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Archive for July, 2009

much better all around

August 1st, 2009 at 06:09 am

Thursday
Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.87 iced coffee + $10 groceries (apple, work breakfast bars)
Found money - $0.01 (next to the last working payphone in the neighborhood)

Friday
Saving log - $7 tip box
Spending log - $20 beer, dinner for date night
Found money - $0.05 (middle of quiet street)

Cooled off by about 15 degrees, and I am very much looking forward to being able to sleep the sleep of the cool and blessed.

Am having quite a bit of fun hunting change and writing down where I find it. It is a sad state of affairs that I can usually find more change (at this pace, over $1/month) on the sidewalk than what I earn in a couple of my accounts - its a good motivator to find good homes for all of my money ... and to define what a bad home is.

Looked at my Drp stocks today, and am slightly bummed that they are all very much up. I was hoping for a few more months of buying stocks on the cheap. I also did a calculation of my net worth and found that I am within $2K of getting back to my high in June 2008, before the Great Fiscal Crash truly began.

show, don't tell

July 30th, 2009 at 03:05 am

Tuesday
Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $0
Found money - $0

Wednesday
Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.83 iced coffee
Found money - $0.01 (Fred Meyer parking lot, close in)

Instead of complaining, might just as well let our neighborhood grocery store sign tell the tale.

Hot!

July 28th, 2009 at 04:21 am

Sunday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel + $4 iced tea, croissant
Found money - $0

Monday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $3.75 coffee, pastry + $22 groceries
Found money - $0.11 (Fred Meyer parking lot, close in) + $0.05 (gravel near parked cars)

Its hot. I'm not spending much money. Not cooking. Didn't jog on Sunday. Suspect that I'm finding change because nobody wants to take the time to bend down in this heat. More for me! Over and out.

passionflower

July 26th, 2009 at 04:21 am

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $12 brunch, coffee + $7 fresh vegetables and fruit
Found money - $0.01 (at my feet while I was at the ATM machine)

Love finding pennies by the ATM. It happens often enough that I don't miss checking for them.

It was hot in Seattle today, so I didn't run, but I walked the 3 miles from Sunset Hill to the Hiram M. Chittenden (aka Ballard) Locks. Instead of going into the Locks and watching the boats, I walked around the free English style gardens around the Locks. Never thought that anyone with the Army Corps of Engineers gardened, but I was very, very wrong.

The passionflowers are in full bloom.


Found an extrovert on the bus back home.

Friday night black humour

July 25th, 2009 at 05:28 am

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $6 lunch + $20 drinks, dinner
Found money - $0 Frown

Must be hard to find change on Friday!

Will the last bank in Georgia to fold please turn out the lights?

two half buried surprises

July 24th, 2009 at 03:58 am

Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $1.25 half 'n half
Found money - $0.25 (in gutter along curve, half buried in disintegrating leaves)

Tonight I found the rustiest quarter ever. When I saw it next to the curb on the road it was just a metal curve and I thought it was a rusted bottle cap. Nope - 1978 quarter. Surprise 1.

I renewed my prepaid cell phone a couple of days ago - my leftover minutes rolled over which was sweet. However in the last few days I've gotten a couple of calls from a collection agency. I have no debt, so they are not mine; I suspect they're coming from the previous owner of the phone number. Half buried surprise 2.

Question is: do I call them and tell them, or ignore them?

Greenwood Seafair parade 2009

July 23rd, 2009 at 05:18 am

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $2 brat dinner + $1 donation to Make A Wish + $2 Thai iced tea
Found money - $0.01 (sidewalk, between audience chairs and a wastebasket)

Went and saw this year's Greenwood's Seafair parade. The price was right - free - and the dinner, hosted by the grocery store, price was right also - $2 bought me a brat heavy with onions, a bag of chips and a bottle of water. A few parade pictures to entertain you.

To keep this an actual financial diary, I note here that the recession is never too far away ...


Our old friends the police motorcycle drill team were there, as was the usual mix of classic cars, bands, grocery cart drill team, a couple of floats, the vendors, the Seafair pirates. I thought I'd show a couple of more interesting snaps.

Fascinating, or alarming? Discuss.


My favorites tonight were the Mexican vaqueros. Their control of their horses was fantastic.


And the fact that vaqueros planned ahead, or in this case, behind...


It was a warm night, a long (time and blocks) parade. The folks in red were interesting to me - they scurried alongside the band, squirting water into the players, and pulling out a band member or two that was about to succumb to heat exhaustion. FWIW - the band played the Colonel Bogey March. For all you movie fans out there, it was a tad too appropriate. Smile


Couldn't resist the littlest member of the baby unit of the drill team. I have a thing for the blurry action shot. About this time I found that penny, my change for the day.

found money

July 22nd, 2009 at 05:59 am

Saving log - $6 tip box
Spending log - $14 dim sum lunch + $4 grocery
Found money - $0.04 (glass countertop at work)

You might have noticed the found money line that I've added in the last two weeks or so. I thought it would be fun and useful to see where and how much I find.

Today I found change in an odd place. I rarely find any at work, and I really don't like to find any at work. Did someone actually lose the money, or misplace it? Four pennies isn't a big deal to me, but these days you never know. In addition, I found it on top of a cabinet at waist level, non-floor money, so feels like not fair game ... at least compared to sidewalk money.

But I found it in on a glass cabinet in a public place and found at 5:30 pm, when most everybody was long gone.

another fallout of the recession

July 21st, 2009 at 02:48 am

Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $5 apple, blue cheese
Found money - $0.01 (floor of Metro bus, in aisle) + $0.25 (in gravel, 3 doors from my house)

With the recession, it seems like more and more friends are getting caught by red light cameras, parking enforcement, jaywalking even. And the probability that I will be audited by the IRS has increased a goodly amount (1:130, now 1:90).

Didn't think about it before, but its not a surprise - tax revenues of all types are down, yet the need remains. The obvious choice is to wait until you screw up. And with the red light camera the process is automated.

Currently, running a red light is over $120. You can kind of talk them down to $70. That's a lot of coupons! Just be careful out there.

jogging this weekend

July 20th, 2009 at 05:35 am

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel + $4 grocery + $2 coffee (what? I was sleepy) + $1 parking lot sale
Found money - $.01 (sidewalk in front of Woodland Park Zoo) + $.01 (parking lot)

Did the three miles in 46 min 20 sec. While its not great, it was a minute and half better than last week. The trainer has a goal for me - 44 min. Its funny how if someone sets a goal for me, I work hard at it. If I try to set an exercise goal myself, somehow I treat it less seriously.

I also tried a different tack based on what I read today. Lately, as I jog, its time to myself and I've been thinking sad thoughts this last month. Its not easy to jog particularly fast thinking sad thoughts. Today I thought, "its a beautiful day, I'm strong and healthy and every week I'm moving faster ... I'm not tired ... I'm feeling great."

And I harvested 10 blueberries. From 1-2 year old plants, its all the harvest I will get this year. Blueberry bushes apparently mature after about 4 years.

big city finally

July 19th, 2009 at 03:42 am

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $12 breakfast
Found money - $0.10 (on the floor of Metro bus behind the driver's cage)

Actual, actual light rail came to Seattle. Finally. DH and I took a free ride on it today. I'm sending pictures because light rail to Seattle has been so long in coming, its like saying I went to the moon - who would believe me unless I produced evidence?

We started from home by taking the 48 (aka the 40-late) to the Rainier Beach stop, then went south to Tukwila (the SeaTac airport stop will be done in December), got off at Tukwila, and then came back into the bus (now bus/light rail) tunnel at Westlake - heart of downtown Seattle. We live in north Seattle; we had to take the bus home. In a few years, hopefully that will change.

Rainier Beach stop at ground level.


Tukwila station - free rides produced a lot of interest, but the trains ran every 7.5 minutes so the lines moved pretty quickly.


Inside a light rail car.


The end at Westlake


Oh yes, the fares will be between $1.75 - $2.50. My bus pass that I get at work covers it. Free for me, unless I'm laid off.

how we toast famous men...

July 18th, 2009 at 06:14 am

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $22 beer, dinner
Found money - $0 Frown

DH and I had a little date night tonight. At one point in the conversation, we toasted Walter Cronkite.

"That's the way it is," we said, and clanked our glasses.

little things

July 17th, 2009 at 03:51 am

Saving log - $1.01 tip box
Spending log - $3.80 coffee, cake
Found money - .01 (sidewalk on 1st/Pike along Pike Market)

I splurged on a store bought coffee, but I remembered to say that I had a bus pass. Twenty cents off, or about 5%.

At the lunch hour, I walked with DJ friend - he had an errand to buy flowers (3rd wedding anniversary), and it was on my list to deposit my tip box. Along the way I found the penny and added it to my deposit.

We walked past a demonstration in front of Jimmy John's (sandwich shop) - it was a picket line with signs and chanting. According to the flyer we grabbed, a delivery guy was fired at JJ's without cause. I have no dog in this fight, but it was interesting to note that someone will raise a ruckus for you.

not quite a bombshell, more like a mortar

July 16th, 2009 at 02:55 am

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $13 groceries
Found money - $.01 (floor of women's locker room)

Cost cutting at work continues. Our employer puts up to 5% of our salary into our retirement savings. This is different than the 403B match. Anyhow, that 5% is dropping to .5% starting the last 1/3 of the year (Sept - Dec). The money saved is to be re-deployed to pay for our health insurance premium. January of next year, both this 5% and the 403B match is going to be "discretionary".

Bummer, but not a surprise compared to everything else that is happening.

don't cash it - I'm coming back

July 15th, 2009 at 02:50 am

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $0
Found money - $0.01 (sidewalk in front of parking meter)

Forty years ago Thursday, hours before a celebrated event, a check was written to pay off a quick loan.

Fascinating to think that with all the last minute preparations said writer of the check had it on his to-do list. Probably didn't want it on his mind as he left Earth. Imagine if he used a payday lender. Big Grin

not rich, just living high

July 14th, 2009 at 03:07 am

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $0

And I even found .03 on my commute home. One more day and its payday.

The Sunday before it so Seattle-y hot that I didn't even jog the 3 mi. Yesterday it was considerably cooler, even sprinkled at times. I jogged the 3 mi in 47 min 50 sec. My goal was to finish, but since my heart rate didn't go much above 135 bpm, next week my goal is to get my heart rate to the 140s and see how fast that is.

Found this article in Newsweek tonight and it made me laugh in places. My several points:
1. You are not rich, no matter how much you earn, if you don't save anything. You are only living high.

2. The real rich don't buy that much stuff. Oh for sure, some in the later generations do as they convert from being rich to "living high", but when I was in college there was that really, really rich college kid living like a church mouse because that's what dad and grand-dad did. Anyway, the real rich buy money (stocks, bonds, companies) rather than stuff. That's investing in a nutshell.

3. Ahem. This article could have been written in 1920, 1923, 1929 (of course), 1937, 1948, 1953, 1957, 1973, 1981, 1990 ... you get the idea - any other recession.

4. I would make the case that to the "living high" set this recession/depression is different. To the real rich, who were careful on the way up, are probably equally careful on the way down.

Saturday observations

July 12th, 2009 at 02:53 am

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $11 breakfast + $4 iced coffee, cookie + $3 fresh produce

It was warm today and since I had gym yesterday, I just walked for about 4 miles.

I saw a tremendous number of For Rent signs everywhere in the university district. The University of Washington is on a quarter schedule, so the beginning of fall quarter is late September - early October, and it means that mid-July is a tad early for a landlord to fish for college student renters.

Everywhere downtown I also saw the adult version of the For Rent sign - named buildings with a glossy front poster describing the amenities. Smile Every one of them (name) Apartments, not Condos. It would appear that city life is tipping toward the renter, rather than the investor.

Last night I took out a bit of money from my bank (now Chase). I'm on the West Coast; the ATM splash page was all about what to do with those California IOUs. Lots of writing, but the take home message of the splash page was: you are screwed if you try to treat them like cash.

The latest bank to hit the FDIC skids hit close to family - Bank of Wyoming in Thermopolis WY. DH's sister lived in Thermopolis for a number of years before she married BIL - they live not too far away from Thermopolis still. Wouldn't surprise me if she had a bit of money in them even now.

quiet, except for the bombshell

July 11th, 2009 at 05:56 am

Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $0

It was quiet today - most of the co workers that had big ass hairy questions for me mentioned their big ass hairy question a few days before and when I answered them I got nice "I'm off today!" emails of various flavors.

The bombshell came whistling in from HR. We were told we wouldn't have many more layoffs, but according to the head of HR, we will. All vague, no details. Sigh. Its not the layoffs that bug me - I'm not a crybaby after all, and I would still laugh if I got laid off - its the stupidity of the jerk around, the yes/no thing. Yet again HR proves that they are not working in your interest particularly.

And right now the City of Seattle Transportation Dept is digging up the street in front of our offices. My office is below ground, under the sidewalk, so when the jackhammer digging up the street gets going, the sound and the effect are indescribable. Like a pre-earthquake.

something about the 4th

July 10th, 2009 at 04:08 am

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $26 groceries

There is one thing about the 4th of July that irks me. Most of the street fireworks leave a little disc on the sidewalk, just about quarter or dime size.

I've honed my change detection to a fine point - basically I look for circles on the ground. You don't know how many false alarms I've had this past week.

Grr.

But most days I do find change. Today nothing, yesterday a penny, the day before a dime. Sometimes near a cigarette butt, sometimes not. Pickings seem a bit slimmer - as if everybody else is hunting for change too. It all adds up.

spendy next couple of weeks

July 9th, 2009 at 05:29 am

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $10 lunch + $11 lb of coffee

Had lunch with the gang today, and since I seem to have only one restaurant lunch in two weeks, I don't feel all that bad about it.

After paying 2Q taxes last week and in the next couple of weeks I will be paying off the gym personal trainer, it will be a very spendy couple of weeks.

As of this writing I have $120 to last me a until my next paycheck 6 days from now. The weekends seem to be the worst, but in any case, I'm going to be feeling the frugal burn.

I worked out a bit yesterday. Sunday I ran one mile in 16 minutes, walked the next mile, and ran third mile in 18 minutes. Ugh. I was fairly depressed at doing not very well - but it was in the mid 80s. Hot for Seattle. If at first you don't succeed and all that.

It is with great sadness that I've read about the passing of Oscar Meyer and the actress who played Mrs. Slocomb in Are You Being Served? My childhood is slipping away.

Sister sent several pictures of the garden. The tomatoes that we planted on vacay are now about 2 feet high!

using twitter

July 7th, 2009 at 04:53 am

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1 apple

I'm not into using Twitter for a lot of stuff - I'm a newbie on a cell phone and I can't afford unlimited text messaging - but I found that both the Seattle Police Department and Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) twitter. Turns out that my neighborhood is a hotbed of crime - one of our neighborhood banks (rhymes with yank of chimerica) was robbed several times last month.

At least the next time bus transit breaks down due to a shooting or snow, I'll be ready.

Time to monitor how quickly the minutes disappear and plan accordingly.

"hot" money

July 6th, 2009 at 02:26 am

If you manage to have enough cash to buy a brokered CD for the interest rate, beware.

Its not bad if you know what you are really doing and the money is put in a bank that is using it wisely.

Fascinating reading on both ends. In these days of very low interest rates (under 1%), anything that pays even a low interest rate (3%) one still has to ask "is this too good to be true?"

7 banks

July 3rd, 2009 at 06:53 am

taken over by the FDIC this weekend. (FDIC is a United States institution) Be careful out there, folks, especially you all from Illinois.

http://www.fdic.gov/

be alert

July 3rd, 2009 at 04:48 am

Thursday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $15 haircut

Wednesday
Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $8.80 stamps


Yes, I still buy stamps. Hopefully we will use the sheet by the time USPS hikes postal rates again.

We have tomorrow off, so today felt like Friday. Lawyer friend took pity on my sadness for the last ten days, and treated me to a coffee. Actually he treated me to his freebie from the punchcard. As he paid the cashier for his he told them, "and I have a bus pass."

I keep forgetting that some places give you a discount if you have a Seattle Metro bus pass.

Tonight I walked past where I get my haircut and saw a small sign in the window: $9.99 Haircuts Happy Hour 7:30 - 9:00 pm. Easy enough to get my haircut 2 hours later than I planned. (and it means the stylist gets a better tip).

Paid to be alert.