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Archive for September, 2009

September spending totals

October 1st, 2009 at 02:17 am

rent $994
electric $77
gas $12.94
medical $78
health $49

groceries $417
Lunch me $67.77
Lunch DH $90.68
eating out $172.2

pets $23.87
clothing $213
accessories $64
stuff for house $415

gifts for myself $300 (down lounging jacket and slippers, pillow case)
(from Bday money, so not counting towards the total)

car repair $46
gasoline $165.05
ezpass $275
parking meter $26

grooming $65.54
laundry $10
dry clean $39

Eve online $73.84
itunes $6.48
gifts $313
Donation $70

Life insurance $834.06
DMV $78.5
ski vacation deposit $138
ROTH $410


$5225

I did well in some areas, not so good in others.

Eating out - we did beautifully. Went out only few times.

OK on groceries and eating out. We could do better.

We did not go on a weekend out of town.
DH travelled for work a good amount, so auto expenses are low.

We took care of some necessary misc. expenses.
Home category was too high.

Clothing spending is less than usual, but still over the budget I would have if we bought our own place.

What the world eats - one week's worth of food

September 22nd, 2009 at 06:58 pm

I just came across this slide show on MSN money:

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/CollegeAndFamily/RaiseKids/what-the-world-eats.aspx?slide-number=1

North Carolina
Cost of a week's worth of food: $377.20
This is 1 photo from an 11 photo slide show (I don't think this family is eating very healthy).

I also have problem with the figure for China. I think they are featuring an upper middle class family, because you can eat out every meal for less than that amount. (I studied in China for 6 month and visit for 1 month every 2 years.)

But in any case, I thought this was an interesting concept.

Maybe we all should take pictures of our week's worth of groceries and tally the cost.

So many neighbors with financial problems.

September 21st, 2009 at 06:08 am

I live in a small apartment building and I happen to know financial situations of many neighbors, and I happen to be only one without debt (with the exception of a student loan).

Their problems range from cc debt, to months behind on rent, to collection issues...

I know that the landlord does not take checks from one of my neighbors, requiring that he be paid by a money order.

They sometimes ask my advice on these things. However, they only ask advice on how to deal with the consequences. They don't see at all that the underlining issue is that they are living a lifestyle they can't afford. It is like one gigantic blind spot.

And of course, I cannot volunteer that kind of unsolicited advice to people I have to see on a regular basis. (My mom is an exception to that rule -- she will love me no matter what Smile and I care about her, so I take her problems close to heart.

But I still find amazing how much these people spend. That while I won't buy $800 worth of make-up and perfume in Bloomingdales in ONE trip, but someone who makes minimum wage can feel they need it.

But most of them are very nice people. Helpful, social, friendly, compassionate. They simply don't understand that they are being financially irresponsible. They think that debt is normal.

They also ask each other for short-term loans. It is considered normal to borrow few bucks until payday.

While DH and I never discuss what we bought or how much we make, it is evident that we do ok. Maybe because we don't complain or ever need to borrow money? Or maybe because they know where I work.

In any case, next Friday I should be paid back $250 from people in my building who needed the money to pay the bills due before the next payday. I am not worried about it at all(these types of loans will always be honored by them) and it is no inconvenience for me. It is just a difference in mentality.

And having to fight the itch to comment on their financial tales. Repeating to myself: "It is none of my business, it is none of my business."

Made an offer!

September 19th, 2009 at 08:41 pm

For the first time in our lives we made an offer on an apartment (co-op). We offered significantly under the asking price, so I doubt it will be accepted. And there are so many other "ifs" in the arrangement...

But than again, what if?

My birthday gifts

September 13th, 2009 at 05:22 pm

Today is my birthday. I got a brand new ipod Touch (16GB one) and $300 to buy what I would like. And flowers, of course. And hot breakfast in the morning. Not a healthy one, but very delicious(crapes). It is OK on special occasions.

I am now relaxing in a completely clean apartment. I'm so relaxed I don't even want to go out for birthday dinner and decided to move it to another day).


$600-$940 for 1 down pillow?

September 11th, 2009 at 03:01 pm

Scandia down makes probably world's most expensive pillow:
http://www.scandiadown.com/
I really don't know if they are worth it (I guess if you are very rich, maybe).
But since I am not rich, I would not buy a pillow for that much money.

But, there was one on sample sale for $199 and I bought it!


Can't wait till it arrives. I was ok with that price - it is an average price of a good down pillow.
I jumped on the opportunity, and I was not the only one. It was sold out very fast. Even comforters on sale for $1,400 from $3,000+ were sold out. It just seems crazy - you could buy a car for that much money. But, I guess, the world of the rich is different.

http://store.scandiadownbayarea.com/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=SDBA&Category_Code=CONP

What would a good friend do?

September 9th, 2009 at 08:16 pm

I have a friend who lives in another city.
She is very inexperienced with men(never had a boyfriend) and does not have a relistic view of anything that has to do with men.

When she is telling me about another guy she met online, from what she is describing, I can see a lot of red flags right away and know it is not going to end well.

But I can't tell her that because she is saying this is the happiest she has ever been, she can't believe this happened to her, she is afraid to jinks it... (she is like that every time).

And again, I don't have the heart to correct her. I was right in my conclusions every single time (and I never voiced my negative opinion to her). Instead of upsetting her by telling her what I really think of them(based on her accounting of events) I do nothing. She is very upset later, when it naturally does not work out.

And I feel bad. But would telling her what I think when she is hopeful be any good? Would it be better?

I would tell what I think to any of my other girlfriends. Because I know they would understand me and could handle it. But they don't need help reading social cues and socializing with people. This girl does. And I would like to help her, but I am afraid that if I'm honest she'll be hurt.

What would you do?

Kitchen of a $500,000 apartment

September 8th, 2009 at 02:18 pm

That we are seriously considering. We got as far as requesting co-op financials. This seems like a nice place in a good location. 40 blocks from work. I can walk and not depend on transportation! There is a park, it is a quiet street... I want it.

However, this is a Manhattan kitchen:


Super tiny special sink, tiny special stove, a dishwasher (luxury). the other side has only the doorway and the refrigirator. So this is the close up of the ENTIRE kitchen counterspace(I think about 15 inches)


I also won't be able to fit a large pot or the entire skillet into the sink, I'll have to wash it sideways. But I think I can manage. And this kitchen is in a lot nicer condition than some others(of the same size) that I've seen.

I need to study for my exam or pay the fee

September 4th, 2009 at 02:50 am

Final exam for my Chinese class is on Wednesday.
I am disturbingly unprepared. I have not opened a book since I came back from China.
I really need to spend the weekend studying!

My job provides me with opportunity to study the language for free, but if I fail the exam I will have to pay to repeat the level.

I am having a lot of trouble even starting to study. Always too tired, always something to do... now I am starting to panic.

The 100 points game

September 1st, 2009 at 07:53 pm

It is like a financial drinking game.

Any day the DOW is down more than 100 points by 2:50 pm I manually add $100 or $150 to a mutual fund(besides the auto invest for the ROTH) to buy shares based on that day's clothing price.

I look up which sector is falling and try to put it there. Like if commodity prices are down, I'll put that $100 into the fund that is heavily invested in commodities. (those will go back up eventually)

So by the end of the day it makes me feel a tiny bit better that I bought more shares with the money and I dollar cost average.

The mutual funds that I funded in this manner are right now up 20% above what I invested. The funds where I put in lump sum are, naturally, down.

This approach also keeps me from getting caught up in mass elation when things are going well.