Net Worth: April 2014

MindfulMoney

Change from March: 5% increase

Change from January/1st Quarter: 20% increase

It was just a minor increase this month from last month, so I had to mess around with numbers some more to make myself feel better about our progress. Spoiled by last month’s bump which wasn’t going to happen again with just a regular month: making the money, saving the money, spending the money. In that order, mind you. Part of both our paychecks have been set to go to savings first, before anything is spent.

I’ve been doing that since I started working, just after I got out of the “didn’t have a penny to spare and savings had to pay the bills” phase.

I’ve also set up a couple automatic payments out of the checking account for the first time.  I don’t trust companies to regularly take money out of my accounts without trying to sneak in extra fees or overcharging, but this works because the checking account is set up to send checks, not allow auto-withdrawals.

At some point, we’ll start experiencing that thing where only truly major spending or saving moves the meter.  Obviously that’s a good thing but it’s hard to viscerally accept the prospect of being bored with my money.  More obviously, I don’t have to settle.  I’m going to go find something new and exciting to do to make money once the routine stuff truly doesn’t take up any time or brainpower.

This is actually really important because a) Baglady Syndrome, I have it; b) My job is, more than most in the past, not guaranteed. Our lifestyle, while not lavish, is quite comfortable and I don’t want to jeopardize that by getting too comfortable & lazy, and income-less. So I’ll just get right on that ….

Happily, PiC’s job is in a really good place right now and quite stable for the nonce so we can take that a little bit more for granted. (For now.)

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Weekend Would-You-Rathers 2: Geeks at Home Edition

The anticipation of getting to go watch Captain America 2 in the theater 2 weeks after release (so we can use our Silver AMC movie passes!) has carried me through a few weeks of feeling less than human.

My brain wants to know if you’d rather….

Follow Captain Mal and Zoey into a caper, or be the Jarvis to Tony Stark’s Iron Man?

Do all the laundry your way, or have it all done by someone else according to how they think it should be done?

Be smothered by a cat’s affection or ostracized by a dog?

Be stocked up on nonfat milk, skim milk, whole milk or chocolate milk?  You can only pick one.

Pay $9 (!!!) for matinee movie tickets and wait in line to get your seat or pay $14 (!!!) for both your ticket and a reserved seat at any time?

Have a toaster or toaster oven?

Disneyland or DisneyWorld?

Garlic fries or buttered popcorn?

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Friday FunDay: EMP Museum, Seattle, WA

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I’d never heard of the EMP Museum before our trip to Seattle, but they hosted a great booth showcasing a homebuilt TARDIS and offered a discount on entry when we were there, so of course we had to give it a go!

It was awesome.

I’m not really into music so failed to really appreciate the depth of the Nirvana exhibit but it was very well done, as was the MegaScreen featuring music videos and horror films (above).

My favorites: the Icons of Science Fiction and the Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic exhibits.

The latter was behind a massive wood and iron door, Hobbit-like but for the height and weight of it. It’s a door you can shut, drop an iron bar across, and be safer and more secure behind than any flimsy modern door and bumpable lock. {I want that door.}

Inside the first corrider, some of the great tropes and tools of fantasy were showcased behind glass: Stormbringer, an Invisibility Cloak; beyond these a great dragon lay coiled around a curved “cave”, red eyes glowing, tail chained to the iron bars separating a resting monolith and an admiring public.

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Our plan to give it a quick look-see devolved into spending half the afternoon wandering, oohing and aahing, and making up character cards with our faces and attributes on them. As you do.

In the Icons of Science Fiction exhibit, we were giddy over the Star Trek captain’s chair liberally doused with Tribbles; the replica Klingon bat’leth which made this shirt make so much more sense to PiC; the Dalek!

They played a hilarious short movie for the Time Travel category we’d never heard of and now love: Time Freak. You ought to see it, if you can.  It was only ten minutes, but it had us in stitches. Great set up for a hilarious payoff.

Definitely worth the visit. I’d become a member if I were a local and they continued to have exhibits of this caliber.

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Just a little (link) love: Cheap milk and Vimesian Economics

LinkLive

I’m half-watching an Animal Planet show that was on lemurs, craggy cliffs and hawks (I think), and it’s now turned into something on tenrecs. Apparently they can have up to 42 offspring at a time!

We do a lot of our grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, and while we’re there, staples like milk and OJ tend to make their way into the basket. It’s cheaper there, comes in the plastic jugs that I like better than the paper carton version that had to be torn open, but carefully or you’d spill, and, well, cheaper.  By 33%. But here’s the thing. That dratted milk always went off within a day or three of the date.  Always. It seemed like the faster we drank it, the faster it went off the next time.  The first few times, I took it back and got a refund with a vague feeling of triumph for not having been cheated.

But it kept happening. And after a while it hit me: I was buying the cheap boots and having to replace it more regularly, wasting time and gas. Good grief, I don’t want to go to the store twice a week, every week, for free/new milk!  Quality guarantees with full refunds are great until it’s clear that the quality isn’t actually going to improve.

So now I go across the street and pay a dollar more for the same amount of milk, in a paper carton with a nice twist off cap because they do that now, and just figure, I pay more for good milk I’m actually drinking.

MONEY

I’ve been seriously exploring new investment angles and chatting with a friend about real estate rentals, he shared this site that compares rents. It’s neat! Also, egads, I love talking about investing and money with friends who actually know this side of me, we geek out over money philosophies like whoa.

SaverSpender on the value, over time, of negotiation. Seriously, probably one of the most valuable things I’ve learned from the PF community & PF mentors?  Negotiate. Obviously I have to do it differently than say, men, who are expected to negotiate while women are damned if they do and damned if they don’t but all things considered, if I’m going to be damned anyway? I’m going to be damned WITH the money, thanks. My approach has changed a lot over time and with experience, and with different working relationships, but I’ve gone into every job in the past 8 years eyeing my opportunity to grow and to grow my salary.

This article on testing the social signaling (if you’re REALLY rich, you’re confident enough to wear frumpy, hobo-like clothes to go shopping) described in this article was interesting. I’d enjoy being mistaken for super-rich as far as service goes, but believe me, the assistants in Nordstrom aren’t fooled by my bopping-around clothes, I surely wouldn’t be looked at once, forget twice, in a truly high end store. (hattip Katherine) I am rich in confidence though… :)

THINKING THINGS

Lester Spence: Tragedy, White Supremacy and American Politics (hattip Cloud)

Speaking of Cloud, I loved this post on her daughter, Pumpkin, turning seven.  This is the kind of thoughtful, truthful and hopeful post that makes me feel a bit better about the future and the idea of parenting. My view of parenthood is irrevocably colored by my family’s experiences, and mostly stark and heartbreak-colored; I look to smart, engaged parent friends to show me that there is good in it too.

Tungsten Hippo on short ebooks. I’ve always disliked short books because they end too soon (and I hate goodbyes) but looking at them as a taster flight is a great recalibration.

John Scalzi on the four levels of discrimination (and being sexist versus being A sexist)

Cara, a photographer I adore, on 5 days with her children, firmly reinforcing my belief that we should never be outnumbered by our kids & also I don’t know how friends do it.

NEAT THINGS

Anne Hathaway and Jimmy Fallon Put a Broadway Spin On Rap Songs

Frenchie puppy talking back

Partly a GoPro commercial but an amazing video nonetheless

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