Monday, August 28, 2006

 

Freezer comes tomorrow


I'm very excited about the freezer arriving tomorrow, I've been researching what I can and cannot freeze. You can freeze milk and yogurt but you might not like the texture when it thaws and the taste may be slightly different. You can also freeze most fresh veggies if you blanche them first and you can freeze eggs. I don't recommend cheese unless you're freezing pre-shredded cheese, I've noticed that blocks of cheese tend to get crumbly when thawed. Salsa will be a little watery and blue cheese dressing will separate and never go back together so don't freeze it!!

We went to the Orowheat outlet today in anticipation of the freezer and are now well stocked up on bread, hamburger buns and english muffins, right now my kitchen smells like a bakery, good smells!
 

Ice cream, Grapes, and Black Widows


A very helpful article from Kiplingers on buying an ice cream maker

Container gardening from Seattle Times, this one is too late to be helpful, but on the other hand I'm waaay early for next year's gardening. I'm thinking I want to do container gardening next year instead of a garden plot like I have now.

Biodegradable dinnerware. They're made from cornstarch, potatos and limestone, if you put them in the compost they turn to organic matter in 180 days. If you throw them in the trash, they take up less space in a landfill. Its an interesting concept, but aren't paper plates already biodegradable? And we're allowed to put used paper plates in our yard waste bins now so I'm not sure where the market is for biodegradable dinnerware.

Here's an article on saving when buying organic: buy in bulk, buy at farmer's markets, and grow your own.

And lastly, this lady found a black widow in her grapes, I love the last sentence of the article, the zookeeper says: "We'll feed her, love her and put her on display."
 

Other Interesting Sites I Found including Debtors Anonymous

James Dulley's motto is "Save Money in an Earth-Friendly Manner", his site is full of energy saving and diy tips.

Molly's Brother has goals for your budget:
  • 35% Housing (Mortgage/rent, insurance, any household bill)
  • 15% Transportation (Car payment, car insurance, gas, maintenance)
  • 25% Other (Eating out, vacation, clothing, entertainment)
  • 10% Savings (Although I aim for at least 15%)
  • 15% Debt (Get rid of it. Not including car payment or mortgage.)
I did not know that there was a Debtor's Anonymous. Recovery, Serenity, and Prosperity, sounds good to me. Just like AA, they have a 12 step program, regular meetings, and sponsors. If you're feeling like you're way over your head with your debt, this might be a good site to check out.
 

A Bundle of PF Articles

These are some random pf-related articles I sent myself because I thought they were interesting. I've decided to blog'em all in one place so I can delete all the emails.

Kiplingers, How to save on almost everything. This article has several tips on saving on energy, travel, online shopping, cell service, and shopping around town.

Seattle Times, a short primary on investing in Treasury securities

USA Today, making your retirement outlast you.
Go variable, start small, annuitize

Renting is For Suckers: This is a really good post from a blog called Investor Geeks about determining whether you're better off renting or buying. He suggests that for every $100 you spend in rent each month you'd be better off buying $12500 in property instead. So for me my rent is $1000 (I rounded up) so the home I should buy is $125000, except that you can't buy in Seattle for that so I'm better off renting. The post goes on to explain why in some instances renting is better than buying when you factor in all the extras associated with homeownership that don't count towards your equity. He's also got a companion post where he explains how he came up with the $125:$1 ratio and a calculator so you can figure out how much home you can afford.
 

North to Alaska


Here we go, Backlogged Posts Marathon 2006 post #1

The Seattle Times had this article about how to get the most out of a cruise to Alaska, since this is something I'd like to do I kept this for posting. Lucky for me, living in Seattle means I don't have to pay airfare to get here so I've already saved a few hundred bucks woot hoot! The jist of the article is make sure to plan thoroughly: check what onboard activities are available as well as onshore excursions and don't travel with teenagers. Okay that's just my personal take on it, the writer said she just got back from cruising with crabby teenagers. If the Times asks you for a login and password, try using masa for both. I got those off of Bug Me Not

I wanted to get an idea of what it would cost for someone who doesn't live in Seattle so I've done some comparison itineraries on Travelocity and Expedia. I chose a 7 night cruise, Celebrity cruise lines, I pretended I lived in Chicago so I could factor in airfare and I must admit, I chose a stateroom with a deck.

Travelocity (travel next May, Chicago to Seattle then cruise from Seattle): $4115.10. They want $500 now and the balance paid by February.

Expedia: (I had to chose a departure a week later than Travelocity, but the ship and all else was the same): $4230.10, $515 down balance due by March 9.

Booking directly with Celebrity is the same price as Travelocity.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

 

Savings Challenge Update Grocery Shop #2

Just a quickie post here, tomorrow is the big day when I post all my backlog of posts. I know I said I'd do it this weekend, but since I work a flex schedule and have every other Monday off, tomorrow is still the weekend for me so I still have time for the backlog. :)
 
Our second monthly grocery shop happened last week, with another $35.66 saved bringing our monthly grocery savings to $68.37. Our new savings challenge total is $154.17. If I've done my spreadsheet correctly, the monthly savings challenge money will help me meet my savings goal for emergency fund #1 1.5 months early. This is a good thing as a famous felon would say.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

 

memo to myself re: motivation

NCN sent out an email to all the NCN Network members motivating us to stay on track with our pf goals, but I'm applying it to myself in regards to my poor little pf blog which I've been neglecting terribly of late. Maybe its the summer weather, maybe burnout, maybe its just cuz my desk is a mess but I have not been a good blogger lately. So this weekend I vow to do 2 things: clean my desk and post all the items I've been saving up to post. It'll be like a mini-marathon of bloggedy goodness. (I have not had any food or coffee yet and am in a semi-trance right now so I'm making up words)
 
Here's the email NCN sent so everyone can be motivated:
 
Hi gang!
I hope you are all doing well.  As for me, I am MUCH MUCH BETTER.  Thanks for the emails!

Are you bogged down, tired, frustrated?  ME TOO!  Is August the longest, hottest, most
depressing month EVER?  YES!

So, what are you going to do?

Drag your self out of the place of funk, get back on your plan, and change your life!!!

You rock, and you deserve an awesome, awesome life.  Don't allow a momentary lack
of enthusiasm destroy your personal finance future.  FOCUS and WORK!!!

(Whew... I think that's enough motivation for one day... Tony Robbins, you better watch out!!! Dork!)

If you have updates, please, let me have them for this week's update.

Talk to you guys soon,
NCN

Friday, August 18, 2006

 

Sears Appliance Sale & Free Shipping

I just discovered last night that Sears is having a sale on appliances and if you spend over $299, they will rebate back up to $65 of the delivery charges. So we decided to finally take the plunge and buy a freezer (now I will never be without ice cream!). The delivery rebate offer expires today, don't forget to go through FatWallet when you place your order for the 4% FatWallet rebate. And may I also recommend that you use your rewards card for the charging, I use Citi so got an extra 1% through that as well. With the shipping and other rebates I'm getting $79 back woo hoo!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

 

Grocery Savings Challenge August #1

A few weeks ago there was an article in either the Seattle Times or PI, I can't remember, that compared prices at the four major local grocery stores, Albertsons, Safeway, QFC, and Fred Meyer. Fred Meyer came in with the lowest prices overall followed by Safeway, then Albertsons and QFC. The odd thing is that QFC and Fred Meyer are both owned by Kroger, yet QFC is considered "upscale" so the same Kroger brand costs a lot more at QFC. And people will actually pay these inflated prices, unbelievable. Anyway, the article confirmed what I had always suspected; that Fred Meyer is cheaper than Safeway. So yesterday when I did the first grocery shop of the month ( I try to go only twice a month cuz I hate grocery shopping), I went to Fred Meyer and Cash & Carry; C&C is really a restaurant food/kitchen supply store, they sell in bulk but they are open to the public and don't charge a membership fee. Today I compared what I spent with Safeway's prices and I saved a nice chunk of change:

Fred Meyer $33.92
Safeway equivalent $43.24

Cash & Carry $26.93
Safeway $49.78

Total savings: $32.71

Total Grocery Savings Challenge to date: $118.51

I chose to compare with Safeway because there is one located 2 blocks from my house and its where I used to shop before I started reading pf blogs and became money-conscious, thank you everybody!

Friday, August 04, 2006

 

One Year with Diabetes


The 2nd of this month marked my kitty's one-year anniversary of being diagnosed with diabetes. Tonight when I get home, I'm going to see exactly how much all of this has cost me, but the most important thing is that the vet says he is doing fine. I think he's doing fabulous. He is playing and behaving normally, eating well and maintaining his weight. Today we get his blood test results back, but I'm not anticipating anything odd, yippee!!
 

Net Worth Update

One of the items I have on my Yahoo home page is my IRA so I can see how it changes from day to day. Which means that I can see how it changes from day to day, lately its down, even if its up for the day its still down. Its a little discouraging, (how many times can I says its?) so I have to keep reminding myself that an IRA is looooooong term. :)
 
The point is that I updated my Net Worth today, my assets were down $9, but luckily my liabilities were also down which means that I am up $1200 for the month! I really like how having a number go down makes another number go up. Down with you bad liabilities!!!