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July 2009 - Posts - Yankee 2.0
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Yankee 2.0

July 2009 - Posts

  • Peace of mind for $17.50 per month

    After lots of hemming and hawing, thinking and weighing, I decided to buy pet insurance for my new cat Jerome. He's young and healthy now, and he's an indoor cat, but most of my pets have had pricey health problems at some point in their lives, so I thought it was probably best for me to get it.

    I wrote a post here a few months ago wondering if I should get it or not. I talked to my vet. I talked to other people. I read lots of opinions on the Internet. The case against getting the insurance that made the most sense to me was that if one just put the same amount of money in the bank each month, one would have an emergency fund for the pet, and if the pet never got sick, one could just use that money for other things. But the argument that refutes that is two-fold -- (1) what if the pet gets sick right away, and (2) $200 a year won't cover much.

    So I got the insurance and now little Jerome The Cat is covered against accident and illness. The night after I signed up for it, I was awakened by a strange squeaking sound -- it was Jerome boxing with a bat that had flown into the house and he had someone caught out of mid-air. Bat and cat were un-injured and the bat eventually left the house, but I felt that really vindicated my decision to get the insurance. I do feel much more peace of mind. 

  • One thing that's better store-bought than home-made

    For several months now, I've been using as many home-made cleaning products (for my person and my house) as I could. I've been making my own bath soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, face soap, laundry soap, and house cleaning stuff. Just as I'm about to finish a container of some existing product, I research how I can make a frugal and eco-friendly replacement.

    I'm thrilled with almost everything I've made, and have shared my recipes here and with friends in the physical world. But on one front, I've had to concede to manufactured products. It's dishwashing in the machine.

    I have about a three year's supply of hand dishwashing liquid (because I water it down in one of those foaming pumps, so it lasts for ever!). But a while ago, I finished off my powdered dish detergent and chemically store bought rinse/drying agent. I switched over to a recipe of borax + washing soda for the powder and straight white vinegar for the rinse/drying agent. Dishes weren't getting very clean and the glasses were covered in spots. I tried tweaking the recipe; I thought my machine was on the fritz; I thought it was the summer humidity -- nope, nope, and nope. 

    As an amateur scientist, I tried several experiments -- home-made powder plus store-bought Jet Dry stuff. Better, but not great. Store-bought powder with vinegar. Ditto. Finally, I had to admit that the combination of the store-bought powder (about $3.00 for nearly 6 months supply of Target brand eco-friendly stuff) plus the Jet Dry stuff (about $6.00 for about a three month supply of what I suspect is not very eco friendly at all) was what worked to get the dishes clean and spot-free.

    I'm happily (and cleanly) staying with everything else, but this is one area where commercial science has prevailed over the domestic version. 

  • How to make $75 fast, and the realization that comes with it

    I came across an advertisement recently from Bank of America: open a checking account with them with a minimum depoist of $500, make at least one debit transaction within 30 days of opening the account, and they'll deposit $75.00 into the account, or mail you a check if the account is closed.  This is a much better interest rate than I'm getting in my passbook savings or online savings accounts, so I'm going to sign up for it.

    I'm so pleased to be in a position to be able to do this -- to have $500 that I can actually live without for a month, and to be able to compare savings rates from separate savings accounts. This is not a position in which I have found myself for quite some time. I lived hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck (with credit card support between paychecks) for years and years. But in the past 18 months or so, I've really turned my financial life around (with help from tips on Dollar Stretcher and the Dave Ramsey method). But my budgeting and persistance have paid off. Sticking with a weekly spending budget and putting whatever was left over (be it $1.00 or $20.00) into savings has made me feel so much more secure. Gary is doing a poll on what financial independence means, and while I'm nowhere near financially independent (for me, it means paying off my mortgage and student loans and having $20,000 in the bank -- something that is in the future, but not the near future), I am starting to taste it, and I know how much more peace I will fell when it eventually happens.

    And that $75 will go straight back into savings to help me reach my own goals of financial independence.

  • "Transumers not really consumers" -- I disagree.

    I just read an AP article in my local newspaper about "Transumers" -- people who are transient consumers. They don't purchase and consume things, they rent or lease consumer items that are then passed on to the next transumer. Sounds sort of green and sustainable, right? It was billed as a new econonmy type thing. Well, the person featured in the photo and the lead off to the article is budgeting $800 per month to rent designer pocketbooks. 

    Here's the article: http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2009/06/29/ap6598975.html 

    Yep, that's right, $800 per month, every month, for pocketbooks, presumably so she isn't seen with the same pocketbook. What???? I admit, I love pocketbooks, but I doubt that in my forty years of loving pocketbooks I've spent a total of $800.00 Another example given is "Wear Today, Gone Tomorrow" where you can rent a designer dress for $49.00 for a week (plus a $10.00 cleaning fee). So that's $60.00 for a dress that you can only wear once, plus someone else has already worn it!

    Is it just me, or does this seem like the ultimate antithesis of thrift?  How is it that this is a positive reaction to the "economic downturn" (great depression two)? "Less treasure, more pleasure" was the subtitle to this article. Sheesh!

     I get almost all of my clothes second-hand (just like those designer handbags and dresses are, if someone else has worn them). I wonder what someone paying $800 per month for handbags thinks about second-hand clothes? Does she really she's using used goods? 

    The article also talks about renting tools and bicycles and using Netflix for movies -- but these sensible programs were overshadowed for me by the profligate rentals.

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