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January 2011 - Posts - Yankee 2.0
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Yankee 2.0

January 2011 - Posts

  • A valuable lesson about planning

    Now that I'm sticking to the envelope system of budgeting, I have a much better awareness of where each dollar goes and what the various expenses in my life really are. One of the insurmountagle expenses is food. "Blasted stomach," as Odysseus said, despairing of the ongoing need to feed himself in his travels.

    I have a weekly business appointment that requires a two-hour drive each way. I normally bring my lunch and gas up before I leave. This week, however, we had (yet another) blizzard, and in my rush to leave an hour earlier than normal in order to get there on time, I skipped packing a lunch. I was hungry on the way back and stopped in a turnpike rest stop for lunch. It killed me to spend $6.00 for a slice of pizza and bottle of milk. I had to get gas, too, and it was 20 cents more per gallon there. They've got a captive audience in those toll road rest stops, and they make the most of it.

    I'm happy to say that $6.00 on lunch and about $2.00 more on gas isn't going to break the bank for me (I can remember times when it would have), and I paid for the gas out of the gas envelope and the food out of the general envelope. BUT, I know that the $2.00 extra out of the gas envelope means it might take an extra week to save up enough for a windshield wiper, and that $6.00 on rest stop lunch is $6.00 I could have put into savings. So, it was a good lesson about my continued committment to envelopes AND a lesson about planning and shopping decisions. Now that I (finally) realize that I don't have an infinite fund of money from which to draw, I am more aware of how each spending decision -- no matter how small -- impacts my total budget.

  • Low cost yoga classes

     I love taking yoga classes, but now that I'm trying to economize in every possible area (and using the envelope system), and that $15 per class could feed me for a week, it seems like an unnecessary expense. I have never managed to do yoga on my own (I get distracted), and now that I'm tv-free, I can't do video classes. Even when I had a tv it wasn't in a convenient spot for me to see and stretch out with.

    I haven't gone to a yoga class for a few weeks and have been feeling stiff and sore. So the other day, I looked around on iTunes and found many free or inexpensive yoga classes that I could download. My favorite has been YogaDownload.com because their classes are all around 20 minutes long -- just the right time for me. I can set aside 20 minutes (where 90 would seem too long at home), and do a class at home. I've done a couple so far and feel better already. They ask for a one dollar per month donation. I am happy to pay that.

    Have any of you DS readers used podcasts as a way to stay in shape? I can't believe I never thought of this earlier!

  • Unclaimed property -- check it out!

    I will soon be getting a check for $2500 for a 20 year old bank account that belonged to my late father. I discovered it checking the abandoned property in my state, which is something I do twice a year. You can search many (not all) states by going to missingmoney.com or check your individual state by searching for "abandoned property" and the state's name.You put in your name and voila -- if there's money out there, you'll find out. Over the years, I've gotten several checks from old bank accounts, life insurance policies, and other things that I didn't know existed, though this is the largest by far. Some were in the names of my late parents and some were in my name. If your name shows up, you have to prove who you are (pretty easy -- send a copy of your license and ss card) and where you lived when the property (not physical property, but money) was abandoned. If your an heir, you have to show the court document appointing you as executor and/or heir. 

    It's definitely worth a few minutes of your time to search through -- I've showed it to several friends who've discovered old accounts. And you should check every year -- the statute of limitations for searching for account holders varies so you may find something from many years ago. 

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