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weekend highlights

August 27th, 2007 at 11:50 am

I participated in Portland to Coast this weekend, which is a 127 mile walk relay. Here are some highlights from the weekend with some (ugh) financial stuff at the end.

- Hearing later that David forgot about my 'long leg factor'. They passed me, pulled off to wait at the next available spot, David said 'she should be here in about 15 minutes' and about 3 minutes later Lin points and says 'hey isn't that her coming now?'

- Having a heightened sense of whatever due to sleep deprivation and adrenaline all assisted in the lightning fast reflexes I engaged to avoid being hit by an idiot in St Helens who pulled out of the Safeway parking lot without even looking. Good thing too since I was driving the borrowed minivan from a teammate's employer's car lot.

- Totally biting it halfway through my first leg (stepped on something with my left foot that flipped up and tripped my right foot since my left still had it anchored) yet still finishing that leg under 15 minute miles.

- Laughing hysterically at the one and only meanish person who passed me, as she went by I said 'evening' and she turned, shook her finger in my face, and said 'I'VE BEEN TRYING TO CATCH UP TO YOU THIS WHOLE LOOP' I just gave her a thumbs up and said 'well you've done it congrats'.

- Not having any music for my Hard leg, which also happened to be my longest leg, because the battery in my mp3 player had died and my spares had fallen out of my pocket while I was driving. (didn't know they'd been found til after I finished that leg, thought they were gone for good)

- Actually managing to get some sleep (though how much is still unknown) at Exchange 28 even with all the headlights shining in my face periodically.

We didn't finish dead last like we tried, although we did wind up in the bottom 5. There were a couple arguments we got into with some other teams 'We are going to be dead last!" "NO We Are!" Smile

And best of all, while I was a bit sore yesterday I'm very much Not today. A little yes but nothing like yesterday. Wheee.

Of course, now I'm back in the real world where my car's sprung an oil leak pretty badly. The whole engine is soaked, the spark plugs are covered in it, etc which is why I didn't see it pooling on the ground, it was collecting in the engine instead. They're going to replace the pcv valve, steam clean the engine, put some die in and have me run with that for a week or two to try and figure out where it's coming from. Great.....hopefully that won't cost me too much. So far we're looking at $120.

Money wise I didn't overspend too badly. Actually came back with almost as much cash as I left with due to the gal I gave a ride home to giving me gas money. I did buy a tshirt though at the finish line, it was a long sleeved one that I felt was reasonably priced and I just liked the look of it. Smile

Laptop envy

June 6th, 2007 at 04:36 pm

Here we go again. I think it was about six months ago when I was talking about how much I wanted a laptop and was considering buying a Mac. A co-worker brought his laptop in today and was playing with Ubuntu. He has almost everything set up on it for it to be functional for work. That was part of what gave me pause with getting a Mac, getting everything I needed for work.

I scoped out Dell's site, since they sell computers with Ubuntu installed instead of Windows. The only laptop they offer, after customizing it like I want to, would run about $917. Granted, I could probably get a cheaper laptop with Windows installed and just create a partition but I just don't want to have to mess with any Windows stuff.

I am not actually going to buy it but I do have a longing to replace my laptop. I don't want to buy used either. I am going to wait until the end of the summer, by then I'll hopefully be settled into whatever new place I'll be living in. Then I'm going to revisit the whole laptop thing. I do wish to get away from Windows and with the little I do just on my own, there's really no need for it.

Student loan interest reduction

May 4th, 2007 at 06:57 am

I got a letter in the mail that I forgot I was expecting. Since it's been however long since I started paying on my student loan by letting them auto transfer from my account (both operated by the same bank) they reduced my interest rate by 0.25% Which may not sound like a lot..but according to Quicken it reduced the number of payments left from 227 to 216. I am so not complaining.

I got the rejection email yesterday, didn't get the job. Oh well another will come along.

I'm going away for the weekend but I don't think my spending will be too out of control. I'm driving my best friend from Portland to Medford for her sister's wedding. Her mom asked if I would pay for the gas and in exchange she would cover my hotel room. Fair enough. I have $20 left over from last month's gas budget and a $25 gift card for shell plus I just got paid so have my regular gas budget for the next two weeks. I think I'll be ok. I started thinking about money I'd need for like food and realized, it's not going to be that bad. I'm packing us both a lunch for today (I pick her up at 12:30), we'll be down in time for the rehearsal dinner, I think the place we are staying at has a free breakfast. That just leaves lunch and dinner on Saturday and lunch on the drive back on Sunday. The wedding is at 2 and they're going ultra low budget so I expect there'll just be cake.

Planning to spend today

April 21st, 2007 at 09:29 am

Aside from the grocery shopping I'm going to do today (since yesterday was payday and it's time to restock some things), I am planning on spending about $80 today.

My step brother is leaving to be stationed in Okinawa next week. We're having a going away party for him tonight. It sounds like his wife's family isn't going to be there for various reasons (lame but whatever) so it's just going to be us (myself, youngest brother, middle brother with wife, and step brother with wife and baby and maybe step daughter).

Youngest brother doesn't have any money, well he has enough coming in to cover basic expenses while he goes to school so I already told him I'd cover his dinner.

Middle brother and wife have been going through some trying times. Wife had some swelling in her brain that resulted in her having eye surgery. She's been off of work for a month now which has saved them a lot in gas but still cuts into their budget. Although Middle brother also had a recent raise of $2/hr that kicked in right about the time that wife took sick so they're not totally strapped but close. So I'd like to pick up their bill as well.

Step brother is leaving. I want to do something nice for him but because he's heading overseas there's really nothing I could give him that would be appropriate. So I'll treat them to dinner and give them a little more wiggle room as they sort stuff out. Step brother's wife and baby will be staying in the states an extra two months before following him.

We're going to Red Robin where it's next to impossible to spend less than $10/person unless people share. There's six of us (plus possibly a 5 yo) so that's at least $60 plus tip. I have $60 set aside to pay for eHarmony but I talked to J, the guy I've been dating briefly, last night and I think I'm just going to give it a little more time before I throw in the towel just yet. So instead of spending it there I'll just spend it on dinner tonight. If I do decide to join eHarmony I'll just use money from my babysitting jobs that have become more plentiful as of late.

Granted, if more people show up (ie close friends) it'll be trickier to pull off. But it's something I really want to do AND I can do it without charging it. It makes me really happy to be able to do these things and I don't make a habit of it (though I'd like to but I realize that's part of what got me in trouble before with credit cards).

Catching up.

April 17th, 2007 at 10:36 am

Seems like forever since I've blogged. Probably because I had a four day weekend (burned up my last two vacation days) and haven't really been around the computer much.

I found out that I'll be reimbursed for most of what I spent on food for the baby shower I helped co-ordinate last Saturday. I knew that the soon-to-be grandmother had sent a check to the gal organizing everything but didn't know how much. I spent about $48 total and the organizer bought stuff too. Turns out between the two of us we only spent $16 more than what the grandmother sent us so we split the difference. I was planning on donating $20 to the cause so that works fine for me. She'll give me the check on Thursday.

I also still had money from the cash I got paid last week Monday so I included that in my Tuesday Deposit. Total to be deposited is $75, would have been $100 but the guy who pays me on Sunday didn't have a check with him so I'll get it on Wednesday.

I have decided to join eHarmony. The guy I have dated a couple of times from the free communication weekend isn't working out and they're having a special (that they run often apparently) where you can get three months for the price of one. I'm not actually committing to it until I finish sorting out the guy but I took the $60 out of my Tuesday Deposit so I'm still putting $15 into savings today.

I just got an email from the gal in charge of the Monday childcare that I've been doing and it might actually turn into a regular thing. As much as I'd love to pick up every possible extra dime, I can't commit to every week and keep my sanity. Especially since I'll most likely be doing Wednesdays as well, the first three of every month. So I think we've decided on every other week, with a second person helping which actually drops the pay from $25 to $20 because she only has $40 in the budget for child care. But I'm ok with that. I also told her I could be a backup on the off weeks in case something happens at the last minute with the regular sitters.

One of my drugs is coming out with a controlled release version (meaning I would just have to take one a day instead of two a day). Apparently not all insurance companies are covering it so I called mine today to see if it was. It is but on the most expensive tier, I pay $35 for it now and it would be $50. Since I take other things twice a day it's not that big of a deal for me to continue taking it twice a day. But I will have my dr write me out a prescription for it because I'll be getting a coupon for a free 30 day supply from the manufacturer. The other good news with that particular drug is it'll be coming out in generic soon too which means it should drop in price from $35 to $10.

And in non-financial news, I'm doing the Photo 365 thing too. I included the link in my links section but here it is: http://picasaweb.google.com/ldyfaile/Photo365 I plan on updating it as often as I can. I will take a photo a day just might not upload it that day. It looks like you can subscribe to a RSS feed as well for it. I love Google.

Live Earth or Things I'm Not Buying.

April 10th, 2007 at 12:20 pm

This morning I was running late for work. Normally my habit is to change the radio station if it's not playing music but sometimes the dj's aren't too annoying so I'll listen to what they have to say. They mentioned the line-up for the US Live Earth concert that's coming up in July. On the list are The Police (I wouldn't mind seeing them live even though I'm not a die hard fan) and the re-united Smashing Pumpkins (around the time of Mom's death my youngest brother went through a huge SP phase but he's never seen them live). Tickets go on sale Monday morning at 10 am.

I had this brief fleeting thought 'wouldn't that be cool if I could surprise my brother, buy a couple tickets to the concert, and maybe score a cheap flight, etc etc'. That thought was very brief. Chances are the ticket prices for the event are going to be over $100 each. The cheapest flight I found was for $350 each. Then there's hotel and food and transportation, all of which would be on me since it would be me surprising my brother who's going to school right now.

As much as I'd love to do it, I just can't justify it. And I'm not about to just pay for him to go by himself, it's not that he's not old enough to travel on his own just....

So for a brief moment I considered it but after weighing all the facts, nope it's not going to happen.

I wonder if that would be a good investment though, pick up a couple of tickets for the event and then sell them on eBay with no reserve and starting price at the price I paid for them. Hmmm.

I saved $20.75 today

February 17th, 2007 at 11:09 pm

Sort of. I wear my glasses generally for four years before needing to get a new prescription. After a week of wearing my wire frames I decided I really wanted to get the sides of the lenses polished so they didn't look quite so thick. I called and was informed that the charge was $10/pair or $15/two pair. The plastic frames are thick enough that it doesn't matter so I accepted that I would have to pay $10 and not have my wire frames for about a week. I went in today, wrote my name down on the list and when the gal got to me she knew what I wanted done but didn't know how to enter it in the computer. The other tech that did know was in the middle of anther customer and the line behind me had grown. I told her that I didn't mind waiting if she wanted to move on down the list and I would just wait until the other tech was done.

It took longer than I'd anticipated but it was totally worth while. After all was said and done, I asked the tech how much. He said no charge. So that's $10 I don't have to worry about.

Then a friend and I had plans to see a movie mid day. But it was GOREGEOUS outside and I was trying to come up with something we could do outdoors and still hang out. Then I remembered my Zoo Pass. So we went to the Zoo for a couple of hours. Saved $10.75 on my admission and while she did save too since she got in under mine I'm just counting money I would have spent. Now I've only gone to the Zoo twice since purchasing the pass so I still have a couple of visits to go before I am going for free. But I had a really nice time today.

My paycheck got deposited early. Payday is the 20th, so Tuesday. Direct deposits generally go in a day early but with Monday being a holiday that means that the bank already shows the pending deposit. I'm a little confused, it shows an increase but a small one at that. I don't know if I got a raise and they just didn't tell me or if there was something figured differently in last month's pay. I won't find out til Thursday because I'm off Tuesday and Wednesday. Ah well.

The theme is Tranquility.

January 10th, 2007 at 12:44 pm

My friend's birthday is today. Her husband is organizing a quasi-surprise party for her at her favorite sushi place. I say quasi-surprise because she knows that they are meeting a few people for sushi but doesn't really know everyone that will be there or how many people either. Case in point, I was invited and she asked if I could babysit. Smile I originally had something else going on anyway (that she knew about) so I was able to decline gracefully.

I was woried about the cost of dinner though. So I looked up the restaurant we're going to and not only is it normally relatively inexpensive but on Wednesday nights most plates are $1.25 each. One plate has three decent pieces of sushi. Usually when I eat at places like that, I max out at four plates. And it shouldn't damage my diet too much either.

When her husband called he said that the theme for gifts is Tranquility. She's very pregnant with their third son arriving March 1. They have a son turning 1 in January and a son turning 3 in February. So things are already crazy without adding a third one to the mix. Fortunately the idea I'd already had for her gift works very well. I picked her up a large tin of loose leaf Foxfire tea. The particular mix, Harmony, is one I know she really enjoys. At home I already had some Asian themed things I'd picked up on clearance at Target, so I also wrapped up two smallish matching ceramic mugs. I reused a gift bag I had gotten something in that had survived being transported home. And this morning I met a gal for coffee who will also be there tonight and who hasn't picked up anything yet for the birthday girl. I mentioned what I'd gotten and that I had forgotten to get a tea infuser since I don't know if they have one. The gal I met for coffee said she would pick one up and a candle or something else as her gift. Yay, that means I don't have to kill myself trying to get that and then make it to the restaurant before the birthday girl!

I am really looking forward to tonight, hoping that the weather doesn't hinder things, and that the birthday girl will be not too stressed so she can enjoy her special day. It's supposed to snow today, it did snow a little earlier but it wasn't sticking. The party actually has a couple of stages. We were encouraged to park near the last stage since there's only 7 blocks between the first and last stops of the evening. So first, sushi dinner, then a walk up to Powell's for something the husband hasn't elaborated on yet, then to a bar for gifts (since there'll be hopefully a table large enough to accomodate everyone there) and other revelry.

I'm really glad I'm not moving a couch after all tonight. Next week will work out so much better.

Santa did come after all!

December 21st, 2006 at 04:24 pm

Post #2 today.

I was just sitting here, minding my own business, when 'Santa' came by and dropped off a $50 Costco Cash Card on my desk. I promised to keep his identity a secret, even though y'all dont know him. Smile

Of course, I already bought the ham last night, spent $20.04 on it. *sigh* But that's ok. I'm not taking anything back and I don't have time to go to Costco before Sunday anyway.

So it'll go in my wallet and hang out with the leftover 'grocery' money and if I'm in dire need of anything after I run out of what's left, perhaps I'll use the cash card to stock up.

---

In other news, while I am starting new meds tomorrow (I pick up the Rx tonight) I don't have an appointment to see my doctor again until next month. I have a lab appointment next week but that doesn't require cash at time of service. That makes me happy in the 'I might actually have some money to transfer to my medical savings account this month after all' kind of way.

And the band plays on.

December 11th, 2006 at 12:48 pm

My favorite band is coming to town in February. My usual habit when that happens is to buy tickets for the local show plus any in the surrounding areas (ie within a 3 hour drive). Actually, for the local show I usually volunteer to work the merch table so I get in for free and sometimes get free merch and then pay for the rest of the shows. I am showing a lot of restraint however because my family will be in town when the band is and will not be travelling out of town to see them.

For the Portland show though I will be buying two tickets ($18 each) when I get paid Jan 5th. One for me and one for my dad who's been wanting to go to a show but they don't play near him anymore since he moved. If he ends up not going I don't think I'll have trouble selling it. But if he does go I don't want to be stuck behind the merch table. I got into a friendly arguement with a friend from Seattle though about why I wasn't going to the Seattle show. But in the end I prevailed and said I would see her at the Portland show (she travels to see them too).

Which led to a conversation about The Rock Boat. The Rock Boat is a 'floating music festival'. It's a cruise where about 30 bands play, usually about 4 sets over the coarse of the cruise so if two bands you really want to see are playing at the same time for one set chances are you can catch them at another one. The band I like were on TRB last year and will be again this year. I knew it was not a wise decision to make since I'd have to charge it so aside from drooling, I haven't tried working out how to go.

But next year, if they're on it next year, I might actually be able to swing it and not charge it. They stagger the payments over time so you don't have to come up with all the money right away. $99 when you register, couple months later $199, couple months later $199, couple months later the remainder. If I beef up my EF I think I can not only swing making the payments like they suggest but with my newly formed savings habits can recoup the loss nicely. Of course, the cruise itself is only part of the cost. There's also airfare to/from. Hotel possibly for two nights (night before launch, night after return). Money to do stuff in port. Seriously I'm thinking probably about $1500 total. Probably less but I prefer to overshoot. My friend from Seattle and I are talking about sharing a cabin, probably just a double occupancy. Yes, the triple and quad cabins are cheaper but our sanity is also a factor. We've traveled together and know we get along in close quarters.

Anyway, it's something for me to think about. They don't make the announcements as far as what bands will be on board until around March.

Not looking quite so rosy for the EF this paycheck

December 4th, 2006 at 10:33 am

Weekend was a blast. The place we rented was cute and tiny. We had just enough room to sleep and hang out. Probably wouldn't have lasted too much longer than we did though, good for weekend jaunts. I got paid back for a chunk of what I spent on food. I had put $13 from my own cash into the pile of things to deposit so that took care of my part. I had $10 in my account from one gal to pay for the wood stove except we didn't actually use it so that went toward's her $14 and she'll give me the other $4 on Thursday. One gal wrote me a check for $14. One gal had bought about $15 worth of food for the weekend so she balanced out. That leaves two gals that need to give me money and about $32 outstanding total.

I spent $5 on our way back at the cheese factory and $5 once I got home towards the Christmas Tree that my roomate bought. The gal who's car I rode in wouldn't take money for gas.

This morning I fought hard to wake up and wound up sleeping in over an hour. Fortunately my 'wake up time' is way way early so it didn't exactly hurt me however when I got out of the shower I found a text from my brother K asking to borrow $100 for rent. By the time I actually got the message I'd have to leave right then in order to not be late for work because I had a deposit to make into my account before withdrawing and depositing it into his account. So I didn't make breakfast, I did grab a slice of cold pizza though to eat in the car, and I didn't make lunch, but I did grab a granola bar and two clementines.

I made it to the bank, deposited $193.39 out of which I took the $100 to drop in my brother's account (at a different bank that's fortunately only two blocks away from mine). But then I remembered that I didn't bring lunch and would need cash for that too. So I pulled a $20 out of the ATM, I'll pull $20 less tomorrow for food money.

So now I'm $132 short for this next check. I'll get $32 back later this week which is good, but the $100 will be a while. I'll have extra cash on my paycheck tomorrow which hopefully will absorb the whole short amount, plus I'll be getting a check from my roomate tomorrow for rent and her part of utilities. I was really hoping though to put a good chunk away into savings. $55 of what I deposited today came from childcare and survey so that did go into my Emigrant account. If nothing else, that account will grow exponentially.

Then of course there's the unplanned for Christmas gifts. The gals I went to the beach with decided it'd be fun to exchange names for giving gifts. For someone who didn't plan on buying any gifts this year that means it'll have to come out of tomorrow's paycheck as well. I don't mind, actually I have a great idea and I've set my own limit on how much I want to spend but we'll see what happens. And I need to talk to my roomate and find out if we're exchanging gifts this year. We haven't in years past but since she's out of school now she's really going all out for the holidays this year. So another potential gift to buy. Fortunately my family decided to not exchange gifts this year.

I'm planning on doing something for Christmas Eve Dinner but I think I can take care of my portion of it by using the Costco Gift Card that I get from work for Christmas. Assuming we actually get them this year. I'll ask people to bring a dish as well so I won't have to come up with everything. It should be fun.

I guess I'll just have to wait and see how December turns out for EF growth. As long as I can at the least make the minimum expected deposits ($155/mo) then I'll be happy. But if I can do more I'll be very happy.

Money well spent.

November 29th, 2006 at 10:44 pm

At least in my opinon. When I was decluttering over the long weekend I found a certificate for $20 off at McCormick & Schmick's. Now, there's nothing on their dinner menu for less than 14 (not in the main entrees anyway) so it's not someplace I frequent. But I had promised to take a friend out and when I found that the certificate didn't expire til the end of the year (I'd gotten it back in September for volunteering for something and expected it to be past it's use) I decided what the heck, I'll use it. Plus I owed her a few bucks from something else so this made us square.

We decided on the location on the waterfront and man what a nice view. I love love love looking out over the water and seeing the city lights. Granted, we were on the side that I generally like to look at but still, lights are lights and the bridges look cool at night too. The seating areas were at different level raises, where the two people tables were was in the middle so we had an unobstructed view of the big floor to ceiling windows looking out at the lights and water and city. The tables may have been set for two but they weren't tiny. Just the right size and the chairs were like small armchairs, cushy but didn't take up a ton of room.

My friend always gets fish and chips, and in anticipation of eating fish and chips tonight I'd worked out an extra 30 minutes this morning. Total bill came to $29.90. After certificate, only $9.90 plus I left $6 cash tip out of my leftover gas money. It was totally worth it. The food looked small portion wise at first but when I'd finished, I was full. And I didn't eat that much bread to begin with either before the meal. I even left a few fries since I knew it would be too much.

We sat and talked probably for longer than we should have but they didn't try to rush us out of there. Overall it was an awesome experience and I think if I ever had a special occasion to celebrate where money wasn't an issue, I may go back to that exact location. Plus I got to hang out with my friend, something I haven't been able to do for a while. I'm out of town this weekend, she'll be out of town next weekend, and we both are busy in the inbetween time.

I have $11 left over now from gas budget, will not be needing to fill before Tuesday when I get paid again. I have $12 left over from grocery, will not be needing more food for at home before Tuesday. That gives me $23 to spend on food and gas for this weekend. We're all pitching in to pay for that so it's not all on me or anything. Between the 6 of us going I'm sure we can get by with not spending too much. But we wanted to have a 'dress up' dinner and have fondue so that's potentially pricey. I'm so looking forward to getting away and not really having anything planned.