Saving log - $7 tip box
Spending log - $1.91 large coffee + $9 lunch
Today was the downside of working for a large non-profit. We were very busy today, the last day of the year, charging the credit cards of the procrastinators who want a tax substantiation for 2007. When I left for my hour of gym, a donor was actually waiting in the lobby, tapping his card on the bullet proof glass in the lobby. Sigh. I have to admit that today's a lot easier when it falls on a weekend.
It feels like the recession is coming, even here in supposedly "bullet proof" Seattle. Other years we would have 3-4 unchargable credit cards/ week; this year 18!
Archive for December, 2007
Saving log - $7 tip box
Net worth 2007
All of dad's inheritance has now been dispersed to sister and I. Grandmother's inheritance has not been dispersed yet. Again, these numbers have very little bearing on any frugalness from our part. The real estate value of the farmette (house, barn, sheds, solar panels, 7 acres) has not been included in any form in this net worth tally. Somehow its wiser not to put a value something as sentimental as the farmette. Besides, unless sister buys me out (not for many years), the value of the farmette is moot. Best to handle what I can control.
I've had to take out CDs at various banks. I'll have to see about CDARS, where one bank will farm out CDs to other banks, keeping within FDIC regulations.
Snapshot of net worth, last half of 2007
$15,829 stock (4 DRPs)
$26,453 EE bonds, I bonds, T bills
$9,181 ING, PayPal savings
$1,325 immediate cash in checking/savings
$328,688 grand total
Dec 2007 ($328,688 total, $192,747 in taxable accounts)
June 2007 ($176,422 total, $48,205)
Dec 2006 ($132,062 total, $40,329)
June 2006 ($120,261 total, $65,148)
Dec 2005 ($67,778 total, $23,740)
June 2005 ($46,115 total, $11,293)
Dec 2004 ($38,338 total, $7,558)
June 2004 ($29,050 total, $4,533)
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $13 brunch + $50 wine + $30 groceries
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.38 coffee, bagel + $16 thrift store + $11 groceries
The shopping spree continues. New Years is the big day for liquor - all the wine shops are open, even on Sunday. DH got champagne with his own money - I went for 3 nice bottles of vino to go with our vast collection of 4 buck chuck. You have the nice wine first and then deploy the chuck for the second bottle. Not as if Robert Parker's coming to visit.
I've been going to the gym on Sundays for the last few months to get that 3rd session a week in. I've been on a plateau for a whole year now, and while I'd much prefer not to be, at least I've only been gaining and losing about 3 pounds even during the holidays. Any how, I just didn't feel inspired by going to the gym today. Instead I caught a bus that would drop me off on 24th Ave NW and I walked back - about 3 miles.
Of course I did a little shopping at the thrift store and a grocery along the way. I picked up another pair of jeans which were new, fashionable, and fit. I would have preferred them to be $5, but you can't have everything.
The groceries were for a nice New Years Eve to hole up in. DH and I have no plans for going out - just staying in, drinking champagne, seeing a racy DVD, and figuring out my net worth for you all!
A funny from The Onion that might encourage a few of our newer bloggers. If you are reading this on a laptop, swallow what you are drinking before clicking:
You can make a pilaf out of any cooked grain, not just rice. I love through the bulk bins of grains in the grocery store and picking up some. It does mean that a couple of months later I often have a bit of this and a bit of that, not enough to make a side by itself. Instead of buying more at that moment I collect the bits and make a wacky pilaf. This is one of my favorites that I made for Christmas.
1 minced onion
1 chopped carrot
2 cups quinoa
1/2 cup kasha (buckwheat groat)
1/2 cup wild rice
1 tbsp butter or olive oil
Soak the quinoa for about 15 minutes in twice the amount of water (2 cups quinoa means 4 cups water). Swish the grain in the water a bit. This is to remove the grain's bitter, soapy tasting coating.
Boil the wild rice in a small saucepan until slightly underdone, about 20 minutes. Drain. Wild rice should be al dente chewy, not mushy.
Boil the kasha in a small saucepan until done, about 2-3 minutes. Kasha cooks very quickly - when done, drain, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, drain again.
Drain the soaked, raw quinoa. Its a small grain, you will need a fine mesh colander.
Saute the onion and carrot in the butter or olive oil over medium heat until carrot is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the wet quinoa to the onion and carrot, stir to mix, cover pan with lid, then turn down the heat to low and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Stir after 5 minutes to prevent sticking.
Add kasha and wild rice to the pan, stir to coat. If necessary, add a bit more oil. Quinoa is done when it turns translucent. Salt and pepper to taste, serve warm.
This pilaf microwaves very well. 1 minute and its perfect.
Saving log - $9 tip box
Spending log - $1.19 coffee + $8 lunch
Saving log - $300 ING
Spending log - $1.50 bagel (free coffee!) + $230 spending
Since I worked on Christmas Eve and on Boxing Day, I took today off, and I plan to take a few more days off in January. Boy I needed it - I was losing my nouns when I talked to people and I felt like I was ready to kill someone, two signs that I was burning out. Oh yes, and the faint smell of burning toast ...
After a little bagel breakfast, free coffee from the punch card, and a nice, easy forty five minutes with the paper at the neighborhood coffee shop, I was ready for the day of clothes shopping, lunch, CD and more clothes shopping. I did pretty well, buying things I would use and use often: 1 pair cords, 1 pair jeans, 3 tops, 1 track jacket, 6 pairs of underwear, 3 CDs, a digital TV antenna (for the new Christmas TV), and a conveyor belt sushi lunch.
It was fun, in the budget, restful, and guilt free all around. I could see how someone would feel very good about buying stuff. Its too bad that the pleasures of saving money are far more cerebral - seeing higher numbers in various accounts from one day to the next is just not as brightly sensual.
Transferred $300 from checking into ING savings.
Piling on from observations written by mom-from-missouri and Dollars for Dough Nuts.
Ever notice that we are called "consumers" rather than "citizens"? Fairly soon we will all be "borrowers" or perhaps "sheep".
Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.19 coffee + $10 lunch
This week has been very quiet. Just to recap, I've worked on Monday, Christmas Eve, and today, Boxing Day, but I am taking Friday off just for a break.
If only a commute could be as nice as it was on Christmas Eve. DH drove me - it took 15 minutes - while coming back I was one of three people on the bus, a bus which lately has been stuffed to the gills until it hits Ballard.
Christmas was pleasant and low key. DH and I had a similar pattern - we each gave the other electronics for the house. We upgraded the TV and CD/radio/MP3 player in our little "starter" duplex. We then went to a potluck dinner Christmas.
Boxing Day was only a little bit more lively, but still pleasant. The last survivor of the temporary campaign staff is leaving at the end of this week, so we took him out to lunch. I got caught up, went to gym class, and answered the phone only once today. A miracle.
...my debit card that is. I went back to the WaMu connected the debit eating card ATM to get some dollars and rescue my card. The teller was sympathetic - matter of fact he said my card was one of twenty!
Behind and between the tellers lay a 4 column 5 row grid of debit cards in various colors on a counter. The teller plucked mine out 3rd or 4th from the grid, gave me the card and gave me the money.
I told the tellers that it looked like the card could have been fished out of the slot given enough time and effort, so I jammed it in further, thinking that at least no one else could use it.
The tellers laughed - it didn't really work. The WaMu closed at 6 pm yesterday, and I was there at 6:30 pm. I'm certain that there were not 19 people jamming cards into the ATM before I came.
I've come to the conclusion that we all must be financial sheep when you think about it. When I put the card into the ATM last night, it felt funny...the ATM usually grabs the card and pulls it in. No grabbing last night. So what did I and 19 other people do? Yep, force it in! Common sense be dammed; I guess we all need the "out of order" sign. No wonder why skimmers work - if we need money and an ATM is available, we get into a zone and stick our card into it, no matter how "off" it appears.
Still, I'm relieved. Live to get money next week.
Saving log - $5
Spending log - $1.19 coffee + $5 lunch
Grrrr. My WaMu ATM closest to my house ate my debit card. For awhile it looked just close enough in the slot so that I thought I could fish it out. I tried a pencil, my keys, my PDA stylus, other plastic cards (carefully) and combinations of each. Nothing.
So I did what I thought was a radical step - I jammed it in further. I figured that:
I didn't want anyone else to be able to somehow dig out my card and use it.
I wanted to break it so that other people literally couldn't use the machine.
That the broken machine would generate enough complaints so somebody would come down and at least put an "out of order" sign.
My plan is to go down tomorrow morning and either get cash, or better, cash and my rescued card. I figure that I'll have to get a new one. Grrr!
Things I wished I would have been told about at 25: A One Act
(I was told to be creative, so now you pay!)
Cast of Characters
Me at 25: baselle in grad school
Me at 45: baselle now
Scene: A favorite coffeehouse near the campus of the University of Washington, a Sunday twenty years ago.
Me at 45 (pointing at an empty chair): Mind if I sit down?
Me at 25 (looking up from a newspaper): Sure.
Me at 45: New York Times, eh? What’s new?
Me at 25: Not much. I get the paper for the crossword. But I get it at the student rate subscription, so it’s cheaper than the Seattle paper.
Me at 45: That is a deal! So do you pretend that you’re buying the Seattle paper?
Me at 25: My budget only works at the student rate.
Me at 45: So save the difference and stick it in the bank.
Me at 25: Nope, besides that’s only about 35 cents per day.
Me at 45: Or about 120$ a year.
Me at 25: Which I’ll need. I need every penny. If only –
Me at 45: If only what?
Me at 25: (sigh) If only I wasn’t trying to survive on 550$/month.
Me at 45: For how long?
Me at 25: So far, about a year.
Me at 45: Atta girl. I’m impressed. Now that’s a skill - surviving on $6000 a year. It’s painful and ugly, but it gives you flexibility. Don’t lose it.
Me at 25: No fun, though. I have to ignore everything except the necessities. No TV, no nothing.
Me at 45: But no TV helps you ignore what other people do and spend. If you ignore everyone else, you can concentrate on what you do and spend. People spend with peers, but they save all by themselves. Funny that.
Me at 25: So what do you make?
Me at 45: $44,000, savings, an inheritance.
Me at 25: Inheritance? Are we related?
Me at 45: (lying) Not that I know of.
Me at 25: Still. Wow. Easy street for you.
Me at 45: (sigh) Not all it’s cracked up to be. You can always buy more. No matter how much you have, you can always buy more. The trick is not to earn more, or buy less even, but to want less. (picks up a section of the newspaper, flips through the ads) Geez, never gonna see prices like that anymore.
Me at 25: You’re making fun of me.
Me at 45: Not at all. But I do have one piece of advice for you. As soon as someone says “only” along with a dollar amount…
Me at 25: Run?
Me at 45: Think carefully. “Only” repeats monthly for many, many years. Coffee’s on me – thank you for the chat.
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $1.19 coffee
With the potluck, a nearly no spend day. Back to the cheaper, not-too-bad, needs-a- bit-of-milk coffee. DJ friend told me that within a year that the place I buy the coffee at and all the other businesses around are going away - the building is going to be renovated into a hotel with a large swanky expensive restaurant. Progress marches on, but I'm getting to be the age where its not as much fun.
Another item that's not as much fun is the weather - Seattle has turned into Venus again, all murky and cloudy and dank. Last year it rained mostly in November, but this year all the bad weather's hitting during the shortest days of the year. Seattle really wants to clean house, I guess... to get rid of the poseurs who showed up in the summer. Suspecting that, though, doesn't help me expel myself from a nice warm bed and into a cold, dank, dark world this week.
Put this month's $46 from the tip box into savings. Since September 2004, I've put $1775 into savings through my tip box. Life in the slow satisfying saver lane.