Yellow's Green

The Adventures of Money Blog.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Read Sale Advertisements

My MIL is frugal shopper extraordinaire. She scours the advertisements to keep her eyes out for coupons and special deals. Thanks to her, we now have a pantry full of cake mix. And it cost a whoppin: $0!

One ad showed Safeway was having a baking sale, where if you bought ten of a particular list of items, you'd get $10 off. Elsewhere, she saw that cake mix - which was one of the special items - was on sale 10 for $10.

So, we multi-tasked and went on our morning walk IN Safeway, and helped them give away their cake mix. "It would be irresponsible to just leave them there," MIL said. Certainly!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Even Lower!

I received a letter in the mail this week informing me that since I've made 36 consecutive on-time loan payments, they're lowering my interest rate by 1%. Hurray!

When I looked closer, though, they had only applied it to one of the two loans in consolidation, and the smaller one at that. So, I picked up the phone and I asked them why.

The customer service girl was very friendly, couldn't find a reason why, and is sending a claim to the interest rate billing department to have the discount applied to the full loan.

As if a 2.625% rate wasn't low enough. Try 1.625% on for size!
Nothing but minimum payments will be coming from us - we can always earn more interest in savings than we'll have to pay toward this loan. (It will still be almost 10 years before it's paid off, though.)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Cost of Productive Time

Regarding my last post on the cost of making vs. buying a quilt somebody said: "Yeah, but how much time did you spend on making the quilt from scratch? Don't you have to account for the monetary value of your time when you do such calculations? I am not questioning your passion for quilting, but I am just skeptical about the math here."

You're absolutely right. However, when my time would have otherwise been spent sick in bed doing not much at all, I feel this *productive* time should not being given a negative calculation. If I had a job that paid money (vs. one that pays in sweet cuddles) and chosen to spend my time quilting instead of working, then a negative calculation for time spent would be appropriate.

Some people value time purely based on quantity. I prefer to value time qualitatively. If my time is spent productively, and enjoyably, then it's not worth my time to apply a "cost" to it. When we work to achieve money, money is not really the goal, is it? No! The goal is to earn enough money to cover the basics, and be allowed to enjoy. Not because we want to feel rich with money stocked away,but because money stocked away now should become a means to an end: enjoyment. It's why we save, why we invest, and why we refuse to work 20 hrs. a day for $1 an hour.

Also, if I applied a "spent" monetary value to the things I had to do, but don't get paid for, I would get depressed in my current career choice as a full-time mother. I get no money for what I do - and I don't love every bit of it. It's not worth it to dwell on money matters here. My choice to stay home is an investment in my child's future, and a safety net in case my husband finds himself in a situation where he can't work.

However, there are instances where time has a cost I would apply money factors to. A great example is the commute to work. Driving an hour to your job subtracts two hours from your day in a way that for most people is unproductive. (Some people manage to make their commute productive. Erik, for example, rides the Max and reads/studies during his. It's his enjoyable personal time.) The cost of a commute, both in time and gas, should be factored when figuring your actual salary, and included factors when making a career choice.

Other activities where time has a cost:
Standing in line
Waiting on hold during a phone call
Sitting through a boring lecture where you are learning nothing
Being bored at all
Excessive television/movie watching or video game playing. (I don't discount a need for some mindless relaxation.)

You get the idea.

In fact, this is the first full size quilt I've made, therefore it was an educational experience. Education is an investment. So, if I wanted to get really technical about it, I could say I saved even more than I did if I factored in investment value.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Home Making


When I was little, we used to make our own clothes. Really. My older sister made her own clothes all the way through high school. (Check out what she does now!) I made mine through about fifth grade - where I made these ugly tropical-print hammer pants. Wow! I do still love the prom dress I made in high school, though. (Wish I could still fit into it! Or have a reason to wear it.)

These days, it's not usually cost effective to make your own things. You can find new things for very little money, less than you will pay for the low quality fabrics at Joann's. But, I still love sewing, and it feels so good to have something personalized.

I'd been eyeing this quilt, and in a fit of creativity, decided to make my own. All the fabric, thread, etc. cost me about $68. By the time the quilt was done, I had definitely spent more than I would have ordering the catalog variety. But, I realized if I added in the cost of the extras (pillow covers and such) I would come up with a savings in the end. So, I used up every piece of fabric I purchased, making a full sized quilt, a decorative pillow, two pillow cases, and three cubes pillow throws.

From the catalog:
$40 for the quilt.
$20 for the pillow.
Shams, $20 each.
Cube pillows? Unavailable.
Shipping $16.
Total: $116

I spent $68

Total savings: $48