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Archive for October, 2006

Very efficient financial day.

October 19th, 2006 at 05:51 pm

Ok, let me start with the item that most people like to read about, then we will get to the more ... ummmm... interesting stuff. interesting ... yeah, thats a good word for it Smile

I stopped at a gocery store on the way home. It was due to an offer to get $12 off of 8 boxes of cereal + an $8 coupon off a future purchase. I made sure I had coupons for 8 boxes of the stuff (general mills), and stopped there tonight. My total for the 8 boxes I got (including the $8 coupon I received, plus another $0.75 as cash back on my 5% cash back credit card) came in at just under $5. I think the original prices would have totalled around $30 for the group. Not shabby, though as a single guy I have enough cereal to last me two months now.

In other news, I went to the local branch of the credit union where I cashed my inheritance checks to get some cash. I previously had tried to do an online transfer of that money to a bank to get a high interest rate, but something got mucked up. So the money had just been sitting there. They were supposed to be looking into the problem, but nothing yet. In any case, when I arrived today I spotted a new CD offer for 9 months at a rate better than what I was going to get online. Finally, luck turned to my favor. I quickly set up the money that had been stranded into CDs with the CU. Big plus for me.

And finally: Money I got from a 0% cash advance from a new credit card arrived in my checking account today, so I called that credit union (its a different one than the one listed above), and set that money up into CDs for 12 months. The 0% offer lasts til the end of 2007, so that money is now off working for me for a year. Smile Yeah, I know some people don't like doing this, they feel its risky. Perhaps, if you aren't organized or undisciplined, but thats not me. I have spreadsheets set up with my CCs status, along with where my money is, and what its earning. At the beginning of the year I had maybe $6k in CDs, and another $9k in various savings accounts. Now I have enough money working for me in CDs and savings that my calculations show I am getting over $10/day. Ok, it won't make me rich overnight, but the earnings are going into buying more DRIPs and ya gotta luv that.

Simple frugality

October 15th, 2006 at 08:26 pm

Or maybe make that "easy frugality". People always are looking for ways to save money, and sometimes miss the easy ways. I thought of that today as I took my a/c units out of my windows. This keeps them out of the elements for the winter - actually I use them maybe 4-5 months (May - October), and with the windows now closed correctly less cold air gets in. By removing them from the windows, the units last longer and stay cleaner too.

And then I took my 3 box fans, removed their face plates, cleaned the accumulated lint and dirt out of the motors (and everywhere else I could clean as well), oiled each one, and put them back together. If you clean fans occasionaly, and oil them, they will last almost forever. My oldest one is 22 years old and still works fine. Not paying for new items when simple cleaning of old ones will do saves so much more than trying to scrimp on things here and there.

Little of this and that

October 14th, 2006 at 06:07 pm

I haven't been blogging since nothing much thrilling has been going on. Some little news and notes:
Yard sales are still going strong, even with much cooler temps. In fact there have been more lately, though I can't figure out why. Got lots of kids clothes for friends for almost nothing. Got lots of soap, again for nothing or close to it. Not much for me, but maybe that means I don't need anything any more.My credit union is giving me problems now. I'm trying to transfer money to my new online banking account, but nothing is transfering, not even the trial deposits. Everything has been verified, but nothing. Now they are down for the weekend upgrading their computer system. Hoepfully this will get resolved soon Frown And now for my rant on stupid financial articles. I just finished an article saying how it is hard to determine your retirement expenses. Ok, nothing new, but the examples are dumb. First one retired at 51 and has been going cross country visiting friends for 9 years (as well as entertaining them when they visit), and now her expenses (taxes, insurance, health care) are too much. "Hey, lets retire young, and then spend my time traveling. Yeah, that should work, and cost nothing." Ugh. Another one retired at 44 years old nineteen years ago, and now taxes are too high for him. Oh gee, you think he might have retired a tad bit too early? And taxes never increase, right? Duh. And the last one retired at 65, but decied to buy a condo after renting for 10 years. She says now she forgot about the expenses of owning a home. Sigh. Actually its not the worst article in the world, here it is if you want to read it: Click hereOh, and the last payment to my ex wife for the divorce settlement went out today. Now I can put serious money into my investments - well I guess thats good news at least.

Financial Funnies

October 6th, 2006 at 06:49 pm

And no, I don't mean comics (sorry to disappoint anyone). I was reading the mail after coming home, and in it was an advertisment for how to use the bonus points on one of my credit cards. I actually do use this one for purchases (rather than 0% Bank transfers). I do so because I get 5% (or actually 5 points per dollar) at gas, grocery, and drug stores. With my purchases that qualify for the 5% cash back, I figure I can get $100 back in about a year and a half.

Anyway, I would normally get cash for the points, rather than their over-priced items. For cash, it comes in at $100 cash back for 10,000 points or $50 for 6,000 points (booooo!). Actually this didn't surprise me. But right below it was the funny part. There is a section for using your points towards paying off your mortgage with the company (it is Chase Manhattan). To get a $100 reduction on a mortgage payment with them, it will put you back 11,000 points. I think I read that 5 times. I just *had* to be misreading that. But no, that is what it says. In effect it will cost you more to use your points to pay down your mortgage with them, than it would to get the cash, and then use it to pay your mortgage. Who in their right mind would do that????

I suspect though that there are people out there that would do it. Actually I can think of a few acquaintences that might do it. Oh well, I just have to put it down to one of my philosophies, that there should be a stupid tax, and this qualifies as just that.

Water bill & more

October 5th, 2006 at 06:55 pm

Just a few thoughts before I talk about the water bill.

I've been reading some personal finance bloggers and some talk about they feel bad sometimes in that they can't get everything they want, and how savings is a drag. They talk about seeing things on TV, and wanting them badly, but stopping themselves. Well here's a thought: save money, don't pay for cable, and watch less! You'll see less commercials, want less, and live a better life. Duh. I guess you gotta give them credit for working on their finances while torturing themselves by seeing all those commercials. I think the behavior is dumb, but then again I've never been considered one to run with the majority.

I set up my latest online banking with E-Loan today. 5.5% interest, not toooooo shabby. One of these days I may hit the point where I have too many accounts to track, but I haven't seen it yet!

The dresser I rescued a few weeks ago is now finished and in service. Not perfect, though you would have to look close to notice the problems. That's the problem when you have made furniture - you notice flaws others wouldn't care about.

Finally, I got my water bill for the third quarter yesterday. I'm certainly not complaining, it was only $20.50. Now I do try to not be wasteful, but its not like I don't use water. Anyhow, with the bill was the company propaganda, including a rate hike for next year. It comes out to about a 3% increase, and I certainly can't complain about that. The interesting part was they described how this would effect an "average" consumer's bill. I am guessing a consumer means a single household. Based on the numbers I back-tracked and worked out the average usage. It is 8 times what mine was! Now my bill was for two people, but you gotta figure the average household is around 4 people. What does this average family do to use 4 times what I do per person? BTW, that average bill would be $125! You mean a lot of homes pay more than this??? Maybe this isn't earth-shattering, but it sure was surprising to me when I ran the numbers.