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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Welcome Back My Friends to the Blog that Never Ends

Happy New Year

The holidays are finally behind us, with the exception of the Super Bowl, which certainly isn’t a holiday if your live in Northern California, and probably will resemble the 14th day of lent for those of us with roots in Wisconsin.

I survived the holidays, in-laws and all, and I lived to write about it! Actually, everyone behaved as well as can be expected, and there was a lot of good food. Mostly rich and meat-laden good food. I am still getting over the effects of that.

I am going into the New Year, as usual, not knowing what in the heck I am doing. One thing I am sure of is that immediate prospects for turning the dollar are pretty weak. Time to focus on saving some money. This is where I get in touch with my inner tightwad through a lot of stuff I have learned over the years from the Simple Living Network and the New Roadmap Foundation.

It has been said that if Benjamin Franklin were alive today, he would say that a buck saved is about as good as a buck seventy earned, thanks to the myriad of taxes that we live with. In other words, not spending one dollar is about $1.70 you won’t have to earn. I have started some efforts in that direction this week.

Tightwad the First: I will take over housecleaning from maids we have been using. We first hired maids when both of us were working full-time, and money was more available than time. Dropping the maids will save about $170 per month. I did a full cleaning on Wednesday as a test and found it takes me about 4 hours to do a similar cleaning. I found and cleaned a lot of places the maids have been missing for about a year. I’ll only need to do a full cleaning once every other week, and I can split the job over more than one day. I can also do the laundry while cleaning. The pay-off works out to about $17 per hour after taxes, about $29 per hour before taxes. Besides, it was getting to be a pain keeping out of the maids’ way, and that was costing me about 1/3 of the time it takes me to do the job myself.

Tightwad the Second: I found a slow leak under the kitchen sink last night. I think I fixed it today (of course, as with all DIY projects, only time will tell). For the gear heads out there, all I had to do was reseal some joints where the faucet parts attach to the sink. I used plumber’s putty, which is, btw, way easier to use than silicon. In any event, I have protected the area from water damage if it still leaks, so if it isn’t fixed now, I’ll get it right next time. When I was making the big bucks, I would have only had time to call the plumber. That saved about $100, which is the typical cost of a house call from a plumber in our high cost region. The entire ordeal took under two hours, including internet research and a trip to the hardware store.

Tightwad the Third: I called the two professional associations with which I need to belong should I ever wish to return to my profession. The combined annual dues are about $1,300. Both associations allowed me a waiver of dues. Apparently the bylaws specify partial dues waivers for members with anticipated earned income under stated limits that are larger than what I expect to earn. That saved about $1,000. Now my only remaining professional expense for the year should be continuing professional education, which I should be able to complete for under $1,500, and about 20 hours of independent study. I am not yet ready to drop the profession, so this is the cost.

Well, beyond this business, I haven’t got a clue as to the direction of my life, except I am certain that to my last breath, I will maintain . . .

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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