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Archive for January, 2013

Added up ski trip totals today

January 30th, 2013 at 08:14 pm

Flight both ways and all ski gear bags checked in: $0
Taxis, shuttles and bus: $434

7 nights slopeside -- Marriott Vail and Park Hyatt BC $0
1 night in Park Hyatt and 1 night Ritz $743.83

Food $1188.43

new ski boots for DH and me, 1 base layer $974

Tips (resort staff only) estimate $120

Ski passes for 2 adults $1,100


That's with free flights and free 7 nights of hotel!

Major post vacation hangover

January 30th, 2013 at 04:49 am

I did not add the totals yet, but this ski trip was EXPENSIVE.

Food at ski resorts is very pricey $130-$140 average dinner, close to $40 for breakfast, taxis, transportation, tips - ski valets, bellman, housekeeping, etc... I think we spend over $200 a day not including transportation or $1,000 ski passes. We only paid for 2 nights out of 10, and that was about $600.

Plus ski boots - $930.

I also overate like crazy. Dessert, burgers, 3 drinks a night... I'm seriously craving fruits and vegetables now. I might have gained 4 lb. I need to go on a health kick. So I ran 2 miles today. I will try to keep it up.

That being said, the vacation has been a lot of fun and I hope to do it again. Now I just need to shape up to balance things out.

Got upgraded to first class!

January 18th, 2013 at 04:29 pm

More accurately, DH got upgraded. But, as a true gentleman, he is giving up the seat for his woman and will go to coach for me.

I won't know if my ticket will get the companion upgrade until later tongiht(will know this evening, it is 24hours before). It would be nice for us to sit in first class together.

It is probably the last time, as he will be loosing his Gold Medallion status this month Frown
Well, it was good while it lasted, but I'm going to have to get used to flying in coach again. It is hard to go back.

January snowflake is like a snowstorm :)

January 17th, 2013 at 03:14 pm

January snowflakes have been good:

100 Credit union visa cashback reward cashed
150 Discover cashback bonus cashed
50 Containter store gift card (discovercard)
200 DH travel mileage reimbursement earned
125 focus group
120 DH overtime
200 DH emergency work trip 2
400 Gift from ML for our upcoming vacation. Yesterday DH passed me the envelope from MIL. I was very surprised!

She also gave a very generous cash gift for LO. I don't include it in the snowflake because I see it not as ours but as baby's, even though she said we can use it for things for him. But we can cover things for him out of our regular income.

So the total for all our January snowflakes is $1,345!

I think that snowflakes is how we manage to save, even though we sometimes spend more than the salary. I mean the snowflakes from DH's travel.

So this month, inspite of the increased SS tax our income did not fall.

Sometimes Ritz Carlton is a more frugal choice than a Courtyard

January 16th, 2013 at 03:37 pm

Looking at public transportation options for getting from the airport to Denver, I saw that there is a bus that goes directly from the airport to the bus station downtown, that happens to be right across the street from the Ritz Carlton.

So I found a great rate at the Ritz by booking months in advance. It was still a little more expensive than a cheaper hotel would be. BUT... A taxi to downtown would be around $70 bucks one way. Saving this ride and avoiding a taxi all together, Ritz is cheaper.

Sometimes it is surprising what frugal looks like. One just have to be creative.

I love staying in nicer hotels when I am on vacation (that time is precious, and i want to enjoy it).

Lost value of a dollar

January 16th, 2013 at 02:39 am

Sometimes I go to a store and it just strikes me how the times have changed.

When I went to Bloomingdales to look for a gift for my mom, the only wallets in the range of $200-$300 were in a type of bin, like a clearance bin in a cheaper store. And those wallets/accessories were cheaply made of plastic, often with glued-on plastic hardware. Hats priced up to $300 were also piled in a bin, as if they are a dirt cheap bargains. (if you looked at the way other things were priced, you would be reinforced in this suggestion).

I left feeling like an old woman, the type that goes "back in my day...". And my day was not that long ago!

Yesterday I was in Chinatown and as I was passing by an optical shop, a pair of Cartier glasses caught my eye. I went in and tried them on. They were perfect design and look, something I've been searching for a long time. When I asked how much, they were almost twice as much as I expected. $740 plus tax (in nyc 8.875%) So that is $800 for non-prescription glasses (they can't even be changed to a prescription). So disheartened, I put them down. Frown

Maybe it is just me refusing to change with the times. I see this everywhere. I saw a canvas backpack recently that I liked. Price? $400. Again, I thought, just few years ago you could buy a leather one for $200-300. Am I just stuck, refusing to change with the times? Same with shoes those that were in the $200 range are now above $400-$600.

I see this crazy type of inflation and I'm having trouble coming to terms with this.

DH is snowflaking today

January 14th, 2013 at 04:27 pm

He got selected for a focus group.

$125 for 1.5 hours, and it is held after work (7pm). The catch? One has to physically go there, it is not done from home.

Still, it is a good sized snowflake.
He also worked few hours of overtime and got some travel money last week. He has been a good snowflaker. Smile

Discover card wants me to spend $24,000 in 8 months

January 12th, 2013 at 03:54 am

They have offered me another cashback promotion, they give me $500 cashback bonus if I spend $3,000 every calendar month through August.

They want me to spend more. Not sure why -- I always pay the balance in full and never pay any interest.

I'm debating if I should try to go for it.
The thing is, between DH and me we do spend over 3k a month on credit cards. However, right now I'm trying to make the AA miles promotion with citi card, so I have to spend 6K this month. And, for some stuff we are spending on this month I would be better off using another card -- for example we'll be staying in Ritz Carlton paying with Marriott cards will multiply the points. Same goes for a Hyatt stay.

So I don't know. I certainly don't want to buy anything I would not have bought otherwise, but if it was not for this months coincidences, it would have been an easy $500.


What is a snowflake to you?

January 11th, 2013 at 09:31 pm

What is snowflake definition?

Money earned besides the regular salary? (overtime, paid study?)

Or money not spent? (Did not buy coffee on a way to work, walked instead of taking the train).

Or savings from coupons?

Do dividends count? Or interest earned?

What counts as a snowflake to you?

Start of 2013 $20 challenge

January 9th, 2013 at 04:14 pm

This week, instead of buying a cup of coffee on my walk to work, I coffee once I got to the office. I brewed it the proper way, so it was even better than store bought.

$2 x 6 day = $12

I brought my breakfast once, $2, and lunch twice. Lets say $8x2 (I still had to buy ingredients for lunch and breakfast). Lets estimate $18 savings here.

This is what I made at work for my lunch:

I brought organic greens, pistachios I shelled the evening before, and cut up a pear and some grapes in the office. Than I tossed it with my home-made dressing (fresh lemon juice, honey, and olive oil - I like the clean, fresh, sweet and sour kick of this dressing). It was delicious. I also had a small piece of lamb left over from dinner before, and that was my protein. I enjoyed my lunch.

$30 towards my challenge.
Maybe my challenge will add up to a pair of shoes soon enough.

First 7 days of spending

January 7th, 2013 at 11:43 pm

I was very pleased about how frugal we were this first week of the new year, until I added up the numbers, and again, wondered how are we making it.

January 1-7
2,511 Mortgage this month
1,344 Maintenance
141 Student loan
47 Groupon for future dinner
25 Laundry
64.75 Cleaning supplies/detergents
7.99 Netflix
217 pair of shoes
37.56 breakfasts and lunches at work
155.52 groceries
178 train pass

I was particularly proud of myself for keeping the food bill lower than ever.
4 things contributed to it:
1) We went shopping on December 31 (does not count for this month) and bought $253 worth of food right before I started tracking

2) My mom came over on Saturday and brought expensive food for baby for 2 days.

3) Baby is sick so we did not go out to eat.

4) I brought from home 1 lunch and 1 breakfast and made all my coffee at work. And when I bought lunch, I opted for a cheaper one -- $8.70 Signature salads from Cosi.

My toddlers food, even though he eats less, is not less expensive. For example, about 1/4 lb of Grey Sole filet (at $35 per pound) was $8.92. And that is only one meal.

About the shoes -- Thierry Rabotin boutique had a large post holiday sale (really rare for them). And I snagged this pair for 50% off. ($217)

It is hard to capture their beauty in a photo. The crystal is a very nice light blue color and so is the leather inside. I love that shade of blue. They are comfy and stylish (comfy is really hard to find), and they look amazing with thin black pantyhose. I will keep them in my drawer in the office and only wear them inside, on a nice carpet. I normally change my shoes as I get in. (my daily commute involves about an hour of walking).
I don't buy shoes often.

So this is first 7 days.