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Archive for August, 2006

September Planning

August 31st, 2006 at 07:19 pm

Listed below are the things I'll be keeping in mind for the month of September, with respect to my finances.

1) I'm going to be more meticulous in accounting for utilities with my roommates. In the past I've made handshake commitments to cover their utilities (gas/electric, DSL, and old-time phone is in my name) in return for other items that they take care of. For example, one guy has got me on his gym membership plan, another is generous with beer and certain groceries, and yet another takes care of the garbage, water, and sewer bills. However, I'm quite sure that this arrangement is inequitable, and I think can save a lot in this arena.

2) Zero Starbucks visits. I don't have anything against Starbucks, but I have a coffee machine and a thermos, so there is no reason I shouldn't save that money.

3) Keep the iPod in the taxi at all times: My passengers tip extra when they hear all the wacky music on my iPod. Especially if I play the theme from "Dukes of Hazzard" while catching air over Nob Hill.

It Can't Hurt To Ask...

August 27th, 2006 at 02:19 pm

I just got off the phone with my motorcycle insurance company, and the result is that another $5 will go into my Savings Jar because I had the guts to ask a customer service person to waive a late fee!

I was actually all set to make the payment online, but the page with the payment form seemed to think that my balance was $0, so I called the 800 number to talk to a live person. I explained what I wanted to do. When she asked "So you want to go ahead and pay this $5 now?," this little light bulb went on. I thought, "No, I really don't want to pay this at all!" so I told her, "Well actually, it would be cooler if you could just waive the late fee!". I chuckled a bit so that it didn't sound like a big demand. She was totally fine with it and did it right away!

cheerios

August 21st, 2006 at 07:39 pm

I had two Safeway register coupons for $1.50 off four boxes of GM cereals, which I acquired a month ago, the last time they were selling Honey Nut Cheerios at 2-for-$4. They have the same deal this week so I cashed one of the coupons in. I think FoodsCo. has bulk boxes which end up costing the same per unit, I wrote some notes down during my last visit which I need to check.

$6.66 (oooh spooky) will go into the savings jar today because I made two conscious saving decisions today, one to avoid my tall coffee and bear claw at Starbucks (3.40) and one to avoid the McD's drive thru (3.26). The Cheerios savings don't get included because that is just a matter of getting the best deal on something I would buy anyway. Total = $7.71.

I spent $105 getting fitted for new contacts. I could have spent less, but I've used this place before. After dealing with the docs and assistants I have zero worries about getting the perfect fit, which I never feel at the discount places.

savings jar

August 20th, 2006 at 11:38 pm

This is my first post. I've been lurking for about a month reading blog and forum entries, and I've been taking lots of frugality steps lately. I know it's really worth the effort because I managed to save up enough for this laptop computer. Keeping track of every cent I spent made me realize how much room I had for improvement. I started scouring the store ads and collecting coupons, including the club-card coupons from the checkout line. It's gotten to the point where I park at the first meter I find with time remaining on it, rather than spending money to feed the meter at a spot right in front of the store! Smile

Unfortunately, after the victory of acquiring the laptop, I slipped back into bad habits over the past two weeks after some friends visited from back east and I had to entertain them while we were out on the town. Dinner here, drinks there, etc. I decided that in order to get back into good patterns, I needed to start my own blog here so that I could get the positive reinforcement of sharing my successes with everyone (well, everyone who cares to read this Smile Reading about everyone's successes was what inspired me to get with the program in the first place, so thank you very much to all of you!

Today was good, the only purchase I made was the Sunday paper so I could do the crosswords and clip the coupons. I decided to walk instead of riding my motorcycle, for a savings of $.10 on gas (even at 40-50MPG, every bit counts.) I was surprised to find that with my Cala card the Sunday Chronicle is only $.99 plus tax ($1.07) rather than the $1.50 I was expecting, so there's another $.43 to put in savings. Finally, I collected all the beer bottles from around the house (I live with 5 other single guys aged 25 to 30 so there are a LOT of beer bottles.) I can't redeem them until the recycling center opens tomorrow but they ought to be good for $.52, so I'm adding that to my total for the day, which if you're keeping track is at $1.05.

I felt that I needed to take an extra step to make up for my slacking lately so I put a jar on the desk in front of my computer, now it contains that $1.05.