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Archive for March, 2006

City Life in Spain

March 29th, 2006 at 11:47 pm

I'm currently living in a very conservative city and nylons are the norm until summer hits. Well, this weather is too hot for nylons on my bulging belly (even the low cut ones) so I didn't wear any today. If I have any more glances from men checking out my legs, I'm going to knock them on their butt! Sometimes, it just takes too much energy to blend in like a native - especially when one is pregnant!
So, yesterday, Besides the two bus trips (about .60) each, I went to the bakery and picked up a late evening snack for 1.97 and I also spent .87 for a stamp. I think I already marked down the bakery run earlier in the day.
The bakeries here are so very wonderful. I haven't tried everything, yet, but the bakery workers are very helpful. Smile
I must be getting a lot bigger than I was when I arrived because people have started giving up their seats for me on the bus. It's quite sweet of them and I really appreciate the thoughtfulness.
I knew it would happen, but it really does get tiring of having bread, cheese, and meat every day of the week. Sigh. Ah well. I made eggs last night (cheap dinner!) and they tasted great. Just a little salt, pepper and olive oil.
This morning, I spent 1.25 on an ensaimada and a roll for lunch to eat with my meat, cheese, butter and later I'll have to go buy an avocado or tomato to spruce up my sandwich a bit.
I'm visiting friends over the weekend in Germany, so hopefully expenses will be at a minimum... will probably have to take advantage of their washing machine, however... I wouldn't be able to get my clothes washed and dried before I leave.
Trying to be frugal away from home,
Jorge

Expensive Travels

March 29th, 2006 at 05:33 am

Hello Everyone,
Had to start tracking my spending in Europe after spending 100 the first week I was here on just food and admissions to museums. Ouch! I felt before I left that I had a pretty good grasp on where I spent my money, but watching that much money float through my fingers without a second thought was an eye opener for me. I had hoped to limit my spending to about 600 for four weeks not including room which was 350 plus a 60 deposit.
Huh. Doesn't look like that'll happen. Now that I'll hopefully have access to internet on a more regular basis, I think I'll just start keeping track on my journal again for what I spend...
It's a nice tool!
If I buy a punch card for the bus or metro, it works out to about .60 for each ride... otherwise, normal price is 1,20.
I've been trying to bring food for lunch and not eat out for breakfast other than grabbing a morning pastry on my way to the bus stop... I unfortunately ran out of clothes because it took 2 days for my clothes to line dry in the humidity and I'm 5 months pregnant with very few clothes to begin with (and I only brought carry-on luggage for 4 weeks). Hence, my spending $130 on a pair of maternity pants and a shirt. Oi!!!! That was painful. Then I started to get blisters on my feet from all of the walking (at least 5 miles each day) (how much more in shape am I compared to when I arrived?!) and purchased another pair of shoes. I had brought my Tevas for warm weather and a pair of comfortable clogs with me... the Tevas were too cold to wear even with socks when I first arrived (something I hadn't expected) and no one wants to wear sandals anyway when they're in a big city... too easy to step in something nasty on the cobblestones!
Well, my comfy clogs aren't so comfy after a few marathons around town (much to my dismay).
$90.00 for comfortable shoes.
Before these expenses, I thought it would be a nice treat to bring something little back for myself, so $35.00 perfume went on the VISA.
Rented a car over the weekend to travel to a city where it was necessary (no public transportation) and spent $81 shared 50% with a friend. I checked my credit card transactions online today, however, and see that there is an outstanding authorization for $107 that doesn't list a merchant, yet. Hmmm, wonder what the heck THAT could be. If it's an additional charge for the rental car, I'm going to have to waste time trying to clear up the charge. Hopefully it's just a reserve on my card like a deposit so that it'll clear itself up.
Spent .21 for a little round roll of bread today and .60 for the bus. Otherwise, I brought my food for lunch to eat with my roll and I brought my own water.
Will keep ya'll posted on how my savings in Europe progresses!

Besos,
Jorge

Travel

March 9th, 2006 at 06:52 am

Has anyone figured out, yet, why logging in on the front page doesn't work for the whole site? I still had to log in under the blog pages...
So, today's the day - heading off across the Atlantic and am going to try to spend as little money as possible. I have money in cash to pay my rent and I'm only taking a carry-on piece of luggage. Rick Steve's web site on travel tips was very useful. For the plane, I have a Nalgene bottle with 1/4 juice (helps with the runs to the bathroom), granola bars, GORP, and fruit rolls. Never make a pregnant lady go hungry. Smile
I've already checked in online and have my boarding passes. Now I just need to finish a few things around the house.

Till the next internet connection,
Jorge

The IRA shuffle

March 3rd, 2006 at 05:13 pm

Thanks, baselle, for the link to MorningStar's article on TIAA-CREF. I believe that I, too, will be moving my account from there.
My traditional IRA only had $2300 in the account and after looking at Vanguard's web site, an individual needs $3000 minimum for the IRA account rollovers. So... I sent an extra $800 into TIAA-CREF so that I can eventually transfer to Vanguard. Haven't put anything in IRA's for 2005 since I was too lazy to open a Roth, hadn't been interested in contributing to the traditional and had been sending 20% gross income into my 403(b) anyway. My other retirement stuff is with Fidelity. Unfortunately, I've never bothered to try to figure out their fees (wrong move) and tried to find them today online with no luck. Must be looking in the wrong place, eh? I'll end up calling them on Monday to see what fees they actually collect and take it from there as to what I want to do with the money.
We filed our taxes which is a big relief. I was negligent, however, and didn't include my 2005 traditional IRA contribution! Doh! We're getting $1,000 back and I haven't done the calculations to see if it would make a difference, yet. Is it hard to do an amended return? Does anyone know? Is it worth it?
I have three bank accounts and am in the process of closing one of them. Actually, 2 are credit unions, 1's a bank and I'm closing one of the credit union accounts. The bank has the mortgage and the other credit union is very good at trying to provide value to their customers. I'll keep both of them open as I've read so very many horror stories about people who have quit their jobs and find that they are no longer worthy of credit... even if they have lots of money in the bank. Okay, so I don't have lots of money in the bank, less than $200 actually, but I still want to keep my lines of credit and my credit cards open! Wink
DH is taking me out to dinner to celebrate my last days at work. There's a lot to do at the house, though, so I won't be sitting idle!

Till the next time,
Jorge

Selling real estate

March 2nd, 2006 at 06:56 am

Our housing market is really starting to break open right now and everyone has convinced me that I need to put the house on the market before I leave. I've been really rotten to DH and DS about them leaving clothes in piles on the floor, leaving the kitchen a mess and not picking up after themselves in general, but it just feels like it goes in one ear and out the other.
I've been involved with selling 4 houses and DH hasn't had to sell any. In my experience, immaculate houses sell for better prices and quicker. Tell me if I'm wrong here!
I am frustrated that all my scrubbing on counter tops and bathroom fixtures will be for nothing because my boys can't keep things tidy. And they're mad at me because I keep telling them what it is they need to do!
There's another pile waiting by the door to go to the Salvation Army and hopefully by weekend's end, I'll have almost everything gotten rid of that we want to get rid of and the stuff that isn't necessary packed up so that the house looks bigger and there's less stuff to keep clean.
After that, I suppose I'll just need to let it go while I'm gone and hope that they do what I ask. On the other hand, maybe I'll spend the money on peace of mind and have a cleaning person come in once a week while I'm gone. Ha! Now there is an idea.