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August 17th, 2009 at 06:44 am

1. First Credit Union Account: For the first time, we opened an account with a credit union. Our MMA at WaMu/Chase had been earning bonus interest (put in place right around the time of the Chase takeover) but that rate expired and since the Chase interest rates just suck, it was time to go rate shopping yet again. The WaMu bonus rate expired last Saturday and the new account was opened on Monday. (Even with rates overall being so unattractive, I still consider getting the best rates I can one of my top financial jobs.) We ended up getting a 6-month CD. We had not opened an account at a credit union before for 2 reason: 1) terms not attractive enough (until now) & 2) concerns about safety. I learned awhile back that accounts at credit unions were as safe as accounts at banks, but I wasn't as sure of it as I needed to be to convince DH. I studied up on it some more, and was sure enough of the safety of funds at CUs that I was able to make a convincing argument to my husband.

2. Speaking of WaMu/Chase: I still have my WaMu/Chase account only because my paycheck AD is deposited there, and my Half.com account is linked there. I'm changing my Half.com account to another bank this week, and after my next AD hits on Friday I'll be closing that account. I will be sorry to lose my relationship with WaMu, but honestly it has been a long slow fade that began when Chase took over. As the ad says "Chase what matters" ... and that is what I am doing by moving my money out.

3. Major Economic Stimulation: We had accumulated a couple pieces of furniture for our new house, but yesterday was THE BIG shopping day. We have been looking at furniture off & on for the past 3-1/2 months, but for the past several days that has been a major focus of my efforts ... visited a warehouse sale, visited a resale shop, and visited a couple regular retail shops I had not yet been to. I was also purusing Craigslist & Ebay quite a bit. Found a couple interesting items on Craiglsit, but the sellers did not reply so assume the pieces had already sold. Ended up ordering everything on-line, some from Costco & some from Amazon. We ordered 2 office desks (one for DH & one for me ... DH's is more of an "office suite" with storage and mine is more like a big writing table with a couple drawers), one office/recliner type chair for DH, a dining table & 4 chairs (we will pull in odd chairs when we have more than 4 people at the table ... it will seat 6 comfortably and we would very rarely have more than 6), mattress & boxspring (for us ... the one we are using now is going to the guest room), 2 headboards (considerably less expensive than buying a whole bed frame, and DH feels strongly that a bed needs more than just a mattress on a steel frame which is something I'm fine with) and .... Lord have mercy ... that big ol' TV DH has been waiting & waiting for. Nothing brings spouses differences in priorities in to sharper focus than furniture shopping! (Example: Why on earth would anyone want to spend more on a lousy TV than you would on a good mattress set or dining room set? LOL) I'm happy to report that after much-much-much discussion and compromising, and not one bit of ugliness, we are still happily married and now we have thoroughly done our part to stimulate the economy. (Quick! Buy shares of UPS!) But seriously, our first round of house guests arrive in about 2 months, and I feel so much better knowing that they will have a place to sleep other than the floor, and that we'll all be able to sit down at table together to dine. (Oh yea, and the guys can watch the game on the huge TV ... hohum.)

4. Fearless Critic Austin Restaurant Guide: I picked this little treasure up at Costco for $10. I knew this was the book for me when I read the review for Fonda San Miguel, the fancy restaurant I had been dying to go to and squirrelled some gift money away for. Basically, the review in Fearless Critic said, yes, the food is very good, but it's way over-priced ... And I agree 100%! Could have saved the money if I had read this book before going! Anyway ... I've been purusing this book looking for places to try and to take our endless stream of houseguests who will be descending soon. On Friday, DH & I went to Quality Seafood (in North Central Austin). Oh ... yea! Awesome place; best seafood we've had since moving here. We decided to splurge a bit and our final bill came to $30 ... but when you consider what we got, it really was a good deal. We started out with a dozen oysters on the half shell (that was the splurge and added $10 to the bill) ... They were huge gulf coast oysters that we had never had before (nothing like Pacific Northwest oysters) ... 100% fresh & delicious. Then I had a bowl of gumbo (chock full of scallops, shrimp, and fish) and DH had the blue plate special (marlin in whiskey BBQ sauce, cornbread, and choice of 2 sides ... he took cole slaw and fried okra that was divine). We left with big smiles on our face feeling the "splurge" was well worth it! For anyone in Austin who has not tried Quality Seafood, I highly recommend it. A more frugal food choice would be one of the Po' Boy sandwich combos, which I believe run $7. The next restaurants on our list to try are a Chinese place and a Korean place that are both tucked in the back of grocery stores ... not so high on atmosphere, but great food at cheap prices. For anyone interested in The Fearless Critic, at this time they are only available for Washington DC, Austin, New Haven, and Houston.

5. Dallas Doggies: The organization I volunteer with is gearing up to take in some of the doggies from the Dallas puppy mill case (over 500 dogs seized in a raid from deplorable conditions, the largest case ever in Texas history). There are still some legal issues to be worked out but the Humane Society has already put out the call to see which rescues in the area can take dogs once they are allowed by the court to start transferring them. Of course we said yes. We'll be taking around 10 to start with ... they will be cared for and nurtured until they are well enough & socialized enough (and old enough to be spayed or neutered of course) to be adopted out. When you stop to think about it, 10 dogs is only 2% of the total number and therefore just a drop in the bucket ... mind-boggling. As always, I am thankful that my financial house is in order and I have a supportive husband so I am able to dedicate so much time & energy to this work.

4 Responses to “Tidbits”

  1. Ima saver Says:

    That is so nice of you to help out with the doggies!

  2. frugaltexan75 Says:

    Wow, it sounds like you've been quite busy. Smile
    That is awesome how you're able to help out with the dogs.

  3. boomeyers Says:

    I have been really disappointed with Craigslist lately. If people sell something, they should remove it and perhaps even reply to the email and let you know!
    Good luck with the puppies! The St. Louis branch of the Humane Society has been overwhelmed too!

  4. Analise Says:

    Great job in buying your new furniture! I bet you got some excellent quality items at good prices 'cuz you always do your homework.

    Your volunteer work is no doubt making a difference in saving the lives of these poor little pooches... I wish there were more people like you in the world.

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