Home > Archive: September, 2006

Archive for September, 2006

Stupid Laundromat

September 30th, 2006 at 11:42 pm

I live in an apartment and use the building's coin operated laundry facilities. I have contemplated getting my own in the apartment but they'd have to be portable and I do a lot of my laundry at my boyfriends or when I visit my parents (have laundry will travel). So the cost/convenience equation has never tipped in favour of buying. There is something about being able to do many loads of washing and drying at once. If you get behind you are caught up in 2 hours regardless of how many loads you have when you use a laundromat. And I don't have to go outside, the facilities are a short elevator ride away.

Days like this one though make me very tempted. Had three loads of bedding thanks to my meezer peeing willy nilly all over the place the last few days. Got it all washed no problem. Moved it to dry. Dryer 1 - worked fine. Dryer 2 motor wouldn't work so moved it to dryer 4. Dryer 3 was tumbling away for a while until I realised that there was no heat drying the clothes. So moved it all around to get the most dry I could. Lots of fuss later I have 3 loads of mostly dry stuff - two blankets though aren't quite dry.

I did write to Coinamatic to tell them about their lousy machines and even lousier service of the machines and asked for a refund for the cost of the machines that didn't work and for my time being wasted. Hey I can ask right?

Yeah I know its only $3 out of pocket but its the little things that are the most annoying. And this one is high on the list. We'll eff if a refund comes. I'm not really expecting to get anything for the fact that it all took longer but figures it never hurts to ask.

Broke - But the Cat is okay

September 30th, 2006 at 01:38 am

Well okay for a 23 year old cat. He passed on his tests other than UREA - which he has way too much of. Oh and he's also got arthritis (though he called it something else) in his spine. So he's on prescription food (anyone know of a cheap way to get Hills KD prescription cat food?), some vitamins, and 2 types of tablets and he goes back to the vets in 3 weeks.

The food and meds and a couple of the tests all ran to another $150. Having pets is EXPENSIVE.

He's back home. He adores the food and is eating up a storm. Now to get him to poop in the litter box. I might have to buy something with shallower sides that he can get into easier. I'm going to check at the dollar store Smile The original use doesn't need to be for pets.

My wallet is way lighter but I'm blessed by having my finances in order such that I can do this without credit or anything like that.

I'm off to snuggle with Mao Smile)

Kitty Update

September 29th, 2006 at 03:48 pm

Found a vet to bring Mao to this morning.

He is still having intermittent trouble walking but is happy and eating well. I have seen him drinking both last night and today.

The vet found him to be dehydrated, have a low body temperature and there same sore spots on his tummy. Mao actually yipped and growled when a couple of spots were prodded and pressed.

I left him at the hospital. They are doing a full blood work up, a full urine analysis and full xrays to determine exactly the state of his health and what the next steps should be. The vet is saying that I should get full information to base my decision on - there may be things I can do to keep him comfortable or it may be time to make a full decision.

The vet isn't suggesting that I do anything radical to keep him alive just that I base my decision knowledge. I liked the vets attitude and demeanor. And I do like this approach. If I can keep Mao going through reasonable measures I am happy to do that. Heck, I'd be more than estatic to do that Smile

Unfortunately knowledge is expensive - the bill will be (unless something is added) $574. This makes me very greatful that I am careful with my money so that I have it at a time like this.

I pick him up this afternoon and get the xray results then. Blood work and urine tests should be available tomorrow.

Kitty Stress

September 29th, 2006 at 01:47 am

My cat is very old. I've had him since 1989 or 1990 - and when I got him I was told that he was 7 or 8 years old then. So he's now very very old. Even if he wasn't that old then he was definitely not a kitten. Now he's blind and deaf. But he's a purr monster and has a good appetite, and loves to be snuggled and cuddled.

Today I came home and found him lying on the floor someplace I never normally find him. That alarmed me. I picked him up and he purred and seemed happy to see me. Must have left him on the bed when I went to get changed (he likes to be carried). Well came back later and he was still there - that is unusual. He peed on the bed. *sigh*. I don't think it really got through to the mattress so the mess is "cleanupable".

But then I realised just how bad his leg is. He's having trouble walking Yesterday I spent some money buying a couple of baby litter boxes - he's had a few accidents lately.

My vet has said the last few years to enjoy every moment with him. The vet isn't in this weekend and I'm scheduled to go to my parents - 6 hours away. He is an excellent traveller and could come with me - I normally don't take him for quick jaunts but with his mobility he'll hardly be more cooped up than when he is in the car. I'm also considering kenneling him for the weekend.

I'm not really sure what to do. My BF just reminded me that this has happened with him before - him having trouble walking.

Sorry not a very on topic blog. Family crisis tend to do that to me. The only bit of this that has to do with frugality is that I am wondering (second guessing and beating myself also work in place of wondering) if it is my being frugal that isn't pushing me to the vet with him or the reality that he is a cat over the age of 20.

Canned vs Dry Beans

September 28th, 2006 at 02:09 am

I made up a bag (1 pound) of dry black eyed peas the other day - soaked overnight in water (the quick soak method I find can lead to not soft enough beans), then the next day cooked for about an hour. They turned out perfectly. Soft but not mushy.

Did some research. You can freeze cooked beans and a drained can equals approximately 1.5 cups of cooked beans.

So for 97 cents I have the equivalent of 4 cans of beans. I have no idea if I looked if i could find a pound of black eyed peas (dried) for less than that - probably.

I find it very hard to find cans of beans for 25 cents or less each. At times I've spent $1 per can though around 70cents is more common.

Today was just a stinky day

September 27th, 2006 at 02:39 am

After this mornings incident (my last blog entry) I came home to a kitchen that smelled quite ripe. Note to self. Tossing meat waste itno garbage means that you should be taking aout the garbage within the next hour... And yes, *sigh* I did spray some oust. I seem to be able to
tolerate a bit of that - bought to cover up smoke smells from when my mom visits.
While I hate her smoking she's 80, has a bad hip, and has alzheimers. Of the people I lecture about smoking or wish they'd quit I can't bring myself to even suggest she should.

On a good note. The store had $1 off coupons on the brand of milk I like and I needed milk.

Money and Health Tip

September 26th, 2006 at 10:25 pm

Don't buy air fresheners.

Okay, so I'm not fond of the scent of fresh spring meodows wafting out from the latest product from ______ (insert name of manufacturer who makes stinky products here).

Okay not fond is a bit mild. Air fresheners, especially the plug in ones cause me a migraine. I had to go to a meeting on another floor of my building today. Instant migraine (complete with unhappy stomach) thanks to the odor.

When the meeting was done, I went to my boss and he took me to HR with him to lodge an official complaint about scents in the workplace. I've lost time and the company has had to pay me sick pay due to this in the past - twice actually). HR is not willing to go into the "don't wear perfume" discussion but they are willing to send something out regarding being considerate of your fellow employees and overly scented items like air freshener.

Not the Greatest of Days

September 26th, 2006 at 01:04 am

Today isn't going down as one of the best days I've had. If it can go wrong it will Work was beyond nuts though I'm now done last Wednesday's task that was absolutely due then. I didn't make much traction other than that. While I did stay late I ended up having to go home as today was the day they decided to shampoo the carpets - and the cleaning solution they use is noxious.

I did get my pension plan paperwork in to work so they can "cost" adding back service into the plan. She estimates a couple of weeks which is only to be expected. Someone has to do some crunching. Once I get it back I can evaluate what I want to do then.

The weirdest thing I got to deal with was my father got an offer on his house. Well its really my mom's house as it is in her name. But she isn't in a state where she can make financial decisions so I got to deal with the lawyer as I'm her POA. For some reason dad is buying the new house a week after he is selling other other house. I caught that and refused to agree to the offer. A formal rental agreement for the week or closing the same day he is buying is much more appropriate.

I opened a bag of milk and went to make a cup of tea tonight. But, somewhat not suprisingly the milk was off - and it curdled as it went into the cup. So I am doing what any sensible person would. Having a Light Mike's Hard Lemonade.


September 25th, 2006 at 02:32 am

I hate when I write something and then manage to touch the keyboard in a way that's not quite right and manage to lose it.

It wasn't that witty, inspirational or useful, but dang it, it was my blog entry. And its now off dancing in cyberspace.

Cooking today (So far Meatloaf, Cafe Chicken and Cornbread)

September 24th, 2006 at 05:34 pm

I'm cooking up a storm. This way I'm not going to be tempted to eat out for meals next week.

As I type cornbread is in the oven. A meatloaf is in one slowcooker and cafe chicken is in the other.

The cafe chicken is a new recipe but I think its going to be excellent on some rice with veggies

* 1/4 cup strong coffee
* 1/4 cup ketchup
* 2 Tbsp brown sugar (i used splenda)
* 2 Tbsp Worstershire Sauce
* 1 TBSP vinegar
* 1 TBSP lemon juice
* chicken

Mix and cook in slow cooker. I might end up thickening it when its done but this should be tasty and tangy when its done. Would probably work really nicely with beef too. The original recipe calls for cooking it in the oven and basting. That sounds like work compared to doing in the slow cooker.

Dang I'm getting hungry.

Fly-report - 5 bags gone

September 23rd, 2006 at 10:02 pm

A good day. 4 bags of garbage and one bag to go to a thift store.

About 1/2 was kitchen garbage - science experiments, what was I thinking when I bought that stuff, and stuff that was empty but the box was being saved(for what I had no idea). The rest was mainly old papers for the most part. Much of that got shredded - tax stuff from 10 years ago, paperwork from a car bought in 1992. Getting my paper stuff under control hasn't been easy but last nights search for pension documents was a wake up call for me. Time to get it organized and keep only that which is relavent such that I can find it.

And as I've been home a no spend day! Woo hoo!

Today's Goals

September 23rd, 2006 at 02:36 pm

Not sure if I am going to do any shopping today. I'm more feeling like doing stuff around my cave Smile

I'm going to do flylady day today I think ( for anyone who hasn't yet joined that cult).

My objective is to get 5 bags minimum of garbage/clutter/crap out of here. I want to move ahead on making my place a home and not a "place for stuff". Its way better than it was a year or two ago but the more I do the more I want to do.

I'd also like to make a meatloaf and mashed cauliflower (like mashed potatos but without the guilt). I better take the beef out of the freezer if I want to do that

Found it!

September 23rd, 2006 at 01:17 am

I found the other pension statement. So I can bring them both into the office on monday. They'll let me know what back service I can buy into the pension plan with them.

Added up the amounts. These two pensions total $592.06 per month starting at age 65 .. and one of the pension plans has some overcontribution money in it, $2,632.05 as at August 31, 2001.

Dang. Good thing I am getting my house in order financially. I think I was *this* far from forgetting I had these amounts.

Spoke to HR regarding pension transfer idea

September 22nd, 2006 at 11:33 pm

Spoke to our Pension person in HR today and asked about if we can put money from other pension plans into our plan. She confirmed that yes our plan allowed that. This is very unusual as these are Defined Benfit plans and not the normal Defined contribution plan that most employers offer these days. All I need is the pension statement that I got from the old employer when I left their employment.

Once I bring the paper in she'll send it to the actuaries or whoever calculates what that money, if transfered, would buy as past service in our pension plan. And the quote is no obligation *whew*. The biggest bonus with this is my boss is an actuary and I can go to him once I get the numbers for advice (its not like my salary information isn't something he knows).

I found one of the statements. I left this company in the late 90's. The pension will pay about $500 a month when I turn 65. Dang - that's actually real money.

I haven't found the other one but I'll keep looking. I think as I do that my paper shredder may get a good workout. A rental agreement on a place I haven't lived in in 10 years is hardly a peace of paper that is needed in my life. I'm sure I'll find more gems than that though


September 22nd, 2006 at 12:57 am

I'm snowed under at work. Like 4 feet under. I've warned all my coworkers if they don't make sure it goes on my to-do list it won't get done. If they don't take me seriously it is to their peril - though honestly I'm not really taking work from them right now - if they aren't careful and are in reach too long I'll cheerfully delegate it though.

Trying a frugal(ish) recipe tonight - and low fat 2 cans of corn, a can of black beans and a large jar of salsa along with 4 chicken breasts sliced are in the slow cooker. Okay so maybe not that frugal but the only ingredient I didn't have was the black beans and they were well less than a dollar. Easy, low fat and healhty. I love all the ingredients so I don't see how it can't help but be good. I'm hoping to have this for tomorrow lunch - so I can review tomorrow.

The things I do for work

September 21st, 2006 at 12:53 am

Every once in a while the strangest jobs fall my way. This time its researching how many adults have leaky bladders and how much it costs for the diaper sand pads and "adult bladder control products".

Part of the research is fine - I will just websurf the sites for depends, attends, and poise at work. The computer department might get some giggles - but that doesn't really worry me - they aren't at the site I work on so its not like I'll see them looking at me as they point and giggle.

So here I am at my local drugstore tonight standing in front of the "adult diapers" writing down prices, websites and what's in the package.

I found prices. I've found prevalence. Now all I need to do is find out how often on average one would change an adult diaper or pad. *hmmpf* I think I'll just ask a mother how often they change a toddler who is in the "diaper training" stage - and extrapolate that to older adults. Or maybe more research on their websites.

The good news is that I didn't have to buy any as part of my research. I'm hoping to avoid that really. However on a practical note I'll know the odds are I might need this stuff in the future.

Adult Humour: Didn't Save Anything for Retirement

September 20th, 2006 at 12:08 pm

I just howled when I saw this - and it emphasised the message of ensuring one does save for the future.

$4,500 or more for 14 days

September 20th, 2006 at 01:26 am

Citibank just sent me the most interesting offer. They want to lend me money. $4,500 or more depending on my credit. If I return all the money they lend me during the first 14 days I can return it with no fees, charges, hassles - Guaranteed.

Its tempting. But I can't think of anything to do with it where I'll still have it all two weeks later. Putting it in the bank and earning interest is an idea but seems more trouble than its worth.

Maybe I'll call up the manager of the branch and ask her as her name is on the personal letter they sent me. She might have some ideas of what to do with the money for 13 or 14 days - I mean she is a branch manager and everything - they are supposed to be smart aren't they? I'm sure she'd love to sit down with me for an hour and brainstorm ideas....

I also woulnd't mind asking her why something so important got sent by addressed admail and not first class mail. I mean they printed "Priority express" and "UrgentNoticeRequired" on the envelope.

Dang, I'm too busy to do this. But it is tempting....

Don't mind me, I'm just excited

September 19th, 2006 at 12:59 am

The darling boyfriend told me a Schick Intuition razor is waiting for me at his house.

My dry spell is finally over!

I'm a happy camper and my boyfriend will be too as I'll not be a stubbly porcupine Smile

Toothpaste RAOK

September 18th, 2006 at 07:43 pm

I got asked if I was sending a message by one of my team members at work. I shared my toothpaste samples with my coworkers. They were all very appreciate although one did ask me if I was trying to subtly tell them they all have stained teeth.

I also left coupons for this product in the two grocery stores I was at last night. Hopefully someone gets to use the and store employees don't throw them out. I tucked them under the product such that you could see them but they weren't in the way.

Visited 2 Groceries Today...

September 18th, 2006 at 02:33 am

... in seaarch of the mysterious product known as Arizona Diet Iced Tea in the gallon jugs. I have never seen this here in that size bottle and frankly its way cheaper to buy it this way than in single serving containers. So I import it in bulk (yes I have no life).

A suggestion for grocers.. when you can't keep it on the shelf try ordering in more at a time. You'll have more sales if you keep the product handy for folks to buy.

Store one - was a nice bloke working in the pop/iced tea aisle. He told me they never manage to keep it in stock as it literally flies of off the shelf.

Store two - got behind a lady buying a ton of stuff in line. There was a crisis with the dozen or so cans of Spagetti-O's she was buying. She was using coupons for this prodcut and for some reason while they were all Spagetti-O's there were two UPC's showing up which caused great distress, involved a manager, made lots keys be punched and items be rescanned. They were efficent but officous, however, they got brownie marks from me as I watched them do some magic and she got her savings. As I don't consider Spagetti-O's food I was pleased for her but not at all envious of her deal on that particular product.

After a less long wait than I feared I was at the counter. When I mentioned I wanted more Iced Tea the cashier got the manager over, she cell phoned the department and had they had them they'd have brought me the 4 bottles more I wanted. This was nice service. Alas the iced tea was on order and due for Monday's shipment. As the store in in another country and about a two hour drive from my home that was nice information but sadly not information that benefited me.

Free stuff everywhere.

September 16th, 2006 at 08:42 pm

We headed into town to watch the. dragon boat races today. A nice free activity

We watched a few heats and enjoyed some entertainment and wandered the booths. Amongst the stuff to buy were the tables of freebees.

I got samples of Tums, toothpaste and some nicorette gum that one of my coworkers might appreciate (she is trying to cut down/quit
Also grabbed a free waterbottle (I've been wanting one of these so this saved me some money) and a backstratcher. Oh yes and grabbed some coupons good until the end of the year!

Fun and free stuff. Woo Hoo!

The Good, the Bad and two Questions

September 16th, 2006 at 02:15 pm

The good was the Crest-Pro Health Toothpaste sample from Walmart. A large full tube .. Woo hoo.

The bad was a sample from Covergirl. The wee pouches of foundation opened in transport. Given how they dried on the paper, its matte, cracked and a brownish colour best not described on too much detail. Either the samples had poor quality packaging or the post office had fun with them.

The questions:

Anyone know why so few samples come with coupons. I'd have thought that would be a natural. What about marketing don't I understand? I'd have thought they'd want you to buy it a again and a coupon would help. What am I missing?

What do you do with the samples you don't end up using?

Old Fashioned Banking

September 15th, 2006 at 12:13 pm

Last night I had to get some US cash and some Canadian money. I'm heading to the US today.

My bank has ATM's that give out money in both currencies (does the entire money change conversion for you, debits your count and hands you the cash in the appropriate currency). Since I've discovered these machines I've not taked to a teller in a bank. That's probably been 2 or 3 years.

Well last night I tried to use the card. It wouldn't go in the machine. Great I think, I've failed bank machine card insertion. Nothing like not being able to operate the bank machine to feel like a total loser.

I ended up going in and doing my transaction with a teller. Its been so long doing that it was almost like it was my first time ever *grins*

It was pretty nice actually. She was friendly and did all the paperwork for me. That was nice - I didn't realise we no longer had to fill out those little slips.

The nicest surprise of the day? There was no line up Smile

Made money with a pyramid referral contest

September 14th, 2006 at 06:07 am

I don't normally do those refer friends and get rewards type of promotions. No thanks. That's a great way to lose friends. And it banks on your friends refering people too. A pyramid scheme of sorts.

One of the drugs stores up here has a loyalty card. You get points when you spend money at their store.

They have all kinds of promotions. The last one was a "refer your friends and family" promotion. For each direct and indirect referal who spent $50 on the THE day you got 2000 points plus 20X points on whatever you bought. Maximum 100,000 points from referals. Create a pyramid of friends and make them all spend money with us on this day!! Woo Hoo!

Well I joined a chain of referals through a message board I'm on up here. The owner of the board organized everyone into three lines (was meant to be two but it ended up being three). She had a member of the Board refer me then she gave me another members name to refer under my name. I sent it to a couple of people that I know but while a couple signed up I don't think any spent any money that day. My friends aren't the sort to get all excited about these sorts of things

She (the owner of the site where I got my referal and who gave me the one referal to do) did one damn good job doing this. I spent my $50. Got 11000 points from that. I ended up with 100,000 more points from referrals. Somehow I managed to have 50 indirect and direct referals each spend their $50 that day. For total of 110,000 points. I actually had some so I have 120,000 points

They have a bonus on this weekend. Spend 75,000 points and and get $200 off your purchase. 40,000 gets you $100 off your purchase. Usually you have to spend more points to get that level of savings so this is a very good dealYou can use these for almost anything in the store. Its a large drug store - think Eckard or CVS or Walgreens. That type of chain.

Cost to me $50
Benefit approximately $300 in free merchandise.

Savings approximately $250

Now to figure out what to buy. I'm stocked up just having spent $50. They do these periodically so maybe I should wait til the next one to cash them out.

Or I can buy some Christmas presents in advance. Too bad you can't use them for gift cards.

Such a horrible stress to have eh?

Move the Pension Money?

September 13th, 2006 at 11:16 pm

Spoke to my boss today about my pensions from previous employers. He suggested I contact both my former employers to find out a) why they haven't sent me statement and b) to see if my pension amounts are portable. He isn't 100% sure if I'm supposed to get the statements but he thinks I am and regardless he says it makes sense that I ask.

Thinking about asking prior employers to do some work on my behalf does bring a smile to my face.

He suggested I find out if my prior pension vested amounts are portable and can be transfered into my pension plan with my current employer. That would get me a bigger benefit from here. Buying "back service" I think is the expression I have heard used when someone does this.

I have heard of doing this. Now I just have to figure out if there are any reasons I can't do this and if this makes sense for me.

It feels good to be thinking about this money but it also seems a bit scary. Time to educate myself more on the ins and outs of pension plans.

If nothing else, reading about them will ensure a few nights of good sleep!

I have retirement money out there I forgot

September 13th, 2006 at 02:00 am

Sounds stupid on my part eh? It is. But it not like I lost the passbook or have the account statements going to the wrong address.

I have 2 defined benefit pensions from companies that I used to work with that I'm a deferred vested in. So when I get to retirement age I have some money coming from them. Not much but I go by the theory it all adds up

I could have taken the money from these but I think (going by memory here) both are indexed therefore it might be hard for me to do as well.

I have never seen any statements from these pension plans. As an employee you get statements very year I don't get statements from them. I don't know if as a deffered vested I am supposed to or not. I haven't moved so its not that they are sending them to a wrong address.

My boss is an actuary, even though he's not a pension actuary I'll ask him if I'm supposed to get statements. He's geeky enough to know that - and honest enough to tell me if he doesn't know. He'll also likely be able to tell me who to ask if he doesn't know.

Weird Product Promotions (guys may want to skip this post)

September 11th, 2006 at 11:56 pm

I'm shopping today. Store was out of what I had gone there for. So I wasn't in a great mood. This sets the context for the rest of this post.

I go up and down the aisles to see if there are any good coupons. Found some including one for $1 off milk - my favourite "super duper filtered" brand - and they are good til Dec 31st. Needless to say a couple went into my purse. Found some other new ones to add to the trains I'm starting.

So I get to the "feminine papers" section of the store. There is this box attached to one of the shelves. Of course I grab one of what's in them to see if it includes a coupon. No coupon, no instructions but a "lift and sniff" feature. I lifted, I sniffed (not that I had to very hard those things always are overpowering once you open them). Cheap perfume-y smell. The sort that reminded me of woolworths or woolco.

Excuse me? Mr Manufacturer of feminine goods, but if I want to smell pretty I'll use perfume. I wear your products so I don't stink and stay clean. I thought the objective of them was so you didn't smell!

Decluttering and Sending stuff out

September 10th, 2006 at 11:50 pm

Been a busy day. First out for brunch in a trendy area of town.

Afterwards for some reason I was quite the little flybaby. Two drawers in the bedroom cleaned out. Three bags cleaned out(I seem to like stashing stuff in bags, the coffee table found (I was right it was under that pile'o'stuff), a good straighten in the kitchen, paperwork shredded, filed, organized or tossed as appropriate. Whew!

Set up coupons for three trains I'm starting that will to go out in the next few days.

Went to the post office and mailed (using all new postage) two trains, one belated envelope I owe someone and a couple of RAOK's.

The mail brings nice things sometimes

September 10th, 2006 at 05:20 pm

Yeah I know most of the time its just crap. This time it was a charity request for a donation. Opened it and the loveliest collection of return address stickers. Waste not want not right? Thanks charity! I don't do my giving via mail requests but I won't waste these either.

Oh and I just "reclaimed" $6.74 cents in uncancelled postage! A few minutes in a bowl of water to free them from the old envelopes and when I go to use them a swipe of the ole glue stick and they'll work good as new Smile

<< Newer EntriesOlder Entries >>