going broke

The following is an excerpt from a Memo I got from HR the other day:

“Soon you will receive your first quarter statement from Principal, the investment returns on your account will be negative for the second consecutive quarter. We have not been exposed to these market declines or volatility for about five years. This is not unusual or unexpected over long periods of time. As investors, we enjoyed record low volatility in the stock markets from 2003 to 2007with very consistent positive returns.

In the current market environment, we want to remind you that your retirement plan investments are for the long-term (unless you are nearing retirement). Unfortunately, many investors overreact during periods of stock market volatility, thus negatively affecting their long-term results. We encourage you to resist the temptation to panic and change your long-term investment strategy after reviewing your statement.”

I prepared myself for a 50% loss, just in case. I don’t care much, because my company is awesome and matches 9% of my salary into an investment package of my choosing and I don’t add a dime. I’ve been fully vested for almost two years because my company is superawesome and we are 100% after only five years. Plus I’m only 31 years old, and I have half a lifetime before retirement and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things will be looking up by then.

The good news is that my rate of return only dropped 7.58% in the last three months and dropped 5.44% in the last nine. Not so bad, especially when I thought it was going to be worse. My colleague in the next cage over lost almost 25%. Sucks to be her.

I’ve been trying to save some dollars here and there. I’m aggressively paying off debt because the return on my savings is next to nothing so I may as well stop collecting finance charges like it is some kind of sick hobby.

Remember my resolution to stop buying junk? It’s working, every now and then. Turns out I still need some stuff. I can’t live like I did when I was in college. I’m way to classy for that now. But I’m not pissing so much money away anymore, which is huge and much less painful and awkward.

If your culinary preferences expand past the dollar menu, you’ve noticed that the price of groceries is somewhat alarming. I remember when I was little my grandmother would tune into the farm report every day and I thought that to be kinda archaic, considering we lived in an industrial town. I passed it off as her tying herself to her childhood days in Iowa and Oregon and didn’t pay it much mind.

Yeah, so… I watch the farm report now. Can you believe the price of wheat? The bread that I have bought since college has gone from $2.89 a bag two years ago to $4.89. Every effing thing at the grocery store is five effing dollars. What the eff?

Eff.

Even pet food is either more expensive or diminishing in quality. Unless you are feeding your animals one of the big vet-recommended brands that are regulated a bit better than the stuff you pick up wherever, your poor animal is probably eating a lot more filler lately because the good stuff is just too damned costly to put in the kibble while keeping the price reasonable. You’ve probably been noticing when you are cleaning up poop. Gross, right? Poor doggie. Poor us.

I’ve stripped our kitchen down to barebones nutrition. If it isn’t healthy, it doesn’t warrant my money. Unless Popsicles are half off, and then all rules are off.

I’m not meat cooking people, so I’m not sure what the price of that is. Beans are still 59 cents per 16 ounces. Nuts are still affordable, which is good because I eat a lot of nuts. I love me a good sack of nuts. Sometimes I like nuts in the can. A few times a day I stick a handful of nuts in my mouth and suck all the salt off before I swallow.

If I want some junk so badly that I can’t stand it anymore, we scrounge up some change out of the couch. Jake gets a half packet of Carnation Instant Breakfast each day to ensure that he is getting all his vitamins. Plus he eats the daycare lady out of house and home Monday thru Friday so I’m not so worried. He snacks on sunflower seeds and fruit and raisins and cheese and cereal. Last night he turned up his nose at birthday cake.

I didn’t.

Did I tell you that I’m making the switch to organic milk? I drank it exclusively back in the olden days when milk was only $3 a gallon. Organic was about $4. Now regular is $5 and organic is $7 or so, but I think it is well worth the extra 200 pennies. Plus it’s ultrapasteurized and lasts longer than a week. We rarely get through a gallon before it expires. I’ve almost broken myself of the “babies need milk to grow” mindset. He just gets some in the morning for his “milkshake”. Babies need nutrition to grow, not udder pus.

That’s gross, isn’t it? Udder pus? A friend of a friend used to have a job at Rosenberger’s Dairy. His mission was to separate the bloody, pus-covered (I always want to put an extra “s” and a “y” at the end of pus to convey the fact that something is all covered in pus. But no one wants to see the word “pussy” next to the word “bloody”. No one.) scabbed-over udders from the stainless steel milker machines. He did it with a hot-water power-washer. Blood and pus and hot water run into the tank of milk which runs into your belly every time you drink milk. It’s inevitable. Even if you are drinking organic milk. Mmmmm.

It’s a good thing Jake likes soy and rice milk, btw. That’s the next step. In fact, we just may go that route immediately.

Does soy bleed?

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