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Archive for January, 2010

Taking advantage of local resources

January 25th, 2010 at 03:03 pm

In the past month or so, I've really taken notice of the fact that we do not take advantage of many things that are in our own backyard particularly as far as inexpensive entertainment is concerned.

When I was off from work over winter break, my daughter and I rode the train into the city to do some sightseeing, lunch and shopping. We try to do that every year but for some reason, this year really opened my eyes to what is out there. We walked through the downtown area and passed endless shops and restaurants that would appeal to all of us, even if just for window shopping. Of course, there are also a ton of historic sites, museums and other places of interest within walking distance of the train stations.

Then yesterday, a school friend of my daughter's was performing in a play at a nearby college. This time, we drove into the city (not near a train station). For $10/person, we saw a very good show. We did pay another $13 to park plus the $4 bridge toll, but that's still less money than if we had gone to NYC to see even an off-Broadway show. The colleges in the area offer all kinds of entertainment - concerts, live shows, art exhibits, film festivals, etc. We never go to any of that stuff and we really should. It is usually inexpensive and sometimes even free. It is close to home. And it is not mainstream stuff so there is an educational/cultural/expand your mind aspect to it, too.

I'm going to start looking around online to see where they list upcoming events and make an effort to do stuff like that occasionally throughout the year.

Mid-month update, odds and ends

January 17th, 2010 at 02:15 am

I realized I haven't posted since the 2nd of January. I've been extremely busy at work. Not much time for anything else.

I have started getting things organized to do our taxes. Today, I worked on my ebay and half.com sales to start putting those numbers together.

I also scheduled the February mortgage payment online today. Last year, I was paying an extra $100/month to principal. I've now upped that to $200/month starting this month.

I added $215 to my wife's Roth last week and will add to mine with this next week's paycheck.

I'm continuing to do almost all of the surveys that come my way, at least the ones I qualify for. I did a $95 one today and got 2 or 3 checks this past week.

We've actually been to the casino 3 times since the first of the month which is extremely unusual. The first trip on the 1st, I won $310. The 2nd trip I went with a friend while my wife, daughter and his wife went shopping. That was more to hang out and talk than to gamble, but I did win $30. The last time, a week ago, I did extremely well. I won $800 playing three card poker though I did lose $93 of it at other games before leaving. Still, that gave me a $707 profit for the day. That puts me up over $1,300 for my last 4 casino visits. My wife and I will be going to Atlantic City probably the first or second weekend of February so hopefully, the good luck will continue.

I've sold 2 books so far this month on half.com but still haven't listed anything on ebay. I've just been too tired after work or had meetings at night. I do need to do that sometime soon.

Guess that's all for now.

First 2010 Roth contribution

January 2nd, 2010 at 04:02 pm

I just made our first Roth contributions for 2010. I sent $1,550 to each of our accounts so just 2 days into the year and we are nearly 1/3 funded. This is the first time I've ever put money in this early and definitely never this much so soon. I'm hoping to max them by April or May, a month or more earlier than usual, after which I plan to start attacking our mortgage more aggressively.

Retirement is about 17 years away but I know that time will go faster than one might think and I want to get the mortgage paid off in 10-12 years and use the last 5 to really sock away cash and get everything in place to retire.

December 2009 Survey Total

January 2nd, 2010 at 03:10 am

For the newbies, I am a physician and get to do a lot of online (and occasionally in-person) surveys for doctors only. These are not things open to the general public. They pay quite well though are sometimes quite tedious to complete.

For the month of December, I finished up the year on a strong upswing, taking in $845 in survey income.

That gives me a grand total for 2009 of $5,542.00.

The actual total is even higher than that because some surveys pay me in merchandise, like a textbook. I generally turn around and sell those items on half.com, which is reflected in my ebay challenge numbers. Almost all of my half.com sales consists of books I got from doing surveys.