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Archive for February, 2021


February 19th, 2021 at 02:42 am

I was scheduled to get the second dose of my vaccine this weekend, but the shipments have been delayed due to weather conditions en route. So, my second dose is delayed by 8 days - I'm still in the window within which it's fine to get the second dose.

I found a really affordable handyperson to work on my front lawn. I considered putting in grass, but didn't want to deal with mowing and watering in the summer, so I am paying her to take out the landscape fabric, use cardboard to suppress the weeds and cover with a thick layer of woodchips.  That should be sufficient to last another two years at least before I have to decide once more whether or not to install grass. I am glad to have contracted this out rather than to have to do by myself. 

I have been weeding the garden area myself. I completedly weeded the garden area. Added sulphur to acidify the soil for my blueberries and raspberries. Sowed lettuce, radishes, spinach, peas, beets, carrots, nasturtium, and cilantro. My jobs for the upcoming week are to weed a bit more, give the garlic a spring feed, rotate my compost pile, clear my flower beds from fall debris and plant flowers, repot my sage, and clean out the greenhouse. If I can do all of this stuff, then I can go on vacation after my second dose without worrying about all the tasks to tackle when I get back.

The next home task I have to do is to install a ductless heat pump. I may need two because of the layout of my house. I'll get a few of quotes within the next month or two.

Got all my tax documents and gave them to a tax preparer. I had initially thought that I would go with the person I used last year for the sake of ease. But, I decided to switch sooner rather than later. I am using another person recommended to me, and in my first conversation with him, he was already aware of what I had to correct my previous person on. So, I feel much more confident already. Once I hear back from him, I will know how much more I can add to my SEP-IRA.

Weekly Frugal List - 2/13/21

February 13th, 2021 at 03:58 pm

Happy Valentine's Day everyone. ❤️💖

Here is my list of frugal things:

(1) Finished reading four books so far this year (and am halfway through two others). I had been on a very long run of reading only non-fiction, and got back into reading some fiction again. Three of the books I read were fiction, and I recommend them: "The Silent Patient" and "Memory Man" are both gripping page turners. The other was "Good Omens", and I haven't laughed as much while reading a book in a long long time. I highly recommend it. Got all of the books read this year for free through the library on either Hoopla or Libby.

(2) Sowed peas, beets, flowers. I start almost everything in my garden from seed. It's very frugal since it's just pennies as opposed to buying starts from the garden center for $1-2. I also started some eggplant seeds for the garden this week - starting them early because I hope to get them nice and big before I transplant them. I'll start spinach and radishes in the next week or two.

(3) I've been making loads of stir-fry lately. I ran out, and so made a new batch of hot oil. I'll share the recipe below in case anyone else is interested. I used to spend $4.99 for a small bottle of it at the Asian store until I started making my own. I highly recommend it since you can customize it to suit your taste, and it costs less than a dollar to make a good sized bottle of it.

I used to buy hot oil (the condiment you find at the tables of Chinese restaurants) because I made lots of stir-frys and also because I found that when getting take-away food from a restaurant, I was given the condiment in impossibly tiny containers and it was never nearly enough. However, it can be expensive to buy it (if you eat lots of hot food like me), and so I started making my own. The only two ingredients you really need are red pepper flakes and oil (something that has a higher smoke point - not olive oil). I usually buy the red pepper flakes from the bulk section of the grocery store for a few pennies, but you can also buy bags of it for $1-$2, and you can use those for 4-8 batches depending on how much red pepper you are going to use. And I use regular canola oil.

1. Add the red pepper flakes to a glass jar. The more flakes you add, the hotter the oil will be. I usually fill the jar about half full because I like hot spice.
2. Add any other ingredients you like (I usually add a little pink salt, some sesame seeds, peanuts, and thin garlic slivers). This is optional, but I find makes it much more flavorful.
3. Heat the oil in a saucepan that has a lip for easy pouring. Heat until you start seeing small wisps rising.
4. Place the jar on a flat surface and slowly pour the oil into it in small batches. It will bubble up and smoke, so stand back. Once the jar is filled, take a spoon or chopstick and mix the peppers about in the oil to ensure that you don't have any dry spots or air pockets. You can do this indoors, but I don't recommend it because you'll be coughing a lot and your entire kitchen will smell like chili peppers for a week. I always do it outdoors. I then leave it outside until it is at room temperature before I bring it in.

It can be stored at room temperature and will last for months. I add it to my stir-fry of course, but also use it in loads of other ways. A little spoonful in scrambled eggs, mixed with yogurt or sour cream for a spicy dip, mixed in with some plain hummus to make it spicy, etc. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy.

This and That

February 4th, 2021 at 09:53 pm

GME continues to tank. It's at 50-something today - still more than it's worth, probably. I don't think it's going to rally at this point. If RH had not restricted buying shares last week, I imagine it would have risen more. At one point they were only allowing retail investors to sell and not to buy. Later, they changed it to a limit of owning 100 shares, and then this morning to 500 shares. The free market is not so free when you can manipulate who can buy shares, is it? My disillusion with the financial system continues. SEC is going to hold hearings in two weeks. I don't think much will come out of it - I wish I were more optimistic about it. I am reminded of what Steve Carell playing Mark Baum said in The Big Short - "In the end they will blame the poor people". But, both Ted Cruz and Ben Shapiro agreed with AOC about the situation - that's not something that you get to see very often, and made for some pretty hilarious twitter reading.

In the realm of things that are more under my control, things are ho hum overall. I have not been doing much money-wise. I got take away for the first time this year yesterday. And, bought my sister a birthday present. I also got some seedling compost for seeds this year.

I decided this would be a good time to make a vision board. I have been thinking of and coming up with a new strategy/timeline for how I want things to be in my life, so a vision board seems like a fun way to dream and enjoy some creative time focusing on what I want in my life. The last time I did this was five years ago, and I ended up doing/accomplishing about 90% of things that were on there. I got a bunch of magazines on Buy Nothing, and started to clip out images. I'm having a hard time finding things related to what I want financially. It's surprising how little there is related to money in most magazines. Unless they are financial managizes, I suppose. So far, about 50% of my board is related to travel - I think being cooped up in the pandemic is making this desire more prominent in my mind.

Harvested some mustard a few days ago. I need to get started with some February seeds. I have shallots coming up nicely and did an early sowing of eggplants - I am hoping to get them nice and big by the time they are ready to go out into the ground. I will also be planting peas, more mustard, and some greens in the next week or so. I am so ready for Winter to be over. For all of those out East and getting the bizzards, stay warm and safe.

GME Update 1

February 2nd, 2021 at 11:38 pm

GME was a roller coaster today. Well, not so much a roller coaster as a complete plummet downward. I checked every now and again between work, and it pretty much tanked the entire day as far as I can tell. But, I was much less stressed about it today than yesterday.

I gave it some more thought yesterday, and came up with two important deciding factors: (1) Emotional: I am not in it for the money. In fact, I was aware of this back in December, but didn't buy it till last week after it had already fallen 50% in value from its peak. The RH manipulation and a couple of other things happened and pissed me off. The video of Leon Cooperman (billionaire, convicted insider trader) literally crying in an interview and then losing his shit and saying that "people sitting at home with their $600 government checks" are using it to "attack wealthy people" and "we all need to just work together" pissed me off even more. So, the second stock I have ever bought in my life was a protest stock, I guess. If you had told me a month ago that I would be doing this, I would have laughed. (2) Financial: I read Marc Cuban's AMA on WSB. He said that if you can afford to hold the stock, to hold it. I can afford to lose the little bit of money I have put in, so I decided to stick it out and removed my stop losses. So, at this point, I guess it's all or nothing.

So all in all, I decided that I was neither emotionally nor financially stressed about it. It's a good story to be part of. And talking about stories, both MGM and Netflix are working with a screenwriter to make this into a movie.

Bought some GME

February 1st, 2021 at 05:32 pm

After some consideration, I bought four shares of GME at $250 each. If I had bought back in December when I first considered it, this would have been closer to a 100 shares. Of course, hindsight is 20/20.

Over the last week, I have grown increasingly disheartened by the way the market is being manipulated by the billionaires and the hedge funds. It's been encouraging to see politicians from both sides of the aisle come out in support of retail investors. It has been astonishing seeing Robinhood go to pieces over their role in the market manipulation. It is sickening to watch billionaires and hedge funds be up in arms when the little man profits from exactly what they have been doing all these years. Two rules - one for the rich and one for the poor. They think their bets count and ours don't?

So, I say: screw them. This feels like a movement - even if it is short lived. I am going to be part of the movement. So, I bought my four shares this morning. I am not sure what is going to happen with the stock. My decision to buy was more emotional than anything else. It'll be a fun ride at the very least. I won't break the bank with this amount invested in the stock. And hopefully I will come out of it with a little bit of Melvin and Citron's cash.