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Archive for February, 2012

Got selected for $75 consumer study

February 28th, 2012 at 02:56 pm

It takes 1 hour, and the best thing is I'll be doing it during my lunch break, so I'm not wasting any time that can be spend with my family and I'll be paid exactly $75 per hour.

From what I understand, I'll be hooked up to the EEG to monitor my brain response while they show me some multimedia (I assume commercials or something). Should be interesting.

The money will go into my ipad3 challenge.

No Chase Freedom for me :(

February 21st, 2012 at 09:45 am

I was going to open a Chase Freedom Card for rewards. I was going to get it mainly because they were tempting me with $300 for opening bonus, but I was also going to use it for reward categories.

But I had to wait many months to do it - I was in a middle of a refinance and did not want a chance of a new credit application messing up my refi rate.

Now, after we closed on a refi, I called to apply, but the offer has expired. Frown The best they offered me was $100. I guess they got too fed up with people who took advantage by opening multiple cards, collecting over $1,000 and than closing them, so they are no longer so generous, even to perfect credit potential customers.

I declined opening it for $100. Not worth it. Frown

$82 hand wash

February 20th, 2012 at 08:39 pm

So today, while baby stayed with MIL, I went to Manhattan to Saks to return one of the gifts I got for Christmas. It was a set of a hand wash and a body wash. It was $75, so with tax I got back $81.66! Not that I did not like it, but that is a bit much for a body wash, even for a very good one.

Unfortunately, it was past 30 days so I only got credit. I'll have to find something to buy in Saks for a relatively small amount.

Now, I don't think I saved much money, because I had lunch and dinner in Manhattan and enjoyed my very rare day of solitude.

I also bought few things in Bloomingdales, but that was using another gift card I got for Christmas. Got home late, did not do much in the house.

Do you think this is a reflection on our media or our citizens?

February 17th, 2012 at 12:46 pm

.

We sold our ipad!

February 17th, 2012 at 11:39 am

It sold it on ebay, with "buy it now" for $370. It sold in one day! We had a 7 day return policy, so today a week has passed since the buyer has picked it up (took her like 3 weeks, I was starting to worry!), and we can consider it officially sold!

(-$20 shipping, paypal and ebay fees.) Take home will be, I'm guessing, about $330?

Once everything clears we'll add the money to an.... ipad fund. Yep, thats right. I'm pretty sure I'll want ipad 3. We sold our iPad 1 before 3 comes out (the value of ipad one will be less after that). But man, it kept its value pretty well.

But I am determined to fund it from the "extra" "challenge" money, meaning not the money that come from our regular salary, I feel to guilty about that.

Once we buy the 3, DH will take my 2.

Is your emergency fund estimate realistic?

February 16th, 2012 at 11:46 am

I think that there is a notion that in an emergency we will immediately cut all unessential expenses -- after all, it is an extreme situation. Most people calculate the emergency fund based on that premise.

But in reality, how many people cancel their cable the day they loose the job? I would say hardly any. You'd be stressed, and cutting things you are so used to will be difficult.

Or assuming that you'll have $0 eating out costs.
If you lost your job, it is one thing, you can stay home and cook the meals for your family.

But if your emergency is a family illness -- you have different challenges and different expenses.
I've been through that -- when you have a relative that is very ill you need to take them to the hospital (gas, time, parking -- parking can really add up), food while there, or eating out after you leave at night exhausted. You can't assume that you won't have ANY eating out costs or miscellaneous costs.

If you are job hunting you'll still need an occasional haircut. When you go for an interview you might need a manicure and a dry-cleaned suit...

Or $0 for vacation. True, it is not the time for vacation, but would you feel guilty if your family can't go anywhere in the summer?

Will you still give money for your child to attend a birthday party or a museum/park/movie with their friends? Not even once a month, the entire summer? Lets be honest, very few people could do that.

Or extra money for gas to go if you are invited to a friends weekend house few hours away? It would be an extremely cheap "vacation" but it does cost something, and it would suck to be forced to pass up on such opportunities at a stessful time for your family.

So what is the solution? To be honest with yourself and include these numbers in the calculations of what you need to live the way you will actually live if an emergency happened.

So I do include these unnecessary expenses in our calculations for "emergency" months, just in case:

$115 cable (because I know we will be resistant to cut it)
$60 street parking in the city
$60 grooming
$120 entertainment common
$120 entertainment personal for DH and me
100 baby's ESA (this is a very limited time opportunity)
$100 eating out
$300 unpredictible (copays, fuel assessment, any small things that pop up. Because things do pop up!)


I budget for these things to be in our emergency fund monthly budget, because I know we are likely to spend it even if someone was unemployed, and that a bare-bones estimate is not realistic.

I got a true bi-weekly mortgage.

February 13th, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I refinanced to a 15 year fixed, and asked for a bi-weekly. My credit union is not offering them, but they did it for me because we requested it.

According to calculations, the 15 should be paid of in 13.6 years.

There are no fees for this and the payments are applied immediately, not at the end of the month. The payment is a little higher, but we will save overall.

Very expensive day yesterday

February 10th, 2012 at 06:35 am

We were closing on our refi, and man, it was expensive

$41 parking garage for an hour in midtown
$115 ticket for blocking the box. We were unlucky and lucky at the same time. The cop gave us a ticket, but he did not put blocking the box on it, he gave us a parking ticket (no points). the other one would be $300 AND a moving violation on the record
$595 attorney fee

than like $3,000 (interest, title services fee, government recording charges, etc) don't know how much more will still come out of our account.

$17 two sandwiches
$25 favorite pastries - pasteis de nata,
$4.30 few apples and a baguette

I brought my lunch today.

Ski Vacation cost totaled

February 7th, 2012 at 07:32 am

Taxis/bus to and from the airports $237
luggage(skiis and boots) fees $100
airfare -free with points, booking fee $15
Slopeside hotel $0
food and drink for 1 week $831.23
hotel and ski vallet tips $54

demo boots 3 days $70
custom footbed for my ski boots $156
Misc. $20
shopping - amber earrings $77
itunes (ski apps and episodes for plane) $20

lift tickets $1040

Total: $2620.23

For a week of skiing it is not bad and we had fantastic time.
Scary to think how much it would be if we had to pay hotel and airfare!

Extra expenses and extra income for last month

February 5th, 2012 at 07:37 pm

It was a month rich in both.

Extra expenses -- over $1,400

-$329 coop fuel assessment

-$150 2 no registration sticker tickets (sticker was gone because the windshield was shattered and replaced, but NY state is super fast to ticket and you never win your case

-$66 NY state inspection (to get the new sticker) and car maintenance

-$200 for coop management to sign recognition agreement (for our refi)

-$130 groceries overage

-$300 overage on eating out

-$200 overage on gifts

-$70.00 medical copays

Extra income:

$300 profit from Apple option 2 (taxable as ordinary income, so less than $200 take home)

$3,100 realized gains from the exercised APPLE stock sale (we kept some stock, so we have about $1,600 more unrealized gaines.) Will be taxed at ordinary income tax rate as well

$147 Bonus from credit union on mortgage interest paid

$579 after tax -- $1000 award DH got at work

$600 gift for our vacation from DH's mom

Next week we are closing on our refinance, so we'll have a lot of fees that are not in our regular budget

We were very lucky that taking a big risk with Apple stock options has worked out. This was the first time we did anything like this. We are not doing it again though (at least in a current climate, we don't know of any other reasonably good bet right now.)

Vacation costs are not included at that, since vacation is a special category.

Hi from Vail!

February 1st, 2012 at 08:46 pm

We've been here 3 days already - skiing, going out, being a couple...
I love Vail -- beautiful mountain, long trails, not crowded, awsome back bowls, no ice, just snow, pretty village, lovely weather...

Expensive though. But worth it to us. We are having a fantastic time, I just miss hugging my little one. But i know he is getting great care.

We are staying until Sunday.
I'm keeping spending diary and will post more when we get back -- hard to type too much on the ipad.