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Viewing the 'Fixed Income' Category

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.

the small side of too big to fail

April 14th, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.01 (parking meter)

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $0 (free coffee)
Found money - $0.03 (car wash parking lot, bus stop, crosswalk)

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.03 (bus, carpet, road)

Not much happening. Went to a group cycling class at the gym today for the second time. Up down, up down, down .... how does Lance Armstrong do it? A little padding "back there" would have been much appreciated. Still holding at 169.

With the few pennies this week, I broke $38; I'm at $38.02 in found money.

I've been following, with much amusement, the grilling of Kerry Killinger, the 25 million dollar rat of WaMu. "We should have been given a chance" he said. And there in lies the crux of too-big-to-fail. Its all a gradient. Apparently WaMu was big, but slightly too small for too big to fail. So to avoid WaMu's fate, a bank has to make darn sure it is too big to fail - making them all even bigger moral hazards. Bailout be damned, the revenge side of me wants blood.

2 more fiscal reminders of the recession

March 11th, 2010 at 08:31 pm

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $11 groceries
Found money - $0

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.03 (road, sidewalk, parking meter)

Saving log - $12 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.03 (road, sidewalk)

3/11 - no car, 2 mi walk, 13.5 mi bus
3/10 - no car, 3 mi walk, 12.5 mi bus
3/9 - no car, 3 mi walk, 12.5 mi bus

Finding pennies, but I haven't been looking all that hard. I'm still not 100% after Saturday. Maybe by the weekend I'll pick up my ambitions. However, I'm finally under 170. 168.8 as a matter of fact. I owe it to the food poisoning diet plan.

$28.45: 724 pennies, 27 nickels, 143 dimes, 29 quarters, $1 bill, 1 10 pence worth 15 cents.

Haven't been writing much because not a lot has been happening fiscally. Why rack my brain trying to figure out the creative way of saying nothing's happening?

But today a couple of fiscally, recession-y things did happen. First off, I'll remind you that I work to book pledges and data to my non-profit, our large local node of a national system (ends in -Way). In the course of my job I asked one WA-state bank (bank #1), who took over another WA-state bank which had been closed by the FDIC (bank #2), about whether we can expect data from bank #2. Nope, I learned. The FDIC canceled the pledges as part of shutting the bank down. Makes sense once you learn it, but very interesting nonetheless when we have a fair number of WA-state bank pledges and WA state banks are in such shaky shape.

Then in the mail tonight I got a pleady note from Chase about Debit Card Overdraft Coverage. "Soon we can no longer provide this coverage automatically" and "your everyday debit card transactions will be denied" if you do not have enough money available to cover a purchase.

Hahhahahahahahahaahaahahaaha. (stop to gasp.) Wow, what a threat. I've bounced one transaction in 5 years. Stupid $35 overdraft fee protection is a bug, not a feature.

ringers for the heat contest

January 23rd, 2010 at 12:05 am

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $14 groceries
Found money - $0.11 (driveway, road)

I couldn't resist: blueberries @ $1.99/lb. Not local, not seasonal, cheap from Chile and probably put g%d knows how much CO2 in the air during its plane flight ... still a treat.

Fern, I found some real ringers for your heat contest. Crazy, stubborn, super-cheap, anti-freeze for blood, all of the above?

Oh yes, after the third friday of 2010, we now have a second Washington state bank shut down. So much for moving your money to a local bank ... if it eventually creeps back to bigger and bigger bank.

small money

January 20th, 2010 at 08:46 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $10 lunch
Found money - $0.02 (carpet, sidewalk)

Saving log - $0
Spending log - free coffee + $0
Found money - $0.06 (bus stop, park sidewalk)

Saving log - $300 to SYY drp
Spending log - $4 latte, pastry + $1 paper + $12 shopping at the Pike Market + $6 lunch
Found money - $0.29 (sidewalks, parking meters)

Busy days now for me at work, but I did manage to get the money I've slipped into in my tip box for the month into the bank: $40 in bills, plus a $1 dividend check. I was joshing with the teller about the $1 check - he has seen much smaller ones.

I've been noting my weekly totals of found money for the last few weeks: $1.48, $1.33, $3.19 (that was the day of the 89 penny deluge), $1.08, $1.17, 0.55 ... Yesterday, as I was perusing my collection of tax documents, I glanced at what 200K in grandma money in a Vanguard money market fund made in interest this December: $1.27.

mixed (Black Friday) bag

November 27th, 2009 at 07:55 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3 coffee, yogurt + $8 lunch, tea + $26 kitchen items

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel
Found money - $0.11 (sidewalks, crosswalk)

Saving log - $10 tip box
Spending log - $30 wine, coffee for T-day dinner
Found money - $0.03 (sidewalks)

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Along with the old favorites - turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, squash, green beans, pumpkin pie - pumpkin turnovers were delicious, and the guests brought a sweet potato cake with coconut frosting that was wonderful. We all ate too much - one of our guests really had to walk to settle her digestion along with me, so I took her on the 1 mile neighborhood tour: the mayor's house, and the various arson spots.

I didn't plan on buying anything on Black Friday, but I did pick up a couple of salt and pepper shakers shaped like gigantic keyboard keys. DH broke our everyday-use glass and metal top salt shaker when it slipped from his hand. These shakers are easy to load, won't break, and make me laugh. I also picked up a single set-and-use teaspoon tablespoon measurer. It also has a magnetic clip and sticks to the refrigerator. In other words, no retailer should depend on me for their livelihood. I also took a snap of a large group holding signs "Buy More Stuff" in an ironic manner in the midst of Westlake Mall. Funny! I'll post it tomorrow.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that 11 cents walking out and about while the turkey was roasting ... it was a holiday after all, so I didn't expect that much. Today, "Black Friday", I also found 11 cents, but somehow I was disappointed. The sidewalks were full of mylar bits and paper - I look for metal in perfect curves, and all the glittery bits inhibited my eye. I'm sure that a fair amount of coin was lurking underneath the trash.

For laughs (or maybe tears), I calculated the amount of money it would take to invest in various fixed instruments to get to the money that I've picked up from the ground. I hear the "not worth it" far less than I used to. Well, if its not worth it to pick up sidewalk change, most of the other fixed instruments are not worth it much either--

1st month, found $1.33. To get that amount of monthly interest, it would take $11,400 4 wk T-bill; $1,227.69 in an ING account; $798 in a 6 month CD paying 2%; $6,384 in checking paying 0.25%.

2nd month, found $1.20. To get that amount of monthly interest, it would take $51,435 4 wk T-bill; $1,107.69 in an ING account; $720 in a 6 month CD paying 2%; $5,760 in checking paying 0.25%.

3rd month, found $3.28. To get that amount of monthly interest, it would take $140,591 4 wk T-bill (T-bills had a horrible auction week that week); $3,027.69 in an ING account; $1,968 in a 6 month CD paying 2%; $15,744 in checking paying 0.25%.

4th month, found $2.37. To get that amount of monthly interest, it would take $60,941 4 wk T-bill; $2,187.69 in an ING account; $1,422 in a 6 month CD paying 2%; $11,376 in checking paying 0.25%.

The Bank of Seely is looking better all the time.

credit union issues

November 18th, 2009 at 07:39 pm

Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + 5$ phyllo dough
Found money - $.20 (19 cents under a bench at a bus stop, penny on the road

Petunia asked, but I really don't have an equally gossipy spreadsheet that lists out failing credit unions as I do failing banks. From The Bank Implode-O-Meter, I do have a list of credit union conservatorships, along with failed credit unions. Just not blogged about as much.

And if you like things a tad less lurid, here's an index of NCUA board reports and decisions.

I don't know whether the lack of blogging and gossip is because credit unions are more conservative and therefore more stable, or whether credit unions are smaller and therefore its not as interesting to collect that info. (Mea culpa to thrifty ray for that dig. Big Grin)

No matter bank or credit union, its hard to figure out where to put that change found on the sidewalk: $8.73 thus far - 223 pennies, 8 nickels, 41 dimes, 8 quarters. Enough, when put in an extra strong sock, to really hurt someone. Hmmm, there's an idea...

pouring even when you don't suspect

November 16th, 2009 at 11:12 pm

Saving log - $9 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $20 copay to chiropractor
Found money - $0.12 (counter, sidewalk, bus stop)

Put the tip box money, along with a $6 dividend check, into the bank today. Since I bought personal trainer time, I had a large credit card bill. I saved enough to move savings into checking to pay the cc, rather than use any of my EF.

Got very rainy and windy tonight, so much so that even when I walked on the furthest edge of the sidewalk, I got really splashed by a car plowing through the gutter. Grrr. At least 10 minutes before, I found that dime at the bus stop. It cheered me up a tad.

And on the bus ride tonight the driver apologized for the short bus. "My bus broke down in the rain and I could only get this one," he said.

I couldn't resist and muttered loudly, "Yeah, its not like it rains a lot in Seattle." It put everyone in the back in a party mood.

I also found out that I'm going to keep a sharper eye on my local banks, even more than I had planned. Washington state has over 25% of its banks under stress. Again, pouring when you don't suspect.

fire vs mayor

November 9th, 2009 at 09:39 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $5 coffee, bagel, apple
Found money - $0.01 (sidewalk)

Saving log - $6 tip box
Spending log - $2.00 2 coffees + $10 lunch
Found money - $0.02 (sidewalk, bus floor)

Busy at work counting pledges. It feels like more than last year, but that's only a feeling. As I walked to my bus to work this morning I wondered if Seattle has a mayor's residence, or whether he uses his own house. And if he uses his own house, how much security? This is not an idle thought - I now walk past the house of the guy who won. (the fence around it is tad junky, if you ask me) I guess I will find out the answer to both of those questions shortly. Increased security can only help catch the arsonist, though. I wonder who would win?

CD has matured - I think I will renew it for 6 months. The money will be for a down payment on a house, so its return of investment, rather than return on investment. The interest rate is depressing - in the 5-10K size range, the amount of money I'd make in interest rivals what I find around town. ($1.50 - $3). My found money totals are at $7.89 since July 15.

I haven't eaten all that much of the beef, and its a lucky thing - I got a call from the person who wants to trade for fish. I still have some beef to trade!

dime and penny show

November 2nd, 2009 at 09:36 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box + $35 drp
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.11 (parking meter, sidewalk)

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel + $9 tea, apple, oatmeal bar, magazine
Found money - $0.18 (sidewalk, coffeeshop floor)

Found a 5 cent euro on Sunday. I figured I'd count it - after all, the exchange rate of the euro: dollar was 1.47:1. In other words, the 5 cent euro is worth a hair over 7 cents.

I-bond rates also came out today. The fixed rate is 0.3%. Better than 0.1%, but not enough to think about buying more. The variable rate, though, is much better on this 6 month go around - a bit over 3%.

Took a walk at noon and discovered an ING Direct/Shareholder branch on King Street. For laughs I went in and chatted with the receptionist, who told me that there were plans for it to turn into an ING cafe.

Final Jackie Handey thought: We are now back on "Standard" time, coming from "Daylight Saving" time. Count the number of months of each. Standard = November, December, January, February, 1-2wks March. Daylight = 2-3wks March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October. Since we are in Daylight Saving time for longer than Standard time, isn't Daylight Saving really Standard?

All in all, this picture sums up the conflicting signs on the economy. Its a real picture, fyi.

where to put that 2% raise

September 17th, 2009 at 08:39 pm

Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $4.50 coffee, breakfast sandwich + $16 groceries
Found money - $0.02 (crosswalk) + $0.01 (sidewalk)

Saving log - $6 tip box
Spending log - $9 fruit & veg
Found money - $0

Discovered a pleasant surprise at work - if your performance was above a certain level you will get a 2% raise starting in mid-October. It means to me 35$/payperiod. I can live fairly well with my paycheck right now, so its time to look at the increase in paycheck and increase my savings accordingly. And mutter a silent prayer of thanks. With so many losing their jobs, having a job is cake. Getting a raise is icing.

Now what to do with the extra savings? Put it in the bank, I guess. Wouldn't it be nice during these "extend and pretend" times to find out the super-secret list that the FDIC uses. I can't say that this list is the super secret list, just a reasonable guess of those banks closer to the edge. Keep your savings under the limits, in any case. Oh yes, credit unions are better, but some have problems too. I'm searching for that list, but somehow that is less gossiped about.

cool, but

August 26th, 2009 at 08:58 pm

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $7 fruit, yogurt
Found money - $0

I got caught not reconciling at my savings account ... Five days ago $48 was put into my savings account as "sweepstakes" savings. I know that Chase has a sweepstakes program, but I thought that was a pay your bill program, which would be checking. It seems a little odd - wouldn't it either be a round number or an amount that would match a bill? Mysterious.

At least its 48$ in and not 48$ out.

pull, never ever push

August 4th, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $1.64 coffee + $3 tomatoes, peaches + $1.80 coffee
Found money - $0.27 (road, 2 ft from traffic island) + $0.01 (floor of Safeway)

I learned a very important fact today.

Not that coffee costs 16 cents less in my neighborhood than it does downtown; and not that I can spot 2 pennies and a quarter on the road from my bus seat, stop at the next stop and walk to the change and pick it up. (I'm committed to coin rescue...or perhaps I should just be committed.)

Nope, I learned these days that the bigger brick & mortar banks (like JP Morgan Chased) will charge you a $3 fee for the privilege of moving money to an internet-based bank like ING. The reason why I read it and did not experience it first hand was that I, by shear luck, hit upon the right way to transfer. Always, always, always get ING to pull out the money from the brick & mortar bank. Never tell the brick & mortar bank to push it out. $3 ain't that much - or its 9 weeks of change hunting. Smile

I also learned that my secret downtown Post Office office is in danger of being shut down. The list. In Seattle, you can wait in line for a couple hours at the gigantic feedlot at 3rd and Union site, or you can go to the little, intimate, general store PO in the Old Federal Building. Which would you pick? Time to let the secret out and mail my Drp payment from there and sign the list.

up in the game

August 3rd, 2009 at 08:29 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel +$1 peach
Found money - $0.01 (corner curb 3rd/Pike) + $0.01 (bus stop) + $0.02 (bus floor)

Pennies from heaven today, so I got a dollar's worth of change.

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

Well, I've been relatively lucky in finding change - it only took me 19 days to find a bucks' worth, that with 4 days of no luck. I rarely find quarters at all, not to mention finding two. Its like getting paid to jog, walk, and touch my toes.

This current stock market rally is freaking me out a bit. My net worth is now above what it was June 2008, before the Great Fiscal Implosion.

Friday night black humour

July 24th, 2009 at 10:28 pm

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?

Saturday observations

July 11th, 2009 at 07:53 pm

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.

"hot" money

July 5th, 2009 at 07:26 pm

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?"

bogged down

June 29th, 2009 at 08:47 pm

Saving log - $11 tip box
Spending log - $10 library + $5 large limeade

Looked in my tip box and realized that with all the sadness, I hadn't put anything in. Sigh.

I noticed, along with fern, that I've been bogged down in saving money. I'm putting in the devil's contribution to my 403B ($666.00) every paycheck for the tax deferral. I've already added to my Roth, and now its just the tip box, $125 off the second paycheck of the month, feeding the Drps, and plowing the interest earned already into savings. Maybe about $300/month.

Interest is pretty depressing - I bonds are paying 0% interest, I'm not adding to my position. T-bills are maybe earning a bit more - still less than a dollar on $4K, so again, I'm not adding to my position. All of my savings accounts earn a pitiful amount of interest - the best of them earn about 2.5%. In other words, no account seems to be earning anything worthy of taking the time to put those few bucks into savings.

This recession trying my soul - I'd love to see some investment catch fire, but it looks like I have to make do with knowing that as long as I cover my bases, the next few years will be better.

I also am a bit late in pre-paying the 2Q tax bill (I'm now on the pre-paying quarterly schedule, rather than in April). Since I'm not earning a lot of interest, the tax bill is taking out a huge bite out of savings that I'm not earning back. I'm planning on talking with the tax guy to see if I should even bother paying the next two quarters.

At least I'm still employed - haven't heard anything yet about layoffs.

I stopped by the library to pay off my library fine. I went through my email and caught one from the library asking for donations. I've never seen that before, ever. Turns out that my library fine was $2.10. I gave the librarian a $10 and asked that the difference be considered a donation.

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.

terms and conditions

April 24th, 2009 at 09:32 pm

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $2 coffee

Got a pamphlet from Chase Bank yesterday, describing the new terms and conditions of my now Chase free checking account. Definitely alternated in tone between take-it/leave-it or make you fall asleep, like most terms and conditions. Kudos that it wasn't written in 3point type.

Reading these terms and conditions reminded me of the scene in Casablanca during the day before the Germans invaded Paris. Rick and Ilsa were on the balcony listening to a megaphone broadcasting harsh sounding French. Ilsa looks away...

"The Germans, they're telling us how to behave when they march in."

So far, as long as one behaves himself fiscally, the bank account features are free. We'll see whether the account holder is in chains.

Speaking of banking, where is Ferdinand Pecora when you really need him?

Lately I've been down on my luck finding change on the sidewalk, but today I found 12 cents in front of the ATM. Free money indeed.

interesting times for the I-bond

April 17th, 2009 at 09:39 pm

Saving log - $6 tip box
Spending log - $162 electricity bill (for 2 months)

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

You might recall a couple of years ago a minor I-bond craze when the interest rate was 6%. I wonder how Treasury is going to play I bonds come May 1. The Consumer Price Index, Urban (CPI-U) average for the last six months was -5.5%.

I-bond interest rates are set in May and November for the six months at a time. They are comprised of a fixed rate, set by Treasury, and a variable rate, based on the CPI-U for the previous six months. When the CPI-U goes negative, the variable rate is set at 0, leaving just the fixed rate.

Most of my I-bonds have a fixed rate between 1 - 1.4% (I got in a bit late - when I-bonds were first rolled out they sported a fixed rate in the 3% range), generally but not always following the 12 month T-bill rate. In the last year, the fixed rate was 0.7% and 0%.

So it will be an interesting decision for Treasury. Will they offer an I-bond for 0% (0% fixed and 0% variable), that only a freakin' idiot would buy? (If you bought an I-bond six-seven months ago, you will hold an I-bond that will pay 0% for six months.) Or perhaps a 0.7% one that only a slightly smarter person would buy? Or will they decide that since a saver can only buy 5K worth of bonds, and perhaps determine that some should be sold (big ifs) that they will offer a reasonable fixed rate?

Any of those situations make it interesting times for the I-bond. At the very least, Treasury will tell us what they think of I-bond buyers.

spendy weekend

February 8th, 2009 at 09:05 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $12 breakfast + $108 earbuds + $12 groceries

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.34 bagel, coffee + $13 conveyor belt sushi

Spending mostly on Saturday. DH bought a bit of stuff for kitty at Target including a large toy mouse ($2.50) which Morgan destroyed in two hours of pleasure. My very decent earbuds mostly gave up the ghost this week after Morgan clawed and bit 'em - the left ear cuts in and out and most songs crossfaded (separate tracks for the left and right ear mixed), it means that everything sounds even worse than 50%. The decent ear buds cost 100$, which seems atrocious, until you spend 20$ to 40$ a pop for cheap mistakes.

Last night I finally had to change my username online. Chase has been in the process of digesting WaMu - now only small WaMu logos are left, next to the big Chase logos. To the victor go the branding spoils.

Checked up on my 403B. You might remember that pre-October that my old money was invested conservatively (40% stock/60% cash & bond). In October I changed my new contributions to 90% stock and 10% bond. So far, I've made up my losses from last quarter.

heart rate monitor

January 19th, 2009 at 04:23 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $3.35 coffee, bagel + $1.50 apple + $10 groceries

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $5.70 mocha, bagel + $5 cup of soups, juice

Coming down with a cold - it was a 'not quite right' feeling yesterday, but today it tightened its grip. I've have to tell Morgan to stop sneezing directly into my face. Why can't she sneeze into her paw like we're supposed to?

Yesterday I tried out my Christmas gift- a wristwatch-heart rate monitor (2 parter with the strap around the sternum). I learned a lot, especially why I can do 7 miles of walking, yet not drop weight. It turns out that unless there is an incline, even speed walking puts me at a heart rate of about 95-106 bmp. An incline will put me in the 120s bmp, any decent hill (like nearly any Seattle downtown street going from 2nd - 5th) puts me in the 130s, while jogging will get me to 135-145. Sigh. Good to know that my heart rate drops quickly after the little jog, but unfortunately it has to be less walking and more jogging.

Today is a holiday for me, and a chance to be lazy and catch up on Battlestar Galactica. (I'm only on the beginning of season 2, so frak you if you make spoiler comments.)

As far as the fiscal is concerned, here's the reason why the fixed rate really determines whether you buy the I-bond or not. If there is deflation or no inflation, the fixed rate is what you get.

And finally, giving thanks that we've survived the 43rd president. Please let the 44th be better; he can't be much worse.

sickie day

December 12th, 2008 at 07:00 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $5.77 box lunch

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $14 lunch

Yesterday I went into work even though I probably shouldn't have. There were a couple of meetings that I had to attend. One was a casual meeting with the COO and two other supervisors - we meet to keep the COO up on the department doings while our boss is on leave. We talked a bit about how our new internal staffers were doing with some of the work we were giving them. Everybody is working out well on both sides - we have the extra work right now, and during these recessionary days nobody at work wants to be sitting on their hands.

The other meeting I felt I had to make was a visit from the Merrill Lynch administrator of our the 403B plan. He talked a bit about the two new funds replacing two under-performing funds in January (my bond fund is one of them), and he answered the question pleasantly when I asked him, "How's Bank of America treating you?" Apparently Merrill Lynch will be a subsidiary of BofA, not totally chewed up and digested.

I suppose I could have missed both of these meetings, but it meant that I had enough witnesses - I had no qualms about calling in sick today.

But I bundled up and did make the gym meeting with the new trainer. (We meet once a week on Fridays.) Something about losing $60 as a no-show made me brave it. He took one look at me, weighed me (184.8 lbs) we worked on the food plan for an hour, then he made a little green tick at the end indicating that this meeting will probably be a freebie. All because I showed up. I usually can't wheedle into freebies most places, but gym is apparently one the few places that I can.

And at the very end of the day, I got a bit of money from the neighborhood WaMu and asked the teller whether he was going away. Apparently the layoffs were in corporate and in back office - the WaMu branches are to be untouched, except maybe to have "Chase" all over them. I was happy to hear that and he was happy to hear that the neighbors were concerned.

finished recession kit

December 9th, 2008 at 09:10 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $10 lunch + $12 office party

Got caught up with lawyer friend at lunch and went to the office party (drinks and snacks) held two block from work, so there was a bit of spending. Tomorrow I'll bring the lunch and gym to even out the spending. I can now make $40 last the whole week.

Pulled the trigger on accumulating the devil money in the 403B. And yes, I definitely noticed the 0% 4 wk T-bill. I've learned my lesson - the money's getting pulled back into ING. To depress me a bit, I looked through my records on what my t-bills used to earn, $60, $70, $80/ month, quite a bit better than ING. Oh yes, I found two pennies today, so I immediately paid myself a better rate.

The cashbox came today, so it was time to arrange the recession kit. I want them to open it right away - no need to wait until GD v.2.0.
From the top, with Christmas card taped inside:

And from the coin tray and a peek at the till:

please let it not be mine

December 2nd, 2008 at 08:36 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $7.47 groceries (the checker exclaimed that my bill was a plane)

Had another nearly no spend day - with the brown bagging, and the home brew coffee I only spent at the grocery store this evening. Breakfast bars and a head of raw garlic. I felt like I staved off a couple of colds last month by a raw clove of garlic chopped in a salad.

Over lunch today, I caught the PC World's 11 Lamest blogs. Well, I blog, and thankfully this is not one of them. However number 6 has a very familiar format.

I also picked up this useful article. The next time someone asks me about how to be frugal, that they have to be frugal, and yet somehow can't be frugal, well, I can be torn between two responses:
1. Well, that's quite a problem, but you are smart and you can figure it out!
2. Wow, you are screwed! Where's my coffee cup?

Oh, and I found two pennies today. I'm moving another $4K back to ING. It would have earned 13 cents as a T-bill.

early paycheck

November 25th, 2008 at 08:39 pm

Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $12 lunch

We're getting our paychecks early this month - normally its the last day of the month, which this month falls on a Sunday. On a weekend, we get paid on the last work day of the month, which in other months would be Friday. Of course this month Friday is not a workday (hopefully its not your workday either), so the last workday of the month is ... tomorrow. 5 day early paycheck.

I finally got the hint and decided to cut off my recurring T-bill buying. For laughs I looked at what I would have earned on a 4wk $4,000 T-bill: 16 cents. The money that would have bought the T-bill now goes into the Treasury's no interest account, and I move that back into ING. What $4,000 will earn in ING in 4wks: $8.43.

I've been noticing more living thrifty articles. Here's one from Alternet.

Happy Thanksgiving!

up the down escalator

November 19th, 2008 at 08:32 pm

Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $9 lunch

Watching a guy do a very frugal 15 sec stair step workout. It wasn't busy, so he ran up the down escalator.

We got all of our temp staff here and orientated. Orientation included food, so I didn't have to tear into my breakfast/ energy bar stock. I got a little SBC coffee card which I will hold in reserve. Plastic in the bank, as it were.

Put my tip box squeezings in for this month.

Made the Thanksgiving Day plans - we are eating with the Duvall friends. It made sense because if they come here, they have to put the poultry away for the night (otherwise the free ranging cougar gets her own Thanksgiving) or they have to come here early to leave early to put the poultry away. When it gets dark at 5pm, it puts a crimp in the festivities.

now its insulting

November 13th, 2008 at 09:59 pm

Saving log - $6 tip box
Spending log - $9 lunch + $.40 banana

Again with the busy. The CFO (who is, during our bosses' leave, is our acting boss), kindly reminded me that a little bit of overtime, strategically deployed, can be appropriate if its a busy hump.

Took a look at the T-bill interest this month: 22 cents. Now its insulting, pops. Time to think about taking scfr's T-bill "breather" myself and move the money into ING. I can move it back if the interest improves.

found a dime

November 7th, 2008 at 12:04 pm

...just under the wire; today was the last day. Found a dime on the curb this morning.

I had a "joke" goal to find more spare change than what my T-bill would earn that month.

T-bill interest = .31 cents

This month, I found = .39 cents
(.05 + .11 + .01 + .02 + .10 + .10)

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