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Archive for January, 2008

Getting cheap at the movies

January 29th, 2008 at 08:59 pm

I took my evening class to the movies last night to see a film version of a book they'd been reading. They cracked me up because they all smuggled in soda and snacks.
Not surprisingly, they're all working adults attending college in the evenings.

I've taken "traditional" college students to the movies before, and have never seen a single one smuggle food in.

Coincidence? Or are my adult students already "smarter?"

A bit off budget

January 28th, 2008 at 06:41 pm

After spending too much of the weekend doing some freelance editing, we went out to eat without a coupon Saturday night (shocking!).
But it was good to get out before cabin fever makes us crazed.

That editing income will help pay for the spring break trip we're planning. But man--rental cars in Florida are almost as expensive as hotel rooms over spring break.

Hotwire advertised Orlando and Tampa car rentals as low as $14, but in mid-March, they were over $60.

java jive

January 25th, 2008 at 05:41 pm

My only spending yesterday was on coffee. Not fancy lattes--although I really wanted one--but just coffee at the university spot to get me through the morning classes, and coffee --ugh-- from the machine to get me through the 4+ hour evening class.

Perhaps I should volunteer to make coffee for students? I had one fall asleep the FIRST day of class.

Today's devoted to some freelance editing work and might just turn out to be a NS day.

cereal killer

January 23rd, 2008 at 11:27 pm

I'm as happy as can be today because of my cereal bargains. The grocers had a deal on General Mills cereal: buy 6 and get $10 off. I had coupons on all of them, and if you bought all 6, you got milk vouchers worth over $7.
Total spending on 6 boxes? $1.50.

Now why this makes me so pleased is work for a psychologist, but it does. That and the 27 cents found on the ground today. It's very funny, but it feels like some kind of triumph when all you hear is economic horror stories on the news.

Now if Ben Bernanke could perform this sort of feat at the Fed, just think where we'd be....

Snow Snow Snow

January 23rd, 2008 at 12:28 am

And now more subzero cold to drive that heating bill up! Sometimes January goes on forever.

But I've sold an old textbook on Amazon and moved my craigslist listings to ebay. Sometimes Craigslist just doesn't generate the traffic, I think.

Expenses today included a 99cent thermal mug at Goodwill, saivng me 15cents a cup on my necessary caffeine infusion at school.

But dinners from the freezer continue!

gobble gobble

January 21st, 2008 at 04:32 am

That's what we did today--gobble turkey.
We're all getting colds so stayed home from church, roasted a big turkey and were couch potatoes with gravy.

I scanned the Sunday coupons, but haven't gotten to the serious parts of the paper yet. The child has the day off from school tomorrow, and the university doesn't start till Tuesday, so we'll have another lazy day tomorrow.

I'm hoping the big ole gobbler will make 4 or more meals, especially with another cold cold week ahead.

thinking and hoping

January 19th, 2008 at 08:55 pm

and trying very hard to figure out a way to get out of Tundra-land for spring break.
I was hoping for somewhere warm and nice, preferrably Disneyworld for the sake of the young'un (thanks Disney Steve for the fab rental advice), but even with all my plotting, with 3 days worth of Disney tickets, we're scraping close to $2000.

I just don't see that happening when I stare my other goals in the face. I think I need to get my head around that, but I'm such a stubborn brat that I've spent most of the day plugging in air miles, travel vouchers and everything else I can think of to make it happen.

Perhaps we should settle for a long weekend in Chicago at a nice hotel with a pool for the child? A pricelined cheap but fabulous one? Perhaps I should grow up?

darn parking ticket

January 19th, 2008 at 12:24 am

I knew I was tempting the parking monitor demons when I bragged to a co-worker that I hadn't gotten a ticket in over a year. Five minutes later, and five minutes late for the meter, I'm out $20.

The whole day was sort of like that. I took my returns to Target, Kohl's and a couple other stops without buying anything. But I thought I should stop into Marshalls for a quick look. Yep, you guessed it--$45 later I finally got out the door.

I noticed they, perhaps deliberately, had too few checkers, but managed to weave us through a line filled with tempting Valentine-ish impulse buys. And several folks in that line commented on the happy jazzy music that kept us all smiling and buying. EVIL!

I'm going to try NOT to go into a store for a couple weeks--except for the grocers.

It's very cold here, so there goes the heating bill too!

Oh well, time to open a bottle of cheap red and let the weekend begin!

Confused about retirement calculators

January 18th, 2008 at 05:32 am

The other day I decided to get serious about how much we'd actually need to have in retirement. I'm a worrier, so I've been generally following Dave Ramsey's 15% solution as a way to keep it simple.

But I decided to go to the Fidelity website, and plug some numbers in to figure out what we should be saving for DH's retirement plan, which is miles behind mine.

Let's say that for the sake of an example, they say we needed to save $1000/month from a $4000 net monthly income to get us to have their desired 85% of current income in retirement. Does that 85% they figure reflect the 25% of current income also? So unless I still wanted to invest roughly 25% of the 85% they say I'd need, wouldn't I actually need considerably less? Because I wouldn't need then to fund the retirement, right?

They're funding gross income, right? Not gross income with the retirement savings taken out?

My other rant for the day is commission-baxed investment advisors. If anyone thinks the average person "needs" a stock broker, they ought to look at how the professionals like Merrill Lynch have bene doing managing their portfolios.

Just Groceries....

January 16th, 2008 at 11:15 pm

But they do add up. I'd planned on spending about $50, but walked out with double that.

There were plenty of BOGO items including oatmeal and tinned tomatoes, and I saved quite a bit with the coupons and specials, but still....

No bites of my Craigslist's sales. If they don't go by the end of the week, ebay may get them after all.

I'm gearing up for the start of the next teaching term and already teaching evening classes.

I'd like to plan a cheap Florida trip over spring break because it always seems just wrong that my students can afford spring break trips if I can't. I'm going to try to use the travel vouchers we earned after being bumped on the way home from London.

January and February are eternal in the Midwest!

My First Blog Entry

January 15th, 2008 at 11:17 pm

I've been on this forum a long time and have enjoyed everyone else's blog, so I figured it's about time I start mine.

As always for us, January is cut-back time.
We're eating stuff out of the freezer, scavenging for surplus and unwanted Christmas gifts to return, and working on ways to decrease expenditures while maximizing income.

I've been thinking about our financial goals for the year, and here they are:

1. Make a will

2. Save for a new (used) car

3. Keep my retirement planning on track while building up the DH's.

4. Travel more and maybe move.

I did one of those financial calculators at Fidelity for the DH's retirement, and we'd better get him on track quickly, especially if the dollar remains as awful as it's been.

Do I have any good financial news? Well, I took a couple of surveys today, managed another dinner from the freezer, and plan on listing a few things on Craigslist tonight.

I'm happy to join this blogging community!