Saturday, May 29, 2010

Financial Diary, May 29, 2010

Costs of my business trip to Washington:
$5 or so, copies at Library of Congress
$54 hostel since I went a day early and didn't want to shell out for the expensive conference hotel
Meals and cabs from airport will be reimbursed

  • Spent a delicious day and a half pre-conference at the Library of Congress looking up obscure journal articles and dissertations. Had a lovely conversation with the librarian in the children's literature research room about the project I'm working on. All free.
  • Last year I bought several snacks during conference; this year I managed to make do with things brought from home and extras from various meetings and receptions.
  • Binged on cable TV since I don't have cable at home; didn't have Internet in the room so checked my email in the staff office and the lobby.
  • Found left-behind magazines on both the flight there and the flight back. I always do a quick scan while exiting the plane and if I see anything that looks like a "real" magazine (instead of in-flight), I grab it. I'm sure people judge me for it, but I don't care. I had a good score this time: InStyle on the way there and People on the way back.
  • Didn't have time or energy to do any touristy things other than the LOC. Spent my down time watching TV, working on a critique of a friend's manuscript, and working on a synopsis of my book
  • Phone charger broke; not totally sure if it was my fault or the maid's. Apparently it can't be fixed. Grr. A new charger would be about $30; can replace the phone for less than that but I'm not sure how much; guessing $20.
Since coming home:
Pizza: $30

Other Misc. Developments in finance:
  • Going to San Francisco, again on business, next week. Maybe I can manage to keep my record of not spending anything? I don't seem to be very into touristy things lately; I can have plenty of fun walking around the waterfront and browsing at City of Lights.
  • Haven't used air conditioning yet, not because of finances but because after a bug infestation earlier this spring we really want the vents cleaned out before we use the HVAC again. Unfortunately, our electric bill was actually quite high this month. They had been giving us estimated bills for several months because the landlord wasn't providing access to the meter. Now we're back on the meter, but I guess the estimates (which we thought were high) were actually too low. Yuckola. So I'm sweaty and haven't even saved any money yet.
  • Checked out a new stack of library books this morning. Was practically out of fiction, which is a bona fide emergency!
  • Spent today working on novel-related things and watching Suze Orman Show segments online. CNBC is stingier with online video than most stations, but I can still get a good dose of "Can I Afford It?" segments.
  • Trying to convince R. to open a Roth IRA; I think progress is being made.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Financial Diary, May 17, 2010

Tomorrow, I'm leaving for a business trip to DC. A few days after I get back, I'll be going on another business trip, this time to San Francisco. I'm dreading being away from R. for so long. Financially, business trips are kind of sweet, since I get to eat out all the time for free. I could try to be frugal on business trips but it wouldn't do me any good since I get reimbursed for all the eating out anyway. And while I'm in DC, I plan on spending several hours at the Library of Congress looking up obscure academic articles, which makes me very happy.

Money related activities of the past few days:
- bought 2 T-mobile refill cards, $91.18 each for a $100 value. R.'s will last him about a year, mine will last about 6 months. That makes our total cost for 2 cell phones for the year about $300. I think that's pretty good, though I'm always hoping to reduce my cell phone use enough to make a $100 card last a whole year.
- Spent $14.00 on McDonald's. Didn't mind that since it's been a long time since we've eaten out.
- other meals included spaghetti with tiny meatballs, taco salad, a sort of nacho concoction, and apple crunch, all made from previously purchased groceries.

This weekend, my fun consisted of:
- creating a list of books and articles to look up at the Library of Congress when I go there on Tuesday
- downloading articles and dissertations from online databases
- picking out books to check out at the library before I leave
- watching cooking shows with R.
- writing a scene list for my novel
- critiquing someone else's novel
- playing a vapid online game
- cuddling
- cooking

I didn't leave the house from Friday night until Sunday night. Most people would probably find my weekends dull as sticks, but I love them.