February 2013 Archives

Extreme couponing? Not really...

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Went shopping today and spent a total of 24,61 euro. However, since I was promo shopping, I'll be getting a refund of 15,31 euro, and I gained 6 points on my loyalty card on those refunded products, which represents another 6 cent. Total savings : 24,61/15,37 = 60,11%

In case you now think "but you probably bought a bunch of stuff you otherwise wouldn't have", I disagree. Everything I bought is useful, although I wouldn't have bought it if it wasn't refunded, that I admit. On the other hand, food is food, and one needs to eat anyway, so why not try something different and afterwards just revert to the brands and things you like?

Yes, all the promotions are of course attempts to lure customers to a specific brand, hoping they'll stick to it in the future. Unfortunately for them, I rarely fall for that kind of marketing.


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Earlier this year I scheduled a number of appointments with banks representatives in the area I currently live to see if they could get me a better deal on the mortgages I currently have. On Friday I had the first of two scheduled visits and the first banker told me after studying my files and numbers that they wouldn't be able to do better, taking into account the rather large cost involved in ending the current mortgage and opening a new one at another bank.

The banker I was scheduled to see in the afternoon turned out to be on holiday, so that meeting was moved to today. The weekend had no obligations but relaxing with the girlfriend - spent the day in a wellness center, followed by a night in a hotel - and meeting up with old friends on Sunday. Monday however, three more appointments on the agenda, of which two are already past me as I type out this entry.

Unless something drastically changes this afternoon - which I doubt - the final conclusion of reviewing the finances by 4 competing institutions is as follows : the rates I currently have are pretty sharp. I had a meeting with my own banker earlier today and they confirmed that - even with plummeting and all time low rates nowadays - it would be hard to beat the current deal.

So, what does the future bring? Once the time to renew rolls around, the monthly mortgage payment for mortgage 1 will drop considerably - although I'll probably opt to shorten the remaining time instead of lowering the monthly cost - and as such be debt free on that one sooner.

Mortgage 2 has a fixed rate and that is not too bad at all, so it'll probably stay as is.
Mortgage 3 has a yearly adjustable rate, which will drop considerably, due to the current lows. I hope to be able to clear a small portion of that debt as well, which should help in either further bringing down the monthly cost, or shorten the remaining term. How much I'd be able to repay shall depend on the tax return result I'm still waiting for, unfortunately.

Was all the time invested worth it? As some of you may know, I do value my time, and as such you could say that the hours spent have not really given me much of return. On the other hand, I've learned a lot, have made it clear that I'm not scared to speak up and compare institutions, which accounts for something too. I'd say... yes, it was worth it. It's always worth knowing and understanding your finances.


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As the world is about to slowly awake, I'm preparing to head to bed. I should have been in bed for 5 to seven hours already, but something came up late last night which forced me to reschedule a bunch of shit and skip most of the night altogether.

I'm redirecting the phone and grabbing a couple of hours of sleep, late afternoon I'll be heading off to work again.

XP - Vista - 7 - 8 or ?

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Some of you may already realize, but April next year Microsoft is ending all support for windows XP. Even though XP is ancient by any standards you compare it with nowadays, millions of computers are still running is today.

You could say that you don't need support since everything runs well on your windows XP box, but take a look at it from another point of view : no more patches, no more critical updates... your old operating system will get even more vulnerable as it is today.

A friendly piece of advice : unless you want to switch to an Apple OS or Linux, you better upgrade to Windows Vista, Windows 7 or 8 over the next months. No need to wait till the last minute to take the plunge.

I know I've just finished updating my laptop computer bios to prep it for upgrading later on. It's not running XP, but hey... better be prepared :)

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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