ss_blog_claim=62ddd52a68b7c288caf396f9523dc4fe Ms. MiniDucky

Ms. MiniDucky

Wending my way to a healthy financial life.


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Just Another Manic Monday
Car/House Maintenance
Can't Stop Believin'
Stupid Truck
Ooops Fundlette
Crush on You
Comics I'm Loving: Y: The Last Man, Powers, Ex Machina, 100 Bullets, Fables, Lone Wolf and Cub
I'm neither a personal finance nor a life professional. In other words, this is for your entertainment only. I'm also now a member of PayPerPost, so I will be writing sponsored posts occasionally, and including advertiser links in the posts, but they will continue to reflect my thoughts and life like my regular posts.
Sick day
Monday, June 09, 2008
I'm two thirds of the way through my triathlon of appointments today: dentist, doctor and doctor.
Surprisingly, my dentist did not charge me a copay. In years past, I always had to pay fifty dollars worth of copay a year out of pocket. This time, they just had me sign paperwork stating that I was ok with their billing the insurance directly and receiving the payment that would normally come to me. I'm not sure if that means that my insurance has gotten better, the dentist has better billing relationships with the insurance or if they were just ripping me off all those years!
Anyway, I'll probably call the insurance when I get home to see if my coverage has changed.
My second appt didn't charge a copay either, so I should only be making small inroads into my FSA today.
More for my other uses!
posted by Ms. MiniDucky @ 12:06 PM   0 comments
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Please wish us luck
Sunday, June 08, 2008
I just found that another good friend's father is in the hospital. He's been in and out for the past month, and his condition has steadily deteriorated to the point of serious concern. I'm going to visit him this afternoon, and I'm praying for his recovery. I don't think our group can stand another loss this soon after losing one father and two grandparents.


posted by Ms. MiniDucky @ 11:39 AM   1 comments
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I once counseled a good friend: Figure out what you love doing, what you REALLY love doing, something you would do whether or not you were paid to do it. Then figure out how to get paid for it.

His dad overheard and congratulated me for my insight.

Now, I just need to take and tweak my own advice: develop a passion for something that will make
real money! :D


posted by Ms. MiniDucky @ 9:09 AM   0 comments
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A more balanced attitude
Saturday, June 07, 2008
As I compose letters, actual, handwritten letters to friends with whom I've fallen out of touch, it's become apparent that I'm hyper-aware of how easy it is to run the negativity reel on a perma-loop. Do you ever get into the habit of complaining? About work, or something at home, or being broke or whatever's bothering you?

I know I do, and with the exception of running my mouth on this blog on most topics, my braking mechanism is to just shut the heck up. No one wants to hear the whining all the time! A colleague has this tendency to say just about anything on her mind as soon as it occurs to her, and I don't want to be equally whingy and depressing so I keep my mouth shut.

There's a balance to be struck, somewhere between the two, where the division between the bright and dark sides are similar to a saw: a little back and forth, but not too much. I know it's not always going to be equal servings of good and bad, but there's definitely something to be said for approaching life with a willingness to see both sides of any situation. It's important not to lose your sense of perspective by being unequivocally utterly cheerful or incurably Eeyore; that's not healthy or wise.

Most recently, I've been bouncing between the two poles of feeling guilty: What the heck happened to my finances? I've been working so hard, I should be much further ahead/more comfortable by now! My coworkers who haven't struggled the past two years are talking about buying homes now? Why aren't I there, again?

And then feeling angry when I remember: Remember your brother? Remember the loan? Remember the truck? Ohhhh yea.

Both tracks of thought are, unfortunately, negative or intensely negative. It's then just too easy to dig a big ole hole of frustrated and pull the hole in after me. To combat that, I've been trying to do my best to create some progress, no matter how minimal. And remind myself every single day: You're not going to make that mistake again. Or that one. Or that one. Or any other one involving being a soft touch and your brother. Trust me, you won't.

Eventually, this mantra will convince me to trust myself and what I've learned over the years. Eventually, I'll master a sense of balance that's conducive to proactivity, not reactivity. Things have to get better and I'm all about making it happen sooner!


posted by Ms. MiniDucky @ 8:35 AM   3 comments
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Booking airfare
Friday, June 06, 2008
Boy oh boy, every time I think I've learned my lesson when it comes to airfare, I make another mistake.

I spent a couple hours working out an elaborate plan to trade award credits with BD last night. I have SW award credits, he has a free round-trip ticket on United. He needed an open jaw flight, and his free ticket doesn't allow multi-city travel. Southwest didn't have the travel dates I wanted open for Standard awards.

We checked: I could find a flight on United, could redeem a one way ticket for half of his travel on SW, and buy a one way ticket on United for $87. I did my usual scope out on Travelocity first, and then went to the United site to actually pin down the cheaper fee-free price. $87 for a multi-city trip, for almost exactly the itinerary he wanted. So what do we do? I let him promise that he'd buy the ticket today, and let it go at that.

He sure didn't buy it, and overnight, the ticket went up to
$110. ARGH! I knew I should have snagged that sucker, or at least reserved it last night! I know prices can go up at any time, look at the dratted gas prices skyrocketing twenty cents in 5 days, for heaven's sake!

Of course, the irrational response was then to refuse to buy it because it was $23 more. Completely irrational? Yep! But the price isn't going to be any less if we wait even longer. *sigh* So the trip's going to be over $100 instead of under $100. There's something depressing about spending just over the $100 mark.

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posted by Ms. MiniDucky @ 7:42 PM   2 comments
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Happy Friday!
and thanks for all the fish!

My top 5 referrers:

1. Ms. FB of Fabulously Broke in the City
2. Wanda of Well-Heeled
3. EC of Not Living on Ramen
4. Saving Diva of Saving For a Home of My Own
5. Sense of Sense to Dollars

I hope everyone had a good Friday and has a great weekend!

I walked home from the station and I'm BEAT. Might have had something to do with carrying 30 pounds of stuff, and being tired to begin with, but I don't have the energy to do more than blog and flip through the Trader Joe's catalog right now. Gourmet Steak Burgers with Cheese, Peppers and Onion ... mmmmmm .... at $6.25 for five patties, it almost sounds like a good week's worth of lunches for a couple bucks. But that's just tired me talking.


posted by Ms. MiniDucky @ 7:27 PM   3 comments
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3000 bonus TY points for a mere pittance
I'd forgotten about this little random perk. Citi sent me a promotion for 3,000 bonus points for a single purchase between March 1st through 31st. They didn't specify a minimum purchase which was great because I normally I don't use the card they were running the promotion on. It only gives me 1% back, and I want at least 2% on all my purchases. Fortuitously for me, less so for them, I had to make a trip to the post office the night before the postage prices went up. As it was a Sunday, I hadto use the electronic postage machine to purchase make-up stamps. That helped cut my guilt factor for using a credit card to purchase a single 3 cent stamp; I did need it to make up the postage on an old 39 cent stamp I'd dug up.

The statement came in today, and apparently my piddly little purchase qualified as a single purchase. Cha-ching 3000 points!


posted by Ms. MiniDucky @ 7:09 AM   2 comments
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What I DON'T need?
Thursday, June 05, 2008

To be looking at SHOES, Angie!

But these do look like a cute spring version of the flats I've been wearing everyday. Now that I've shared, that's all I have to say on the matter.

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posted by Ms. MiniDucky @ 12:19 PM   0 comments
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A tale of 50 minutes and 46 dollars
Ugh, my neck. I was on the phone with Verizon again. This time, I was having them switch the account to my name so that I could block all incoming collect calls.

After trying to get through their monstrously aggravating voice activated system no less than 5 times trying to make this happen, I was fed up and determined that this was going to be resolved today.

Would you believe after 35 minutes on the phone, and countless previous calls, this CSR sprang the news on me that they were going to charge set-up fees for the name change??

For-ty six dollars.

They didn't have to do anything except change the name and run the credit check, and they wanted me to pay $46 for the privilege of having access to the bill that I've been paying for years. They have my credit card number and bank account numbers on file, I've paid that frequently, and they want to charge $46 to give me access to my own danged account! Oooooooh. NO. Not after all the trouble I've gone through to reduce costs to stretch my budget. I was furious.

Lest anyone think I'm consumed by a sense of entitlement, that I expected the phone company to care about my budget and expenses, I was primarily angered by the fact that not one of the other CSRs I'd spoken to had ever mentioned any fee to change the name on the account, they'd all assured me it could be done quickly and easily once I had the accountholder's authorization.

I lost it a little bit. I might as well cancel the service entirely and just start up service with a company of my choosing if I was going to be stiffed with a set-up fee that's meant to cover their cost for installing new phone service!

He lamely offered to break up the charge into three monthly payments, but I was adamant. I was not going to pay some trumped up charge that had never been discussed in any of the previous conversations I'd had. Period. It honestly makes no sense, they're keeping me as an on-time paying customer, and they want to spring a charge on me after wasting how much of my time? He put me on hold again and finally came back ten minutes later "Good news!" offering to waive the charges.

I did apologize for being so stern with him, and thanked him for the help.

Then it turned out that there's a one time fee for initiating a block on collect calls and a monthly fee on top of that. He quickly offered to waive the one time fee, though. Guess I made an impression! *sigh* I'm so not willing to pay even more to avoid possible future charges. I haven't made up my mind yet, so I guess there's more phone time to log with Verizon in my future.

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posted by Ms. MiniDucky @ 8:56 AM   2 comments
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Hobby Gear
As a kid, did you ever want night vision goggles? I sure as heck did.

My brother and I were always practicing our ninjaing skills every hot summer night, (and in California, every summer night was hot), skulking about under the apartment windows, climbing the tree out front, or hiding in the shrubbery. Unfortunately, I was a bumbly, gangly little thing, so my brother could always tell when I was coming, while I never saw him sneaking up on me. To this day, that’s why I still check behind doors and chairs, under tables, in the closet and anywhere a human body could conceivably be hidden. But that’s enough about my childhood trauma. When he wasn’t scaring the living daylights out of me, and I wasn’t wishing I had the next best thing to x-ray vision, we were hunting each other in the suburban “wilderness” with our slingshots and wishing we had grown up equipment like hydration systems, and other outdoorsy survival gear stashed in a professional rucksack. Even though the closest thing I ever got for Christmas that came close to what I wanted to prove I could survive on my own was a digital watch and a slingshot, I still lived the dream. ☺

Yeah, we were weird.


posted by Ms. MiniDucky @ 8:29 AM   0 comments
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About Me

Name: Ms. Miniducky
Home: California
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