Thursday, February 5, 2009

Live From New York...

It's Thursday LinkFest!

After reading Trent's post, I really want a crockpot! I'm a little nervous about leaving something on at home all day while I'm gone, and I'm pretty sure Peanut and I would not find a meal we could agree to eat, but it's worth looking into.

This is a GREAT recipe! We have been going through vanilla like crazy lately thanks to our baking spurt, so I think I'm really going to do this--maybe this weekend.

Not that I have much choice given my self-imposed salary cut, but I've felt a little guilty for being extra frugal in today's economy. Well-Heeled is right: what's good for the individual is not so great for the whole society.

Trent's hit the nail on the head here: It's about people, not things. Both money and people can keep you warm, can keep you entertained, can make things a bit more comfortable for you--but only people can love you back. The happiest moments of my life have involved others, not things. I want to remember that more often.

My Open Wallet points me towards this neat little interactive thingy that shows how long it will take your retirement accounts to bounce back to what they had in them at their peak. My retirement accounts are too piddly--it says I'll bounce back within a year, which is technically true but I've lost 20% as well as a year's worth of earning power on that money. It's also pretty indicative that I am NOT saving enough for retirement, but I think I knew that already. Oy.

Plan of attack: Move in with Peanut to lower living expenses. Graduate and pay off student loans like they've got teeth. Begin maxing out Roth IRA as well as company 401K for the match. Contribute additional funds to traditional IRAs until we have reached 15% of income being invested. It'll take us a few years to get there.

I'd heard of some of these great money-saving sites, like Freecycle, BillShrink, UPromise and ShopItToMe, but I could stand to investigate some of the others as well.

MoneyMateKate asks why are you frugal? My answer: I can't help it. I've been frugal my entire life, starting with when I was five and was given two cookies. I saved them both to show my dad, and then I ate one and saved the other for the next day. I'm just a natural saver, and I like the "win" of getting a good deal.

Sometimes this bites me--I've been known to do things like taking a train for two hours one way to pick up a rusty old granny cart for $5 instead of spending $20 for a new one from the store down the block (turns into $3.75 per hour plus the frustration of actually having an old, rusty cart instead of one that works properly: Not Worth It.) or overscheduling myself to mystery shop when I'd rather spend quality time with people I love (you can always get more money--never more time).

In college for a while, I pretty much gave up on frugality and wasted a lot of money travelling to visit a rather deadbeat boyfriend--I didn't go into debt, but I once tried to add up how much I'd blown and quit after it reached $10,000. Ouch.

All sort of related: Madame X talks about merging lives and money as part of a crisis plan, Dog Ate My Finances talks about the trust involved in merging money, and Make Love Not Debt has a super-involved chart reflecting how they merged their finances.

Since Peanut and I are already making plans to move in together, I think we'd just speed up the process if one of us were to lose our jobs. I'd likely move in with him and his roommate so we could all save money. That's not my ideal situation, which is why we're waiting to start packing right now, but it would certainly be an option in a crisis. Regarding trust, I, I KNOW that Peanut is the first person I have dated who I would trust completely with money. I would be ok with giving him total access to my accounts, and I'm confident that he's being 100% honest with me. And knowing us, I think we probably will end up with a chart that looks like MLND's! We talked last night about whether we want to open a joint account (we've each got several already) or accounts, but we decided to let Future Peanut and Future LMM worry about that when the time comes.

I found two lists of coupon sites here and here. There's a little overlap, but you better believe I'm going to start visiting these sites to save money on grocery shopping!

And lastly, I did some googling about the crazy CVS couponing MMK does, and found a few good guides to getting started. I'm also now following Money Saving Mom, who puts up a great 101 Guide to CVS-ing and also puts up a list of savings each week. This is a really great start, so I'm going to start paying more attention and see what kinds of deals I can get!

1 comment:

  1. I'm nervous about leaving a crock pot while I work too... from the time I leave to the time I get home, I'm often gone about 10 hours, and I just don't trust that. So I use my slow cooker on the weekends when I can be home with it most of the time. It's still hands-off and allows me to get other things done, but I'm there to handle it if something goes wrong! Mine seems to cook hot enough that I can often put something in to cook when I get home from work, and have it finished before I go to bed. It's not quite the same as having it ready for you when you come home from work, but I have a finished meal in the fridge for lunch or dinner the next day without worrying about whether or not my house is burning down!


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