Thursday, December 28, 2006

Where Have I Been

OK. The story: I havent been blogging for the past 4 months. Why? I've been just too busy at work; too busy reading other blogs; too busy posting comments on blogs; and just overall busy with other things to spend time writing here. For some reason I thought I would be writing everyday, about a topic. However, that gets tedious and sometimes useless for both me and you. I've seen many blog posts daily that are just boring; they are daily comments on something they read in their local newspaper, magazine, tv, or online. For me, doing that everyday is not useful for both me and the reader. To me, that's just a filler. Sure, I'll do it. But, to do it everyday, and in rare cases a good topic from the blogger. That's uncalled for. So, maybe that's why I dont post alot; i dont want to fall into the class of posting daily just to post and keep readers. In addition, I do not subscribe to any of the blogger feeds, even though they're free and easy to sign up.

So, what has happened over the last few months. Overall, things have been quite expensive. Food. Housing. Oil. Utilities. Car. Health insurance (greater employee contributions). My income has not increased with regular living expenses. So, I had to devise ways to save money, but still have some money for entertainment. I followed my advise on saving electricity costs. Always turned off computer when not in use. Luckily, the fall-winter season has been quite mild with only 1 time that required heating. So far that's good. I try to take care of errands that are on-the-way home instead of making an extra special trip. As a no-brainer, I signed up for my local grocery stores' cards for sale prices. Unfortunately, luxury entertainment such as online radio service (ie.Rhapsody), satellite radio (ie.Sirius) are not part of my expenses. No netflix since my local video store has cheaper rates, and are walking distance from my place.

In general: gas (87) is $2.3399/gal; milk $2.5/gal; 8oz yogurt $0.59; 18oz bread $1.59; electricity is ~15c/kWh. Mortgage rates for 30yr-fixed are about the same from early on; around 6.50-6.75% with no points, not including closing and loan fees. CD rates for most 6-12month have dropped since afew months ago. Savings accounts are about the same for high-yielding, online banks: HSBCdirect, Emigrantdirect, and new E-trade Complete Savings are at 5.05%apy; INGdirect at 4.50%. Newcomers, to name a few only: AmTrustDirect at 5.30%,$1kmin; AmboyDirect 5.25%; GMACbank 5.20%,$500min; at 5.27% (with $25bonus code 789-expires unknown).

Prices for condos in my surrounding area have dropped since the first half of 2006. But, still, homes are pricey. I noticed the new condo that i was thinking about has dropped its price to around 230-235k; but that was when rates were 6.875-7%. There were one disadvantage to that condo; it's in a flood zone area, which requires flood insurance. Plus, the main drag to get to the highway is difficult to get on, especially when making a left. No traffic lights; no 4-way stop signs. Renting is still better for me; since I'm not planning to be where I am in 5 years, and my job is very insecure. ...Rents in my area are still high; 1-br is $950-$1100, with or without heat. If i moved to a town further away from the city, the rent drops ~$0-$50. Further away, I could potentially save ~$100-125/month; which is something I may consider.

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