Home > Cable/Gas/Gloom/Shopping


June 7th, 2008 at 01:50 pm

Well, it is official, Comcast bought up our mom & pop cable company.

We will grieve on that for a while.

They are offering a deal of the same price as we have been paying, for their most premium package, for one year. Considering it as a means to test them out. Also will the most seamless, probably. Dh said the premium package doubles to about $150/month in a year. I worried aloud about this and dh said, "Are you crazy? I would NEVER pay $150/month for cable. Especially if I was working too. When would I have time to enjoy?"

But, for now they also have a cable/internet/phone package that is mirrors what we already have in both price and channels. So for now I don't expect a budget change. We'll probably enjoy the premium stuff and switch to the big package deal in a year.


I unfortunately expect their prices to rise instead of drop (our cable prices have dropped in the 6 years we have lived here and gone with mom/pop).

We also don't expect near the customer service. Frown

I guess it reminds me though, that his TV obsession has exploded with many hours home alone. He has a point, and this is one area where he usually has little common sense. So I am glad he is displaying major common sense in this regard.


Gas. I had a wonderful long gas post and I couldn't post it. Was it perhaps a sign? I figured it would spark controversy. But trying to summarize:

I was looking at gas articles when I saw gas had topped $4.50 on Wednesday, and came across the West Coast average gas price for the last 15 years or so, every June 4.

Anyway, the last time we REALLY felt the gas pinch was 2003. It was then that gas had doubled just about from the year before. I remember in particular because I was on maternity leave and glad I had nowhere to drive.

I remember my 2005 maternity leave being the same story.

As I looked at the data in this article, gas was largely $1/gallon until 2003 when it topped $2.

This was also when we went down to one-income so we REALLY felt the pinch.

Looking at the numbers, gas has spiked 40% about every other year since that point. This year has not even reached 40% yet. But of course as the numbers rise, smaller percentages are felt more strongly. Of course.

Anyway, in 2005 I couldn't justify driving home at lunch any more. That had always been my luxury. So 2005 with another 40% increase, we dropped that luxury.

I remember dh and I feeling the pinch and everyone we know buying SUVs.

Anyway, so in 2006 I set my gas budget at $300. I was quite certain gas would go up a solid 40% again.

So anyway, reminded me someone seemed all amazed I made my gas budget in April. Which just bugs me. Where is the rocket science here? Gas has been spiraling out of control for years. I try to plan accordingly.

Believe me, we are trying to drive less. We are parking the van. We are considering staying in instead of all the road trips we wanted to do this summer.

But believe me, you don't have to be rich to see gas prices rising and to prepare accordingly. I think people have taken my blase-ness about gas prices as an attitude of one rich.

Ah, I wish. It's an attitude of one prepared. I am not surprised in the least. My budget gas allowed for it.

I am considering that I will probably have to "up" my gas budget for 2009. Maybe to $350 from $300, to be well covered. BUT this year's $300 is well more than plenty to cover a commute that costs about $80 monthly with current gas prices. The rest is gravy and driving is one of our main luxuries.

I guess mostly my point is I set my gas budget very high in 2006. & I haven't changed it since. It will suffice this year.

I am at a loss why so many people on this board are so confuzzled by gas prices. Usually I identify more with this board, but I guess I feel odd woman out. I can't believe I am the only one who saw this coming a mile away???

& don't get my wrong. I totally understand that people are just reaching a tipping point. I am just surprised so many frugal people on a board like this are reaching their tipping points so fast. To me all I see is a long established pattern being continued. Thus where as mostly I see a lot of panic in the masses, I wonder what's new.

I admit though, even with all this said, we are feeling gas pinch. As I said the last time we felt so pinched was when it topped $2. IT changed our lifestyle dramatically. & I sense as gas tops $4 our lifestyle will change quite a bit. It is a bummer that one of our biggest luxuries is our cars. We just love the freedom to drive any time/ any where. But as prices rise, it is a luxury that is harder to justify.

It's also more maddening than usual to live in an area with such subpar mas transit (both expensive and not terribly useful). I would gladly commute to work or take the train to visit family, to have more weekend gas budget. BUT there just isn't much out there. The train, for one, costs like 5 times what it does to fill up the gas tank for a round trip. So much for that...

Anyway, last time gas prices jumped like this was the worst time for us financially. I guess this time around we are in a better spot, and more prepared. That is the jist of my feelings. It does make all the difference.


But man, how about the news yesterday? Doom and gloom. I was depressed just looking at the news.

I read 1 in 4 homeowners in US has zedro or negative equity.

Seriously? Egads!!!!!

GAs prices up.

Dow down.

Unemployment, highest jump since the 70s?

Oh boy, you get the feeling the country is just about to implode.


Which also reminds me. I made an offhand comment about the economy to a client yesterday, and she laughed. "The economy?" she said. They had the highest revenue day, ever, last week. This is our most successful client. Mostly doctors. But this one specializes in cosmetic procedures. So, yeah, the rich are still getting their laser treatments and botox. That is for sure.

This bodes very well for my job. Wink

We have 2 young doctors in this area and believe me, they make bank. Where as most of our doctors net around $100k-$500k, after expenses but before taxes,they net millions. I have never seen 2 people who have so much more money than they even know what to do with it. IT's insane, and their businesses are booming. That is my glimpse into the economy. As we get further in the year, we'll see how much the economy is affecting the rest of our clients. I expect expenses up with gas prices, but revenues rather the same since the insurance companies rule. We'll see...


Well, I have been busily shopping.

Bought 2 camping chairs, and 3 sleeping bags (thank you

Today I need to buy some new shoes - will order from My workout shoes are dead/old/useless. I have waited too long to replace (as usual - a terrible habit I have).


Dh has been applying for a few side income jobs. He hadn't exactly told me but perusing our shared e-mail I saw lots of correspondence re: video jobs. Many of them paid. Which is actually quite odd because usually there isn't much out there with paid offers. I can't help but wonder if he just saw the ads and responded, not necessarily thinking of looking for paid work but spotting the ads all the same.

I will keep my fingers crossed. !!

He has applied for many jobs, and not gotten anywhere, the last 7 years or so. I mean hell, McDonalds won't hire him. I have NO IDEA what is up with that. We ventured he was over-qualified and kind of gave up. I have posted in the past that we both scooped up jobs like that in the fistfuls when we were in college. But an old guy with a degree? You don't just get those jobs I guess. (Old meaning mid 20s with a degree). I told dh to drop his education on his resume. Seriously. For a McDs job? Whatevah.

Anyway, these jobs were second video camera on wedding videos, for good money. He is certainly well qualified. & also some independent film productions with paid positions. His experience may warrant pay.

We shall see.

At this point I would love to hoarde some cash for work around the house. I think he is motivated to buy toys. Wink We'll find some middle ground. I don't mind that if it motivates him to bring cash. But we have to be realistic too - a large chunk has to go to household and savings.

In the interim we have some catching up to do. In the more long-term, a little extra cash can go a long way to funding retirement.

Anyway, for the first time since having kids dh has some actual TIME to devote to work. & it hasn't been that long that the kids have been sleeping well too. The playing field has completely changed, and you don't know how happy I am to see dh making an attempt at some cash. On one hand I think, "It's about time!" On the other hand I know that times have not been so great the last few years - the kids have kept us insanely busy. Even I find a large amount of time that wasn't there before. & I imagine this is rather new to dh as well.

Likewise, it is nice to see dh applying for way better paying, and yet more realistically achievable, jobs.

A mere $100/month could make a huge difference in our finances/savings.

Well, we'll see!!!


Oh yeah, beyond all that I noticed a small flood in our backyard yesterday. IT looks like something completely chewed through the flower bed irrigation tubing. I looked at it rather dumbfounded. You wonder if the gardener had been careless, and whacked it with a saw or something, until you see it is completely gnawed through. We had some mouse problems last year. I have no idea what else would gnaw through it. I have to investigate the front yard today. I am confident dh will be able to patch it together with a trip to the hardware store. & I am mostly relieved it seems to be only that one spot. But you got me at a loss there.


We also had no idea one of our trees is fruit bearing. ???? My best guess is purple plum (from web searching). We've had the tree a few years and never noticed fruit until yesterday (& lots of it!). It doesn't appear to be edible to humans. Bummer. I remember when we were house hunting seeing a large yard covered in purple bird droppings from some sort of dark purple fruit. These aren't quite so dark, but it does have me worried. !!!!!!!! Especially if you knew the number the birds have done in the past with their white droppings. I think the only real money we have put to our house to date is bird proofing. Seriously. Thank goodness, before our house and yard was to be covered in purple poop. Wink


This weekend:

1 - Clean up the house

2 - Put some stuff up on ebay/craigslist. I have been WAY lazy on both fronts. I probably have an easy couple of hundred dollars to be had if I list some things this weekend. Maybe more.

I feel behind...

5 Responses to “Cable/Gas/Gloom/Shopping”

  1. pretty cheap jewelry Says:

    well, I am glad I didn't listen to the news yesterday.
    The morning paper showed the dow drop and gas prices up. Much less impact than tv news which is okay with me. I've been riding a commuter bus to work, really really reduces my fuel costs.

    the drs! Amazing.

  2. monkeymama Says:

    It was all internet news. Time to turn off the computer too...

  3. PauletteGoddard Says:

    I am at a loss why so many people on this board are so confuzzled by gas prices. Usually I identify more with this board, but I guess I feel odd woman out. I can't believe I am the only one who saw this coming a mile away???
    I'm surprised that you feel you're the only one who saw gas price hikes coming from a mile away. Some of us read James Howard Kunstler's The Long Emergency in 2006. Some of us saw oil people enter the White House in 2001 and changed our home heating source away from oil. Some of us, with children, cut down from two cars to one in 2002. Some of us bought scooters as an interim replacement between beater fuel-efficient subcompact and electric or hybrid car.

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    I'm putting things up on ebay this weekend, too. My craigslist items are going slow, so that is a little disappointing.

  5. baselle Says:

    I agree that its weird that many are confuzzed by gas prices. But you and I and Paulette are on the West Coast. I drove through GA in 1996. Gas was .85/gallon, freakishly low compared to the west.

    I'm 46, not that young, not that old, but I remember the 70s - early 80s. Gas lines, gas rationing, alternate day buying, the president in a sweater, oil execs hauled up to Congress, the hue and cry for a windfall profits tax... it was all there. Sure I was a kid, and probably pretty observant, but c'mon this happened in 2005 after Katrina. If you have to pay (gas) to play (drive), then perhaps you should stop playing.

    I guess a man will be ignorant if he's in the southeast US and his Hummer payment depends on it.

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