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winning

August 12th, 2013 at 09:34 pm

Spondulicks and I must have had our tiger milk lattes a couple of weekends ago. I got a call from the Gumshoe Answer Man. We won the Gumshop drawing! 9 $15 gift certificates.

lucky me

August 12th, 2013 at 03:52 pm

First day of vacation, and lucky me, I was NOT on 2nd Ave downtown on a Seattle bus at or around 8:45am ... which I would have been during my normal work schedule. Neither Seattle bus that the shooter went on was my bus, thankfully.

Unlucky me though - while I had fun the night before at the Duvall friends house watching a new episode of Breaking Bad, then stayed overnight talking about it - I came home to find that V.I. (kitty) pooped on my bed and the sectional. I'm certain it was a statement for leaving her home overnight - both poop placements were definitely where l'il ol' me had resided not 16 hours before.

Turns out that the Duvall friends themselves are lucky, in that they are running (or in this case, not running) a dead disposal. You might remember that my new sink is now too deep for the disposal, so the plumber removed the disposal and I kept it, thinking I could sell it or manufacture good will. Well, I am manufacturing good will by donating my disposal to them.

Nobody had Eydie Gorme in the death bet, but her NYT obit was good reading. Who could have guessed that her high school classmate was Stanley Kubrick? That's as good as Jack Klugman and Charles Bronson sharing a NY cold water flat in the 50s.

new project

August 6th, 2013 at 08:41 pm

For some of you newer bloggers out there, you might ask, "what's this with baselle and change?"

Four years ago in mid July I needed a distraction along with a goal to exercise so to combine them I decided to blog about how much change I found living and walking throughout my day. Turns out I found, well, surprising amounts. Nearly $50 the first year, just a hair over $90 the second, a hair over $90 the third, and a hair over $75 just this last.

I need the distraction less ... the condo is plenty distracting, and while I love the hunt for change as a motivation to get me to exercise, I think I've become a hair OCD about it. So after 4 years, its time to re-adjust the change finding project a bit.

I'm finding change, but I'm not going full out and putting on a spreadsheet and tracking how much I find, etc. I find, then I have a little tub I put the findings in. My project is to slowly develop an intimate emergency fund. What's an intimate emergency fund, you ask? Well in a true emergency, like the "big one", the power and the ATM are going to be out. Need money, you'll need the intimate emergency fund.

Because a few pounds of pennies aren't really going to be that helpful, I make reverse change (25 pennies for a quarter) to keep my developing emergency at its most useful. So far a bit over $2.

chanelling my inner boy

July 30th, 2013 at 09:10 pm

Tomorrow is payday, and I am left with $100. Today all I bought was a coffee. I'm in slightly better shape than last month, where I had to withdraw savings to finish.

Today, though, after brought-from-home-lunch I had heard that the tunnel replacing our Viaduct had started. Turns out that it hadn't, but I did swing around during my walk to pay my respects. Couldn't see much of it between the cranes and the ditch and the sheer amount of stuff parked around it.

Hadn't realized that this project would intrigue me so - I guess I'm channeling my inner boy.

keeping on

July 26th, 2013 at 10:50 pm

I had my frugal burn last week, and while I have a little more money at the end of this time period, I'll have another, smaller frugal burn ending mid August.

But I will have enough to do the Gumshoe with Spondilicks next weekend. For the first time in 10 years I missed the Greenwood Parade. Bummer, but it takes two buses, so I didn't feel up to it.

Not much more is happening. I've been sprucing up my 2nd bedroom for crafts - moved my work table around, unpacked a lot of glass, tile, and china. This week I painted two sliding closet doors in dk brown chalkboard paint (14$). Chalkboard paint goes on a lot like pudding; I felt like I was really slapping it on. Took at least two coats, a light sand to knock down the biggest brush strokes, and the third coat. Love the color enough so if chalkboarding doesn't appeal the color looks like I meant it.

feelin' the frugal burn

July 14th, 2013 at 06:57 pm

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

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

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

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

kitchen was cheaper

July 3rd, 2013 at 07:56 pm

Got what I think was the last bill (dated to 6/28/2013) from the kitchen remodel contractor. All bills from them totaled $25,457. I was given an estimated budget of $27,900 and after having to put new flooring the estimated budget was $29,000.

Fingers crossed that I really got a last bill!

Media costs

June 30th, 2013 at 06:13 pm

A couple of days ago I bought 1Gb of data on my little Karma unit. It took me about 4 weeks to use the first 1Gb. Thus far, my cobbled together, pay as you go stuff:

Dumb phone - 16$/month (bought phone for $30 in 2009)

Internet wireless (Karma) - $14/month (bought unit for $80 last month)

Netflix - $8.75/month, and I try to finish my DVD by Sunday/Wednesday to get me about 8 DVDs a month.

Email - $20/month. I might work on moving it to get that a bit cheaper, plus after a few years one gets a thick level of spam and old commitments. You move your email, decide on your most important accounts and let the rest go. Smile

I like the pay as you go - it keeps me aware of what I'm doing and I can manipulate things a bit.

net worth June 2013

June 30th, 2013 at 05:44 pm

Kitchen remodel was fun, but its time to face the music on the 6 month net worth check.

$329,092 IRA/403B
$162,373 Vanguard taxable
$49,205 stock
$14,253 I-bonds
$30,263 ING
$2,288 immediate cash

$157,500 condo
-$120,996 mortgage

$623,978 total

5K drop? I'll take it.

June 2013 ($623,978 total, $258,382 taxable)
Dec 2012 ($628,818 total, $290,180)
June 2012 ($617,902 total, $362,619)
Dec 2011 ($592,163 total, $356,567)
June 2011 ($596,791 total, $376,359)
Dec 2010 ($575,346 total, $356,542)
June 2010 ($553,023 total, $369,589)
Dec 2009 ($551,300 total, $385,771)
June 2009 ($512,054 total, $379,475)
Dec 2008 ($498,148 total, $386,021)
June 2008 ($524,261 total, $387,481)
Dec 2007 ($328,688 total, $192,747)
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)

sometimes the surprises are pleasant

June 19th, 2013 at 09:33 pm

First off, I'm taking it relatively slow on the backsplash. Got what I want to do, am planning it meticulously, did my jury stick measurements, got the tile samples (which really look GREAT and will be the icing on the cake) to do the grout study.

But the pleasant surprise was a tiny-ish refund to the tune of $174. It came from the bank - apparently they have you pay just a hair too much to provide a little extra cushion for the escrow. After about 6 months, everybody gets into a rhythm, and the cushion gets refunded and my mortgage payment dropped by about $10/payment. Helpful.

Things are settling down fiscally, so I'm getting back in the groove, in a couple of different ways. I've reactivated my tip box at work, so I'm showing that some love. FYI, I have a little decorative box at work - the "tip box" - that I throw change, small bills in. When there's an office collection, I pull from my tip box, but in general every month I deposit what's in there.

6 weeks ago I was 175 lb naked and now I'm 170. Gym bug has not caught on yet, I'm just walking and always taking the stairs up and down. Since the gym is next door to work and a branch is two blocks from my house, it does require a lot of avoidance. Smile

Looking at my net worth it has dropped a bit to the high 500K. If I hadn't bought the condo and hadn't remodeled the kitchen I would have been 70K up. You can't think that way, though. Money is a means not an end. I'm enjoying the end point and I know I will for a good long time.

everyday superpowers

June 9th, 2013 at 02:21 pm

This came up in a conversation about fruit. Yeah - somehow my conversations get wide ranging. My friend remarked that a pineapple that she got from her friend fresh from Hawaii was not nearly as good as one she got from her own cheapo fruit stand.

"I know. Its really who picks it out that counts," I said. "I'm pretty good at picking produce out myself."

The friend looked at me and said, "that is a superpower, you know."

In addition to the produce picking out which helps the food budget, but I also have another financial superpower: in writing or in email, I get what I want.

It's only in writing, not at all verbally. When red-flagged by the IRS in 1989, I wrote the letter supporting my case. The IRS backed off. When Capital One tried to bill me twice/month and dinged me for only paying once, I faxed my case and won.

It got me thinking - what other everyday superpowers does everybody have?

cruised past $300

June 7th, 2013 at 07:44 pm

In found money. I've been tracking it since 7/14/2009 as a lark; it took me nearly 4 years to pick it up. Here is the breakdown...

5,193 pennies. Rolled up, almost 104 penny rolls.
295 nickels. Rolled up, over 7 nickel rolls. Its a little bit of a surprise how few nickels I find. I think its because you just don't get a ton in change and that they are nearly as large as a quarter.
978 dimes. Rolled up, almost 20 dime rolls. Yowsa!
301 quarters. Rolled up, over 7 quarter rolls. Since I find nearly as many nickels as quarters, I think the nickel is about the same profile as a quarter, just not as exciting to pick up.
60.61$ worth of dollars and odd foreign coins. I'm finding that I tend to find bills close to cars and often after wind and rain. I found a 1/4 scrap of a $100 bill on the street across my condo; broke my heart that I couldn't count it. (Now if it was over 1/2, I could cash it and count it.)

Pennies especially, I put them in tip jars around town as I use the services. Kind of catch and release for coin rescue.

Several milestones

May 28th, 2013 at 09:35 pm

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

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