamie Pass. We've had the coldest June in Seattle since the 1890s.

Back to finances just as soon as I pitch this snowball. Ker pow!

just watching the show

June 9th, 2008 at 08:10 pm

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.25 coffee + $10 lunch, snack + $10 grocery

Not much going on, had a nice quiet day.

Watched the I-5 traffic on my way to work. Still heavy, even though we've passed $4 and are gaining on $5. These days, if you can possibly save money by taking the bus, no matter how out of the way, well, why wouldn't you? And now there's the report that if you want to tool around town in a scooter you need an addendum on your license. You need more than that these days, there are still plenty of SUVs tooling around with you on the road. Frankly, I think traffic will get even nuttier before it gets better. All the sane drivers say, "holy crap, who cares who I have to sit next to? I'm saving $500!". That thins the herd a bit, but it leaves the insane drivers, the recalcitrant ones, the ones that didn't get the memo. I see a bit of a difference in parking lots, but out on the roads there is still a lot of denial out there.

Sister gave me an update. The toilet, water heater, and water softener are in at the farmette, but she and her partner stayed in Milwaukee, battling the rains and the flood. Apparently they got 4 inches, had to make sure that the gutters were clean so they could do their job, and their basement was leaking. It could be worse.

The farmette land is low, I wonder if the place got touched by the floods. Darn glad no one's farming most of it - they'd be behind. Knee high by the fourth of July is a milestone and that's only three weeks away.

two grocery stops

June 7th, 2008 at 10:08 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $15 brunch, coffee + $27 grocery1 + $7 grocery2

Two grocery stops today. Stop 1 at the Safeway was to stock up Odwalla bars, which I eat for breakfast. They went on sale just in time at $1/apiece. Also picked up a few tomatoes (my 3 plants won't be producing until July - August). The organic price was cheaper than the regular at $1.99/lb, which is rare. And I picked up ground beef at $1.64/lb. Meatloaf tonight and for the week.

Stop 2 was to Lenny's, a place that I've gotten out of the habit of going when my paycheck was higher; now I'd better get back into the habit. The prices are the cheapest I've seen - plenty in the under 1$ and 1$/lb. But its a place that you have to pick and paw, know your produce and look carefully at your item.

The other thing about Lenny's is that the cashiers are Russian or Chinese, with a lot immigrant shoppers. Hearing foreign languages while shopping tends to be a good frugal sign.

Picked up a red onion for .79$/lb, cherries for 1.99$/lb, peppers for 1.49$/lb

new routines this week

June 6th, 2008 at 09:59 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $1.25 coffee + $1 coffee + $5 farmers market

Ate the other half of the foot long sandwich I bought yesterday, so it was a low spend day. I bought another cup because I got the afternoon yawns.

Now that the deli is R.I.P. (no official word or sign on the door), for coffee this morning, I went back to the place I had frequented before. The woman working the espresso machine asked me how I'd been and what happened to me. It had been over two years since I had disappeared, so its a little embarrassing but amazing on two counts: that I'm that memorable and that she's still working there in a high turnover retail environment.

Gas prices took quite a jump here in Seattle - DH tells me that even the Arco, the rock-bottom cheap place for gas, is now at $4.11. The paper here is talking about raising bus fares again (we had one in March). With my bus pass at $10/month for an unlimited number of rides, it pays for itself the first week of the month. But price hikes are happening everywhere. My workplace renews the yearly bus pass at the end of the month. Here's hoping they raise rates after I renew.

Money's now very tight at the end of the paycheck ever since I hiked up my 403B to take care of my tax bite in 2008. I'm proud of myself for keeping my head above water, and still saving at the same rates, but the checking account stands at $180 with a week left to go (get paid on Friday the 13th next week). I'm feeling the frugal burn.

And I think I'm going to be the very last American to get my stimulus check.

borrowing karma

June 5th, 2008 at 09:09 pm

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.25 coffee (back to the old place) + $7 lunch (for 2 days)

Last week Thursday we had dinner with an ex-boyfriend and his wife. We broke up about 15 years ago, and like many other breakups, it was not pretty. We both behaved badly.

My bad self held one of his possessions hostage - a T-shirt dated from the early 80s that meant quite a bit to him at the time. He still asked about it 8 years ago, so last week I found the shirt (still in good condition), folded it up and wrapped it in a bow.

When I presented it to him, ex- appeared puzzled, which surprised me. DH assured me that the ex- had asked about it. Maybe he's still getting my goat even now. And yet, giving the T-shirt back to him felt right, like something good was going to happen.

After the ex- had the "why?" look, I joked that perhaps it would improve my borrowing karma. You see, I very rarely loan my CDs, DVDs, books, and other stuff out to friends, because usually the friend forgets that they've borrowed it and I have to nag and nag to get it back and it usually leaves a sour taste in all mouths. Suffice it to say I rarely loan and if I do it has to be a good friend, someone whom I feel close enough to nag. Mere acquaintance level wouldn't cut it.

So I joked that this T-shirt inhibited my borrowing karma. If I give the T-shirt back, maybe I get my stuff back. Ex- was skeptical, the rest of the table chuckled a bit and turned to other things.

Well, I have two sets of possessions out on loan: a DVD to lawyer friend and several CDs to DJ friend. I have not nagged either one or mentioned anything about the t-shirt.

1. Tuesday, lawyer friend called - they finished the DVD this weekend in a marathon session - totally loved it and will return it tomorrow.

2. Today, DJ friend put the first of my CDs on my desk, gave me several in return, and will give me the rest in a few days.

Laugh all you want, ex-!

not an anthem, but a soundtrack (long)

June 4th, 2008 at 09:54 pm

This is not an anthem for my life, a la Merch; its more like a soundtrack every time I cross this street ...and I cross it often - I work three blocks away. From the musical Little Shop of Horrors.

[WOMAN]
Alarm goes off at seven
And you start uptown.
You put in your eight hours
For the powers that have always been.
Till it's five P.M.

[BUM 1]
Then You go

[COMPANY]
Downtown
Where the folks are broke.
Downtown
Where your life's a joke.
Downtown
When you buy your token,
you go
Home to skid row.

[BUM 2]
Yes, you go

[COMPANY]
Downtown
Where the cabs don't stop
Downtown
Where the food is slop
Downtown
Where the hop-heads flop
in the snow
Down on Skid Row

Uptown you cater to a million jerks.
Uptown you're messengers and
mailroom clerks
eating all your lunches at the
hot dog carts.
The bosses take your money
And they break your hearts.

Uptown you cater to a million whores.
You disinfect terrazzo on their
bathroom floors.
Your morning's tribulation,
afternoon's a curse
And five o'clock is even worse

[BUM 3]
That's when you go

[COMPANY]
Downtown
Downtown
Downtown
Down on skid row
Down on skid row
Down on skid row
Down on skid row!

[AUDREY]
Where the guys are drips.
Where they rip your slips.
Where relationships are no go.
Down on skid row
Down on skid row
Down on skid row
Down on skid row!

[SEYMOUR]
Poor! All my life I've always been poor.
I keep asking God what I'm for,
and he tells me "Gee, I'm not sure
sweep that floor, kid."
Oh, I started life as an orphan,
a child of the street
Here on skid row.
He took me in, gave me shelter, a bed,
Crust of bread and a job
Treats me like dirt, calls me a slob,
Which I am.
So I live
[COMPANY]
Downtown
[SEYMOUR]
That's your home address.
Ya live
[COMPANY]
Downtown
[SEYMOUR]
When your life's a mess.
Ya live
[COMPANY]
Downtown
[SEYMOUR]
Where depressions' jes'
Status Quo.
[COMPANY]
Down on skid row

Someone show me a way to get
outta here,
'cause I constantly pray I'll get
outta here
Please, won't somebody say I'll get
outta here
Someone gimme my shot or I'll
rot here.

[COMPANY]
Downtown
[SEYMOUR & AUDREY]
There's no rules for us.
[COMPANY]
Downtown
[SEYMOUR & AUDREY]
'Cause it's dangerous.
[COMPANY]
Downtown
[SEYMOUR & AUDREY]
Where the rainbow's jus a no-show
[COMPANY]
Downtown
[SEYMOUR & AUDREY]
Where the sun don't
[COMPANY]
Downtown
[SEYMOUR & AUDREY]
Past the bottom line
[COMPANY]
Downtown
[SEYMOUR & AUDREY]
Go ask any wino, he'll know
I'll do I dunno what to get outta skid
[COMPANY]
Downtown
[SEYMOUR & AUDREY]
But a hell of a lot to get outta skid
[COMPANY]
Downtown
[SEYMOUR & AUDREY]
People tell me there's not a way outta skid
[COMPANY]
Downtown
[SEYMOUR & AUDREY]
But believe me I gotta get outta skid

[ALL]
Row!

Yesler Street, Seattle, the original Skid Row. A hundred and twenty years and thirty feet lower the traffic was logs. Today the traffic is equally mindless.

she's dead, Jim

June 4th, 2008 at 09:27 pm

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $10 lunch

3rd day of the closed deli where I buy my cheap coffee. R.I.P cheap decent coffee. Now its back to decent but slightly more expensive coffee slightly out of my way. Have to admit it was one of the more quiet business deaths I've seen...no 50% off sale, no lack of supplies (had a tuna sandwich there last week), no trying to avoid the ultimate, no tears. Just a failure to open the first Monday at the beginning of the month.

On a lighter note, remind me not to ask this furniture store about color schemes...


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