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Archive for June, 2008

salad days

June 17th, 2008 at 07:49 am

i'm not a big fan of vegetables....not when I was a kid and definitely not now. But in the quest of living frugally, I have started the habit of checking the sunday paper coupons and local supermarket circulars. Lo and behold, veggies on sale! Someone up there is playing tricks on me!

Even those pre-packed pre-washed salad kits (for lazy folks like me!) are on sale. So guess who's eating salad everyday...lunch AND dinner (and actually enjoying it)? Mom would be so proud.

ps - I don't want to mislead anyone...my salads have all the trimmings that can fit in the bowl -- chicken, cheese and yep, even creamy dressing. Eating veggies and saving money never tasted so good!

is being single & staying single less expensive...in the long run?

June 10th, 2008 at 11:40 am

There was a time (in the not so distant past) when I thought that having a husband/partner/mate would not only increase my overall happiness quotient, but also make life more cost effective. After all, everything would be shared between the two of us -- the good, the bad and the bills: mortgage, check; monthly dinners out, check; income taxes, double CHECK! Sounds like a promising proposition...where do I sign up?

Of course, my error lies in the assumption that my potential husband/partner/mate would be in the same (if not higher) income bracket as I am. Not that I earn a significant amount of money...I think this applies to whatever bracket you're in.

But what if he made less...significantly less? From a PURELY FINANCIAL perspective this would, no doubt, cause a few awkward moments, stomach churning anxiety (mostly mine) and eventually, feelings of resentment (his? mine?). Fast forward a few years and we're in separate rooms, cataloging assets (mostly mine) for the divorce lawyers. Not to mention bickering over child support and alimony (though perhaps not as acrimonious as that famous couple in NJ).

So should I even bother? Perhaps being single is indeed the more frugal long-term option.

my manager is getting the pink slip...

June 4th, 2008 at 11:31 am

As a follow up to yesterday's post, today we received an announcement on the new organization structure. Much to my team's surprise, our manager's name was not in any of the boxes in the org chart.

After congregating in each other's offices to commisserate, we are fully aware of what's coming next. Oddly, I am not as worried...I'm more upset about my manager than I am for myself. Perhaps the shock hasn't worn off and reality has yet to sink in. Or, maybe I am just naive in thinking that this is beyond my control so there's no sense in worrying about it.

I am comforted however that my resume is up to date and I've started interviewing externally a few weeks ago to get a head start, just in case. And I am very relieved to have a six month emergency fund cushion to fall back to in case I do get laid off. If I didn't have any of these, I'm sure I would be climbing the walls by now.

My point is, fellow savers, please please please have a contingency plan in place. It will certainly help in smoothing bumpy rides!

Please, no more corporate whining!

June 3rd, 2008 at 01:26 pm

I work for a fortune 500 company in the city. These days, it is clear that the current economic environment is putting a crimp in the corporate lifestyle.

In my company for example, the first sign of trouble was when we were informed that headcount has been frozen -- corporate-speak for no more hiring. Then, the belt tightening begins: travel and entertainment budgets are being trimmed and non-essential activities are being cancelled. We all know what's coming next if this market continues its downward slide: those DREADED PINK SLIPS!

What I don't understand is why is this news to my colleagues? Are we not watching the same news programs and reading the same papers? (Hello! Wall street banks are laying off employees left and right). Yet, meeting after meeting all I see are long faces. And while I share the anxiety (after all, I could be one of the "lucky" ones with the slip in the not so distant future) I don't think my colleagues and I are worried about the same thing.

What? The summer picnic has been cancelled? Bummer. And the team offsite has been moved to the conference room? Oh well. But wait, the company also expects us to hop a train rather than a call a car service for meetings across town? And "working lunch" means I have to bring my own food to the meeting rather than expect the usual catered freebie? Blasphemy!

I don't get why everyone's upset. If it was your money, would you really take your staff of six to a steakhouse for a birthday lunch? More likely, you would be springing for a couple of pizzas and some sodas, if that.

Let the company reduce the T&E budget and cancel all the team building events they want. As long as they have the money to cover payroll, I'm happy to bring my own sandwich thank you very much.

my new personal commandments

June 2nd, 2008 at 10:54 am

Inspired by THE Ten Commandments, here are my newly adopted commandments to cope during these turbulent economic times:

1. thou shall not pay ATM fees: I vow to drive or walk the extra distance to the nearest Chase bank to avoid paying those pesky fees (average of $2 per visit per week = $104 per year)

2. thou shall make coffee at home: and pocket the $2.45 spent on dunkin donuts small hazelnut latte every morning ($2.45 for four days per week = $510 per year)

3. thou shall not pay full price: buy used (books), trade (CDs/magazines), off sale racks (clothing), fruit + produce in season...use coupons!!!

4. thou shall research big ticket items before purchasing: no more impulse buys

5. thou shall plan ahead: no more procrastinating in bill paying (thus avoiding late fees), spur of the moment travel planning, food shopping when hungry

6. thou shall let on-line dating subscription lapse without renewal...need I say more?

7. thou shall learn to like leftovers

I welcome your suggestions for commandments 8-10!!