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Archive for March, 2011

Lease Renewal Blues

March 30th, 2011 No comments

This week, we received under our front door a lease renewal offer from our landlord.  While Girlfriend and I haven’t discussed it at any length, I think we’re both equally depressed about the fact that we’re not able to just simply sign the agreement and slip it back under his door.

We’re moving to Oregon in July, after all, and the agreement on the renewal is for the next year:  far longer than we plan to stay.  We’re going to have to call him and break the bad news, as much as we’ve enjoyed being his tenants.  Plus – as though our shared temptation to stay in Chicago weren’t already palpable with the prospect of leaving behind good friends, steady jobs, and a city that’s been home to each of us for most of our adult lives –  the landlord is willing to keep us as tenants with no increase in rent.  (I know, given the real estate crisis and the lapsed economy, it would be unreasonable for our rent to go up, but I’ve still never lived in an apartment that didn’t get significantly more expensive with each new lease.  It’s making the stress of moving much more difficult to cope with.) read more

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Coping With Loss…of Worthless Stuff

March 29th, 2011 No comments

Remember my quest to get rid of 1 item per day?  Well, I’m massively ahead of schedule for that.  In fact, I have so much stuff to get rid of that I don’t really even know where to begin.  The problem, though, is that I therefore keep not beginning.

Did I pick out 50 or so books to get rid of?  Why yes, I did.  Do I have twenty movies to sell?  I sure do!  And what about that fabled music collection?  Cut in half and ready to go!  But these piles of things, all stacked and just waiting to make me some money, don’t seem to be moving themselves.  And perhaps, just perhaps, that’s my fault. read more

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The House In Olympia

March 25th, 2011 No comments

This week I received some bittersweet news:  the settlement on my recently-passed grandfather’s house came through, and I’ll be receiving a portion of it to help me pay for a test review class I’m taking next month.

My grandfather, as I’ve mentioned before, was a huge influence on me where thrift and responsibility are concerned.  It was largely in his memory that I became determined to change my outlook on financial matters; he was always trying to instill in me a respect for the value and importance of money, and even tried to convince me from an early age (too early to sink in?) that his seemingly boring “hobby” of stock trading was an excellent source of entertainment.  (While I don’t necessarily agree with that last part, I appreciate his effort.)  Even in passing, he has made me understand the value of knowing that your family will be provided for after you’re gone. read more

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Sandwich Fatigue

March 19th, 2011 No comments

In my quest to find a cheap but nourishing lunch option to take to work, I’ve gone through several phases – the salad phase, the frozen burrito period, the age of re-heated soups – but I’ve always eventually come back around to sandwiches.

Now, before I get into the meat (ha?) of the entry, let me boast:  my sandwiches are epic.  Where once I was content to eat a slice of cheese and a slice of meat with some mayo’d (and possibly mustarded) bread, I now scoff at any sandwich with fewer than six ingredients.  On a normal day, my sandwich consists of bread, mayonnaise, mustard, spinach, red pepper, onion, mushrooms, two slices of cheese, and turkey.  At work, we have a George Foreman grill, which I use as my own personal panini press. read more

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Letting Go of the PS2: A Slow Process[or]

March 17th, 2011 No comments

In my ongoing Spring-hypercleaning project (which will hopefully be so epic in proportion that it will come to be known as The Great Purge of ’11), one of the things I most feared addressing has turned out to be one of the first:  this morning, I culled through my video game collection.

Now, Girlfriend and I have lived in this apartment for almost a year and a half, and in that time I’ve played exactly four of my 30+ video games, all on my Nintendo Wii (which is only one of the three consoles I own).  But why does that mean I don’t needto hang on to my Playstation 2 and its 15 accompanying games?!  WHO ARE YOU TO DEMAND THAT I LEAVE MY CHILDHOOD BEHIND ME?! read more

Categories: Goals, Home Life Tags:

Game Night!: Settlers of Catan

March 16th, 2011 No comments

Perhaps you recall my threat promise that I was going to occasionally post a review/discussion of a particularly interesting board game.  Since I am of the opinion that board games are a great source of frugal fun, I don’t feel that such a thing is out of place on a personal finance blog.  If you disagree and think I should take such entries elsewhere…well, then, perhaps we can settle our dispute with the roll of some dice. read more

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The Purge Begins

March 15th, 2011 No comments

My mother tells me I come by my hoarding and materialistic tendencies honestly; growing up, my house was filled (not to any unhealthy extent, but “filled” is not an exaggeration) with collectibles, books, records, and knick-knacks.

My desire to own things, though, is based on a very easily identifiable (and very illogical) desire:  I want to possess a library of media.  Traditionally, whenever I’ve been at a used book shop or thrift store and seen a book for which I’ve heard favorable reviews, or a movie or CD that a friend has mentioned I might like, I’ve bought it.  I may take it home, file it on my shelf (always in alphabetical order!), and never look at it again…but the fact that it’s there – for my theoretical future reference, for my theoretical eventual enjoyment, for the theoretical convenience of not having to seek it out if at some point I decide I want to read/see/hear it – gives me a weird sense of comfort. read more

Categories: Goals, Home Life Tags:

Letter of Complaint to Chase

March 14th, 2011 No comments

Being a man of strong principles, it surprises me that I’ve not yet composed a letter of complaint to the people of JP Morgan Chase.  Not only have I been repulsed by their seemingly indifferent attitude toward me as a customer, their greedy manipulation of people who don’t have the financial understanding to realize they’re being taken advantage of, and their general disregard for every person in the nation and world who is not an executive at JP Morgan Chase…but I’ve also been annoyed with myself for not speaking and acting out on these principles or any others that I happen to carry with me (e.g. animal rights, civil rights, labor rights). read more

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The Bright Side of Goal-Setting

March 11th, 2011 No comments

Elle at Couple Money recently referred me (indirectly…thanks, Twitter) to an article entitled The Dark Side of Goal-Setting at PsyBlog.  While the first few paragraphs of the story made me think it was flying in the face of everything I’d come to believe about the importance of goals, it actually rounded out to make some fine points that I hadn’t necessarily considered. read more

Categories: Goals Tags: