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before Vietnam, actual fiscal news

March 4th, 2011 at 08:04 pm

Discovered that one of my Drp stocks did a 2:1 split while I was gone (WEC). Actually, the split got completed my first day back.

I found out because I look at the share prices every couple of days and it was freakishly low. Like, tear my hair what happened low. Nice to know it was a divide by two situation.

I'll be checking the transfer agent to see how they account for it and how they calculate the cost basis, but as for me right now maintaining my spreadsheet, all I'm doing is multiplying the shares I have by 2, and dividing the price I paid by 2.

Also turns out that the dividend increased by a couple of pennies per share also. Good news on that front.

I picked up a copy of Turbo Tax yesterday. My financial moves this year have been pretty boring - no IRA conversions or odd schedules coming from an inheritance. (Unless I find $100 bills on the sidewalk, the IRS doesn't particularly want to know.) This year, bread and butter. I can do bread and butter myself.

Finishing up catching up at work which has been a struggle. I'm still jet lagged and when I wake up I think that I'm not in Seattle but somewhere in Asia. Its been much rougher than Paris. Getting to Hanoi I wasn't particularly jet lagged, or perhaps I was so excited that I didn't care. Could also be the light - Paris is a similar latitude as Seattle, so the day lengths are similar - May/June nice and long. Vietnam, being close to the equator, has a day length close to 12 hrs year round, while Seattle, not so much.

Did make it to the gym and miracle of miracles, I'm under 170, with a 1 lb weight gain. That after 3 full meals/day, hours mostly on the bus or a plane with a bit of walking, and multiple course meals with beer or wine. I thought for sure I'd have put on at least 5 pounds.

Sent sister the $5000 for farmette upkeep. She's back in Milwaukee from the trip. I hope she had a good time - those last few days when the tour ended and we were flying home was especially rough. Incheon airport in Korea with an 11 hour layover was especially hard.

Got my lunches 1st - 4th

February 1st, 2011 at 09:35 pm

While I won't be packing a lunch in Vietnam, I can play up until I go!

Today it was 2/3 cup of brown rice, 6 oz of sliced ham with a little hot sauce, and the last little bit of green apple chutney...which I got from the canning exchange last November.

I pack multiple lunches at a time in those little square Ziploc boxes, so for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, its:

1 cup or so of vegetable beef stew
dollop of sauteed kale w/onion, garlic, red pepper

Snack will be 1/3 of the pack of beef jerky.

On a side note, I hit it lucky Sunday on the finding change front. First off, I found a run-over dollar bill. It looked all the world like a fake until I picked up. A couple hours later I found a 1982 half dollar as I was cutting through the car wash parking lot. Its a rare day that my luck has been that good, but day to day, my change finding luck has held up very well - I'm currently at $43.23 since mid-July 2010.

liberty dime

December 27th, 2010 at 09:01 pm

I found another silver dime yesterday, half buried next to a tree in front of a church. This one's a bit older - date minted was 1944 - and its a Liberty head dime. For all you young whippersnappers (including me), here's a picture of one. (not a pic I took, I can't focus it enough using my little digital camera). Its a little grungy, but the relief is nice on it - only the E Plurbis Unum is faint.

I also looked at my PTO accrual as I was figuring out the percent on my 403B. 255 hrs. I'm waiting for HR to bring the hammer down. I could call in sick for a few days.

Finally, I'm working on my FCC list. Have about 8 that I'd like to follow, so 2 more and I'm done. Thank you scfr for a couple of more ideas.

I've been saving relatively crisp $1s and a couple of $5s for the Vietnam trip. So far I have about $30. Because I'm saving for the trip, I've decided to slow down the tip box savings, and return to it in March. I'm now reading and taking notes in a notebook, to bring on the trip.

minor breakthroughs

December 14th, 2010 at 09:14 pm

Found over $10 in change last month! Thank you rainy Seattle - no one who drops coins wants to stay out in the rain and pick them up.

My passport with the Vietnam and Cambodia visas is sitting at Fed Ex right now. Not too bad - it took about 17-18 days. I now absolutely am going. Checked out one of the two books from the Seattle library. Its all about the Vietnam War - actually from the 1920's to the 1970's - so multiple Vietnam wars. Very interesting.

Big data dump (BDD) has occurred, so my email account now sports a message - I'm working on 43M worth of data, so stop bugging with your $25 stuff.

really dirty money

November 24th, 2010 at 09:43 pm

Had some extraordinary luck in finding change Thursday. I walked through the self-serve carwash (this before the snow and cold) parking lot and caught a glint of a penny, then several pennies, then a whole lot of change (pennies, nickels, dime) which no one picked up. Why? They were in amidst a wad of grease and weird lint. Ugh. So of course, true to my roots, I scooped up the mass in several scoops and put it in a my plastic bag.

Got home, and washed, and washed. In that glob were 90 pennies, 10 nickels, and 28 dimes.

And today, I picked up a quarter standing straight up in the top grate of the escalator. Also covered in grease.

Hand sanitizer anyone?

silver dime and canning exchange

October 31st, 2010 at 07:37 pm

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.

little bits

October 11th, 2010 at 08:24 pm

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.

definitely fringe

September 27th, 2010 at 09:42 pm

You know, it might be easier to save dollars if dollars were better looking. If nothing else, you might want to hang on to them a bit longer. I can't say that redesign of the dollar would solve many (or any) of our financial issues, but it is fun to think about. Take a look.

Like handing me a "Junior" (on the TV show Fringe, the alternate universe 20).

And yes, I remember my rant against spending money to mint new quarter designs.

quiet times

September 13th, 2010 at 09:44 pm

I've been sick with a cold for the last few days. I've been sleeping, but I've been walking a bit to get fresh air in my lungs. I took the day off, more to keep from spreading the stuff around. But there has been some news:

Beef fest occurred last Saturday. Lots of beef, and most of the people who became part of the consortium came. The consensus was that red angus four was quite tasty. At the time we named her Ginger (I didn't blog about that before, it made the meat just a tad more personal than I had liked) - ironically most of the dishes people brought contained some spice ginger also.

Screenwriter son's film did not get into Milwaukee, did not get into Chicago, but did get into Ellensburg (college town in central Washington) for a waived fee. Its also up for consideration at the Tallgrass Film Festival in Kansas.

Went up weight to 172, but I think I am back to below 170. (Yay illness and its appetite suppressing qualities). A couple of weeks ago I bought 2 more pants in size 10, one more in size 12. I've gotten rid of nearly all my size 14s. How's that for buring a bridge?

Another Tuesday, another blood draw for the bird flu study. No chicken behavior seen. No payments yet; so far I've gotten was a good working thermometer. I ran a slight fever with the shot, I've run a slight fever with this cold.

While I haven't been blogging where I've been finding change, I've been finding change just to see how much I can find. I've been finding a lot more. Last month I found $6.75, this month $6.02.

My dividend stocks have been bouncing around, but generally have been going up. 403B has been going up steadily also. Might just as well let it ride at 50% stock, 30% bond, 20% cash for a little while.

another wheat penny

August 15th, 2010 at 09:19 pm

This time a 1938. 4 cents.

I'm saving them for laughs, just to see what I get. Thus far I have 4 wheat pennies (1956, 1951, 1938, 1927S) obtained by picking them up from where someone else dropped them. I've also been thinking of saving any copper penny, the ones older than 1982.

dirty money analysis, part 4

August 10th, 2010 at 09:44 pm

For part 3, analysis of change found in inside places, here.
For part 2, the when I found change, here.
For part 1, my luck in finding change for the year, here.

I found 25% of my change inside places, which that I found 75% or $37.28 out in the wide open (as wide open as Seattle can be) space places like the sidewalk, the road, the bus stop.

In most cases, Ive found small amounts money in very disparate places, so Ill have to give a high end overview.

The neighborhoods that I found the most change were the ones where I spent the most amount of time. Not a surprise how could one find something when one wasnt there? Neighborhoods broke out thusly: Greenwood (where I live) $13.41, or 36.0%; downtown (where I work) $8.96, or 24.0%; bus stops (how I commute) $4.48, or 12.0%; Crown Hill (next to where I live) $3.48, or 9.1%; Fremont, Queen Anne, and the U District between $1.51 2.50, or 4-6%, Safeway, which was a prime place to find change indoors, was also a reasonable place outside $0.84 , or 2.3%. Other places I found change in the $0.70 and under or 2.0-0.1% range.

Now in the general area I get down into specifics. I found the most on the sidewalk $11.51, or 30.9%; road $7.46, or 20.0%; planting strip (grass, dirt, tree, etc) $3.34, or 9.0%; parking meter $2.13, or 5.7%; the number 5 bus stop(s) $1.98, or 5.1%; on corners of sidewalk $1.76, or 4.7%; in the crosswalk $1.06, or 2.8%; in the gutter $0.88, or 2.4%.

I found a lot of change in odd places that I would have to consider miscellaneous - $1.79, or 4.8%. Places like bike hitches, fountain edges (pulling money from a fountain is tacky), stairs, between cobbles, ATMs, payphones, telephone pole, manhole cover, grates, banisters.

In other words, if finding change is like fishing, the money is likely to lurk anywhere at your feet.

dirty money analysis, part 3

August 4th, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Part 2, here
Part 1, here

A bit of an analysis of the change I found inside places. As I said before, I found $12.70 or 25% of my yearly total ($49.98) inside places like buses, grocery stores, etc.

I catagorized the inside locations and totals thusly:
Bus $1.72, or 13.9%; coffee shop(s) $0.80, or 6.3%; groceries other than Safeway $0.46, or 3.6%; gym $0.98, or 7.7%; miscellaneous places $1.52, or 12.0%; Safeway $6.38, or 50.2%; work $0.80, or 6.3%.

Of course, this is indicative of where I go - one can't find change in places where one doesn't go. The miscellaneous places that I found change at were particularly interesting and can give you some more ideas on good places to look - bank lobbies, elevator floor inside Group Health, thrift store floors, hardware store, restaurant carpets, vending machines, coinstar machines, chiropractor's office.

I had further catagorized where in the inside locations I had found the money. That worked out thusly:
Aisle $0.38, or 3.0%; Checkout $1.09, or 8.6%; Floor $6.77, or 53.3%; miscellaneous locations $1.28, or 10.1%; under something $3.18, or 25.0%.

The miscellaneous locations include escalators (surprising to me), on tables, cabinets, and stands, gym equipment, that edge between the bus seat and the window. You can find money just in the middle of the floor, but often the change lurks under things. Change especially lurks close to the source - when you get coins in exchange for a bill and you drop a coin or two.

Change found outside next.

Gonna have to save that wheat penny

August 3rd, 2010 at 09:06 pm

Yesterday someone dropped a 1927 wheat penny in front of the parking meter. Actually that someone dropped a 1927 - S penny, with a little 's' underneath the year.

For laughs, I looked up its value here.

Whoa! 40 cents.

dirty money deja vu

July 25th, 2010 at 08:42 pm

Had a very successful weekend of finding money. At Safeway, I look in the checkout aisles some for the size of the line, but mostly for any money. Last night there was a dollar bill on the floor, so I picked that aisle.

Of course I couldn't just nab the bill. I patiently waited for the line to move - and for two sets of people to possibly notice and pick it up before I do. Fortunately the first set of people were two 20 yr old guys who had other concerns, and the woman ahead of me was reading a magazine in the checkout. As soon as they paid and headed out, the money was mine.

And I had a reprise of the fishing for coins incident. This time it was just a quarter, but since I'm not fond of gum, I still had some left over. Found a 5 ft stick, chewed some gum, formed the demented pool cue, retrieved the quarter. All within five minutes, and no witnesses this time.

must be summer

July 23rd, 2010 at 09:45 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.90 coffee
Found money - $0.06 (road, inside the bus)

I decided that I couldn't resist maintaining the dirty money tracking. I at least want to see whether or not July and August in general are bad finding money months or whether I hadn't hit my stride yet. Since 7/14, I've found an additional $1.11 ... It appears that last year was a "hadn't hit my stride yet" issue.

Woke up a bit later than usual - I'm now in throes of perimenopause with the hot flashes and night sweats, so its hard to sleep through the night. The open window helps, but its not perfect. Since I was running late, I bought coffee in the neighborhood to drink on the bus rather than take the time to buy coffee downtown. Hence the slightly higher price.

Deposited $47 of tip box savings this month yesterday. The tip box savings are helping me out of a couple of months of spending. Sigh. So I am, with a number of people here, getting back on the saving rails.

Sister called - she lives part time in Milwaukee, part time at the farmette. The sinkhole that developed in Milwaukee is in her neighborhood. (not her car!)

We had another person leave. This guy. The one who usually comes by and yaks for 30 minutes. An hour and a half this evening! Not a fan of him, but means that the screws are quietly tightening at work.

dirty money analysis, part 2

July 22nd, 2010 at 09:55 pm

So part 1 was the general terms and now I'll get a bit more specific.

So month to month starting on July 14, it ran like this: July - $1.33, August - $1.20, September - $3.28, October - $2.37, November - $4.85 (found a $1 bill), December - $7.24 (found a lot of thrown change during Christmas and New Years), January - $5.02 (another $1 bill), February - $3.29, March - $9.43 (found that $5 that month), April - $4.12, May - $4.25, June - $3.60.

Hard to read if change finding has a season. It wouldn't surprise me if fall, winter, and spring are better seasons - in cold rainy weather people have more pockets to manage and don't want to stop and pick up change.

There were some days that I did not find any money - 53 in fact. But it did mean that for 312 days I did find at least a penny - an amazing 85% of the time.

I wanted to know if some days were better or worse than others.

Monday - $5,24, or 10.5% of the total, with 4 days of finding nothing
Tuesday - $5.80, or 11.6% of the total, with 5 days of finding nothing
Wednesday - $5.34, or 10.7% of the total, with 8 days of finding nothing
Thursday - $6.16, or 12.3% of the total, with 8 days of finding nothing (New Year's Day penny windfall happened on Thursday)
Friday - $4.74, or 9.5% of the total, with 11 days of finding nothing
Saturday - $9.23, or 18.5% of the total, 12 days of finding nothing
Sunday - $13.47, or 27.0% of the total, 5 days of finding nothing (1 $1 bill and my $5 bill was found on Sunday)

The weekend was a bit better, probably because I walk around and can look for longer. Friday is notably the worst. Monday, while a small haul, is very consistent - I always find something.

dirty money analysis, part 1

July 19th, 2010 at 09:47 pm

Part 1 is going to be the big picture.

So I made $49.98, tax free, by picking up any money where I found it between July 14, 2009 - July 13, 2010. I'm frankly still amazed - and found change hunting useful on a number of levels:

1. Got me excited about doing the Saturday and Sunday afternoon walks. This upcoming year, I'm going to see if I can still find change at a jog, which is the pace I'm supposed to go.

2. The nearly $50 is a haul that compares very well against the incredibly crappy interest rates on savings. To collect the same amount of yearly interest last year as I found I would have had to have $3,998.40 in ING; $4,998.60 in a 6 mo CD; $10,517.19 in 1 yr T-bill; $499,800 in a Vanguard money market fund (0.001% interest, if you can believe it). And I haven't even discussed the tax implications yet.

3. Picking up change keeps me attentive and encourages me to pick up more change. Picking up that penny primes me to look for more, both because DisneySteve's rule of looking for additional coins nearby is a good one, and because picking up that penny keeps me mindful that there's many more coins out there. For example, if I didn't pick up those 1098 pennies, and concentrated on finding only silver money, I'd only be off by about 10$. However, if I'm not likely to pick up pennies, I'm probably very unlikely to pick up those nickels, dimes and quarters either.

As I said before, the $49.98 was comprised of 1098 pennies, 44 nickels, 189 dimes, 43 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill. On a value basis, 22% of my haul was pennies, 4% nickels, 38% dimes, 22% quarters, 14% bills.

The penny haul and the quarter haul seem appropriate to me. I should find a "ton" of pennies because the value is so low, while people don't want to lose quarters so they pick them up if they accidentally catch themselves dropping them and even the most non-change picker upper will pick up a quarter.

The nickel haul seems very low. DH thinks its because one only gets 1 nickel in a wad of change so there aren't that many in circulation. Not much in a pocket means not much can be lost from the pocket. I think that's a good possiblity, but an even better possibility is that a nickel is about the same diameter as a quarter. A nickel is as visible to the casual eye as a quarter might be.

The dime haul seems shockingly high. Matter of fact, if I'm a success at finding change, its mostly dimes and pennies. Dimes are definitely worth picking up. I wonder if the dime situation is the "other side of the coin" (I'll duck now) as the nickel situation. Dimes are small and easily lost.

I'm back

July 15th, 2010 at 09:27 pm

Whew, I didn't think it had been this long. Apologies!

I had an action packed couple of weeks. First off, through most of this time I had the mother of all colds. July 4th I felt a bit off, and decided not to bother with going to the 4th of July party. Said cold had morphed, by the 7th, into a full (sore-)throated nightmare. I couldn't talk, DH had to call in for me.

The next day was the beginning of the trip to Montana to celebrate MILs 85th. For the 8th - 13th we were out on the road...and believe you me, being sick on the road is not what its cracked up to be. We spent some money here and there - rented a car because the cushmobile still had its left light and bumper out - boarded V.I., who was not thrilled with the idea but seemed to tolerate a lot better this time than during the weekend cow trip. We also decided that driving from Seattle to Bozeman in one shot is for the birds. We've done it many times, we need not demonstrate that we are nuts yet again.

By the 13th we were back, and I had one more day to recouperate. I'm still not 100% by any means.

The 13th of July represents the 365th day of finding change. Did I make $50? It looked good for a long time - even on the 8th chasing around (I had to turn on my out of office email), I was at $49.97. I figured, heh heh, how hard would it be to find 3 pennies in 5-6 days?

Impossible, it turns out. Montanans apparently keep their change in their pockets instead of flinging it out like Seattleites do. Total strikeout for the entire trip.

So okay, I figured I was still in the game - I had the 13th to find at least three pennies. Alas, I only found one. My total for the year stands at $49.98: 1098 pennies, 44 nickels, 189 dimes, 44 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 10 cents. If you think in terms of rolled change, its 2 pennies shy of 22 rolls, a bit more than 1 roll of nickels, 3 3/4 rolls of dimes, a bit more than 1 roll of quarters.

More than a sock's worth, that's for sure. I'll do a bit of data crunching this weekend. To whew your appetite, note that I only found $12.66 indoors (25%), the rest ($37.31) outside (75%). Change finding is definitely an outdoor sport.

happy 4th

July 3rd, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Not much fiscal going on...
Tomatoes are finally relatively cheap - $1.28/lb, so I made a Jamie Oliver version of tomato salad with a couple of edits of my own...

2 lbs or so of good fresh tomatoes
kosher salt
2 garlic cloves
1 jalepeno, minced
olive oil
red wine/ balsamic vinegar

Chop your tomatoes roughly, put them in a colander, salt them and let them sit to express some juice. (15-30 minutes). In the meantime, make a dressing with 3:1 olive oil to vinegar.

Combine tomatoes, garlic, jalepeno. Dress with the oil and vinegar.

$49.33: 1018 pennies, 43 nickels, 185 dimes, 43 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

this and that

June 25th, 2010 at 09:05 pm

Found money
6/21/10 - $0.01 (sidewalk)
6/22/10 - $0.02 (road, floor)
6/23/10 - $0.33 (car wash concrete pad, Safeway floor)
6/24/10 - $0.24 (road, parking meters, planting strip)
6/25/10 - $0.12 (curb, Safeway floor)

Broke $48 in found money today. I started this tracking and more seriously finding money on 7/14 last year, so I have 19 days to "find" $1.98 if I want to hit $50 for the year. Quite doable.
$48.02: 1,067 pennies, 42 nickels, 176 dimes, 42 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

This and that are happening. I planted sugar peas (var. Alderman) against the south wall under my kitchen window. The packet claimed the peas will grow 6-8 feet. They certainly did that! I see them growing above my kitchen window. It looks restful, rather than scary. Pea pods are developing and we should be eating in a day or two.

The Milwaukee Film Fest has still not cashed my check - been a couple of weeks. Wonder what's up.

Thursday, I deposited $45 from my tip box this month, giving me over $1100 in immediate savings. I probably will be using most of it next month to keep my credit card paid off. The weekend cow trip was inexpensive - $75 for 2 days of minivan and gas, $60 hotel room first night, and $40 for several meals on the road - but will expand my credit card bill a bit.

Work has slowed a bit, but the gossip is passing through. One of the VPs (whom I'm not fond off) was pushed to resign. The VP himself had "let go" his admin last year, who didn't like him either. The admin got picked up by HR as a spare worker. She worked with us for awhile, and worked in other departments. She and I shared an elevator today and I mentioned (I thought slyly) "good that you survive your enemies." She laughed and told me that many, many of my co workers expressed the same sentiment.

After this round of performance evaluations, HR told us that the plan was for a 2% pay raise, but that they are holding it off implementing them until October in case the medical premiums shoot up. Right now, I'm thinking that employment is like a game of musical chairs. The music stopped; if you are in a seat, its all good.

Was at 167.4 before cow trip. I went up to 169, and am back down a bit at 168.4. I was tempted and ate a bit more than I hoped these last weeks, so only being up a pound is a win.

Excited about the Greenwood Car Show tomorrow!


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.

....and catching up, period

June 8th, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Its been a week. Apologies! So let's see...

Film. Sister enjoyed my tale of the film and said, "hey, submit it to the Milwaukee Film Fest in the fall". So we did - at least screenwriter friend applied, slipped the DVD in, and I paid the submission fee. $50. We also applied to Chicago, which is happening a couple weeks later. Since the film was made by a student, student fee was also $50. Chicago, though, suggested an additional $2.50 as "protection". I used to live in Chicago; "protection" made me laugh. Oh well, if dead men can vote in Chicago, they probably can make movies too.

Beef. We are going to "visit" the beef that we bought. Since our little consortium put a down payment on a whole cow, we can pick the animal. I plan on pictures, although I'd rather pick the steer that looks like it might be involved in a tractor jacking, if you know what I mean.

Work. Performance evaluations are done! Now its the final push for the end of fiscal year pledges. Instead of a bus pass, we are going to get work Orca cards. A bit more pricey a month, but much more flexible - it will work with 4 different transit systems. And because it does that, the card stores when and where it was used. And it because it does that, a co worker asked the basic question of HR - Are you going to monitor our trips? We got a confused answer.

Printer. I have been printing all the Paris photos out on the $20 HP printer I bought at the Greenwood yard sale. I got medium-end (not highest, not lowest) HP paper. Works great! But so far its $15 for 100 sheets, and I ran out of ink - $45 cartridge which should last for 500 pictures. Yikes! I have to console myself by breaking it down.

(15$/100) + (45$/500) = 15 cents for paper + 9 cents for ink. 24 cents per picture. That makes me feel better.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot. I had some good luck finding money over the last week.
$45.93: 1,018 pennies, 41 nickels, 163 dimes, 41 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

Greenwood Yard Sale

May 22nd, 2010 at 09:31 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $5 coffee, yogurt
Found money - $0.02 (parking meters)

Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $5 groceries
Found money - $0.11 (corner, road, Safeway floor)

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $22.50 yard sale finds + $1.50 cupcake
Found money - $0.62 (driveway, inside purse I bought)

In case anybody else is tracking me, Big Grin, ever since mid-July I've found $43.77: 942 pennies, 38 nickels, 158 dimes, 38 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

Today was the Greenwood Neighborhood Yard Sale, 2010 edition. We started late, but we still found some good stuff. There's always two ways to handle a yard sale: get there early to be the first to pick, or get there late for the desperation.

Desperation worked very well this year. I bought: a purse, 1 tablecloth, 1 HP photoprinter (along with cables, and picture paper). Most people were willing to deal - 50% off as soon as you showed an interest. The four pm stroll from site to site picking in the "Free" boxes was just as productive: 1 shower head, 1 tablecloth, 2 frames, a little salt spoon. I still am a sucker for purses, but while the handle was shaggy (why it was 50 cents) this one really had the layout that I liked. Best of all, I got home, shook the purse and found 52 cents left for me. The purse gave me a profit!

The photoprinter was the 20$ purchase. I was attracted to it because I now have plenty of fun pictures that I would love to print out. Its been 3 years since Paris, and I still haven't printed anything out. Will see whether the 20$ will pay off.

The free tablecloth was as good as the one I bought for $2. (Actually, a $1.90, because I found a dinged up dime in their driveway.) I bought the one in a very rich dark green, pulled from a free bin one in a rich red-purple. Holiday festive!

Add up everything we shelled out money for and it came to $22.50.

May weekends, full of temptations

May 14th, 2010 at 08:58 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $9 groceries
Found money - $0.53 (crosswalk, Safeway floor, planting strip)

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.41 (under bench at bus stop, road, curb)

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.02 (bus floor, Safeway floor)

With 60 days left for my experiment answering the question "How much change I can find lying around?", I'm at $42.15, after finding 3 quarters in 2 days. I can't predict that much luck in the next couple of months, and it might be a stretch, but I'd love to think that I can reach $50. Yowsa! I'll do a bit of data mining when its all over and share my findings.

It has been quiet this week. It was payday today, so as I moved the paycheck around to pay off my credit card I'll have to think about possibly shifting savings into checking. The other 3 weekends in May are going to be fraught with temptation:

May 15 - the Greenwood Art Walk. Stepping into a store along Greenwood to look at art means stepping into a store and being tempted to buy

May 22 - we were supposed to take a weekend trip to view the steer we were to buy. The trip is going to be delayed until June. However, it means that I'll make it to the Greenwood Yard Sale. Hard to tell which situation will be more spendy - 1/2 a rental car and gas and possibly a motel room or going hog-wild at the yard sale?

May 28 - actually this is Friday night, but I'm going to the movie of screenwriter friend's son at SIFF Cinema. There's the possibility of drinks and party afterward.

rockin' if I'm thinking of rolling

May 11th, 2010 at 09:21 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel + $.50 apple
Found money - $0.56 (spilled over sidewalk curb and road, 2 different spots on Greenwood, grocery checkout floor)

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.23 (in the grate protecting a sidewalk tree, crosswalk, Safeway floor, by vending machine

Saving log - $4 tip box +$50 Drp
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $11 produce
Found money - $0.04 (planting strip, bus stop, parking meter, road)

Again, not much going on. Sunday, somebody, bless their heart dropped 3 dimes, 1 nickel and 9 pennies all in one place making up my two days of finding nothing.

I'm at $41.19: 904 pennies, 34 nickels, 153 dimes, 32 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents. All of the coinage is mind blowing, but even more so if I had to roll it up. It would come to 18 rolls of pennies, finishing 1 roll of nickels, 3 rolls of dimes, finishing 1 roll of quarters.

Nobody in our death bet had Lena Horne... or anybody else for that matter. I got word from the organizer that "nobody got anybody". Definitely all of our takers chose life. Big Grin

double negative

May 8th, 2010 at 09:56 pm

Found money - $0!
Found money - $0!

Yikes, I guess, that I haven't found any change for two days in a row. Holding at $40.38, so there is more to life than finding it. Smile This weekend has been glorious so far and I'm close to getting the patio in shape for us to use it. So far, I've:

1. Painted the bottom and legs of the patio table. I have one good coat on it everywhere. Tomorrow I plan on lightly sanding the top, get the second coat on and be done with it.

2. Set up two chairs for DH and I. Turns out that Fred Meyer, Lowes, and Home Depot all had the cushion pattern that I liked. FM price was $35/per, Lowes at $29.98 (so $30)/per, HD at $29.96. HD it was. I also sprung for a stack of chairs cover at $20 ... it does rain here, after all.

V.I. immediately commandeered the chair in the sun. She looks very sultry against the cushion - like Lena Horne on a beach chair. I'll have to post a pic.

3. Planted the 3 strawberry plants we got last Sunday in the strawberry pot. 5 plants at the top is a little tight, but at least everybody has new good soil for this year.

In other financial news, I checked out the new Grocery Outlet one neighborhood west of mine, about a 5 minute walk out of my way. I joke that they put the "gross" in grocery, and I could see that in the produce, but I was surprised that I could get brand name canned tomato products (diced, stewed, sauce, paste) for a least 40 cents/can cheaper, brown rice for 60 cents/lb cheaper, toothpaste for $2 cheaper, etc. Quite useful.

The other irony is that the stock I'm interested in selling (FIS) is possibly going to be bought out by a consortium of three private equity firms. In other words, go back into private hands. Apparently, I just need to sit tight, watch the price rise, and wait for the shareholders to get paid off.

getting over the cravings

May 4th, 2010 at 09:18 pm

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.28 (planting strip next to bus stop, curb, road, Fred Meyer parking lot)

Saving log - $5 tip box, $125 into savings
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $8 lunch + $15 groceries
Found money - $0.11 (sidewalk next to bus stop, floor underneath counter at coffee shop)

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.88 bagel, coffee + $2.50 paper + $5 mocha, croissant + $20 groceries
Found money - $0.01 (bus stop)

I broke $40 in found money. $40.20: 880 pennies, 33 nickels, 146 dimes, 32 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

After that, this and that. Frontier Bank went under Friday - it was the bank that I previously talked about here.

I've been wrestling with the after effects of the birthday celebration dinner. You feast for one day, and then your body says, "party on, Garth"... and suddenly you are buying mochas. Mochas with a coupon, at least, but mochas nonetheless. But the cravings have given me an excuse to buy some more strawberry plants. I'll aim for fruit cravings versus chocolate cravings.

Bought some more stock at the end of last month, and now I'm waiting for the price to go down some so I can buy more. Lawyer friend asked me for some stock tips. I threw out some ticker symbols, but gave him my dull boring dividend choices. He kind of blew off most of them - thought they were evil, or big, or blah, but he did think about one - ironically, the very one I'm thinking of selling. We'll see. I hope he does some more research and doesn't just take my word for it. I recently looked at the DRP portfolio - it'll go down some, but at the time I looked it totaled 28K.

using the new fangled ATM, along with a recipe

April 28th, 2010 at 08:48 pm

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $3 tomatoes, red onion
Found money - $0.42 (gym bench, bus stop, Safeway floor)

Saving log - $14.53 dividend
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0 Frown

I have got to stop mentioning days in a row of finding money. As soon as I do - nada. Yesterday was a total bust, but today dimes appeared to be raining from the heavens. $39.60: 865 pennies, 33 nickels, 144 dimes, 31 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

Deposited my tip box squeezings for the month today. $45. Normally I would have done it last week, but I was on vacation. I used the newfangled put-your-money -directly-into-ATM, which worked well, except for the fact that it went directly into my checking account rather than my savings account. It meant that using the ATM was a two step process: 1 - ATM, 2 - Online to transfer tip box deposit into savings. Kind of defeats my purpose, but strengthens the bank's purpose. These days, no one makes money on a saver, least of all the saver.

DH bought 5 lbs of strawberries a couple of days ago, and we clearly were not going to eat them fast enough. Here's my recipe to use 'em quick!

Strawberry Rhubarb Orange Compote

3 stalks rhubarb, sliced in 1/2 pieces
1 large orange, peeled, sectioned, sliced, zested
ripe strawberries
granulated sugar - maybe 1/3 c, but to taste

Put rhubarb bits and orange sections into a saucepan, add sugar. (Reserve the zest.)

Turn heat to low and simmer, allowing the rhubarb and orange to release the juice necessary. Stir occasionally - make sure the sugar does not burn.

Clean strawberries. Reserve the nice looking strawberries for later - Use the ones closest to the edge first, trimming bruises, etc. Chop and add these strawberries to the rhubarb in the saucepan. These are sacrificial - they will dissolve and form more sauce. Cook until everything is softened, but the rhubarb still keeps its shape.

Add the orange zest. Cut heat to very low - just keep the sauce warm. Taste and add more sugar if necessary.

Clean and slice any nice looking strawberries. Fold these gently into the sauce to give you strawberry pieces.

Serve over: dessert cup, short cake, angel food cake, scone, pound cake, plain yogurt ... if it turns out thick and jammy, toast. If it turns out a bit less than candy sweet, its fine as a side along with ham.

back to work

April 26th, 2010 at 08:40 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.88 bagel, coffee + $10 groceries
Found money - $0.07 (road, sidewalk, Safeway floor)

Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $10 lunch
Found money - $0.02 (sidewalk, Safeway floor)

My luck is still holding out finding that "dirty money". Its now been 39 days in a row where I found some money on the ground. Lately, though, I've been finding about 50% of my found coins inside... usually I find only about 25% inside. Either way, go Seattle slobs, go!

$39.18: 863 pennies, 33 nickels, 140 dimes, 31 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

First day coming back to work, and while I had a lot to do, I got a lot done. Had lunch with lawyer friend and lawyer friend's partner. They were caught by the volcanic ash and flew home on Friday, a good 5 days after they should have. But they had fun. Their only regret was that they should have stayed in Paris for those days instead of gambling that the Nice airport would stay open.

In the midst of painting my patio table. I've painted the top with one coat last week, and yesterday I painted the underneath surface with one coat. I have yet to paint the legs, and sand the top, then paint with the second coat. I'm debating whether to even bother with a second coat on the underneath surface. The big issue is that I'm doing this painting outside, so I'm dependent on getting warm sunny weather. I also plan doing a nice circular accent around the edge - but that can wait. So far I've spent about $50 of the gift card (paint strip, paint, scrapper, brushes, sandpaper) on the project.


April 24th, 2010 at 08:06 pm

Thought I would make this a true vacation so I took a break from everything even though I stayed at home. The one disadvantage with vacations, even the play at-home version, is that you inevitably spend more money. I did some free stuff, but in the kicking around, I spent more money than I would normally.

I did walk nearly all of the Burke Gilman Trail... I'm not sure. On the Golden Gardens end, its easy - there's a sign: Burke-Gilman End. On the Kenmore end, the Burke-Gilman morphs into the Sammamish Park Trail and where that happens is different depending on the map. Anyway, I got past the Kenmore City Hall, saw no identifying signs and said to heck with it. Whatever I did, I did 6-7 mi/day for 3 non-consecutive days.

Did a bit of frivolous spending. $60 worth of CDs, which dates me. (Mommy, what are CDs? Big Grin). Ate lunches out, and hit a different coffee shop everyday. (Hey, its what a tourist would do.) Visited the Experience Music Project & Science Fiction Museum using a $5 off coupon that I got from Valpak. Did gym on Tuesday, but with all the walking, I knew Thursday that I wasn't going to be feeling it for Friday gym, so I canceled that. I figure that I've spent about $200 more this week than I normally do.

Managed to find found money every day. My grand total so far is $39.09: 859 pennies, 32 nickels, 140 dimes, 31 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

The only thing I didn't do over vacay was finish up painting the patio table. There's always tomorrow.

Seattle has apparently averted a garbage man's strike. In a weird way, I'm disappointed: one of the perks of being frugal is due to the not-buying and using until its used up is that you throw away a lot less. As it is, we pretty much only set out the can every other week...it takes us longer to fill it.

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