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Archive for March, 2007

I Can See A Sprout!!!

March 29th, 2007 at 06:34 pm

For the 2007 $20 challenge, I am using $20 for my first ever attempt at vegetable gardening.

Starting in Jan, I saved egg cartons and scrounged up some containers (including a no-longer-used trash can).

I bought some seeds, seed starting mix, and potting soil.

Last weekend I started 2 types of seeds inside, planting as many as I could in the egg cartons and the rest in a container with a bit of dirt: A packet of mixed basic herbs (parsley, basil, chives, and thyme) and a packet of "jelly bean hybrid tomatoes" (the grape-size ones). This evening, I saw the first sprout poking through the dirt! I know it's a silly thing to get excited about, but it's my first sprout ever, and I'm relieved that something is actually growing!

I have some rainbow chard seeds that I will plant outside in a container this weekend. I have only $1-plus-change left and I'll either buy a plant at one of the spring plant sales, or I may buy one more packet of seeds.

I've been extremely cautious in my seed selection, only buying ones that say on the packet that they are suitable for growing in containers. I know as I get more experienced with this gardening business I'll be brave enough to experiment, but not this year ... With only $20 to get my little garden growing, I can't afford a dud!

Just Fantasizing ...

March 29th, 2007 at 03:46 pm

Funny the things one will start thinking about while walking the dog during tax season ...

In my wildest fantasy, the US government would manage it's finances the way most of the folks on this site do! While most of us here are looking for ways to save money and maximize the returns on our investments, I have never caught one whiff that anyone here is downright stingy (in other words, none of us are neglecting the basic needs of those we are responsible for just to save a buck). If only our government were as responsible with money ...

As a taxpayer, I do get steamed when I hear about my money being wasted.
Wouldn't it be great if our government set up an "Office of Fiscal Responsibility" that would consult with every day folks who run their households productively before making financial decisions? I'll bet we could teach them a thing or two!

Okay, that ends my rant / fantasy for the day!

Financial Savvy Peaks at age 53?

March 27th, 2007 at 10:25 am

According to this Yahoo Money article, financial savvy may peak at age 53 ... Sounds good to me, as it means I have 10 more years on the uphill side of the equation! Wow - just imagine how incredibly smart I'll be then! [Just kidding, folks.]

http://finance.yahoo.com/loans/article/102675/Why-Middle-Age-May-Be-Healthy-For-Your-Wallet

Suze Orman "Women & Money" Book Club

March 24th, 2007 at 08:55 am

Look what is already available on-line! Spiegel & Grau was kind enough to come up with Reading Group Discussion questions for this book (they are posted at http://www.readinggroupguides.com/guides3/women_and_money1.asp#discuss). We could use these questions as the basis for our on-line book club (but of course we could discuss other things from the book as well).

So, for those of you interested in joining an on-line book club to discuss Suze's book, 2 questions:

1. Where should the book club discussion be posted, in a blog or on the forums? [My opinion is the forums would be better as I think more people access those.]

2. At what pace should the book be covered? [I was thinking maybe 7 weeks, 1 week for Chapters 1-5, then 5 weeks for the 5 steps of the Save Yourself Plan in Chapter 6, and 1 week for Chapters 7 & 8. But again, that's just my opinion and it may be too fast or too slow.]

Suze Orman "Women & Money" - Book Club?

March 19th, 2007 at 08:48 am

It sounds like alot of us are reading the Suze Orman book right now. Anyone interested in forming an on-line book club? Anyone out there with book club experience who would be interested in leading???

TD Ameritrade Save Yourself Plan

March 18th, 2007 at 01:58 pm

I posted this on the forums, but I realized that some of the men may not read a thread titled "Women & Money / Suze Orman" and I didn't want them to miss out, so I'm re-posting here ...
------------------------------------------------------------

Important Update on the TD Ameritrade / Suze Orman "Save Yourself Account" Rate:

The APY for this special account is 4.59%. You need to call the number at the www.saveyourselfplan.com (as I just did) to find out the rate. It's not the same rate as the regular TD Ameritrade MMAs.

This is not the highest APY out there for a MMA, but considering that you only have to deposit $600 total over the course of a year (at least $50 per month for 12 months) and that you get the $100 cash bonus at the end of a year, it's actually a great deal!

And by the way, tho this rate is part of Suze Orman's "Women & Money" promotion, I did not find anything that said you had to be female to qualify for the account, so I'm sure you guys are welcome to sign up too.

A Reminder That Life Is Brief

March 16th, 2007 at 05:13 pm

Found out today that an acquaintance (not someone I'd call a friend but someone I knew casually & liked) died suddenly at age 41, leaving behind his wife and 2 preschoolers.

If anyone reading this has people (or pets) in their lives they are responsible for and they have not done a will and other estate documents, please make it a priority.

Please also make sure that someone (spouse, partner, children) knows your wishes and where your assets are located.
You can download a Letter of Instructions for free at Jonathan Pond's web site:
http://jonathanpond.com/letterofinstructions.html

When is the best time to do these things? Today.

Negotiating Pet Meds Price w/ Vet

March 14th, 2007 at 08:10 pm

Today I took my pooch in for his rabies vaccination. Also picked up a 12-month supply of Sentinel. I was able to negotiate a lower price on the Sentinel as follows:

- Checked the price on-line at www.1800petmeds.com ($127.98, no tax, no S/H). I printed out the price information. I used my high school algebra to figure out what the pre-tax price would be and wrote that down on the paper.

- Called the vet's office a couple hours before I went in and asked what their price is ($146.34 including tax, $18.36 more than buying on-line).
I told the receptionist about the price I found on-line and asked her to check with the vet to see if they could match that price.

- When I went to the vet's office, I told the receptionist "Here is that Sentinel information I told you about" and handed her the paper with the price printed out. [I did not say anything about wanting them to lower the price because there were other clients in the waiting area.]

- When the vet came in to give poochy his shot, he had the paper in his hand. He looked at it and said, "I think we can match this. Let me check. I just want to make sure we won't be losing money." I repied: "I definitely don't want you to lose money, but I'd appreciate you seeing what you can do."

- When I went to pay my bill, the vet had entered a revised price in their computer system, and I paid $127.98 including tax, exactly what I would have paid if I had ordered on-line.

It was very easy, very civilized, and everyone was happy. If you've never tried negotiating the meds price with your vet, don't be shy! Give it a try!

[As a big added bonus, there was a display on the counter in the reception area with $10 rebate coupons for Sentinel from Novartis. So not only was I able to give my vet that I like a lot my business without paying any extra over ordering on-line, I actually saved $10!]

Pinecone!

March 12th, 2007 at 06:40 pm

I got a welcome Email from Pinecone today! They said I'd be getting my first survey soon! Yippee!!!

I really didn't expect they needed any more participants in my demographic, so I was pleasantly surprised when they accepted me.

Thanks to everyone who spread the good word about Pinecone and especially about the link: Ima Saver, Broken Arrow, Lucky Robin, and snackatack2000.

I hope everyone who signed up got accepted.

Pre-Relocation Sell Off of Stuff: Feb Results

March 1st, 2007 at 09:15 am

Re-cap: We are relocating to Texas end of September. My goal is to sell off as much stuff as I can bear to part with in the months Jan-May, and I'm hoping to take in a total of $3,000.

First, a bit of boring housekeeping regarding my interest calculations: Because I want to "keep it real" I realized I can't just credit myself for interest whenever I take in cash; I also need to charge myself interest everytime I have a cash outlay. So I re-did my January calculations.

Revised January results:
Sales of $1,140.51 MINUS interest charge of $0.02 = $1,140.49

And now, here are the February Results (drumroll please):

Items Sold: Dining Room Set (Table, Chairs, China Hutch), 20 Books or CDs on Half.com, and a few misc. household items on Craigslist and Ebay.

Number of Transactions (buyers)= 25

Sales of $794.53 + $5.70 Interest = $800.23

2-month total: $1,940.72 (64.7% of goal)

So, I have 3 months to go to (hopefully) raise $1,059.28.

My living room & dining room are now bare, so I can use those areas as my "Clean Sweep" style sorting areas. I'm working on a strategy how to best sort through everything that remains, and then I'll have to decide which items to hold for our garage sale in mid-May, and which to try to sell on Ebay or Craigslist before that.

And now for the sappy stuff ... I've had a few bittersweet moments this month thinking about moving...

The first was when my brother (who lives 3 hours away from me right now) came for a weekend visit; as he pulled away, I realized that we won't be seeing each other nearly as often after I move. That makes me very sad. Frown

Also, every day this month I've been looking at the beautiful snow-capped mountains not only with the usual awe at their beauty, but also with a hint of sadness knowing that this is my final winter here. It is March. The snow is going to melt soon. I may never see those mountains with snow on them again. I keep reminding myself of the line from a song: "Take it in ... Take it with you when you go ..."