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Archive for December, 2007

Doesn't the popularity of Dilbert and Office Space sink in for companies?

December 30th, 2007 at 07:49 pm

Quotes like "That'll make you work just hard enough not to get fired" come to mind. Or decisions at Dilbert's company being made by drunken lemurs. It really hits close to home!

How do you stay fit inexpensively?

December 30th, 2007 at 06:25 pm

For me, it's road cycling. I can just leave my house and be back anytime from .5 to 3 hours. No driving anywhere, no gym memberships, and it's extremely time-efficient. I still ride my 1988 bike, so I can keep the expenses under $100 per year. The only necessities are tubes, tires, chain lube, and occasional bike maintenance. I'm lucky enough to live in an area where I can ride for a lot of the winter. The main drawback is it's weekends only during the winter. Another drawback is it's non weight-bearing, so I supplement it by walking the dog. But like any exercise program, if it suits you you stay with it, and I do, since it gives me so much back - the joy of the open road, great exercise, and everchanging scenery.

Small investments with quick paybacks - under-sink reverse osmosis water treater

December 30th, 2007 at 01:51 pm

I have been meaning to install a reverse osmosis under-sink water purifier for years now, ever since they became cheap and compact commodity items instead of the bulky expensive things that needed a plumber for installation back in 1986 when this house was built. We seem to have one of the world's worst public water systems, high in sodium and now I understand in arsenic!

I have been stalling due to not yet understanding what installation will require in the way of electrical and plumbing connections - I might still need a plumber, but at least the unit itself is small and inexpensive. Plus it is just one of those low priority niggling expenses, paying $3.69 or so every week or so for a jug of water versus laboring to install this bear and worrying about it afterwards. But now that my wife informed me that she is using bottled water for tea, coffee, and maybe even cooking since hearing about the arsenic, there is much more incentive. Sure it will have operating costs but it has to pay off pretty quickly.

So what low cost quick payback investments are on your hit list?

Refrigerator and Pantry Organization?

December 30th, 2007 at 07:25 am

A pet peeve of mine has long been having food go bad, since it seems like pure insanity to buy something, let it sit for a while, then throw it away! So in the interest of preventing that, how do you organize your refrigerator? Our problem is mainly that we have a big deep one, so things in the back can get hidden. So I definitely try to keep things that will only last a few days up front, but what can legitimately go in back? Jars, etc.? Since I'm cleaning it this morning to find a bad smell, maybe a regular cleaning once a month or so is the ticket. Actually, this reminds me, has anyone read David Allen's Getting Things Done? It's a great little book, where his main point is that you need to review things on a regular cycle once you are organized.

We also have the problem that I'm sure others may share in that when my wife stocks up on something in a sale, say for instance salad dressing that usually expires in about six months, we often can't use it all by the expiration dates. That's a whole other subject, Sell By dates. Use By is pretty clear, but even then is it "Use by xx for best quality, or to prevent a horrible death from bacteria? "There's a difference, you know!

So let me have the suggestions! Since this site seems to have more women than men, I think I'm in good hands. [Disclaimer: I am in no way implying that only women can organize a refrigerator or that women don't have many other skills or interests than domestic chores, just that I'm sure you have some good ideas. Please don't kill me!] Thanks.

Hello World! My status as of 2007

December 29th, 2007 at 09:30 pm

OK, you can chalk me up as yet another New Year's newbie! I am here mainly because it is time to come up with the spring college tuition funds which is for some strange reason depressing and scaring the heck out of me.

In a nutshell, I make a good salary, but it has been stretched to the breaking point for years, and college is a heavy straw on this camel's back. Unfortunately we have wound up with inverse college savings, i.e some CC debt. As they say, life is what happens while we are busy making other plans. I have a decent 401k, but savings outside that are just about nil, a paltry EF only. So I figure I will be working to my early to mid 60s just to squeak by even if all goes well, another depressing realization.

I have actually been trying to figure out whether to seek professional help for the last few months, whether in the form of an accountant, financial planner, or financial aid counselor. But I am a big fan of Internet forums, so here I am, looking forward to some helpful input.