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Archive for January, 2008

Work anniversary

January 31st, 2008 at 05:11 pm

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 07:26 pm

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 28th, 2008 at 02:00 am

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 11:41 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 11:38 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 06:38 pm

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 06:10 pm

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 09:45 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