@Caitlin with a C I always find chapstick useful (and that's a gender-neutral one if the fistfuls I see dudes grabbing at conferences is anything to go by)! Coolest is probably the color-changing heat-sensitive ceramic coffee mug I picked up from one of my company's clients, weirdest is probably the pair of binoculars I was handed once.
I like to give gift cards/certificates particularly when they're related to something I share in common with the recipient - a gift card for that froyo place Stephanie and I always hit on Friday nights, or a certificate for the restaurant Thien and I always go for sushi on special occasions, etc. I think a lot of my anxiety around gift cards is that they can feel "impersonal," but like the piece above notes, most of that can be dealt with if the gift card is actually for something relevant. I even gave a Safeway gift card to a friend a few years ago, tucked into a card with a note about all the times we used to go late-night grocery shopping and bake cookies together in college.
Sept 2013: $29,552 in savings Oct 2013: $30,316.02 in savings Mini-goal of $30k in that account has been reached! Next homework for myself is to figure out whether to start investing part of it in something (I already have a Roth IRA, don't worry) or still keep considering going back to college as a thing I should keep my money within easy reach for. Next mini-goal is $35,000 before April, aka IRA contribution season for me.
I had an etsy package stolen by a neighbor this summer! I've been avoiding dealing with it - I emailed the seller to make sure the package had shipped, they replied with the USPS receipt and asked me to look again. Like the LW mentions, I don't feel good about asking them to eat the cost of something that isn't their fault - I guess I might finally email them back and tell them I'm going to have to reorder, and ask if they have any holiday sales coming up??
@NoReally Yes! Annuities are great, from someone who used to work at an annuity firm. Just be sure to be very clear on what the rules are and who is allowed to make changes to where payments are distributed. At my former company, only the owner could authorize address/tax withholding/direct deposit/etc updates, which was exactly what some people wanted in some cases (owner: older brother who wanted to ensure money got to sibling's landlord on time every month/payee: sibling with a drug problem, for example) and very inconvenient for other cases (owner: kind grandparent/payee: grandchild who keeps moving apartments, for example).
@lhorntx I budget $385 every month for fun stuff, and usually end up spending around that - maybe a little overbudget in a couple categories, underbudget in a couple others. Here's how I break it down: $60 experiences (movie/show tickets) $40 coffee/snacks $200 eating/drinking out $25 stationery/gift $60 shopping/stuff I break coffee/snacks up from eating/drinking out because one I generally do alone as a quick break from my day, the other I do socially to spend time with friends. I'm usually about $100 over on eating out, but I usually wind up underbudget on the other categories so it about balances out.
@muush My take-home pay is about $3300, and I spend a little more than 10% of that eating out (restaurants, bars, coffee/froyo, takeout) every month.
@Trilby I would think "eating out" includes takeout, drinks, coffee, etc.
@Holden Cauliflower Note that this number does not include my "Coffee/Snacks" category, on which I usually spend a little less than $40 every month.