Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Brief Notes

Here's a few quick notes about money matters I've been thinking about. I suppose I should be using Twitter more actively if I'm going to write like this instead of managing to finish longer posts!

I used to track all my miscellaneous foreign currency in Quicken as part of my net worth. I kept a separate account for each currency, and occasionally adjusted the US dollar value to account for exchange rate fluctuations. There were times when I was traveling a lot and these accounts might have totaled over $100, but that's not the case any more, so I decided it was a stupid waste of time and just deleted those accounts! I still have the money in my jewelry box and will take it with me the next time I visit Canada, the UK, Europe, Mexico or New Zealand! I think I have a few Botswanan Pula and South African Rand too, though I never set up an account for those.

One of the best things you can do for under a dollar is to write a good, old-fashioned postcard and send it to a friend. I came across a whole shoebox full of cards from 15-20 years ago and they are gems. I'm still friends with many of the senders and we've started sending cards again, having been reminded that email and Facebook just aren't the same!

My home value just dropped by about $25,000 yesterday according to When I first signed up for Mint, I thought their valuation seemed pretty accurate, but now that it's around $40,000 lower than it was a few months ago, I'm not so sure! Wishful thinking may be playing a part, but I also think they must be basing this on some comp sales that aren't truly comparable.
I've also been paying close attention to rents in my neighborhood, and I think I could rent out my apartment for at least a couple hundred dollars more per month than it costs me. This has been on my mind more lately, as Sweetie and I seem to be talking more and more about the possibility of cohabitation.

Remember my friend Richard, the successful business owner who got a big bonus this year? I saw him again recently and was very pleased to hear that he put a huge chunk of his $2 million bonus towards paying off and refinancing the mortgages on his two homes. Richard seems to enjoy luxuries more and more as he gets more accustomed to the level of income he's been earning, and I've heard him say he's never been much of a saver, so it wouldn't have surprised me to hear that he'd spent money on a new car or some incredible piece of art, or a big vacation. I'm sure he's treating himself to some nice things, but it's good to know that he also has his eye on the long term picture and used his windfall to lower his monthly expenses in case he hits a rough spot in the future.

More bills set up on auto-pay: utilities and condo maintenance. I think I will now only write one paper check every 5 weeks, when I pay for my French lessons. Sometimes I even pay that with cash, so who knows how long it will take me to use up all the old checks with my previous address still on them!


Anonymous said...

My best friend and I used to love sending postcards to each other. Thanks for the reminder.

I hope you and Sweetie do move in together. How exciting!

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