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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.


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.

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%.

feelin' the frugal burn

July 14th, 2013 at 06:57 pm

Gremlins ate my post, so this will be quick and less literate.

Tomorrow is payday - I had $60 to work with from Wednesday. I had a confluence of mortgage payment, COA monthly fee, and the (hopefully) last payment for kitchen, so I had to pull from my most immediate savings fund. At least I had it.

At work, the 403B switched out 2 funds and picked up 3 new ones. A couple of dividend funds to invest in there at last, along with a real estate fund to spice things up. I did a little adjusting to put a little bit into the new funds.

Have hit the gym twice last week and twice last week the week before. Soon it will be a habit again. I've been cycling between 170 and 177. Would be nicer if it begins to drop but it doesn't rise, well that's a win too.

Several milestones

May 28th, 2013 at 09:35 pm

In addition to the 50K Drp stock portfolio, I also passed 200K in the 403B.

For a more intimate milestone, in the past 4 years that I've been picking up change, I'm about to hit $300 in change acquisition. And that's counting silver dimes as dimes, not melt value.

sailing along

February 27th, 2013 at 01:29 pm

So this is third try at a blog post. I don't know why they aren't getting captured...

Last couple of weeks I've been in saving mode and it feels great. looking forward to payday tomorrow, though. I backed off my 403B contributions to about 20% or 10K annually. I might have to back them off a bit more depending on how my regular spending settles out. FWIW, I capture the full match at 8%, and I contribute my 6K to my Roth annually so I will still be saving a lot, just not a lot a lot.

Decided on the sink and faucet choice, made a choice for a slide in stove, and am looking at flooring, signed the construction agreement with the contractor and contractor has ordered the cabinets and open shelving. Its on, its just that work will start when the contractor knows the cabinets are coming within two weeks.

I've been working on a project for the condo board - developing a welcome packet comprising of a FAQ about the condo, a Lake City Chamber of Commerce business guide, a kicky map of north Seattle, and current transit guides. Nothing too fancy, but something to have in hand and talk about when one knocks on the door to a new owner's condo.

First hit of the FCC. Spondilucks had Van Clyburn.

calm before the storm

August 16th, 2012 at 08:45 pm

Its been 10 days since I last wrote. Not that much has happened:

Got evaluated at work, and did smashing. I did read though that our medical insurance is going up double digits so who knows if a smashing evaluation translates into a raise.

Did the Gumshoe but did not win. Paulette did the Gumshoe and she did not win. We made plans next year to do the Gumshoe together ... and not win.

Working on the mosaic business numbers. Am about 30% done. Don't know if I'll get them done before Argentina, but we will see. Went online to vistaprint and did up a $10 box of business cards.

Got the first notification of what our 403B fees are or will be, with a lunch meeting about it next week.

KO split on Monday. 246 shares. Yippee!

Been hotter than blazes lately up here in the northwest corner. In addition, I've been averaging 2-3 hot flashes/day.

But all in all, it feels like the calm before the storm. I don't think the storm will happen before the Argentina trip, but mostly after. And by a "storm" I mean a complete change in my routine. Things feel different, like the routine that I have I will not have too much longer.

I do have one change already - my current trainer left the gym and I have to decide whether the new spot is convenient enough that I can work it, namely get there by public transit within 15 minutes. If not, I think I will see if and how I can get by with just me. I say that, but the last time I said it I was 20 pounds heavier. Right now, altho I'm stalled in the mid 160's, I feel that really ... 150s is about the right weight and I'm pretty close. And without gym, I can get some real savings in for the "storm" to come.

403B wonk

June 11th, 2012 at 08:30 pm

I heard about this - has anyone else? Apparently all 401K (and I assume, the close relation, 403B) plans have to first present their fee structure to plan participants. That will be a surprise to a lot of people. Me being a 403B wonk, I've gone to all the meetings, Q & As ... everything. Fees aren't a surprise to me. Our fees aren't horrible - one can invest in things under 1%.

The real fun begins in October when the fee transaction shows up taken out of your account. Woah nelly.

I progressed on sister's birthday present - mosaic house numbers for the place in Milwaukee and the farmette. I finished gluing the glass bits to a fiberglass mesh. This last weekend, I made thinset mortar and glued the mosaic mesh to the backing board. Here's what everything looks like.

The pieces will be outside, so everything has to be able to take rain, freeze thaw, and UV light. The backing board is styrofoam/fiberglass/coated concrete. The 'glue' is thinset mortar, the bits are glass and vitreous glass. All that has to be done is grout, and seal the grout. It should wear like iron.

(Oh yes, if you look carefully at the picture ... I have jury duty next week. Fun times.)

money and gym updates

May 13th, 2012 at 07:18 pm

Took a look at the 403B - its all knit together into one account. Now to figure out how I want to rebalance things.

Looked at my not-so little drip portfolio. Still hanging in there pretty well. I've shut off adding to two companies WEC and IP, but I'm adding to TGT. I am ashamed to say that I am following the JP Morgan trading issue with more than a little amusement.

555 doings: I've been off and on with the water. The beef soup helped last week, but this week I'm going to drink it. I'm taking two days off this week, so those days along with the weekend means that I'll get the 8 hours those days. Had a six-colored salad with my sliced turkey on Friday. Today, when I stowed my clean gym clothes in a storage locker I realized that I could put some of them on and work out for an hour, so FINALLY I met a new 555 requirement. (5 workouts at the gym without a trainer...got 1). During the little workout, I used the interval setting on the bike which I NEVER did before and used the stretching machine which I also NEVER used before (do or use 5 new exercises ... so far I have 3).


May 8th, 2012 at 07:50 pm

At work, the consolidation of our two 403B accounts is proceeding - I could only get into the one account that is remaining. Supposedly all money in on account got sold last Friday. Good time: stock prices are dropping so we are buying on the dip. End of this week we should see everything in its one account glory. Then its the decision on if and how to rebalance.

So far this year, the 403B has been growing at about 4%. It was 6% a couple of weeks ago.

In the 555 doings, Sunday I missed getting the 1 liter of water, but made it the other days; missed the 8 hrs of sleep last night (got about 7 though); ate salads - green purple orange red pink and white and at night have been eating the beef veg soup - green orange yellow and a bit of red. I've been a bit slack on trying to get extra days in. Tomorrow I'm going to try spin again.

buffalo nickel

April 18th, 2012 at 08:54 pm

Today I slogged through work, and gave some investment advice to screenwriter friend (he's newly vested in a company profit share plan). I gave him the slightly more than a nickel seminar which he claimed he only understood 10% of, so its hard to know whether or what he will use.

He did pick up researching the ticker symbols on Morningstar.com, even the retirement target funds. From the retirement target funds he was looking at I learned a fascinating thing. I thought I was freakin' aggressive with my asset allocation (65%/35%) in my 403B, but to T Rowe Price I was behaving like a new retiree. Tough. I'm making money, putting my $750/paycheck in and my dips are dips not canyons.

As Paulette mentioned, we are following the celeb on our list. Again, another who was on my list last year passed away. I say my list has healing powers! Robin Gibb will never die.

I got a 1935 buffalo nickel in my grocery change this evening!

'A' into 'B'

February 16th, 2012 at 08:47 pm

Again, got paid a couple of days ago.

Turns that in addition to the 403B, we had (in the process of 'had-ing') a 403A. HR is merging the two so we are in the process of deciding what to do with our money in our 'As'. Choices are:

Roll it into the B
Roll it into another deferred-tax bucket
Cash out.

Since I don't like paying extra in taxes and penalties, cashing out is not an option. I picked rolling it into B.

Put 58$ of several months of tip box squeezings into savings. I was going to do it physically, but the ATM line at the grocery store didn't make it worth it. So I pocketed the money and moved $58 into savings. No line there.

Congrats, Paulette. You pulled ahead in dead pool today.

getting ready for 2012

December 28th, 2011 at 08:29 pm

Calming down from Christmas - these five days are usually some of my favorites. So quiet, so peaceful, so... not part of the rest of the year or part of any year. These 5 days gave the Romans fits, too. After all, 360 is so ....round.

Any way - I filled out the increase in my 403B contributions. I put in for 17K, and for another 1K of catchup. We'll see for the next three months how it goes.

Cashed in a couple of checks - the Chase credit card cashback, and some Christmas money. With the proceeds, I've bought another round of Target stock. $500, so about 9 shares.

Got my list of celebs for 2012, and it looks like there are going to be 8 or 9 participants this year. Mjrube, where are you? You are ahead for 2011!

double catchup?

December 17th, 2011 at 05:43 pm

Am looking at increasing my withholding for my 403B this upcoming year. Since I turn 50 this year, I qualify for catch-up. And I will be catching up. My task for this weekend is to figure out whether I can play catchup for both my 403B and for my Roth.

consolidating 403B

November 14th, 2011 at 08:20 pm

This afternoon we got a missive from HR. Instead of having 2 accounts (retirement, 403B), all participants will have just 1 account (403B). I think that the retirement account is what our non-profit gives you, and the 403B is your contributions. It takes us 6 years to vest, and the vest appears only in retirement. We were assured that the monies will merge rather than the retirement disappears. We'll see. If its true, its a lot easier to asset allocate or rebalance only 1 account. Could well be a super sneaky way to alter matching, vesting, and its a way to hide when the non-profit places the money into the account.


October 13th, 2011 at 08:01 pm

My boss, a co worker, and I went on a work field trip this afternoon. Over the walk there, I picked up a nickel and penny ... so I was busted on my change finding habits. My boss got a kick out of it, though.

But the real fun will begin tomorrow morning - the pay raise kicks in this next paycheck.

I can't get too used to the extra though. I turn 50 in April, so come January I have to think about pursuing that 403B catchup. Scary, but I thought pushing my 403B to the max was scary. (For you who haven't thought about this deeply - everybody else in the world - I got an inheritance, which is taxable. I hiked up the 403B to get the tax break, figuring that when the taxable money was spent, I'd drop the 403B to a more reasonable level. Still have plenty of taxable money.)

Waiting for the weekend!

Maximizing the 403B

September 16th, 2011 at 08:45 pm

We had a benefit talk at an all staff meeting yesterday. There's a possibility that the 403B contributions will get sweetened up. Which led to a co worker telling me that he "maximized his contributions". After a little more questioning, I had to gently let him know that he merely put in enough to maximize the company match. 8% is usually A LOT less than 16.5K.

Somehow I think that the personal finance writing is pretty damn sloppy on that point. Maximize the match suddenly is heard as maximize the 401K/403B and that's a big hairy difference.

Georgetown Haunted History tour

October 23rd, 2010 at 08:22 pm

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.

3 easy ways to boost your 401K

September 23rd, 2010 at 08:29 pm

I had a laugh scanning some of CNN Money today. My favorite giggle inducer was 3 Easy Ways to Boost Your 401K. I'll link to it here, to keep me honest, but I'll tell you what gave me the giggles.

Easy Way 1: Up your contribution. (They gave the example of 6% to 10%). Wow. Mind blowing. Insert two smart-ass remarks here. 1) How EASY will that be when you are living paycheck to paycheck? 2) How do you make a small fortune? Start with a large fortune...

Easy Way 2: Change your asset allocation to get an 8% return. Hah hah. Shall we take accounts? Cash - interest is at best 1%, 10yr treasury bills at 2.7%, bonds at about 3%, dividend stocks at about 2.6%, regular stocks variable between some negative number and 20% if it was a smashing single year. And we apparently blithely forget the "past returns are not indicative of future results". So where is that dependable, sure-fire EASY 8% gonna come from?

Easy Way 3: Work until you are 67. Just don't get a psycho boss, a health issue, or God forbid, be a 50+ year old standing in the unemployment line. But those are EASY to avoid, right?

Its not the advice that gave me the giggles, but the EASY. Investing is worthwhile, but not EASY.


June 17th, 2010 at 08:30 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $14 produce
Found money - $0.12 (road, self serve car wash)

Saving log - $9 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $4 groceries
Found money - $0.27 (road, parking meter, Safeway floor)

Saving log - $100 to ING
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $17 lunch
Found money - $0.27 (bus stop, sidewalk, parking lot, Safeway floor)

We got a better grip of the costs of the beef, we pay on the wet hanging weight (the intermediate step between living creature and finished), and we pay for butchering. Storage - beef must be hung for about 3 weeks at close to freezing to break rigor mortis and for taste - is free, and the rancher will deliver so we won't pay for that either. The current estimate is that a 1/4 (100 pounds) will run us about $850, probably a bit more. My chiropractor is in for half of my quarter, so each of us will be saving our pennies - more than 42,500. Big Grin.

I haven't talked much about found money lately. I even found a penny each of the days that I was out on the beef weekend. Lately the coin hunting has been pretty good. My total, with 29 days to go for the year anniversary, is $47.10: 1,045 pennies, 42 nickels, 169 dimes, 42 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents. I just might make $50 for the year!

We got our ORCA transit cards today - we use them on July 1. So far HR only cares if you give the card to someone else to use when you are at work. They don't care if you use it over the weekend.

Got brave and looked in on my 403B. Hadn't since stocks took that really big jog down a month ago. Its held its own, and I'm still over $110K.

2 new funds in the 403B

February 25th, 2010 at 09:01 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.03 (3 pennies in a planting by the bus stop)

Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $0 (free coffee)
Found money - $0.14 (sidewalk, crosswalk, planting strip, bus aisle, Safeway floor)

Total dirty money so far... $26.90: 690 pennies, 24 nickels, 110 dimes, 27 quarters, $1 bill, 1 10 pence (counted as 15 cents)

We had the yearly or bi-yearly update on our 403B. Two changes that I should research:

1. We are swapping our current small cap fund with another small cap fund. A quick look at style box of the new fund is telling that this is more of a mid cap than a small cap ... and that could be that successful small cap companies grow to turn into mid caps, or it could be that the manager is buying more mid cap companies that to compensate for small caps going under. Interesting thinking about that "style drift."

2. We are adding another type of bond fund - a low duration bond fund that invests in shorter term bonds than the usual 5-10 yrs. I have some bond holdings and I'd like to check this new fund to see if holding it would be useful to me.

On a non-fiscal note, we've had V.I. for six months, now as long as we had Morgan. I still get a little choked up about the whole thing....How are we celebrating V.I.'s six month anniversary? She's getting her nails trimmed. She might not be celebrating it, but we sure will. Big Grin

beef and links, but not beef links

February 2nd, 2010 at 09:27 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $100 beef
Found money - $0.23 (sidewalks, parking meter, Safeway floor)

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $10 groceries
Found money - $0.13 (sidewalks, parking meter)

Not much happened today. I did buy a deposit on 100# of beef. We plan on 50#; the rest should come from two others, each wanting 25#. Got one of those 25#/$25, all I need is the other one.

The second beef fest has begun.

I did find two semi-interesting fiscal links. One is a place to compare 401K/403B of various companies. I tried our workplace - not enough information. For a long term project I might fill them in on our 403B - the information is not secret and it is not illegal to give out. Still, the discrete side of my personality really hesitates.

The other link is stock footnotes - some person I salute Big Grin reads the various footnotes from 10-Ks, 8-Qs and other formal fiscal publications, then writes on the hinkiness she discovers therein. I can search on the ticker symbol for specific footnote hinkiness. Fantastic!

all Thursdays, Great and Small

January 28th, 2010 at 08:50 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $4 steak sauce
Found money - $0.23 (bus stop under bench, sidewalks, Safeway floor)

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $0.05 apple
Found money - $0

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $8 groceries
Found money - $0.01 (sidewalks)

Just when I thought that folks had stopped throwing money on the ground, I was proved pleasantly wrong today.

$22.26: 566 pennies, 19 nickels, 94 dimes, 21 quarters, $1 bill.

I'm at my busiest right now - data data data. I get paid tomorrow, and come Monday I will have worked at my current place for 10 years. Yikes! But definitely better than working 9 years and a few months.

With the stock market down, I'm still at six figures in my 403B, but barely. My addition stocks of SYY got bought in the past few days, and my new stock, OSK, also got bought. I'm 3 shares into war now.

I also mentioned to DH that by the end of February, V.I. will have been with us 6 months, or as long as Morgan was. I haven't mentioned V.I all that much - I just didn't want to jinx her. She is doing fine - coat is great, no inappropriate poohing, and now doesn't need the bribery of a greenie either. She is still a tad skittish, but now visits us as we settle down in bed. The quality that I most treasure about her is that she does not hanker to go outside. Oh, she'll follow you into the patio if you are puttering around back there, but as soon as you come in, she wants in. Its as if she learned that she'll never be a stray if she stays in the house.

403B, in 2010

January 21st, 2010 at 08:56 pm

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $0
Found money - $0.24 (bus stop, sidewalks, gutter, elevator floor)

At the all staff meeting this morning HR presented the benefits survey - who likes what and how much. HR was a bit surprised that the 403B was less popular than the dental plan. And a couple of people commented that they needed "more choices".

I rarely see eye to eye with HR. I'm not that surprised that the 403B slipped in popularity - I don't remember when I took the survey, but if your scared spitless about opening the envelope because you figured you lost a bundle, and you're frightened the match would disappear, you'd be inclined to think the 403B was less of a benefit.

However, I really don't know about the more choices. I get the feeling that if we had all the choice in the world it would hardly matter.

What I really see is a bunch of people signing up for 403B, saving money diligently, but with no knowledge, no advice, no training on what you can do on the website, no discussion of how to create and manage a portfolio, and no tips. I show my co workers a thing or two of what I learned, and they are amazed. All the choice in the world won't replace a spot of financial planning.

lot'l little

October 30th, 2009 at 08:28 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.01 (sidewalk)

Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee, $10 snack foods
Found money - $0.22 (road, bus floor, Safeway floor)

Took money off the 403B table and rebalanced back to the 60 yr old man portfolio - cash, bonds, gov bonds, equal small parts of: large cap, small cap, mid cap, international, value. Saw my changes yesterday.

Saw that my transfer agent bought the $300 worth of SYY; it was bought along with the re-invested dividend.

Found out that the fire from last weekend was arson. When I tried to shortcut through the Taproot parking lot, I found that the back parking lot was all fenced in along with the fronts.

Behaved myself during the parade of work potlucks today, and I contributed with fruit snacky items.

V.I. (kitty) and I are having a nice time. So far, she's been hitting the litter box with me. I have changed a couple of things - I've shut the bedroom and home office door during the day, so no "surprises" in those rooms. I've also made the living room quiet - most of her "surprises" are left underneath coffee table, desk, behind the couch. Quiet, shadowy places. DH loves to have the radio on during the day and I suspect that loud human noises and bustle startles her. Most of all, when I hear her use the box, I quietly and quickly get a greenie from the bag and reward her as she walks past. I also play with her for at least an hour in the evening.

403Bing good

October 13th, 2009 at 08:56 pm

Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.33 (1 dime on road, 1 dime on edge of sidewalk, 1 dime on gravel driveway, pennies on sidewalk and bus stop)

Lest you think that my current financial news is all about small time dime-dar (which was excellent today), I note that the big stuff - current strategy on my 403B - is paying off.

My strategy started in early 2007, when I re-allocated from 80% stock/ 20% bond to 40% stock/30% bond/10% gov bond/20% cash. In other words, my portfolio looked like a 60 yr old man. In hindsight, I was a bit early. Still, the proportions held within 2-3% of each other even through the big happenings of Sept 2008.

I "lost" about 10% of 403B during the gyrations. By October 2008 I was researching the funds available to me to re-mix and re-allocate. I made my choices and re-allocated only on the new money in late October. In other words, what I had already was the 40/30/10/20, the new money (added as I got paid, bi-monthly) was re-allocated as 90% stock/10% bond.

I still "lost" a little bit in the 1st quarter of 2009, but I was patient with the stocks the new funds were buying...and especially happy that the price was cheap.

2Q 2009, my 403B net worth jumped 11K. 3Q 2009, my 403B net worth jumped 12K. During those two quarters, I contributed 8K to the mix, so about a 1/3 my net worth jump is due to injections of new money. Still, we are talking about a 15K increase in just those 2 quarters. (I'm in the 90K range).

The mix has shifted to 52% stock/25% bond/8% gov bond/15% cash. Still fairly conservative, if you believe conventional wisdom. Now I have several choices - if I think that we are in for another stock crash, I can rebalance back to the old 60 yr old man portfolio mix, and wait. Or I can re-allocate the new money into something more conservative, or I can do nothing and wait until I'm at the 65% stock/35% everything else range (my target). And if I wanted to not wait, I could deploy the 15% cash into stock.

Right now I see issues with everything. Stocks could crash (stock), bond values will drop as soon as interest rates go up (bond), no interest, no FDIC-like insurance, and the dollar is weakening (cash), and a whole lot of federal debt (gov bonds). Might just as well stay the course, keeping myself conservatively diversified. Worst comes to worst, the 403B is a glorious tax deferral.

bits and pieces

October 1st, 2009 at 09:49 pm

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $2 fruit
Found money - $0.01 (sidewalk)

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $.80 onion
Found money - $0.02 (sidewalk)

Quiet really, just a lot of a little. Payday, and with with the end of the 3rd quarter, I noted how my 403B finished the quarter (even better than last quarter).

Cracked open one of the pounds of ground beef and made spaghetti sauce with it. A couple of weekends from now, we'll have dinner with the Duvall friends and trade off our beef for some duck. Sister is finishing up her garden for the year.

One of the QFC grocery stores is closing. Its not one that I shop a lot at, but I did shop there once in a while. I don't see the recession easing, I see a grinding sameness with the legs down disguised. I hear the recession easing talk as a whistle in the dark. Better to hope than not, but I'm not going to be the first to spend freely.

But all is not doom and gloom with the recession. Don't try any of these fixes at home... or at least, not in my home!

not quite a bombshell, more like a mortar

July 15th, 2009 at 07:55 pm

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.

back to finances

June 26th, 2009 at 10:00 pm

At work: rumors have been flying about layoffs, aka RIFs. A couple of co workers had told me, in confidence, that they are planning on the fact that they will go. My boss doesn't think that anyone in our department will go, but everyone is so tight lipped that ...who knows?

I took a glance at the totals of my 403B - it broke 80K.

We are all cylons now

May 7th, 2009 at 09:22 pm

Put my savings in the tip box early. I wanted to speed things up because I didn't want to make a special errand to deposit a $1.96 check into savings. Much prefer to combine it with what is in the tip box. Total = $45 + $1.96 was a bit better.

I went into the flagship downtown WaMu and saw the gigantic semi-futuristic clear and blue plastic Chase logo perched on a wooden platform. It was a good twenty feet high. All of the WaMu and Washington Mutual lettering was gone. Confirmed that with the ATM interface.

WaMu's bones are dissolving. If next week I have to stick my hand in some goo to interface with my Chase bank data, somehow that wouldn't surprise me a bit. But I have to see the sunny side. There are several Chase ATMs in Oshkosh and Milwaukee; there never were any WaMus there. Looking forward to no ATM fees on vacation.

On another cheerful note, the 403B is doing splendiferous. I'm up about 3% in real return, apart from putting in over $600/paycheck. I've been buying cheap in the 403B since October. From $64K at the end of December, I'm up over $76K right now.

Eating our fantastically tasty home grown lettuce tonight. We are catching up with it.

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