Looking over my monthly expenses and trying to see how my budget does/doesn’t work, I thought “Gee, I sure pay a lot for internet. I wonder if it’s like the phone company or credit card companies–maybe they have better rates and all you have to do is ask.” So, I looked on their website and they are having a special, 3-month discounted rate which they advertise as being for existing customers, but when you read the fine print, it’s for new customers. So, I call up the internet provider and say, hey, can you explain this to me? And since it’s a web-only offer, the service guy can’t seem to find it which he says is a constant problem and annoyance of his job because people call him up all of the time asking him about stuff on the website which he can’t read.

Eventually, he finds it and is just irritated with the inconsistency and says, “How about I just give you this rate?” I’m thinking, “But … but … but … it’s a web only offer.” Instead I say, “So, I get to keep all the same features and nothing changes except that you charge me less?” There has got to be a catch, right? He says, “That’s right.” So I add, “And after three months, I’ll just go back to my old rate (which is 40 cents/month cheaper than the best, current available rates)?” Matter of factly, he replied, “Yup.” It almost seemed like he on my side and was sending me a telepathic message, “Not everybody gets this good of a deal. Don’t draw attention to it. Take it already.” So, hell yeah, I quit looking a gift horse in the mouth and just said, “OK”. No change in features. I’m just gonna pay $40 less a month for 3 months.

Now, following the advice of the author of my motivational/practical advice finance book, I’m not just gonna absorb that moola; I’m gonna transfer $120 out of my checking (which is where I would have paid my internet bill from) to my money market. And I’m going to make it a practice to regularly move excess funds from my money market into a Roth IRA or start a mutual fund or something. God, 1 day and I sound like I almost know what in the hell I’m talking about.

Every little bit counts. Chi-ching.

Later on, I’m gonna copy for you the author’s chart that shows just how much richer you’d be if you funneled $5 each day into an investment account. It’s kind of stunning when it’s all in black and white like that. And it’s really not that hard. Makes me think completely differently about all those smoothies I buy.


OK, so in the spirit of Jacob Needleman who said (and I paraphrase), “If you pay more attention to money, it wouldn’t steal so much attention from you” (Needleman, 1991). Which kind of translates to the old adage “Knowledge is power.”

And it turns out that my credit union offers free personal financial advise with a certified finanical advisor. So, I called him up, hauled in my files, and we went over everything today. The good news is that I’m doing OK, all things considered. I mean, as long as I continue to make what I’m making, I could continue saving like I’m saving and living at the level to which I have become accustomed (with all my jet setting) and I could retire on time and be OK. As you all know, I’m not willing to stay put in my career in order to make that happen but everything else I’m interested in has more risk in terms of investment and pay off. (BTW, I hereby make a commitment to stop myself from phrasing the previous sentence as, “I can’t make as much doing other things I know how to do as I can doing this thing I don’t like.” Because we don’t know that that’s true. What’s true is that it has more risk than I’m as yet comfortable with and that’s what I need to be most aware of.)

He did point out a couple of ways I could be getting more out of my investments (which I kinda already knew but doubted my knowledge and so had been dragging my feet) and I’m going to correct those ASAP. (God, I love on-line banking.)

For those who aren’t familiar with it, here’s the quick version of cash flow planning (which I learned today–why don’t they teach us this stuff in school? Sweet Jebus.): Continue reading

Pile it on …

I’m hormonal, I’m about to spend some of my precious rainy day savings (that I had been hoping to use soon) on a new car that I didn’t really want, Hermes and I got into another simple miscommunication thing tonight that required complex unravelling, my cat’s drinking fountain stopped recirculating water tonight, and my aging dog’s dementia seems to have been acting up this weekend seeing as how he has been clinging to me like a freshly laundered sock.

Dear planet Mercury, fuck off.

funny money

Is it just me or is anyone else rattled by this automated check withdrawal system? I’m used to writing a check and then giving it to someone. Here, gas stations are starting to run it through a little machine and then just give it back to me. What in the heck am I supposed to do with it? Do I keep it, throw it away, frame it? The little piece of paper feels too sacred to be left in my care. I prefer to live in complete ignorance of what banks usually do with it. Some small part of me knows that they make a microfilm copy and then shred it. But I prefer to fantasize that somehow my money is so important that my invalidated checks are all kept in a highly secure vault somewhere underground in Montana. Yes, I bet there is a whole killer guard dog devoted to protecting my refuse.

Sometimes, I am so slow to change.