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Stock Market Correction

February 8th, 2018 at 06:11 pm

Received a Mr. Rebates check for $21.11 and deposited into my Capital One savings.

Now, onto the stock market and the craziness of the last few days. All I can say is "Finally!" Then I say, "Oh no.... okay don't worry". (I mean, what good does that do?) But really, as of today, the Dow is back to where it was in early December. Is that really a correction? So it's down 10% but it was crazy high. A lot of my stocks are still closer to their 52 week highs than the 52 wk lows. I love a good sale, but it needs to go lower before I take advantage by buying. What do you guys think?

Depression setting in...

February 6th, 2018 at 10:40 am

Well, it's winter and typical Seattle weather (cloudy, rainy, so little daylight) so I would be feeling a bit down anyway, but....

(Pausing to pull on my Complainy Pants)....

The gratefulness of saving my eyesight via surgery for detached retina is wearing off. Weekends are great, because I can putter around the house doing chores on my timeline, lay down/nap as much as necessary. I barely get through the workday, and then home to lay on the couch and listen to/watch TV and attempt to get ready for the next workday. Having one blurry eye just makes me MENTALLY tired, because my brain is constantly having to compensate to even out my vision. I'm happy that my eye is healing but I feel like all I can do is count down the days/weeks until my next surgery.

I know what I need to be doing to help myself. First is exercise. I have been holding off because there are a lot of restrictions and I don't want to hurt my eye, but also many things I can still do. My belly is getting soft and I know I'm losing muscle tone. It's really hard to get motivated to start. So that is on me.

The next is diet. I did well last weekend by preparing a few meals to eat this week, but that only lasts partway and then I'm back to trying to put something nutritious together when I am so tired. I need to allow myself permission to get take out occasionally and rely more on convenience foods. But that eats into my "spending diet" goal to reduce my grocery costs.

Last on my complaint list is the medical claims. Luckily, I have $3000 maximum out of pocket for this year, and the company contributed a little to my HSA account. Now the claims are coming in, and I already put most of it (over $2300) on my credit card which I will have to pay off next month. I have the money sitting in my savings account, but dang it, it makes me mad because I have to spend that money!!! I set yearly savings goals last month and I won't be able to meet them because of my stupid eye. Also, I bumped my HSA deduction to the maximum, so that's $60/week going there, and I won't be able to reimburse myself for my out of pocket costs until the end of the year.

Oh one other thing. I did my taxes and I owed $45! So crappy.... one more expense that I didn't expect.

Thanks for letting me vent.

January Spending Diet wrap up

February 4th, 2018 at 05:49 pm

First, I changed the name of my blog. Salamander was my nickname as a kid, so "salamander saves" sounds cool and snazzy to me!

I didn't meet my goals, but in spite of the unexpected eye surgery, I did pretty well.

Grocery spend- Goal $250- Actual $287
**Since I spent 5 days laying around with my head toward the ground and not going shopping, I thought I would accomplish this. On 1/28 my guy drove me to Trader Joe's and I stocked up on things, and bought more convenience foods than normal, since I was still pretty tired.

No spend days: Goal 15- Actual 14
close!!


Quick post-op check in

January 26th, 2018 at 02:17 pm

Hello! I'm doing well after my surgery, which was on Jan 16th. I didn't have time to research the procedure ("vitrectomy"), which was probably a good thing, because it looks really gross. I didn't realize that it was actual SURGERY, where I'd have to take off all my clothes, have an IV, etc. (Thought it was on the level of Lasik... silly me!) I was comfortable and didn't feel anything during the procedure, and all the staff were friendly and answered all my questions. I had to spend 5 days and nights with my face toward the ground (called Posturing). Sleeping that way was the absolute worst!!! I rented equipment to help with that. Now I can sleep on my left side, but absolutely cannot be on my back. I have a silicon oil bubble in my eye, which needs to press on the retina (which is in the back of the eye) to help hold it in position for about 3 months. It will require another surgery to remove the oil. My eye is still red, watery and dilated (helps the healing process.)

This is my third day back to work (not full days). My vision is cloudy, due to the oil bubble, so I have to get used to it. I am getting better everyday, and so thankful that this technology exists to save my sight. Smile

I'll post my results from my January Spending Diet (ha ha ha) after the month is over!

Yep, I was right (unfortunately)

January 16th, 2018 at 09:07 am

I have a detached retina. Surgery in a few hours. Family and friends are stepping up to assist me, which is such a great feeling. I won't be blogging for at least a week while I recover. Thank you for the positive thoughts!

Good news is I will be forced to relax at home for at least a week, and I get a 10% discount for prepaying my out of pocket cost at the hospital.

I'm scared about my eye

January 15th, 2018 at 11:37 am

I have an eye exam this afternoon. Worried because one afternoon last week, in the car on the way home, I noticed there was a blurry/cloudy spot on my right eye. It's like when you rub your eye and your contact slips and gets scrunched on one side, only I don't wear one in that eye. I tried washing it out with water and lens solution. I'm worried that it's a detached retina. Of course, self-diagnosing on the internet is a bad idea, hence the dr appt. Please think good thoughts for me!

On a positive note, I had FOUR No spend days last week! And my kitchen backsplash is installed and grouted! I'm thrilled with it. Last step is the drywall person to stop by and repair the area where there used to be tile and now it's all wall. After that, I'll be able to really clean and make it sparkle!

Weekend to-do and spending diet

January 12th, 2018 at 12:17 pm

I've had 3 no spend days this week (M, W and Th). (Today also, most likely). I'm pretty proud of that!!
That's a total of 5 no-spend in 11 days. My goal is 15.

My grocery spending is $97.57 out of my $250 budget. So far, I'm right on.

My new kitchen backsplash is being installed right now. I had new granite counters put in November and waited to pick out the backsplash material. Then, various delays, including my tile being out of stock, contractor getting sick etc. It should be done by tomorrow! That is the extent of my kitchen project. I'm not including that spending in my diet, because it would have been taken care of last month.

My diet and exercise are going well. I'm starting to feel a little slimmer (but not going to weigh or measure for awhile because I'm trying to focus on other benefits). I am still tired in the morning, in spite of getting 8 hours of sleep, but have more energy in the afternoons, and hunger is better controlled. I can tell that my upper body is getting stronger with all of the tricep push ups, downward dogs, side planks, etc that are prevalent in the Piyo program.

So for the weekend, I will clean and reorganize my kitchen, cook some meals for next week, do my workouts and relax.

Spending Diet update

January 9th, 2018 at 11:46 am

1/5 - $14.12 for family size papa murphy pizza (4 meals)
1/6- 23.38 food (groc)
1/7- 33.59 gas, 6.37 food
1/8 - 0
1/9 - $92.91 for colon cleanse system, 29.29 groc

I have been thinking of doing a colon cleanse for a few days, so this is not an impulse purchase. It falls into one of my exceptions to spending: medical/ health. I'm not getting the results I expected on my other plan,so I will switch to the colon, then back to the "Fat Flush". I'm still doing my Piyo exercise and eating clean.

Over the weekend, I was at Fred Meyer getting groceries and I was drawn to an endcap in the health aisles. There were 50% markdowns of my favorite natural soap brand "Zum". There were soaps, travel kits and soy candles. The company uses all essential oils and everything smelled so yummy! And 50% off! I put two items in my basket before saying to myself, "Hey, what the h**l? You're on a spending diet!!" I replied, "Yes, but these are my favorites at half off! They will all be sold out by Feb 1!!!" Miraculously, I put them back and went back to buying my planned vegetables. I am pretty happy with myself! I think this type of interaction is a "ah hah" moment and the main purpose of a spending diet.

So.... I don't think I will meet my goal of 15 "no spend" days. But this is not a bad thing. First, it is still making me pause and really think about what I'm buying and if it's necessary at this time, or can I wait, or make due with what I already have. Second, if I'm forcing myself to overbuy on food, it could go bad before I have a chance to use it. So I'd rather go shopping more often, but buy less of the perishables so I minimize waste. (Does that sound like I'm justifying not meeting my goal??? Probably.... but I'm still going to get as close as I can!

Friday!!

January 5th, 2018 at 08:57 am

It's been the longest short week ever...

Here's the recap of my spending diet:

1/1 0
1/2 $6.25 lunch
1/3 $25.16: lunch salad, gas, groceries
1/4 0

My company has an on-site cafe and it's pretty awesome. Most of the food is organic. There's always something healthy to eat at the salad bar. I can get a good sized salad for under $5.00. The best deals are in the morning. Two eggs and sausage runs $2.25. There's a fruit/oatmeal bar that has flat cost of $1.35/ $1.80 depending on bowl size. When I have fruit in my diet, I get the large bowl and fill er up- it holds over 2 lbs so it's too good of a deal to pass up!

On a roll

January 3rd, 2018 at 09:37 am

Edit: I only had one no spend day.... forgot that buying lunch in the work cafe, using my badge, is still a purchase! Doh!!! Frown

My new years cleanse is going okay. I (re)learned that I can't do smoothies for 2 meals. I need real chewable food!!!!* I usually skip breakfast, so I'm going to do one smoothie mid morning, then have lunch/snack/dinner. My workout is going well. So far they are about 20-25 minutes long. It involves a lot of tough yoga moves like planks, which is really working my upper body. I thought I was in okay shape before but I am humbled. This is going to be a good experience for me.

* I often daydream that I am one of 'those people' who can live off of delicious smoothies and eat a vegan diet, with lots of cheap ingredients like oats, beans and rice. The reality is that I need to consciously chew my food in order to feel full, and oats give me a headache and beans cause bloating and gas.

New Years Resolutions- nope!

January 2nd, 2018 at 10:26 am

So, 2018. Thank goodness the holidays are over. I realized that I dislike the HOLIDAY season very much. I no longer make yearly resolutions. I have decided to commit to MONTHLY resolutions/challenges.

So to kickoff the new year, I have two challenges! I mean, what else is going on in my life.

1. Health/Fitness: I am doing a cleanse. It's called the Fat Flush by Ann Louise Gittleman. It lasts two weeks, and involves some supplements to nourish the body and help it burn fat, smoothies, and cutting out grains, starchy carbs, alcohol, sugar, dairy.... all the usual problem foods, which I try to avoid anyway. She really focuses on getting the liver and gallbladder working efficiently. Goal is to lose a few pounds (5 would be great), lose the belly bloat and have more energy throughout the day.

(For exercise, I am doing "Piyo", which is a beachbody.com program. It's low impact, combo of yoga/pilates that flows from move to move.)

2. Finances: Spending Diet. Basically, not buying unnecessary items like: clothing, decorations, kitchen gadgets, make up, americanos, eating out. I am shooting for at least 15 'no spend' days. I have a food budget of $250 for January (for two people). My guy and I rarely eat out, but we like to consume some organic produce and grass-fed meat. He buys a lot of groceries himself, so if he needs anything it's no big deal. I'm having two smoothies a day with my cleanse, so I only have to worry about a snack and dinner each day. A snack is veggies dipped in nut butter or homemade lemon dill dip, or a piece of fruit. Easy peasy. My goal is to save an extra $300 by not buying stuff.

So those are the challenges for January, and I'm on day 2 and still optimistic! I'll update the blog occasionally this month.

It's been a long time

January 17th, 2017 at 02:27 pm

I've been away from the blogging for many many years, although I check out the forum regularly. It was fun looking over my past entries. Maybe I'll start again soon....

Kauai!!!!!

February 25th, 2008 at 10:54 am

I am going to Kauai in 23 days! Hawaii is my favorite place to travel. I go nearly every year. This will only be my second time on Kauai and it's been several years since I've been there. My BF and I will be staying at a renovated sugar plantation, consisting of individual cottages. I can't wait for 8 days of R&R!

Bonus: I have been eating well (low-carb, very little processed foods) and exercising, and have lost 5 lbs. in 3 weeks. My goal is to lose 2-3 more and I'll be bikini ready!

P.S. My vacation is paid for, and spending money is waiting in my ING account!

Big spend day

February 18th, 2008 at 11:54 am

I spent $1300.00 this weekend on window treatments! Ack!

One good thing is, this was a planned purchase and I have been saving money in my ING account for Home Decor projects.

Another good thing: I used a coupon for 30% off- (everything except the curtain hardware)

I bought panels for one large window, the rods/rings, two faux-wood blinds for the bedrooms, and two throw pillows. The curtain panels were the huge expense- they were $535.00 after the discount.

The gal said that I am buying at the right time, because many of their fabric suppliers are raising their prices 6-8% in March.

I put the deposit on my new AMEX cash card so I can earn my rebate.

Whew, I feel so much better that I got this off my chest! :*)

Recession won't get me down!

February 15th, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Here is my new, improved outlook on the economy: A downturn in the economy will benefit me in the long run, so I happily accept it and am using it to my advantage.

We all know, by looking at the history of the stock market, that there are ups and downs, but over several years/decades, the returns are big. Therefore, I welcome this temporary decline to invest in stocks which are have great growth potential and getting them at a "bargain".

The decline in savings interest rates is distressing to those of us who have a lot of liquid assets; however, I'm going to keep stashing my cash into the highest rate accounts I can, because when the rates do bounce back, I will benefit right away - the money will already be there.

I got my refund!

February 15th, 2008 at 08:22 am

I'm glad that is over! Happy Friday!

Where is my tax rebate???

February 14th, 2008 at 11:30 am

I did everything right.... filed electronically, having direct deposit... it's been 11 days! What is going on? It seemed like everyone else got theirs within a week or so. It's just annoying!

Anyway, Happy Valentines day to all!

My Valentines Day plan

February 11th, 2008 at 09:01 pm

Dinner will be a steak from the freezer, steamed broccoli and baked potatoes. Dessert was GOING to be cupcakes with chocolate whipped frosting, but we are going to Hawaii in 5 weeks and trying to slim down.... I might still make them, eat a couple and take the rest to work. Flowers: instead of paying the outrageous price for roses or delivered bouquets, I looked on the web and found an arrangement I like (NO roses) and will get them from the grocery store and arrange them myself. I should be able to make a large bouquet for $15 or less.

Taxes filed

February 4th, 2008 at 11:21 am

I did my taxes yesterday. I'm getting $686 back. I e-filed using H&R. I'm putting most of this into my Home Decor fund. In addition to wanting to purchase an armoire and some window treatments for my home, I am going to help my Mom pay for laminate flooring in her condo. Her carpet is really gross (from the previous owner) and I think it would be a great investment in her place. I am also going to paint her living/dining room a pale yellow. She is really excited about this. My Mom is in her 70's, has many health problems and very limited income. I really want to make her feel comfortable and secure.

Work anniversary

January 31st, 2008 at 09:11 am

Today is my 13th anniversary at the company. I don't get anything special this year. At 10 years, I received a nice watch and my own parking space. I also get an extra week of vacation. At 15 years, I will get 2 airline tickets for anywhere in the US so I am looking forward to that!

I think I will treat myself to a big salad today!

Useless financial advice

January 28th, 2008 at 11:26 am

Lil Monday Rant!

I don't consider myself to be a genius or anything, but I'm so tired of the watered down financial tips that are abundant on the internet, news, magazines, etc. these days. I suppose it could be helpful to someone who doesn't have much common sense or is seriously in debt, but not for those of us who are already pretty careful with money.

For example, I am tired of hearing about the "latte factor". I don't buy a latte everyday, so I can't give it up and save the $4.00 and invest it for 40 years to wind up with an extra $1.5 million (or whatever number they come up with). I already have a 401k, Roth IRA, six months of living expenses in a savings account,pay off my credit card monthly, funds saved up for my next car, furniture, vacation, etc etc.

Where is the advice for this type of person?

Sewing class

January 27th, 2008 at 06:00 pm

Today I learned how to make lined curtains. There were 7 ladies in the class and it took us two hours to measure and cut the drape and lining material (one at a time as there was only one cutting mat). The actual sewing was pretty quick. We were only using 1 yard of fabric so it's not something I can actually use as a curtain, but it's a good example piece. I might try to make some panels for my guest room. The class was $20. There will be another class on March 1 for making throw pillows and I might take that one too. (I paid $80 each for custom pillows a couple years ago!!! )

I (don't) heart ING

January 25th, 2008 at 03:41 pm

Wo! I can't believe they lowered their rate to 3.65.... from 4.10 !!! I'm glad that I don't have my long term savings there. I would pull all my money out but it's only $4000 so I doubt they would care.

I have decided to up my 2008 savings goal $500 to $7500 since I'm doing so good already!

Went running today

January 21st, 2008 at 03:38 pm

I started running last July using a program called "couch to 5k". After about 10 weeks, I was able to run 30 minutes straight! (not fast but steady). I was doing one long run a week, trying to work up to an hour. I was up over 40 minutes when I got a cold in December, and just as I was getting over that, it snowed a couple times so I wasn't going running. In the Seattle area, snow turns to ice and I didn't want to risk falling. I tried running on my treadmill but it is so boring and I get tired faster.

Finally, today was the day! The snow has melted, the sun was out and it is dry. I took a break from work and got out there for a half hour. I felt great! I did have to take three one-minute walk breaks. I am going to make it a priority to keep up my running because it's good for my heart and mind!

Rewards for spending

January 17th, 2008 at 10:38 am

Yesterday, I received my new AMEX Blue Cash card. Since I have no consumer debt and very disciplined in keeping a budget and paying on time, I decided to maximize my rewards! Here is a run down on this card's benefits:

Spend up to $6500 in a year, and receive:
- 1% back on grocery, drugstores and gas
- .5% on everything else

Anything over $6500:
- 5% on grocery, drug, gas
-1.5% everything else

Up until now, I have been using my Nordstrom VISA, which earns 1 point for every dollar charged, except 2 points per dollar at Nordstrom. Once you accumulate 2000 points, you receive a $20 Nordstrom GC. During the big sales you can double your points earned. This is all great, as I love Nordstrom, but guess what I realized: I hardly ever shop there, except to redeem the GC's! So I'm really only earning 1% by using this card.

I went through my 2007 credit card bills and compared my actual Nordstrom reward with what I would have received with the AMEX. It was $180 vs. $320. That is a difference of 78%!

What I love about this is that instead of working more and being taxed on the earnings, I am "earning" a credit on my credit card that is not taxed!

I also take advantage of two online reward sites: Mypoints and Mr.Rebates.

Mypoints works on a point system. You can earn anywhere from 2-10 points per dollar on purchases, or some companies give you a set amount... like 500 points on any purchase over $25. Points are available after 30 days and you can redeem them for gift cards. The gift cards have different point costs, so I go with the companies I shop at that have the best ratio of dollar value to points. They also send emails that you click on and earn 5 points just by going to the sponsor's site, so you can get rewards even if you don't shop online (although it takes much longer that way.) Generally when you order the gift card, it arrives within a week.

Mr.Rebates rewards you with cash. It's measured as a percentage... anywhere from 2-20%. It takes 90 days for the rebate to become available and you have to wait until you accumulate $25 in rebates. Once you request the check, it comes in a few days.

I am very excited to take full advantage of these programs this year, and will be keeping track of how much $$$ I will be earning.

Grocery Budget and Dieting

January 14th, 2008 at 10:10 am

For the last two months, I've been tracking all my expenses. I won't do it forever, but it does help me to keep my spending in check. Groceries is one category that can vary a lot. I've worked hard to plan my meals according to what is on sale and what I have on hand, and to make extra so I can bring leftovers to lunch. Now the hurdle is that I want to lose a couple pounds and the most effective plan for me is low carb. Problem: it can be pricey!!! Meat, poultry and veggies are the mainstays of the diet, which are also the most expensive. Now I will need to be even more careful with my food budget. I don't feel I should sacrifice my health to save money, so I need to find a balance between the two.

Introduction!

January 11th, 2008 at 01:45 pm

I'm so excited to start my first ever blog! I have been lurking on this site for at least a year and have received a lot of helpful advice.

My brief story: I'm 37, single but live with the boyfriend I met when I was 16. We do not have children and don't plan to. Getting married is not something I'm interested in at this time. I am the Mommy of two cats, Twiggy and Jewel. My BF is a softwear engineer, and I work in Accounts Payable at a wholesale sportswear company.

I have no debt, other than our mortgage. I learned early... right out of college, I took a sales job that was commission only and didn't earn much, and accumulated about $7000 in debt. I got a better job and worked very hard to pay it off and vowed never to be in that position again!!!

I'm looking forward to learning and sharing on this site! Smile