About Me

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Summer Heat Go Away, Go Away!

We initially thought the summer would never arrive this year. It was unusually cold during the Spring and in June. Then the summer arrived with a vengeance.

It is so hot and humid that I can feel gills will be soon forming behind my ears.

We had a very bad rain storm last week and most places were flooded. The well at our office got contaminated with backing up neighboring septic systems so now we need to be connected to the city system and giving up using the well.

On top of this, the A/C at the office decided to stop working yesterday. I sent all employees home to work from home until further notice till we deal with all this mess. There are only 4 of us at the office trying to make do with a small A/C unit waiting for different types of contractors.

Have I ever told you that I hate heat? I should have been born in Norway, Sweden or some place cool in the summer.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Unexpected Savings

My vacation is coming up in late August. I lived in the US for 3.5 years back in early 90s and I still have very dear American friends with whom I am in constant touch, thanks to the Internet and all those cool mobile apps.

Few days ago, my friend in New York hailed me on Whatsapp to find out about my schedule. I always rent a car at the airport when I land. Knowing that, she told me, she would come pick me up at the airport and told me that she and her sister planned that we would stay at her sister's the first night, doing something cool the next day. Her sister lives close to JFK and Manhattan. I know her sister for years and last year she and her husband came to Istanbul and stayed with me. Being from New York, they have been all over Istanbul all by themselves during the day and we had great dinners at night together.

My friend insisted that I should cancel the car reservation and save my money. She told me, parking by her sister's is a hassle. Normally, I do not want to drag her around to do my shopping or borrow her car just in case something happens to it. However, she was convincing so, I obliged.

The rental car company and the insurance provider both returned my money to my credit card and my credit card now has a positive amount on it. This is probably the first time ever. Weird.

I will be staying with her the first 8 days of my visit and then fly to Charleston, SC to visit my other good friend.

I also spoke to my boss and told him that I wanted to prolong my visit by another week if he will be around. I have not changed the return day yet. We will have to wait until his plans get finalized.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Price Comparisons Turkey vs USA

Couple of days ago, I left a comment on Linda's post and shared how much gas costs in Turkey. That gave me an idea of making a list of things to share how much they cost in Turkey versus in the US.

My prices reflect the costs of stuff in Istanbul. This is the most expensive city in Turkey. I have taken the US prices from the Internet. So, there may be fluctuations depending on your area.

I have stated all prices in USD using the average exchange rate in 3 months.


         Turkey          USA
Unleaded Regular Gas (gallon) 5.31 2.35
Ford Focus S Sedan 24,132.20 16,775.00
Jeep Renegade Starting Price 34,895.19 17,995.00
Movie Ticket 6.76 16.50
Iphone 7 Plus 32 GB 1,068.97 769.00
Loaf of Sliced White Bread 1.20 2.98
Coke 12 pack mini cans 5.61 5-10
Box of 100 count Earl Grey Tea bags 4.76 16.90
Starbucks Fresh Brewed Coffee 1.76 2.10

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I will be singing in the rain!

The last few days were exceptionally hot in Istanbul. Thank God, today it is raining and it has cooled down significantly. I cannot stand the heat. Last night, I tossed and turned in bed and were able to sleep only a few hours. The AC in the studio apartment is very old and the remote does not control the unit very well. You literally have to go up to the unit and point the "remote" to make it work.

I am not too sure if the thermostat is working properly either. I am going to try and see if it works. Another idea is to move the bed further away from the A/C and keep it running all night.

In any case, I do not think, I will need the AC tonight. Hopefully it will be nice and cool at night due to all the rain coming our way.

At my other home, the apartment I own, I never need and AC. The apartment is situated such that, it is nice and bright, yet it never gets direct sunlight except for a couple of hours. During the summer, it is really cool.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Frugal Weekend and Food Related Decisions

This weekend was so hot that, mom and I went out only for a couple of hours. We had super simple fish sandwiches for lunch on Saturday. The cost USD 5.68 total.

We bought artichokes, sweet cherries, a watermelon and some apricots from a farm Market. The rest of the weekend we stayed home and ate what we had in the fridge and freezer.

The cleaning lady for the studio apartment did not show up. Money saved there too. I have to vacuum the place tonight.

Today I weighed myself and found out that I have gained weight yet again! From today, till I go to the US for my vacation in August, I am only having one slice of bread along with some cheese and olives for breakfast. For lunch, I will be having soup and salad and may be fish and salad once a week.

Every night, I will only consume either some form of protein or veggies. No carbs at night. No sweet stuff with the exception of very little fruit.

Off to the grocery store I go!




Saturday, July 1, 2017

Mid-Year Assessment of Financial Status

As we have completed the first half of the year, I have decided to look at my financial goals and assess my status.

Although there is still time till the end of the year, it looks like I will be missing my Savings Target by 5%.

Thinking back, I now know that I had not budgeted for my progressive glasses and the need for some new wardrobe items due to unexpected weight gain. My estimate for charitable giving was also underestimated by the beginning of the year. I paid all the real estate taxes (not as horrible as what you guys have to pay) for all the family owned property. That was also not in my budget.

Next year, I will be better at forecasting these expenses. I have already noted them on my budget sheet.

Now the question is whether I should update my goal and move forward or wait until the end of the year to see what the real damage will be or whether I can make up for some of the "loss". Changing the goal seems a bit like cheating so, I am leaning towards keeping everything as is. This is going to be a reminder of better forecasts.