Posted by Frugal on 29th December 2010
As I stated back in 2009 that US debt would be $13.5 trillion by the end of 2010, it is now $13.9 trillion today. Here is a plot based on US treasury data for total debt:
Notice the gradual increasingly slope with shortening timeframe. This is a typical behavior of a super-exponetial function that is destined to “collapse” in the future. The debt obviously won’t collapse due to payback, but possibly “collapse” through massive inflation or repudiation. This is the chart that any US citizens should keep an eye on. If the chart continues its own pattern of increasing slope with shortening timeframe for slope change. Then one definitely be prepared.
To put 20 trillion debt increase for perspective, the entire global stock market valued at $49.1 trillion in March 2010. When USA run out of other people’s money to use, the only way left is obviously to simply print more (as if USA hasn’t done it yet through two rounds of quantitative easing).
I’m not changing my current projection for a US debt/currency blow-up in 2016/2017, unless the above debt chart changes its super-exponential pattern, and/or that the time has gone beyond 2022 without any problems. Let’s see if Tea Party & Ron Paul who just took the helm of Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee can effect a direction change in the coming years.
Posted in Bonds, Stock Market | 11 Comments »
Posted by Frugal on 10th December 2010
I think this deal may only be valid in California. Until Dec 12 at Albertson, you can get $20 coupon for grocery for every $100 spent on all gift cards (except Visa/Mastercard & Albertson, and limit of $500 in 1 transaction). The coupons must be used before 12/24/2010. Besides that, as long as you have the credit line, there should not be much problems.
Since I used my Chase Freedom card which has 5% off for all grocery purchase (upto the first $1500), and my old HSBC card which also has 5% off but no limit, I get a total of $25 back for every $100 purchased in gift cards. More people have Chase Freedom cards. So at least, you can get 25% off for your first $1500.
Also, a couple of restaurants are having gift card sales too. Souplantation (and Sweet Tomatoes) has 1 free meal pass for every $50 gift card. Since 1 dinner is about $9.50 plus tax, you are getting a little bit more than 20% off. Panda Express has a free two item entree for every $25 gift card purchased. That’s about $6.50 plus tax. For CA 9% tax, that will be a 28% off for every $25 Panda gift card.
So far I’ve bought up $500 in Shell gasoline gift cards at Albertson, $400 in Amazon gift cards which I will spend almost right away for a HD camcorder, and another $300 in various restaurants. That’s $1200 in gift cards, or $240 in free grocery at Albertson, plus $60 in cashback on Chase Freedom card. I figured that $500 gasoline will only last me 2 to 3 months, and I’m spending $200 to $300 on dining out anyway, these gift cards would go extremely quickly. In fact, if I could find more grocery to buy at Albertson, I could easily prepaid 3+ months of my expenses. The most tricky thing about the whole Albertson deal is that $20 grocery coupon cannot be combined, and so only $20 off per transaction. But you could go to a self-checkout and simply check stuffs out for every $20 that you have in the cart.
For a little inconvenience in managing to use various gift cards, you can get 25% off on almost everything. Not a bad deal at all. Certainly, for my marginal tax brackets at about 45%, a dollar saved is two dollars earned. With $300 already saved in my pocket, I’ve got myself a $600 “salary raise”. Maybe I should work on it some more.
25% off is quite a lot. I really wonder how these stores survive.
Posted in Frugal Ways | 1 Comment »