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Archive for October, 2010

silver dime and canning exchange

November 1st, 2010 at 02:37 am

Yesterday I did a wet walking tour amongst the grocery stores and produce stands in my neighborhood. I've been invited to a canning exchange party - provide 1 of what you made and canned, either pints or half-pints, to each of the invitees. So far there are 9. Of course half-pints are way easier to can than pints, but I want to can something special, but seasonal ... because seasonal is cheaper and tastier. Hence the walking tour.

I was excited to see quinces at the produce stand for $1.49/lb, and even more excited to find very straightforward recipes for quince marmalade. (Which before the 19th century, was what everyone considered marmalade, not citrus). So that'll be my contribution.

Yesterday was the fact-finding mission; today was the buying. One of the coins I got in my change was a 1952 dime. Any dime made before 1964 is a silver dime, and apparently the current price of silver makes that dime worth about $1.40. So along with the wheat pennies, I'm looking for old(er) dimes.

consolidation steaming ahead

October 30th, 2010 at 04:33 am

I made the external link between the bank where my close-to-maturing CDs are and ING. I paid a bill, sent a P2P transfer to my DH (who picked it up immediately), discovered that ING keeps an internal address book complete with routing and account numbers. Not quite sure whether I like that or not.

I also paid a visit inside to the ING/Shareholder brick and mortar building on 1st/King. The ATM doesn't look like it handles paper checks (no deposit slot) - which makes sense for mostly-online bank. Still, while I don't get that many paper checks, I still get a few. And there is my much beloved tip box squeezings. So ING can't do it all, I think.

So the plan is to first move the CDs (tiny amount of interest), to ING (slightly greater amount of interest), and close that bank account.

Second, I plan on move my direct deposit to ING, then later move most, perhaps all of my money out of Chase, leaving just the credit card.

For the paper checks, small savings and tip box squeezings I plan to put that into a BECU account. G*d love 'em, they still have an interest rate of 6% on checking and saving accounts under $500.

Georgetown Haunted History tour

October 24th, 2010 at 03:22 am

My 403B has two parts - one where I contribute, the other where my employer contributes a percentage for me. Combined they have been over 100K since the first of the year. Today I looked and the part where I contribute cracked 100K by itself.

Last night DH and I went to the Georgetown Haunted History tour with lawyer friend and partner. It was a walking tour of one of the oldest neighborhoods in south Seattle - was there when the Alki party settled Seattle. The walking tour, held at night, moderated by what we learned was "the woman in white" ghost, was full of ghost stories and various neighborhood actors reenacting tales and neighborhood quirks. One of my favorites was of a house that dispensed candy from a long tube. A string ran through the tube - the little tyke was supposed to tug at the string, signaling the owner to dispense the candy.

Cost: $10/person. Entertainment: priceless.

in the process of consolidation

October 20th, 2010 at 04:10 am

One thing that one has to know about my little fiscal empire - I have money scattered throughout several banks. It worked well once when the interest rates were reasonable, the FDIC limit was $100K, and I needed a bank with a fair number of branches so visiting my sister wouldn't be a hassle. (Remember those days. My, it seems so long ago!).

Course it was explained to me that no bank really needs a depositor anymore; they get all they need from the Federal Reserve at 0.25% or even 0%.

Anyway, now my savings seems scattered and unwieldly. If I'm not going to be earning much in interest, at least I should put it in a place easy to manage and consolidate. As my CDs mature, I'm planning to move them to ING. Turns out that even the Electric Orange checking has a better rate than many 1yr CDs out there. I'm sure that there are places with a higher interest rate, this consolidation just feels like the downstroke of a heart beat - send the savings out when times are good, bring them back in and wait.

I'm going to go a bit slow and see what I can and can't do with Electric Orange. Best case is that I can do anything and the ATM situation is good, which means I can move the CDs, and even move the Chase account. I like the brick & mortar (I'm over 40 after all), and it turns out that ING has a brick & mortar site about 4 blocks from work.

fertilizer day!

October 16th, 2010 at 03:13 am

I wrote the date on some of my work today:

10-15-10

And its payday. I saw the raise - about 15$ per pay period. The new health insurance contact will kick in in November, for perhaps a few dollars more.

This week Safeway had the all the loss leaders: grapes, broccoli/cauliflower, bagged salad, cat food. We ate enough of the beef to make room, so I also bought 2 lb bags each of frozen corn, peas & carrots, green beans, at $1.25/lb. Not great but we were out of the frozen veg so it was needed.

little bits

October 12th, 2010 at 03:24 am

Received 75$ for the second shot. I have only two more blood draws to go, but three more payments, so $150 more.

Found 3 $1 bills yesterday folded in quarters on the sidewalk right on the corner. Across the street lay a fairly upscale bar, but a bar nonetheless. Ah liquor, my friend.

Right now I'm about 3 months ahead of finding money than I was last year. Two theories:

1. I've gotten better at finding at finding money.
2. Due to the recession, people are using less plastic and more cash; more cash, more change; more change the more likely one loses some. After all, you don't get change from a debit card.

A couple of weeks ago I bought a wheat penny penny board from the neighborhood coin shop, so it looks like I'm turning into a coin collector after all. The owner asked me what my angle is in collecting and I answered, "whatever I find on the sidewalk." He was amused. "Never heard about that twist before." Smile Since he is close by, it will be easier to stop by and learn a little bit about grades and show off that 1927 S. A couple of weeks ago DH found a 1944 wheat penny (non steel), so now we have 6.

We are close to finally getting our raise. Every paycheck since August I've been looking for the bump, and have been secretly disappointed. Secretly because it is the hallmark of ingratitude these days to mutter, "when the h%!! am I getting my raise?"

Part of it was that the health insurance got figured out. I'm happy to report that with normal blood sugar and now very good blood pressure I chanced it a bit and went to the very basic plan. Starting in November, I'll be paying a hair less but changing my copay from $20 to 25$.

DH re-starts with the IRS for the second season. He will now learn how to look up and handle balance due calls. Far less fun calls, but at least he doesn't have to call out.

little low these days

October 8th, 2010 at 05:06 am

Feeling the frugal burn. I'm a little low this month and I only want to withdraw $100 from savings until the next paycheck. Been good for most of the week and dropped back down to 169.

I've been getting checks from the flu study. I only have about 3 more blood draws and I'm done, done, done. This last week's blood draw was interesting - my undependable veins have re-made an appearance (tried tapping but no blood), so they finally had to draw from my hand. They warned me that it would hurt, and it did a little, but I had a big vein in the hand and a straight shot so it was less painful than them digging around on either arm.

DH is going back to his second stint with the IRS. He starts training next week, but doesn't get his commuter pass until he starts for real. Means that the bus tickets I also get from the study will come in handy.

The big news is that sister agreed to go with me on the Vietnam tour trip and I put a deposit on it. This will not be a super frugal trip (about $7000) by any means but it looks action packed! I have to let myself spend a little bit for some real fun, but its funny, I've now gotten used to a large amount of savings and I feel wounded if it drops.

you know you are in a recession when ...

October 5th, 2010 at 04:36 am

You wake up to the NPR beg-a-thon, and a primo thank you gift is: one of the gigantic coupon books. This is the one in our area.

surprise frugal guy

October 4th, 2010 at 02:38 am

It made me smile when I read this in the New York Times this Sunday. Let's just say that the character he plays on Mad Men would be more likely to hitch a ride on Apollo 11 than in a bus.

And I subscribe daily to the New York Times (have been for over 20 years). Pricey, but I read whatever catches my eye and pick something up daily, so its worth it to me. Online news, despite being "free", is just not the same, one tends to read whatever maintains your worldview rather than whatever catches your eye.

all about the free sandwich

October 2nd, 2010 at 04:24 am

Downtown Seattle, at least in the Pioneer Square district, is a tad depressing. Every block, several businesses with the For Lease sign in the window, caused either by outright business failure or by moving to greener pastures in other neighborhoods.

But today a new lunch place opened up, complete with the free sandwich coupon. So free sandwich ... or rather, free doner. an o with the two dots above it, because its a turkish/german sandwich place. I got a lamb doner with the spinach wrap, cilantro, onion, feta, tomato, red cabbage. I think the cabbage is the german bit. Smile

I asked the counter guy how you pronounce doner with the dots over the o. Sounds like "duna" rhyming with tuna or puma. I said "donor" and he told me that only the Texans say it that way.

I will not have a particularly spendy weekend. I opened my purse tonight on the bus and got a sinking feeling. I left my wallet in my office (well hidden and no guessing where, thief) and it has pretty much everything I need, including my way to get into work. Its a rare person who works over the weekend to let me in, so its surviving by my wits until Monday. Mostly its going to be buying money from DH, and using a couple of bus tickets that I get from the bird flu vaccine study. I took the tickets after the blood draws despite having a bus pass because you just never know.

Turns out that the IRS is going to call DH back starting in mid October. Yay!

Following up with CB in City, my own college alumni is sponsoring a trip in February that I am very, very interested in going on: "Temples and Waterways of Vietnam and Cambodia". Just sounds like the trip of a lifetime. Talked with my boss, and as long as we plan it out, it looks like a go. Since IRS is not going to let DH go in February, I'm in talks with my sister (going alone is unappealing). The time of year is perfect for her.