Another penny increase

Yes the cost for a first class stamp increased by a penny effective yesterday to .46¢.

These incremental increases, a penny here, two pennies there , is annoying. Just raise the price to .50¢ and be done with a price increase for several years.

Just my two cents.  🙂

And, another incentive to pay bills online, & communicate by email, text & tweets.

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Unnecessary expiration date?

I understand why there is an expiration date on food such as milk and eggs. And of course there is a legitimate reason for an expiration date for medicine and herbal supplements. But an expiration date for lotion?

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As I cleaned out the closet in my bathroom last weekend, I found this product toward the back. Yes that’s a 2011 expiration date (okay, you can stop snickering). The product is shea butter.

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And it is not an inexpensive brand. So you know what The Money Heifer is doing? Of course, using it. Don’t notice any difference using an expired cream.

Isn’t an expiration date for lotion unnecessary?

Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013

Received an email today at work. I could receive the home use or edition of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 for $9.95.  Didn’t have to think about that twice. Purchased the latest version. Total cost including tax: $10.55.

Sweet!!

52 week money challenge

A friend at work shared this challenge with me during the 1st full week of January. Sorry to say, only now,  is The Money Heifer sharing this info.

So here is how this work.  The first week of the year,  you set aside $1 as savings. The second week of the year, you set aside $2 as savings and your account balance is $3. The third week of the year,  you set aside $3 as savings and your account balance is $6.

In short for each successive week,  for example,  week 4, week 5, week 6, you set aside dollars that match that numerical week.
In 52 weeks,  you will have saved,  as prinicipal, $1,378.

Not bad.

And it’s not too late to start.

Wipe out holiday debt

Saw this billboard as I drove home from work (wish I could have take a photo).

Was this an advertisement from a credit counseling agency or a personal finance management company?  No.

The billboard featured an advertisement from a CASINO.

What a joke! The ad should not say “wipe out holiday debt” but instead “pile on more debt.”

This casino should be ashamed of itself.

Where’s my 3 cents?

Yesterday morning I stopped at a local grocery store before work. Once I pulled the items from the shelf,  I walked to the checkout area. This local grocery has installed a number of self checkout lanes. I decided to proceed to one of those lanes. My purchase totaled $11.07. I paid by cash in the amount of $20.10.  After processing  one five dollar bill and four one dollar bills were dispensed. And the automated voice stated, “Thank you for shopping at Giant. Don’t forget to pick up your change and your receipt.”

Hey,  wait a minute,  where is my 3 cents?

Maybe a lot of customers would not have cared about losing 3 cents.  I, The Money Heifer, have a different perspective.

I got the attention of an employee nearby. Once she arrived I explained the machine owes me 3 cents (it dispensed the nine dollars but not the 3 cents) . This employee turned around and told another employee,  “this machine didn’t give change again.” (Yes,  Houston we have a problem).

I was ultimately given 3 cents. And I hope the store either closed this particular self-checkout machine or posted a sign,  “no cash transactions.”

I pick up pennies off the ground routinely.  So of course I will insist on receiving the full amount owed me including those 3 cents.  🙂

Use your sick leave

I returned to work on Monday after an extended leave. One of the emails in my inbox was a notice that a certain section at the job site was short of employees due to illness. Later that day an employee from that section came to my office. I overheard her tell my boss that she had been sick and apparently passed her germs to her work colleagues. She mentioned that she didn’t get the flu shot (because she became sick in the past after a flu shot)  and ended up getting the flu.

Ridiculous! 

The flu shot is provided at no charge at my job. If you elect not to take the flu shot,  that’s your choice. But if you get sick,  use your sick leave and stay home. Don’t make everyone else sick,  forcing everyone else to use their sick leave.

Have you heard or seen

Commercials for “Feed the Pig”?  If not check out http://www.feedthepig.org.

Great tips about managing your money.

For the new year, a smaller paycheck :-(

With all the talk about the fiscal cliff,  what was overshadowed was the expiration of the reduction in the payroll tax.

As a federal employee,  with my salary frozen,  I took my paycheck from last year,  deducted 2% to account for the increase in the payroll tax and subtracted another $100 to account for an increase in my health insurance,  my dental insurance,  a $25 increase in my flexible spending plan and the addition of a vision plan.

At the beginning of each year I budget my 26 paychecks for the year identifying all expected expenses. So I projected how much net pay I would receive each pay period.

Today is payday. And my net pay? $50 more than I projected. Now this 1st check does not include the increased medical and dental plans nor the addition of the vision plan. I hope these expenses do not exceed $50.

Glad I projected the reduction in my paycheck.

Happy New Year & Don’t Put Your Health at Risk to Avoid/Payoff Debt

How many of you have listed paying off a credit card as one of your New Year’s Resolutions?  It is great to get your personal financial house in order but don’t put your health at risk. If you don’t heed this advice, you may have a larger financial expense.

Let me explain. I had noticed a friend at work had been absent for sometime.  I made a passing reference to a co -worker who also made the same observation. Our boss presumed this worker was burning up a lot of use or lose leave.

Last week I noticed this friend’s car was back in the garage. I guess my boss was right. I called this friend later that day. I remarked how I hadn’t seen her in a while. She replied,  “I didn’t tell you? I had to have surgery. ” I assured she didn’t tell me.

It turns out this friend had to have surgery to remove her wisdom teeth that had been infected. There were some serious issues with the nerves and her jaw. The doctor had to transplant bone from another part of her body to strengthen and stabilize the jaw.

As I listened to this friend’s unfortunate experience,  I began thinking,  how could it get to this point? How did her dentist miss this?

I mentioned to my friend how I had my four wisdom teeth removed years ago (surgery occurred a few weeks before I joined the military) . I gently inquired about her dentist. My friend mentioned how she elected not to see a dentist for 1.5 years to ensure she graduated college without any debt. My friend also mentioned her dentist had told her that she (my friend) would need to have her wisdom teeth removed (this was before my friend stopped seeing the dentist for 1.5 years) . My friend told me her dentist didn’t indicate the matter was serious.

Not all of the details are clear to me but this unfortunate situation probably occurred because #1 my friend may not have realized the seriousness of the matter,  #2 the wisdom teeth were not that critical when the dentist first brought the matter to my friend’s attention and #3 my friend elected to forgo seeing a dentist for 1.5 years.

I kindly advised my friend: please do not put your health at risk. I told her I did not fund my retirement for 2 years to pay off my rental property (my condo)  but I saw my dentist twice a year and saw my ob gyn once a year.

I can’t imagine seeing the dentist costs that much money. And my friend eats out all the time. She loves to eat, she loves food & talks about food. Now she can’t eat solid food for at least four weeks.

This situation could have been avoided. And I expect my friend may have a few medical expenses to pay because of the surgery (and I bet those medical expenses exceed the costs of the dental appointments my friend elected to forgo) .

So yes be “gazelle” intense in paying off your debt and / or saving money. But don’t put your health at risk!