03
Mar
11

Monies, Websites, and The Guv

Lately, I’ve been a little preoccupied with personal finance.  Perhaps it’s just being financially secure and independent for the first time in my life or maybe it’s just the obsessive way I enjoy counting and goals.

Either way, I’m loving it.

As a slightly obnoxious gift to you all, scroll to the bottom of the post for my favorite internet finds on my road to having put away nearly $2k (is it okay for me to call it “two large”?) in the last two months and saving for my trip to Costa Rica:

Now, this isn’t to say that I haven’t always been frugal or at least money-conscious.  The other day, I was contemplating with Gina on how we’ve handled money over the years, and she said that she probably wasn’t the best person in the world when it came to managing it.

The National Rail Logo - perhaps not coincidentally some backwards dollars

But, I disagree.  I’ve seen Gina go to bat for money in ways that would exhaust the average consumer.  Like the time she lobbied against the National Rail in England for months because an apparent ghost in King’s Cross lost our return tickets from Yorkshire (a great story on its own).

The woman is relentless.

But my favorite story by far was a joint effort when we railed for a £10 refund from a mini cab service in Islington run by a man known only as “The Guv.”

The day I moved into the synagogue out of sharing Gina’s room in Angel, we took a mini cab (for my American friends, this is a certified taxi service in England that is not the traditional black taxi car, but rather people in regular vehicles with licenses in their windows) to transport my luggage to Hackney.

Apparently Lenny McClean

The cabbie dropped us off relatively far away from where we were supposed to be (even though he had a GPS), and we ended up dragging my stuff all the way up Stamford Hill and then up the several flights of stairs to my room at the top of the house on our own, essentially laying waste to the extra funds we spent to take the damn cab.

When we went back to the cab agency (which was in walking distance of Gina’s flat) to request a refund for being dropped in the wrong damn place, we were basically told no, and that we’d have to take it up with “The Guv.”

We asked where he might be and the cryptic little Middle Eastern dude behind the counter lifted a shaky index finger to point to a closed, wooden door behind the desk.  “He ain’t here.”

Well, “ain’t here” pretty much sums up the Guv, because Gina wasn’t about to take no for an answer, and because it was on the walk into town, we made a point to pop in every time we were on the way to the tube, the movies, Mucho Mas for guacamole, or Starbucks for a taste of americana.

That door was never open.  Not once.  In a year, it was never open.

Also, the answer never changed.  Have to ask the Guv.  He ain’t here right now.

I just think that in light of my newfound expertise in the art of cherishing every penny, I’d really like that £10 back, but since we got so recognizable to the staff that they’d actually start to hide when we passed by after a while, it might be time to write it off.

And now for the websites:

Mint.com

This is my favorite.  It’s a free (FREE!) budgeting tool that pulls in all of your banking info, helps you create budgets and goals, and sends you emails when you buy too much white cheddar popcorn and you are $5 from the end of your grocery budget for the month and it’s only the 10th.  Highly recommend.

ING Direct

This is my new bank.  I’ll be done breaking up with BoA in the very near future, I think, but as of right now, I’m using BoA for all bill pay, putting $250 into a spending fund for groceries, gas, and all the etc. every two weeks, and everything else goes into my super handy categorized savings accounts (Globe Trotting, Emergency Fund, and Money to Invest).

Lending Club

This is peer-to-peer lending with a general annual return of about 10% (better than the stock market right now).  I’ve put in $250 just to see how it works.  I will report back in a month or two on the results.

My favorite money blogs –

Get Rich Slowly, The Simple Dollar, and I Will Teach You to be Rich

Happy saving!

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