Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Until Death Do Us Part

I like to use things until they become unusable. I still use the leather purse which I got in 1995. My infamous backpack with wheels was purchased in 2002, the same year when this laptop computer was bought. Shoes are worn until they become unrepairable.

The mouse that I use was a gift from a friend of mine. I believe it's only about 4 years old. It's functional and I have no problem with it. However, C.J. insists I need a new one, a cute one like the Plumberry Mouse in the picture above.

C: Honey, come here. I think you will like this. Isn't this mouse cute? I'm thinking about getting this for you from eBay.
H: Let me is really cute. Then, is anything wrong with my mouse? Is it not working? It was working fine yesterday...
C: No... your mouse is working, but it's not fun. I want you to use this cute mouse.
H: Hey, I am as happy as I can be with my mouse.
C: You know what? Also, there is this little crack on the side of your, see?
H: So, is it not functioning because of the crack?
C: No...but...
H: I'm going to use this mouse until it goes dead.
C: Then, how about this? How about if I get this Plumberry one for your Christmas gift?
H: Well, I can't let this old one go until it does not work any longer. How about if you get me the Plumberry one when my old one dies?
C: ....Ok, we'll do that.
C: Honey?
H: Listening.
C: Are you going to keep me until I die?
H: Of course!
C: Are you going to get a new husband if I die first?
H: It depends...Are you?
C: Hmm...I think I'll eventually remarry. But, I'll miss you a lot, though.
H: (duh?)


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

To Give or Not To Give?

Every year, we receive many letters from friends asking for financial support for their short-term or long-term missions trips. Whenever we receive them, we take our time to discuss whether we have to give or not and ,if we decide to help, how much we have to give.

Not long ago, we received one of those letters from a couple whom C.J. has been friends for many years. They were going on an overseas missions trip for about 10 days and asked for support.

C.J.'s response was 'Of course we have to give, because they are my long-time friends!'. However, my response was very different: 'They've become my friends as well, but knowing that they are not responsible with their finance, I have much reservation'.

Since it's not like I have unlimited financial resource to support everyone who needs help, I would like to give to those who have the history of being responsible and faithful with finance so that my gift would not be wasted.


Monday, September 28, 2009

FREE 2010 New Yorker Calendar

How about a FREE calendar for 2010? New Yorker Magazine is giving away free calendars.
Go over HERE to sign up for your calendar. Allow 6-8 weeks for delivery.

Thanks 'It's Hip 2 Save'!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Free Entree at Panda Express - 9/25/2009 only

Tomorrow, Panda Express is offering FREE entree of SweetFire Chicken Breast. It's not buy one get one free. It's Completely Free! I plan to check out Panda Express near my work for lunch tomorrow. HERE is your coupon.

Only valid at participating locations, so please call ahead.


Hooray to Local Banks!

A few months ago, we decided it is wise to take advantage of current low interest rates and refinance. We thought we would save a lot of money by reducing the total mortgage interest we will have to pay over the remaining mortgage life.

During our pre-bank visit research, we found out that small local banks give much more favorable rates than larger, well-known banks. After much discussion, two local banks were picked for visit: Liberty Bank and Harris Bank. I want to take this opportunity to share how impressed we were with the sincerity and honesty of their service.

At the Liberty Bank, a young banker welcomed us into his office. As I have believed wisdom comes with aging, I didn't expect much from the young man. However, he spent almost an hour to explain and answer our questions. He was sincere and he did not try to 'sell' stuff. We were given a free mortgage 101 lesson. At the end of the visit, CJ and I found out that Liberty Bank does not offer commission to its bankers for selling products, which explained why the young man was able to be fair and honest with us.

Next, we visited Harris Bank. The morgage banker, Kevin, was not in the office. However, instead of telling us to come back later, another banker went an extra mile to let us talk to Kevin over the phone. Kevin was straightforward: He said, "Why are you going to waste that $1200 refinancing cost? You'd better use it to pay toward your remaining mortgage balance. Even though your mortgage rate goes up next year, it will be a minimal increase." He could not have been wiser! Refinancing cost is 100% wasted money. However, if we put it toward our mortgage principle, it will reduce the balance and therefore reduce the interest. With our current mortgage balance and mortgage interest rate, $1200 is greater than the money we will save on interest payment by refinancing.

The first banker helped us understand the basics of mortgage and refinancing. However, Kevin's insight was what the first banker at the Liberty Bank could not offer to us. If we had talked to only the first banker, we might have gone ahead with refinancing by now! Whew....Praise God!

Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed. (Proverbs 15:22, NASB)

Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory. (Proverbs 11:14, NASB)


Friday, September 11, 2009

Apples to Apples

Apples are in season, and we are taking a full advantage of its nutrition, varieties, freshness, and lower-than-non-season price.

Near where we live, there is a small Greek-owned grocery store called Produce World, and across from the store is Dominick's. Between the two stores, there is difference of up to $2.50 per pound for apples depending on its varieties!

It's not only apples.
I'm looking at right now:
Bluberries (non-organic):
$1.99 per pound at Garden Fresh Market
$5.59 per pound at Jewel-Osco
Cranberries (non-organic):
$1.99 per pound at Trader Joe's
$3.49 at Garden Fresh Market

I don't know exactly how some stores can lower their price so much while others can't (or don't). However, I know Trader Joe's lower their price by directly dealing with producers instead of going through dealers in between.

So, where would you buy your apples today?