Home > Archive: June, 2008

Archive for June, 2008

caught a mild case of decluttering

June 30th, 2008 at 03:09 am

I have my files of all the slips of paper that I keep on my DRP stocks. The paper that I get was/is:

transaction receipts
optional cash forms
monthly list of transactions
website account stuff
emails and correspondence (I ask a question and they obey Smile)

Often I saved them from the first, so I have KO paper from 2000, MMM paper from 2004, and a couple of these DRPs changed transfer agents, so well, you get the idea... lots of paper, most of which is old.

I saved the DIVs, saved all transactions from 2008, saved a couple of current envelopes and optional cash forms - most of the time I send money electronically, saved anything giving current website settings, and saved the December monthly list of transactions because they list the activity for the entire year. Checked, though, that rolled-over totals in Jan matched the previous December totals.

I tossed: old correspondence, non-December monthly lists, and any routine correspondence/non-IRS forms from the old transfer agent.

I now have a grocery bag full of paper from 2002-2007. Its a bit much for my little 3-sheet shredder, so I'm bringing it to work tomorrow to dump in our shredder.

Greenwood Car Show

June 29th, 2008 at 03:17 am

Happened today. For the financial diary part, I spent only $1.00 at it. The recession and $4 gas has hit here a bit also - in past years, the car show sprawled from 87th to 66th or so. This year, it "only" extended to 71st. But there were some very fun and frugal things at it.

For Ima Saver - a 60s red corvette. I think its a '62. There also was a '67 there.

My favorite exhibit - MEHVA (Metro Employees Historic Vehicle Association) always brings one of these babies out at the car show. If you were trying to get to downtown Seattle from Greenwood 40 years ago, your 5 bus looked like this.

The other reason why these old buses are great is that the MEHVA run historic Seattle tours on these old buses - 4 hours for $5. I wanted to get a schedule and remind myself to try it out. Much better cost to time than a Duck (1.5 hrs for 25$) - although no intentional water trips.

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Many more solar and electric cars and trucks than in years past. This is a solar truck. Battery storage underneath the truck bed.

Perhaps a Boeing engineer had a tad too much time on his hands? The driver's cockpit of blue velour looks comfy, but there is a jet engine about 6 feet behind you.

Finally, high tech to a much lower tech: the leather car. I thought when I came up to it the leather was a case for the car underneath, but the door handle was attached into it, and in places you can see the metal frame underneath where the cow hide stretched over it. This car was made in Czechoslovakia in 1962. Only 10 exist in the US.

drop some more, please

June 28th, 2008 at 04:11 am

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $10 lunch + $7 groceries

The meeting on my calendar was spurious - months ago, I registered for it but not in time. I was not too disappointed, I had plenty to do. Picked up a bento box and a 24 oz iced green tea at Uwajimaya. Drinking the 24 oz can behind my desk made me look like I was kicking back with a malt liquor somehow.

Well, it was a quiet Friday afternoon.

Took a look at my DRP stocks. One, MMM, is now at its lowest point since I bought a whomping amount (okay $2K) nearly two years ago. Too delicious for me to resist. Tonight I wrote a check for another whomping amount (another $2K) to buy some more MMM. I'll put it in the mail tomorrow. It will take about three weeks for the check to get there, opened, check cashed (if its cashed by Tuesday the shares will be bought on that Friday), and the shares to be bought (every Friday).

So here's for a very strange hope: go down baby, go down!

planning - lunches and stocks

June 27th, 2008 at 04:43 am

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.70 coffee + $3 groceries

More home cooking for lunch today. So far this week its been $7 lunch split over 2 days, yesterday a $3 bahn mi (Viet bagette sandwich and fantastically frugal), today homestyle. I have an all day training tomorrow, so I'll probably go for the old habits and get a regular lunch. Unless, since its Friday, all the places will be packed. But then we have ... the supermarket.

I've looked at my Drip stocks. Even after the 350 pt drop, I still show a profit on two of them. There are some fantastic deals here - blue chips on sale. Not really time to buy anything right this minute, but its time to look, research, and plan on adding more.

The funds that I moved from Ameriprise are now in a money market fund in Vanguard. Time to think about when to put them into equities and the funds I'd put them in. Again, no moving this minute, but as the stock market in general gets lower, the NAVs of the funds get cheaper and you can buy more shares.

what I love about gardening

June 26th, 2008 at 02:01 am

Killing things. Big Grin No, seriously. I discovered what had been munching on my broccoli plants. (the ones I got for free in April when I went to a friend's one act play)

It was a green worm anywhere between 1/2 - 1 inch long. They rest along the rib of the broccoli leaf, hiding out. Me: picked worm off, set worm on grass, stepped on, then twisted, repeated until no worm was seen. Savagery was much, much fun. I think I got them all and it was satisfying to figure it out. One of my plants might not make it (and I'm showing it to encourage the newbie gardeners out there that no one's perfect), but I'm going to kill everything that will try to eat it. RAAAUUUR!

In other gardening news, the tomato that I've been following. It is getting bigger but the leaves are curling in an odd way (odd to me), so I'll be keeping my eye on it. It could just be its quality of the tomato variety--

June 25

June 10

photo reminders

June 25th, 2008 at 05:41 am

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $1.50 coffee + $22 energy bars

I had every intention to make it a no-spend day, but my trainer asked me to buy a box of energy bars from her to get a bonus. She's never asked me before because as she says, "she sucks at selling supplements", so I don't expect her to ask again. Besides, I can always say that I'm finishing off the box I bought. It just so reminds me of high school band selling candy bars that it made me laugh.

Did look at the grocery flyers today - the sales start on Wednesday finish on Tuesday. Coming up on the 4th of July, its an okay week for produce - $1/lb for peaches, broccoli, cauliflower. But $1 seems to be the floor this year which is depressing compared to years' past.

Took a couple of pictures of items that I want to remember. The Ballard Denny's got destroyed this morning. I had eaten here in the past couple of years - Just pick any Saturday that I blogged in 2006 or early 2007.

And to remind myself of persistance, I took a picture of the last holdout of Ballard condo development. She didn't sell, despite being offered up to $1M for her little house. She died in her house a couple of Sundays ago - some folks stuck flowers in her fence. I have to admire that, but when sister and I faced a similar decision, we sold.

need a cigarette

June 24th, 2008 at 02:31 am

Saving log - $600 + $5.64 dividend
Spending log - $1.50 coffee + $7 lunch (for two days) + $8 groceries

I need a cigarette because I FINALLY got stimulated in the mail box this evening. I was about to tap the IRS on the shoulder and say forget it. Big Grin

Goes into ING.

Also going into ING was a bit of prunings from my savings that I was saving for the farmette. It was getting okay interest, but that account plus the two CDs were over 100K. I just wanted to be under the FDIC limit.

another superlong walk

June 23rd, 2008 at 04:43 am

My coworker claimed that the bike/pedestrian trail leading from the Olympic Sculpture Park, then Myrtle Edwards Park, then Elliott Park would go all the way to Fisherman's Terminal.

Didn't quite.

Past Elliott Park, it goes through Magnolia Connector to Pier 84, then it goes through a very funky bypass along land owned by the Port of Seattle, along railroad tracks (trail was well marked and fenced, so it was safe but the view was very industrial), and ends up at Pier 91. There was a sign pointing to Fisherman's Terminal. I still had plenty of energy so I followed it. It turned into the Magnolia Bike Path. Not bad, but it was at least another mile crossing the Dravus Bridge, and another 1/2 mi further to Emerson. Crossing Emerson, it was another 1/4 mi to Fisherman's Terminal.

So I made it that far, but I can tell you from personal experience that its at least another 2 mi from the edge of Puget Sound Park System to Fisherman's Terminal. I figure all told it was about 6 mi.

Thinking about all of these superlong walks as urban hikes. I pick my destination, my rules are simple. If I see a sidewalk or stairs with railing I can walk it. When you think about it, while nature is beautiful and inspiring, if you need the physical challenge, why drive 50 miles to walk 10 miles? Why not walk the 10 miles from home?

So far I've found out:
-I have my choice of 3 direct routes to walk from work to home. (Aurora, Dexter, Westlake).
-I need a Sherpa to get to the top of Queen Anne Hill. Brutal for a hill. Phew!
-It takes only 1 hour 15 minutes to walk from home to University of Washington.
-It takes only 20 minutes to get to Green Lake and another hour ten to walk around it.
-Walking the Ballard Bridge is only slightly less scary than walking the Aurora Bridge.

worried about the farmette

June 21st, 2008 at 10:41 pm

There has been a lot of press about the floods in IL, IA, and MO, but there's still plenty in WI. Just clicked into the NOAA Flood map for the upper Fox River Valley in Berlin (about 15 mi south of Omro, and Omro is 3 mi west of the farmette).

Now the river level is at Major, 25 yr flood stage.

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I wonder what is happening at the farmette. I remember the April 1973 flood well - the fields were flooded, but the house was fine and we could get to the road.

Now the fields are owned by the WI DNR to be reclaimed as wetlands, so the fact that they are wet is not so tragic (except for that mosquito repellent dip we'll need before we go outside), but I wonder how close the water is to the farmette in general. No doubt sister's 75 tomato plants are going to be in a world of hurt.

Oh yes, for you new readers out there, farmette = house, barn, sheds, 7 acres of land that sister and I were co-deeded as the final settlement of dad's estate. Pictures of the then dry land are in the "Farmette" category.

sigh, still unstimulated

June 21st, 2008 at 03:40 am

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.65 coffee + $17 groceries

The IRS claimed that they cut my stimulus check by 6/20/2008 (today). I opened my mailbox with bated breath.

Nope, unstimulated by the IRS.

Not that its horrible, because I already spent my stimulus check on starting another DRP, so the check will be used to replenish my savings. The twist on that DRP is that reinvestment (the R) doesn't occur until you accumulate 25 shares. I have 22, so the transfer agent sends me dividend checks until I get those 25 shares.

Ironically, I got the dividend check of the DRP I started in the mail - before the stimulus check.

downtown supermarket

June 20th, 2008 at 03:23 am

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.50 coffee + $10 supermarket lunch

Found out that the bus pass will cost us $4 more/month, for a total of $171/yr that we shelter pre-tax.

The really thrilling frugal news is that downtown Seattle actually has a supermarket at 3rd/Pike. They had their grand opening today.

You go in and immediately head down the escalator and into the produce section...

No screaming great deals but a few good ones - 10/$10 odwalla bars, .79/lb bananas, .97/lb asparagus (not fond, but you might like). No parking - its downtown. And it was a bit of a mad house so the checkout lines were crazy. Matter of fact, the person behind me in line had enough time to notice the sale prices on a couple of items were higher than the regular price. Ha ha, be careful, supermarket, most of your customers will be accountants!

I know it sounds like a shameless plug for spending money, but its really great - now I can do the Rick Steves frugal picnic trick for lunch, rather than hitting the restaurants all the time. Pioneer Square has a couple of places, but their only produce is an apple and a whole lot of distilled grape products, if you know what I mean. And its so nice to know that when you have 5 people bring chips to the workplace potluck, you've got options. The Pike Market (3 blocks away) is great for produce and great bread, but what about the salad dressing and the butter?

Anyhow - bought my lunch and apple at the downtown supermarket and got a free cloth bag (note what the bagger was holding in the last picture) to add to my bag-of-bags collection.

Also found 10 cents on the street today. Big Grin

bus pass tax writeoff

June 19th, 2008 at 03:45 am

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.70 coffee

Another creamy bean lunch brought from home, so I didn't buy lunch and thus I had a very cheap day.

We got a notice from HR that our bus pass was going to be paid "pre-tax" versus how it is normally paid - post tax. I think the implication is that our bus pass is going to be treated like our 403B - deducted from our income in such a way that we don't pay taxes on the bit of the salary that funds the pass. Not sure what our yearly bus pass costs us ... I'm thinking its about $200. Every little bit helps.

Speaking of transit and bus passes, I ran across this article in the Seattle PI.

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The article didn't tell me anything that I didn't already know - I'm riding with many more people.

What was especially interesting was the comments - the Soundoff link at the bottom. The fascinating thing was the reasoning of the many bus haters out there. The hating part was interesting - of course the one person who puked on your shoes on the bus is going to put you off. Funny how ones' first car breakdown or accident, more scary and catastrophic, doesn't put the bus hater off nearly so much. Must give car another chance, whiplash be damned!

But the truly fascinating thing was...why hate the bus so strongly that you tell the rest of us in such gory detail? Why?? Wouldn't you want to encourage as many people as possible to take the bus? We know you are already never going to ride, but wouldn't you understand that if everyone else took the bus, traffic would be lighter and you will have a better, safer, faster drive to work? You would use slightly less gas with no stop-and-go traffic, and if demand for gas drops slightly with the same supply, price should drop slightly too. Win-Win-Win. Wouldn't you want that? C'mon! If I was a bus hater, I wouldn't say anything - or I'd encourage folks to take the bus, then snicker in my sleeve.

Or maybe they secretly take the bus and want to get a better seat? Dang I'm confused. Big Grin

People are smart .... Bwahahhahaha!