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a bit of savings and vacation planning

June 19th, 2007 at 10:06 pm

Well today was the health fair--I am still alive and expected to still keep living for a while at least. Sine the blood work up was for fasting values I didnt have breakfast so I was able to save my breakfast money.
We also have two birthdays this week in our department so our supervisor bought lunch. I had brought my luch as I almost always do so there was no real money savings but I was able to save my lunch for tomorrow.
In the past few years I have inadvertantly planned my big vacations for May around my birthday so I decide to make that my vacation time on a regular basis. Most places I have ever wanted to go have good deals and good weather during May so it ends up being a great time to go. LAst year I went to Australia and had a fabulous time. Since I just started my new job in March of this year I really couldnt take any time off in May so this year will have to be a skip year. I did go to Orlando for a long weekend but it wasnt a long relaxing vacation. ANyway, so I am now trying to decide where I will go next May. I have thought of Iceland but the mre I look into it I think even with a good exchange rate it is still rather expensive. So now I am focusing on Alaska. Anybody have any ideas what to see and what can be missed. My list of places I want to go is quite long right now so I need to prioritize. I am hoping to travel around for about two weeks.

health check up tomorrow

June 19th, 2007 at 12:38 am

The plant I work at is pretty forward thinking when it comes to health. We have a gym on site which is $5 a month, they have regular health fairs and incentives for engaging in healthy programs.
Anyway we are having a mini health fair tommorrow and they are offering free blood work ups. Its free for employees and immediate family, contractors pay $40--still not bad.

FNBO review

June 15th, 2007 at 09:27 pm

As I mentioned in an earlier post I found the First NAtional Bank of Omaha online. The account is currently offering 6.00% interest until September.
So far I am having luke warm feelings. While the interest rate is good I dont feel like it has a very user friendly feel. Unlike ING you don't get a day by day running total of interest accrued. I really like that about ING. I have also gotten a few emails basically stating that they could suspend the account at anytime if any suspicious activity was suspected.
I also felt the sign up process was a bit bulky and I feel like it atkes too long to have money show up in the account.
I only have about $100 in the account and I may not add much too it. I have a feeling I will also be closing it after September.
The review is in no way a professional opinion, just mine.

blog changes and $20 challenge thoughts

June 13th, 2007 at 10:58 pm

I am still tweaking the colors on the blog. I wish there was a way to see the colors on the blog before updating and then having click back to the blog.

As I said in a previous entry I buy breakfast every morning at work. I have now decided to give myself a budget of $2.00 each morning. Whatever I don;t spend of that goes into my piggy bank (well actually my elephant bank but you get the idea)
I am toying around with the idea of the $20 challenge but I need to sit down and figure out how and what I want to add to it. When I see some people putting in coupon savings and such I pause. I use coupons too, but insead of putting that savings into an account I use the savings as a way to stretch my budget for a particular item. Is this just not a frugal way to think or is this a valid thought process. I guess it just depends on what each person is comfortable with and how one sees that savings. Any thoughts?

work and such

June 8th, 2007 at 12:49 am

Well the power bill came today. It was lower than the last bill but it was due more to the fact that there were less days in the billing cycle than last time. I figured out the per day total and it was very close to last time. At least it was cheaper.
Today at work I didn't bring lunch. I wasn't feeling too well last night so I cam home form work and slept so I didn't prep anything for lunch. The money gods shined on me because some venders were set up in the training building and they brought lunch. SO free lunch!
The plant I work at has a cafeteria on site which is real convienient but can be bad on the wallet. I usually have breakfast there every morning. Breakfast is a good deal--1 egg white scrambled, 1 peice toast and milk for $1.44. I start work at 6:30am so I really need breakfast. I also look at it as a way to "bond" with my co-workers so I feel it is a worthwhile expense.
I had a bit of a weak moment last week--I ordered STARZ movie channels from Direct TV. I have a DVD recorder and I figure I will more than make up the money in recording movies instead of buying them. (I hate the whole rental thing--I never return them on time or don't feel like watching what I rented when I rented it--big waste of money for me)

updates

June 1st, 2007 at 11:39 pm

Well, I had to go home for a death in the family so the budget took a bit of a hit. Although I have to say I bought a plane ticket with less than 24 hours notice and got it for $400. Not bad. My parents paid for half of it so that worked out.
I also had my dad come over a while back and lower the hot water heater temp. I haven't noticed any difference. Hopefully the dirrerence will show up on the bill! I will also be getting a ceiling fan for my bedroom so I can cut back on the AC at night. I really need a cool/cold room to sleep.
I also upped my 401K contribution from 3% to 4%. Not a huge jump but every little bit helps.
The 403B from the previous job is still doing very nicely. I am up about 6% for the quarter. Still need to get that rolled over to something else.
I went to BJs the other day. I try to stay out of that place as much as possible because it is an easy place to blow the budget. I did find paper towels in bulk. They came out to about .66 a roll which is a good deal so I got them. They also had one of those institutional size containers of clothes detergent for $10. I got that too. I won't have to buy clothes detergent for the rest of the year at least!
I have also decided to use my car fund money differently. Instead of saving for a down payment I am going to use it to fix upmy current car. I have figured that when I buy my next car my payment will be about $500-$600 a month. (partially because of the type of car I want and partially because I only want a 3 yr loan) Anyway, with spending $2000 on repairs I only have to keep my current car for an extra 3-5 months for it to pay off. Actually less if you add in the difference in insurance as well.

Thoughts?

May 18th, 2007 at 12:22 am

Since starting my new job I now have a new retirement account. I still have my 403B account from my last job. I only have about 7K in the 403B and it is currently increasing by about 3-4% each quarter. I kinda like the idea having a seperate account--the whole don't put all you eggs in one basket mentality. Should I leave it in the 403B or put it somewhere else. And if so where?

RMRP and misc ramblings

May 15th, 2007 at 11:11 pm

Wow, I start off like crazy with multiple entries for a few days and then the wheels fall off. I guess mostly because not too much interesting has happened.
I did finally open my 401K for the new job. I wanted to get it started so I just quickly picked an account. It is an account designed to adjust risk the closer to retirement I get. Once I have some time I will go back and make any changes neccesary.
Right now I am only putting in 3% since my first priority is to pay off the credit cards. the 3% is the limit of the 100% company match.
Today in the mail I recieved the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program newsletter. When I lived in Colorado I volunteered there. I still feel so connected to them. They are some of my best friends and some of the most admirable people I have ever met. In fact when I was in college and volunteering for them the experience actually changed my career path. When I got my new job one of the things I did with some of my signing bonus money was to donate it to the Raptor center. It made me feel so much better to give that moeny to them than to blow it on something useless or (for me) even put it in the bank. If you want to check them out the website is www.rmrp.org. They are in the process of building their new dream rehab center.
Another thingk I have been able to do now that I live in a house versus an apartment is have a bird feeder. Its fun to watch the birds come to the feeder but it has become a bit of an expense since I have become the diner for the neighborhood. I recently added mulch around the tree that the feeder is in. Sinc it is now harder for the birds to find the seeds that drop down on the graund I have now apparently started growing sunflowers around the tree.

the ickies

May 10th, 2007 at 12:32 am

I have had the pleasure of catching a cold the last few days. As a result my spending is a bit out of whack. My Birthday was Tuesday and coupled with being sick and not feeling like cooking I have bought lunch at work everyday and have had sushi every night.
It is what it is.

Major change of circumstances

May 4th, 2007 at 12:52 am

My how things can change drastically and quickly! Due to a family emergency I have had to clean out my savings completely. I will be getting all the money back in a month or two. I will take a hit on interest but it has to be done. I am going to keep my totals set at pre w/d because technically the money is not gone for good.

6.00%

May 3rd, 2007 at 12:22 am

Well semi contrary to my last post I have opened an additional on line account. I found that FNBO Direct is offering 6.00% until 9/28. As soon as all the paperwork and misc is done I will move my car fund over there. Since that account is just going to be added to for the near future it can just sit and mak a few bucks extra.

May is also a 3 paycheck month for me so I will be able to plump up all my accounts and reduce the cc debt quite nicely as well. I am hoping I can pay off the 1st visa by the end of the year. I will be a stretch but I think I can do it. As soon as the cc are paid off I will roll that money to the car fund for a few months to have a healthy down payment.

Interest is good

May 2nd, 2007 at 09:34 pm

Well since I recently moved it has been a while since I have had a decent amount of money in the savings. Now that I have had a chance to repay my savings I am back to earning nice interest. I currently have an account with ING. Yes, I know they are currently the least interest earning online bank. I am thinking about moving some of my money to HSBC or Emigrant to earn a bit more. But only a portion of my overall savings. I have been with ING since 2001 and I haven't had any problems with them so I am not inclined to leave them.

A big thanks

May 1st, 2007 at 10:08 pm

A big thanks to Nate who gave me a crash course in setting up my blog.

Need blog help

May 1st, 2007 at 09:25 pm

I would like to know how to place information on my sidebar. I see that most everyone has it set up with either personal or financial info and I can't seem to figure out how to do it.

Attitude adjustment fund

May 1st, 2007 at 08:57 pm

One strategy I am using to help me on the road to avoiding overspending is what I call an attitude adjustment fund. It works like an emergency fund but for the sole purpose of blowing the money on frivoulous items and/or fun things. I know how I am and I have to have retail therapy from time to time. By having this attutude adjustment fund I can still have my fun but not back slide farther into debt.
Does anyone else have a similar fund? One negative(positive?) thing about this fund is that the longer the money sits in the savings account the less inclined I am to want to spend the money--or rather I carefully consider what to spen the money on.

And so it begins

May 1st, 2007 at 12:14 am

Well, I have been lurking here for a while. I must say it is comforting to know I am not alone. As most anyone, I have not always made the smartest of financial moves. Who says ignorance is bliss???
I recently changed jobs and my income increased enough so that I really feel like I can tackle the monsters looming over me.
So here goes!


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