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Archive for March, 2011

Really? 8%? Who knew?

March 25th, 2011 at 01:20 am

I was checking the retirement account website tonight (yeah, I probably go there too much), and I saw something that caught my attention. With all the "sturm und drang" in the financial markets the past three years, all the talking heads have said forget about 8% returns in the markets, that the with the new normal we would be lucky to get 6%. So what do I see for what they have computed for my "return since inception" (2003 in my case)? 7.75%

The majority of my deposits have been in the past 4 years too (basically during all the chaos). Not sure what this means, if anything. I'm a good and steady investor? I was smart enough not to bail when the market tanked? I lucked out on the right funds? I'm just average? Hard to say. Even at this rate I won't get rich, but with a pension and SSI, I think I will survive just fine. Anyway, I thought this was an interesting counterpoint to all the market gloom on the news the past years.

I cut the cord

March 17th, 2011 at 01:12 am

... of the telephone. Not literally (of course), but since for the past two months I have had MajicJack on my computer I've used it the few times I wanted to call anyone, and I've had the land line phone unplugged for that time, sooooooooo..... I called and of course they could now offer me a promotional rate of 25% off. I could get upset at that (why didn't they do that before?), but I know the game, so it didn't bother me in the least. So no more phone service. I'm going to miss the phone number most of all, but I'll get over it.

Now what to do with the $25 saved each month? Go out to eat once a month (nah)? Use it to pay my rising gas expenses (boo)? Buy more dividend producing stock (yay)? Use it at yard sales (great!)? Now if only the weather would get warm enough for yard sales....

Nice stockup trip to the local drugstores today.

March 14th, 2011 at 03:43 am

Made a quickie trip to the local CVS & Walgreens. Making strategic use of coupons, cash back, register rewards, etc...I got the following:

- 15 2-liter Coke (diet) bottles
- 9 bubble wrap mailers (the right size for mailing books with Half.com - normally sell for $1 each)
- 3 Irish Spring body wash bottles
- 1 Irish spring deodarant
- 2 Reese cup packs
- 1 gellatin package
- 2 bags of honey wheat pretzels (I love that stuff)
- 1 bottle Crest Prohealth mouthwash
- 1 tube Crest ProHealth toothpaste
- 1 Neosporin paste (I neededthis already)
- 1 Specialized active wear bandages

Whew. The total out of pocket came to about $11, at least half of that was taxes I couldn't avoid. A few items I figure to sell for $6 or so, and keep the rest. Nice haul - I suppose I could do this more if I put the effort into it, but why get greedy?

Another payment - one month much closer

March 13th, 2011 at 03:09 am

Well it finally came - the federal tax return - so the end of this month I am putting in an even larger mortgage payment. Years ago I would have kept the money in savings - when the rate of interest in savings isn't that far off of the mortgage interest rate, why force the paydown? But today, getting such miserable savings rates, I may as well push forward and get it all paid off, and save some money in the process.

On the frugal front, nice weather can't come soon enough. Paying less to heat the house will be nice, but being able to start yard sale-ing again will be nicer!

The paydown begins now

March 1st, 2011 at 02:47 pm

Well I did it, I put in an extra large payment for my mortgage this month. That dropped what I owe from $19k to $16.3k. When adding that payment to all my other bills, my outflow for the month was probably $750 more than my inflow. If I get my tax refund in the coming weeks, even with another large mtg. payment, my cashflow should probably be positive for March which would be nice (to put it mildly).

Other tidbits...

I get to enjoy having surgery next week to remove a cyst on my back (yuck). Needs to be done, I wonder how bad I'm going to feel after this Frown.

I signed up for the discounted 3 months of eHarmony. My "matches" so far seem to be an interesting group. While I don't say "OMG" when I read too many of them, I have to wonder what I said that makes them think these are good matches. Do they let me review my survey answers? I need to check. I love how they recommend that you write to everyone - that its a matter of numbers. I understand the logic behind that, but still... doing that would just make me feel desperate. Perhaps my attitude will change with time.

And life goes on...