NinjaPigeon - My Flight to Financial Independence

Friday, June 09, 2006

Jewelry Shopping and Gas Cards

I've been looking for a ring to buy my GF, so I decided to hit a couple jewelry stores and see what I might find. I already had a ring in mind I'd seen online at The Shane Company, but figured I'd keep my options open.

The first store I went to had a pretty poor selection, most of it overpriced and gaudy. That wasn't surprising since it was in Atlantic Station. But I took their business card anyway, because I knew that another local store was running a cool promotion.

At the other store, the selection was a lot better, but I still couldn't find exactly what I wanted. However, this trip was not a waste, because their promotion was that they'd give you a free $10 gas card just for stopping buy. If you brought in a business card from another jeweler, they'd give you a second card. So, after I'd shopped for a few minutes, they handed over 2 $10 cards. Sweet.

I also learned another very important lesson on my trip. Jewerly stores haggle! When I told the sales person that I wasn't sure about the price, she said that they could knock it down about $50. I didn't know they'd do that. It was like trying to leave a car dealership.

So, looks like I'm probably gonna go with my original choice from the online store. But thanks to shopping around, now I'm gonna see if I can haggle my price down a little.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Duplicate Funds Purchase - Ouch!

I transferred $money from my EmigrantDirect account last week to my checking account so that I could put it into mutual funds. The money cleared on Friday, but I didn't want to make the purchase at work, so I was going to wait until I got home. Apparently, I made the purchase sometime that day, though I don't remember doing it.

So fast forward to today. I decide I'm ready to make my purchase. The screen looks vaguely familiar, but I think nothing of it and put through my new order. Somewhere on the screen it says "transactions cannot be cancelled". So that got me thinking - maybe I should make sure I didn't already do this.

A quick check of my pending transactions shows that I had indeed requested a purchase on Friday, afterall. Oops! A quick look at my checking account shows there is not enough money to cover a second purchase. In fact, it appears I'm short, even if I didn't have any bills to pay this week.

Problem is that my savings in EmigrantDirect will take a few days to clear. I'm worried that it won't clear before Vanguard puts through the request for the money. Oh, and the fact that I have little left in savings is not so good either.

The best I can do right now is to empty my savings at EmigrantDirect to cover the order. And to handle the timing issue, I'm going to "borrow" out of the house checking account (money that isn't mine to spend, mind you) to float me the extra 2 days or so I'll need for my transfers to work out. And then I get to figure out how to get my savings into the elusive 3-digit mark again ;)

Ikea to charge for plastic bags

Ikea is to become the UK's first major retailer to charge its customers for plastic bags, in an effort to tackle waste and environmental damage.

This is a pretty good idea. It's nice to see a big company trying something like this. Although, Ikea is not as squeaky clean as I once thought, according to an article I saw in The Economist this month. So while this doesn't make up for some of their questionable business practices, at least they are leveraging their power for some good. Hopefully more companies around the world will follow their example.

Contract work

Well, this week I got paid for some maintenance work I did on a previous contract job. It was only $350, of which I'll set aside $175 into my tax account. I've got some bills backed up lately though, so the money won't be able to go into

Also, I've been working a lot on a new contract. We did a demo for it on Friday that went pretty well. I had some tasks that were identified during that meeting that I'll have to have completed for the next milestone, which is due on the 8th. Once I pass that milestone, I'll be able to submit an invoice for the outstanding hours. Hopefully, there'll be another work order for some additional hours beyond those.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Net worth - 05/31/06

Lots of things happened this month between the 1st and the 31st, which don't come across in this statement. As I'm sure everyone remembers, the first 10 days of May saw the market make some very impressive gains. The last 3 weeks, however, saw those gains erode, and then some.

During May I got a check cut from my 401k that I'll use for a rollover IRA. That is still in the works. Because I had to sell, I locked in my losses, unfortunately. Thankfully they were just paper losses. Since inception, my 401k achieved a peek return of 17.76%, but dipped to only 8.04% by the time the account was closed.

I also moved most of my cash into a Mutual Funds account. The timing on it didn't work out so well, so as you can see I've lost about 2.45% of principal already. The daily swings on the account are half a percent, though, so the loss doesn't worry me that much. I'm sure it'll bounce back in a few months.

Also, I moved my stock holdings out of and into Walgreens. It's been mostly flat since I bought it, but the future appears good.