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This & That

March 19th, 2011 at 08:50 am

**Ugh! The weather is terrible here. Yes, we were just in drought a little bit ago. Now we are on flood watch. Worse, I just read another big storm is coming in next week. There is nothing but rain in the 10-day forecast, and more storms to come after that!

Can't win - drought or flood. Not much in between. We live in a very low lying area and so these weather conditions make me nervous.

I think we will be holed up inside the next 2 weeks or so. Bah!

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**The messages we receive about the fiscal health of other school parents is decidedly mixed.

I got an e-mail requesting items for a raffle basket, and rolled my eyes at all the $50-$100 items requested. Within a day, all the expensive items had been snatched up, but so far we are the ONLY ones to buy a $5 item. They asked for like five $5 items to round it out. Heck, we will probably buy one or two more, if no one else will.

What the heck does that mean????? Some people are doing very well? No one wants to buy the cheaper stuff? (But me???)

**In addition, the school district has offered us crap for a location next year. We need more space, regardless of our expansion. Though maybe they would have just crammed us in somehow (more portables). But we added several Kinder & 6th grade classes, to boot, so the best they can do is split our school into 2 locations 5 miles apart. There is talk of renting commercial space instead, since space is cheap and abundant (post-bubble). The only plus to the school district's crappy offer is that it is "free." When I hear all the complaints about the new location, I wonder if anyone has bothered to look around the current one. No one complains about the current location simply because it is "convenient" and close.

I suppose it is possible that some landlord out there would get some tax break if they gave us free rent - so I suppose there are other options available. Anyway, so we really don't have anywhere to go next year, for the most part. The state is cutting budgets, and now we may need to come up with rent for adequate facilites.

I share, because everyone in BM's class is getting iPads. Rolleyes Okay, there is no doubt that this will be cool, and the teacher is very excited about the use of technology. BUT, all I Can think is that $10k or so could probably be put to MUCH better use. I have no idea the details on that. A deal with Apple? A generous benefactor?

My kids' ELEMENTARY school will be split and shared with TWO high school campuses. The facilities are crap. But they get iPads!

I am also not thrilled because it is probably something they will get used to just to have it taken away. Heck if I am spending that kind of money on an iPad. Let's hope I don't eat my words at the end of the year! I know it's hard to get used to something and then have it taken away - something so technologically advanced. HEre's to hoping we hate it. Big Grin

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**I signed up for Kohls e-mails in order to get $5 off. That was just a couple of weeks ago. I just got coupons e-mailed to me for 15% off + $10 off. Woohoo. I'll probably go buy something over there.

I don't think I have bought one item of clothing for myself all year. Usually what I spend my "fun money" on. So, will probably buy something. I have been fine with walking in and buying just one item because I need so little at this point. My wardrobe is fine, but I enjoy buying new tops once in a while to change things up a bit. I'll wear the same pants every day, but a new top here and there keeps things fresh. That's what other people notice. Practically free with all these coupons. (When I pull out an old top not worn in a while, people will often comment on my new shirt. IT's my little trick. They maybe notice because I do not have a HUGE wardrobe, but I always think it is so funny when I get a "new" comment about a 10-year-old shirt. Wink ). I am easy to amuse.

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**I have been seeing all these posts, blogs, etc., about Ally bank. Eh. I am underwhelmed. I just feel like, "My credit union has been doing all that for many years." I am continually frustrated about all the presumptions that credit unions are just small and not as competitive. I have ranted a few times about how my friends couldn't possibly use a CU because it's so "inconvenient," and yet I am stuck driving around with them looking for a specific bank ATM machine, to avoid fees. Rolleyes I can guarantee my CU is more convenient than most any bank.

That said, I have steered cleer of any interest-paying checking accounts over the years. Usually too many hoops to jump through. Keep a minimum balance or get slammed with a giant fee. Even the best CUs. Stuff like that. I just treat my checking account as a conduit, and keep the balance at $0. Any money gets transferred to savings/investments/bills once I have it.

So, Ally caught my attention with its "no hoops to jump through" checking with interest. I figure my balance is often $3000, since I get paid the first and don't pay many bills until the last day of the month. The interest they are paying adds up to a whopping $15 per year. & I am probably over-estimating my balance, anyway. So, needless to say, I am not switching my checking account over there. I am not hugely tied to my local CU, but I have grown accustomed to having a branch I can practically walk to. I'll take that over another $1/month interest. But, when interest rates rise, it may be something to consider. I am not tied to a local bank - this is the only one I have ever had. Was nice in the in-between years when the mail was very unreliable. Now I can just scan my deposits? I'm happy to go back to online/other city banks. If the benefits make it worthwhile. (15 of the last 20 years or so I utilized CUs in other cities and never had much reason to go into a branch).

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**In other news, I just happened to be driving dh's car when it rolled over to 120,000 miles.

By our standards, it's just a BABY!

That said, the car is 10 years old, and we've had it for 9 years. We paid just under $8k cash for it in 2002. We've had 9 years to save up for its replacement. I have a solid $8k to replace it. We expect it will last another 5 years, at least, and that dh will probably get a Ford Fiesta next round. Used, of course. Will see though. We have looked at cars the last many years and wonder what the heck. Like homes, I guess - they had gotten so big and expensive. Ford Fiesta gives us hope that we can buy something as fuel efficient again, and small and inexpensive. It's like, "phew." We have gotten accustomed to this small/fuel efficient vehicle. Ford Fiesta is the only thing that seems to compare, but maybe there will be even more options in a few years. (I admit I am a little brand loyal. I am sure there are other cars out there, but I am not 100% sold on Huyandai, etc., yet. Will do a lot more research when it is time to buy - who knows. Ford Fiesta has got a lot of press, and seems most comparable to what we already like about this car - small, low cost, and fuel efficient. Ford had impressed us so we may lean towards some brand loyalty. I couldn't say the same about their cars in the 80s/90s, but this car has been pretty sweet. NO issues, and we didn't have to pay a huge premium for that).

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P.S. Thanks to people like Lux and ccfree for getting old bloggers to come back and update. I think about a LOT of old bloggers, often. Too many to list - I wouldn't even know where to begin. But I just kind of figure life has moved on for them, they are busy, they are no longer in a bloggy mood. I am not a very pushy person and though I may comment on their blog once in a blue moon and let them know we miss them, I usually don't say much. Now I see all these people saying they came back because "so and so asked about them."

I suppose I should be more pushy, too. Big Grin

8 Responses to “This & That”

  1. Thrifty Ray Says:

    I *LOVE* that youre a Credit Union advocate. Big Grin They really are a good value.

    I have a feeling in a few years there will be many more fuel efficient choices in vehicles.

  2. MonkeyMama Says:

    Thrifty Ray - I have only banked with CUs, since I was a child. I have never seen the draw of big banks, accordingly. It is what it is. None of the big banks have ever offered me anything better. Wink
    Ally may be close, but since they are a bank, I expect somewhat of a bait and switch. Look what happened to WAMU. CUs have a long history of treating their customers well, in comparison. They don't get bought out, and they don't have to please stockholders.

  3. Petunia 100 Says:

    I have been a credit union member since the 80s, but currently I only keep a small savings account in case I ever want to take a loan from them (this is the only area where my particular credit union shines). Their savings and CD rates are comparable to big banks, currently 1/17th of 1 percent on savings. They charge members a 3% fee to use the coin machine, and you can't deposit coins without using the machine. (Going to take quite a while to break even on that deposit.) They refused to open a checking account for my daughter at age 18 as she lacked an established credit history, even though I had been a member longer than she had been alive, and she had had a savings account since she was tiny. (So she went over to Bank of America where they were happy to open a checking accunt for her.) But the reason I stopped using them as my primary bank was that once when I was out of state (2k miles from home on a car trip with the kiddos), my atm card was declined. I waited for them to be open, called, and was told well gee, your card should work. Their advice? Come in to see them after I returned home. Meanwhile, 2k miles from home I had no access to my cash. Not all credit unions are a great place to bank. Wells Fargo for checking and Ally for savings works for me. Smile

  4. MonkeyMama Says:

    Petunia - when we were CU shopping, I saw some terrible ones. I never said all CUs were good!

    That said, I think there are far more good CUs than good banks. As such, if I had a bad experience, I personally would just switch to another CU. There seems to be a lot of choice where I live, anyway.

  5. Looking Forward Says:

    Crazy weather here too!

    I've always had excellent service with the CUs I've banked with too.

    I think Chevy has a small, cute, fuel-sipper, but I can't remember the model..sorry..

  6. debtfreeme Says:

    I bought a 2002 hyundai elantra in nov 2001 and have had no problems other than general maintenance. I get regular oil changes and follow the general guide lines and love it. I get about 25 mpg (or more on long freeway driving, up to 32 mpg then) on an almost 10 year old car and plan to drive it until it completly dies. I have about 165k miles on it but it has been a dream car and it came with a lot of nice little touches (leather seats, etc.) that I was not prepared to spend extra on.

    They recently came out with a new hybrid of their sonata that I am looking at for the car I will need to buy around 2013 or later. I am really only looking at hybrids for whatever the next car will be and I will drive this one until it is dead. I hope that is still several years away. I really like the prius, too, and they are comparable on price.

  7. mjrube94 Says:

    You can pile on the Kohls deal by buying a discounted gift card at a site like Giftcardrescue .com. I got a Kohls card through one of those sites for 15% off, and was able to use the 15% coupon as well. (Even though the coupon says you have to use it with your Kohls card, if you have a kohls card they'll honor it even though you're using a gift card or merchandise credit).

  8. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    The iPads are probably being purchased through some kind of a technology grant. In one of my classes last semester we had to do a lot of research on grants and grant writing, and even write a practice one. There are lots of grants out there for things like technology such as the iPads.

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