Useless Thoughts Running Through My Head

various musings of a generation x kad

Archive for the ‘finances’ Category

Rolling Pennies for iTunes

Posted by thoughtful1 on November 12, 2008

The Coinstar machines now allow you to convert your loose change to gift cards.  Doing so enables you to avoid paying the 8.9% fee Coinstar charges when you convert your change to dollar bills.  I’m excited about this since the gift card choices include Borders, Amazon, and iTunes – things I would actually use!  Now my spare change, which usually sits for months years on my desk, can be used to buy fun stuff.  It’s like found money!  And my regular pay can be saved up or used for real purchases, like a really expensive stick vac.  Okay, obviously I am still prone to purchasing things I could probably do without, but at least I can treat myself to some music or a book without feeling guilty.  After all, the spare change was just collecting dust.

So tonight I went to the local Shaw’s and turned my loose change into an iTunes e-certificate.  I’ve now got $50 to spend on tunes.  Happiness!

My first purchase?
“Elevator Operator” by Lolly Pop:

Because everyone could use some fun dance music these days

My second purchase?
“Happy Birthday To Me” by Bulldog Mansion:

Because they’re a cooler cut of K-Pop.

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Note to self: factor car maintenance into the budget

Posted by thoughtful1 on May 31, 2007

Ouch.  Tomorrow I am going to get hit with a four digit car repair bill.  Expensive pieces of my air conditioning need to be replaced.  I was leaking freon into the air, and as an eco-conscious UU I would feel guilty if I didn’t do something about that.

Plus, at 36, I cannot tolerate hot weather like I could when I was 20.  Thinking about how uncomfortable I was this past weekend driving around in hot weather with a car that was blowing cool air on me, I am amazed that in college I drove around Southern Virginia in August and May w/o AC in my car.

So tomorrow the car should be done, and I can add a few more dollars towards my GM rebate on some future car purchase.  I just looked at my budget to see how I am going to pay for all this.  It looks like I will have to ease up on my savings plan.  *sigh*  And I’ll have to stop eating out as much.  I was really good – I brought my lunch almost every day.  Then the weather got nice, and I wanted to go outside.  Then I started having lunch with the co-workers.  And no I’ve been spending more than I wanted on lunch.  Starting next week I’m going to try to be better about making my lunch.

Anyhoo, the result of this is when I make my budget for 2009, instead of assuming I won’t have some yucky car maintenance, I will factor it in.

And perhaps I should start wondering if I should consider buying a new car.  My current car is 11 years old, so that would be an argument for buying a new one.  I take public transportation, so I am not dependent on the car for work.  I just need it for running errands.   So those are arguments against.  Plus, I don’t really want to take out a car loan right now.  Hmm.  Maybe I’ll just keep an eye on things for the next year or two.

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Eew… I knew this, but…

Posted by thoughtful1 on May 29, 2007

I am a geek.  I track my mortgage in an Excel spreadsheet.  I like to keep track of how much pre-paying the principal is saving me.  And I have a graph of remaining principal and interest paid.  I took a look at it tonight, and I noticed something really depressing:

By the end of my 30 year mortgage I will have paid more in interest than I ever paid in principal.

I think I knew this, but seeing it graphically represented drilled it home.  Ouch.

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Oops. Bills.

Posted by thoughtful1 on April 30, 2007

I was about to log off when I suddenly remembered that today is the last day of April. And I haven’t finished paying this month’s bills. Doh.

Most important: Homeowner’s insurance. If I screw that up and the mortgage company gets wind of it, bad things happen. So I wrote that check first.

Now I am just writing out checks and I have to figure out how much to transfer from my savings to my checking to cover the minimum balance required to avoid any fees. Blech. This was a yucky month, mostly due to two big bills coming due and a surprise bill. I spent a bit too much on stuff in general, plus my airfare to the UUA’s General Assembly. So my main credit card balance was a bit heavy. Next, the bill for my PC came, and then the 0% interest period on my washer and dryer ended. So a lot of money flying out the door this month. At least I can cover it. And in the next few weeks my W-4 changes should go through and my cash flow should improve measurably.

Gotta love that mortgage interest deduction 🙂

But, in the meantime, I have bills to pay.

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