Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Drinking and Shopping Don't Mix

I enjoyed this fun Atlantic Wire post on shopping under the influence.

 I have been to enough Palm Beach charity events over the years to understand the silent auction (and live auction) bidding dollars go way up the more people drink.

As such, I would add a section to the article that one should generally get a pass for shopping/bidding at charity auctions, since its for charity.

Otherwise, I thought the suggestions in this guide were great.  Definitely leave the credit cards at home if you are shopping after drinking and have a friend there to talk you out of bad ideas.

I often find myself in trouble when it comes to art, because (1) I love original art, (2) I'll spend good money for art, and (3) I'm often admiring art while holding a glass of wine.  So I stick to my rules and anything over a $100 requires a cooling off period.  I'll take a photo of the art with my iPhone, I'll take a business card, but I generally don't buy art on a first viewing.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Although I lost my blog link to our NetWorthIQ.Com profile, it looks like the system is back up and running. Whoo-hoo!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

2013 Goals - May Update

(1) Max out 401k(s) -        $15,736 (45%)   (goal is $35,000)
(2) Max out IRA(s) -         $6,013 (55%)    (goal is $11,000)
(3) Add to e/r fund -          $3,600 (36%)   (goal is $10,000)
(4) Pay down mortgage -   $1,660 (25%)     (goal is $5,000)
(5) Trading account fund - $50  (1%)        (goal is $5,000)
(6) House projects -          $900 (30%)      (goal is $3,000)

Total:  $27,959 (41%)

We are about $1400 ahead of where we should be.

Otherwise, we continue to chug along.  I've got some unbudgeted car expenses coming up, new tires, new breaks, tune up, etc. which is likely to run more than a thousand.  My eating out/ordering in expenses continue to be high.  The busier I am at work, and I'm super busy right now, the more I spend on eating in because I don't have the time or energy to prepare food.  Last week I spent close to $100 on eating in (yikes!) which is way too much.

I was trying to get into networthiq today, and its not working.  Another yikes!  I love that site and I have a lot of data stored in it, so I'm trying not to freak out and hoping it will be back up and running shortly.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dow Closes Above 15,000

Did you hear that the Dow closed above 15,000 yesterday for the first time ever?

How did you celebrate?  Me, I updated our NetWorthIQ profile and reviewed our Roth IRA holdings, which is where we hold individual stocks, to see if there are any holdings we should be selling.

Friday, May 3, 2013

ProFlower's Scummy Scam

At one point I used to regularly use ProFlowers as my go to company to send flowers across the miles.  It was so easy as I had all my information and my recipients' information stored.  I could just log in, click, click and click and flowers would arrive for birthdays, Mother's Day and other occasions.  But there was a reason I stopped using them and that reason reared its ugly head this past week.

I had a coupon code for ProFlowers and since Mother's Day and a birthday is coming up I figured sending flowers would be easy for both.  I logged in, picked my flowers, one arrangement was $25 and the other was $29 with my coupon code.  And then onto easy step two, picked my delivery day, clicked on my recipients (data already saved) and then went to check out.

Ugh!!  Now I remember why I stopped using ProFlowers, when I went to check out, up popped charge after charge.  Delivery charge, delivery day up charge, care and handling charge.  That discount coupon doesn't end up being much of a discount with all the charges at the end.  The total for the two arrangements was more than $120.  In the end I cancelled the order, just can't give my business to this company even if its super easy.

For one of the recipients, I have a local florist that I will order from (have used them before and they do a great job).  I'll figure out something for the other recipient.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ask, and you shall receive

I have been a DirecTv customer for years.  We also have an HBO package which includes access to HBO Go.  HBO Go is a great service, we can watch any and all HBO series, including past seasons and current seasons, on an iPad or iPhone anywhere (assuming access to WiFi) at anytime.

But, there is a down side of DirecTv and HBO and that is the price.  While, I feel like we get a lot of enjoyment out of the service, DirecTv has been inching up and inching up in price.  So I've developed a habit of calling once every 13 months or so and asking for a discount.  I used to call armed with information from their competitors, but now I just call up and tell them I want to keep our same services but I want to pay less and it seems to work.

Last night I called, and I received a $10 discount on our DirecTv package and then I spoke to someone in the premium channel department and received a $10 discount on our HBO package.  The general discount is good for a year and the HBO discount is good for six months.  So in 5 minutes I saved us $180.

This is a good lesson for all who are working on killing debt, sticking to a budget or increasing savings.  While you may have to cut certain things out in your quest for improved personal finances, there are also opportunities to keep the same services but pay less.

When we were killing our credit card debt in 2007 I regret that I never called, on the cards that were not 0%, and asked for reductions in interest rate or some other accommodations.  Last year, we combined and redid our car insurance (more than 5 years after we got married).  We dramatically increased our coverage and saved a ton of money (which we put towards our umbrella insurance policy).  We could have saved thousands of dollars over the 5 years of insurance status quo, but we didn't make the time to investigate our options.