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Archive for October, 2010

How I Saved $4840

October 5th, 2010 at 05:01 pm

Tomorrow morning dh and I leave for three weeks in Peru, flying out of SFO. We usually fly coach unless I can get a great deal like the one I did for this trip.

We are flying first class RT and the tickets for this itinerary would have cost $5,868. I ended up spending "only" $1,028.26 for two RT tickets to Lima by doing the following:

~ Used most of the the miles I had in my account (not enough);
~ Paid to transfer 15,000 miles from dh's account (still not enough);
~ Bought the remaining miles I needed to make the transaction.

If we had flown coach our tickets would have cost around $1,410 for two RT fares. Our first class tickets are still ~$400 cheaper than the coach fares.

I have to admit it takes time, research, and creative thinking, but there are ways to not only save money on air fare but to end up with better seats. In case you're wondering why I didn't use my miles for coach fares, they were not available. Airlines limit the number of fares that can be purchased with miles in each of the seating categories.

Pay Day and a Raise

October 1st, 2010 at 02:40 pm

Before I retired, payday was always the last weekday of the month and it was my responsibility to pick up payroll checks at the Business Office and take them to my school site for distribution. If an employee had direct deposit, they got a voucher instead of a paycheck. Paydays always put everyone in good spirits even if it was only once a month. We usually had a staff potluck that added to the upbeat mood.

Now that we're retired, our "payday" is the first day of the month and our pensions are direct deposited to our bank accounts. Deposits to savings are automatic and since most of our bills are on auto-pay, there are few, if any, checks to write. There are no more contributions to be made to our retirement accounts. Our fine-tuned budget works well to meet our needs. Payday does not seem all that special anymore.

Nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprised today when I checked my bank account and saw I received the 2% COLA, which is supposed to be issued every October 1. Due to the bleak state of the California economy, I was afraid there would be no COLA. To celebrate, I'm taking dh out for pizza... so there goes my raise.

We keep telling ourselves we're fortunate to have pensions backed by legislation that supposedly makes them secure. But the skeptic in me wonders how long California will stay solvent. So I'm wary of the worst that could happen and glad we've saved enough to at least pay our basic expenses if our pensions dry up. As bad as it would be to lose our pensions, at least wed have a roof over our heads and be able to buy groceries. But our traveling plans would need serious modification.

My dh often comments that being retired is like having a week of Saturdays. And I'm not complaining... it's great to have the time and flexibility to do whatever we feel like doing and best of all, to have "jobs" we can't be fired from. But I still miss the celebratory atmosphere of payday.