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Author Topic: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?  (Read 3015 times)

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Offline mecch

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Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« on: October 23, 2013, 01:38:55 PM »
Just asking for tips, strategies.

Money management was never a strong suit...

I'm not much of a debtor. Its been decades since Ive run up unmanageable debts.  I mostly get everything paid and mostly I pay on time now, thanks to electronic banking...

I guess I think its in my character. I had partners in the past who did this, better and more quickly and efficiently.  Was happy to let them handle it.

I'm learning to save less and less, file less and less, paper wise.  My dad had cartons of financial records.  He was lousy at money management too, but my mom was worse...  They weren't debtors though.  Hard workers, lived within their means for the most part...  But I got the impression it was always messy and not planned for the future. 

I did bills and what not for 4 hours today.  Hate it.  Well at least I had some funny series on that I didn't have to really watch, but could keep my humor up. 

Also figuring out how to reduce fixed costs - like the internet, phones, insurances, etc etc etc...  I am just not very fast or proactive about this... 

Just wondering if anyone can commiserate.

And if anyone is particularly clever and fast about all this, what's the secret??? Is it some character trait you've had since youth? 

______
By the by, did you know Swiss Bank secrecy is dead, as for USA - Switzerland.  I got letters from my two Swiss banks asking for my tax history and SS number.  One of them isn't even an international bank!  And the international one, I never told them I was a US citizen.  And I am a permanent resident of Switzerland on a European passport, not the American one. 

“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Theyer

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2013, 06:32:57 PM »
I can stretch money , and once you understand that you need the money beforehand to spend it in order to get a good price , and therefore save £ xxx the problems ease.

Too lazy to search out best utility deals , and change them regulary. All my rich friends do , spose there is a lesson there.

Good luck with it .
m
"If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people ."  Tony Benn

Offline mitch777

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2013, 06:49:22 PM »


Too lazy to search out best utility deals , and change them regulary. All my rich friends do , spose there is a lesson there.


m

I just did that today with my electricity supplier. It's a pain in the butt but these companies know it. I'm guilty at times too of being lazy. It gets exhausting and the 6 month deals can be hard to keep track of with all of the other things going on in our lives.
32 years hiv+ (oct. 2013) with a curtsy.

Online Jeff G

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2013, 07:30:51 PM »
I just did that today with my electricity supplier. It's a pain in the butt but these companies know it. I'm guilty at times too of being lazy. It gets exhausting and the 6 month deals can be hard to keep track of with all of the other things going on in our lives.

 I had no idea you had a choice on a supplier for electricity , not where I live for sure . 

Offline WillyWump

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2013, 07:33:37 PM »
Money management is tedious and depressing, so I avoid it like the plague.
POZ since '08

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Offline mitch777

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2013, 07:42:06 PM »
I had no idea you had a choice on a supplier for electricity , not where I live for sure .
it just started here about 3 years ago. We still have some of the highest rates in the country. We pay about $120 per month during the winter and about $230 per month in the summer. (1 built-in to the wall air conditioner and 1 window mounted unit)
Cable/internet/phone is $210 per month.
Hope this makes others feel better.  :)
Heating oil.... don't ask!
Sewer...$950. per year.
Property taxes, grr....
Now look what you did Mecch!#$@(?!!*
Does anyone have a valium?
« Last Edit: October 23, 2013, 07:48:57 PM by mitch777 »
32 years hiv+ (oct. 2013) with a curtsy.

Online Jeff G

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2013, 07:50:54 PM »
it just started here about 3 years ago. We still have some of the highest rates in the country. We pay about $120 per month during the winter and about $230 per month in the summer. (1 built-in to the wall air conditioner and 1 window mounted unit)
Cable/internet/phone is $210 per month.
Hope this makes others feel better.  :)
Heating oil.... don't ask!

That is high . My highest electric bill has been $98 and my gas to heat I the winter is about the same . I have levelized billing so none of my utility's have ever been over a $100 or much lower . 

Offline Joe K

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2013, 08:05:55 PM »
Once you become single again, the stuff can add up.  I went through all the options for Internet/TV/Wireless and halved my bill with Bell.  I also save money, by not seeing it, meaning I have automatic withdrawals/deposits to a savings plan.  I have a budget and I stick with it and anything left over each month (rarely) goes into the savings account.

I check my providers about once a year and if you are considering changing, talk with your current provider first and ask to speak with a retention specialist.  I was amazed at what Bell was willing to do to keep me as a customer.

Joe

Offline OneTampa

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2013, 08:10:47 PM »
There have been a few posts on the Boards (including a few from me) about financial planning for those of us who are HIV positive.  Imagine for a moment that such a sentence as the preceding was seen as counter intuitive a few years ago. Now going into my 29th year HIV positive this coming January, not so much now. ;)

Here is a post from 2006 (long, comprehensive and informative article) you may find useful: http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=2817.msg32017#msg32017

As for me, I continue to pay down debt (especially unsecured such as credit cards).  Since I now have a new job, I created a budget and noted income/expenses in a spreadsheet. Of course, I will not become a Monk and plan to still enjoy a few off-coupon indulgences from time to time.  :)
« Last Edit: October 23, 2013, 08:30:54 PM by OneTampa »
"He is my oldest child. The shy and retiring one over there with the Haitian headdress serving pescaíto frito."

Offline phildinftlaudy

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2013, 08:19:29 PM »
I have an Excel budget sheet set up that I track all of my planned incoming revenue for the next six months and all of my projected expenses (I even account for entertainment and cigarettes)... The sheet is set up to show my income coming in every two weeks and planned expenses to be paid for those two weeks - I am able to adjust for over/under on any item...

My biggest monthly ticket items are:
Rent - $800
Food - $460
Car Payment - $359
Entertainment - $460
Car Insurance - $148
Cable, Internet, Home Phone - $160
Gas for car - $180
Cigarettes - $180

Electric runs me about - $80 month (budget billing to offset the high cost in the summer months)

Overall, I have gotten a lot better budgeting - that is what going through a bankruptcy back in 2007 will do - make a person a bit more financially cognizant....

The credit cards have went up a little bit - but that is because I am putting a lot of the expenses associated w/ upkeep of my brother's house on them while the estate makes its way through probate - but I have a plan to have them completely paid off by the end of February, so I should be okay there.

Every since my bankruptcy and a loss of a job back in 2009 that literally had me standing in line at the food bank, I have a major fear of financial crisis  - so I try to stay on top of my finances. I guess I achieved a small bit of understanding of what those who lived through the Great Depression went through....
September 13, 2008 - diagnosed +
Labs:
Date    CD4    %   VL     Date  CD4  %   VL
10/08  636    35  510   9/09 473  38 2900  12/4/09 Atripla
12/09  540    30    60   
12/10  740    41  <48   
8/11    667    36  <20  
03/12  1,041  42  <20
05/12  1,241  47  <20
08/12   780    37  <20
11/12   549    35  <20
02/12  1,102  42  <20
11/12   549    35  <20

Offline buginme2

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2013, 08:19:41 PM »
Use a calendar app like Google calendar.  Put all your bills that recurr each month on there, then synch it to your phone.  You will always know what bills are due and when.  It's been very handy. You can share the calendar with others so my partner and I have a shared calendar for bills and such.  It's made life a lot easier.

A year or so ago my electric bill was $600 one month, and we are supposed to have some of the cheapest electric in the country.
Don't be fancy, just get dancey

Offline intaglio

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2013, 09:57:01 PM »
______
By the by, did you know Swiss Bank secrecy is dead, as for USA - Switzerland.  I got letters from my two Swiss banks asking for my tax history and SS number.  One of them isn't even an international bank!  And the international one, I never told them I was a US citizen.  And I am a permanent resident of Switzerland on a European passport, not the American one. 

If you have not renounced your US citizenship, the US considers your income taxable. There have been life-long Canadians who never set foot in the US getting tax bills because they hold dual citizenship. Plus, due to the onerous reporting requirements, many European financial entities are cutting their ties with US citizens. Of course, if you have million$ sitting around doing nothing, they're not so quick to send you packing.
Reality is frequently inaccurate.

Offline tednlou2

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2013, 12:34:18 AM »
Auto pay has saved us hundreds in late fees.  However, we've gotten more lax at reviewing bills and our bank accounts.  We were just talking how this needs to change.  Not even talking about someone hacking our account, any company could overcharge us and we wouldn't know it. 

So, I've not been good at keeping tight control over bills and money lately.  I use to log every transaction into the check ledger.  We had to keep tight monitoring, because we would have $10 until payday.  I guess when we began to have more income, I felt I could just relax.  So, I'm suppose to start reviewing every bill that is sent to my email and also review every bank statement, like I did in the past.  We switched everything to paperless billing, so I don't have that hardcopy to look at. 

We almost lost our house back in 2003.  Then, we started to manage money better.  And, we made more.  We saved money for everything we've done to the house.  We never took out a loan or used credit.  We would save through the year and do the work during the summer.  We have one credit card with $1,000 limit.  It is for emergencies and to book hotels and stuff like that.  I will use it, so there is activity on it.  But, we have it set to pay in full every month.  We've been offered $10,000, but we don't want it.  $1,000 is plenty.  We have a modest savings to cover something like needing a new furnace, water heater, etc.



Offline Theyer

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2013, 05:50:06 AM »
"If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people ."  Tony Benn

Offline Theyer

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2013, 07:03:34 AM »
A mixture off 3 months in hospital, being pretty manic ( tends to happen to me when I miss death by the hair off my chinny chin chin ) pre-crash bank lending polices and coming off Atripla plus a self confidence often re-ferred to by suitably qualified friends as 'Mad" resulted in a 5 figure dept that did not start with a one.
ed and was in £ not $ .

Bankruptcy was the obvious answer, so I refused and hammered away at re-organizing payment periods ect. Life was very very very dull and scary for a couple off years .

Still have away to go before I am clear, still have full banking privileges , I have sworn on all I hold dear to agree to seek help if one particular person states they are worried the mess is starting again.

Recently had a windfall , a large one to me but what one friend would spend on a week away, and I cleared the credit card with it . Long term friends gathered in mute shock, and tears off relieve where shed.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2013, 07:06:29 AM by Theyer »
"If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people ."  Tony Benn

Offline tednlou2

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2013, 01:24:20 AM »
Has anyone ever settled a student loan with the Department of Education?  If so, how much were they willing to settle for?  I was reading several sites that say they most likely will never settle for less than the principal, saying they may knock off some interest and collection fees. 

I found this site that says you should check their math, because errors are not uncommon in their interest calculations and collection fees.  It gives all these percentages and math formulations.  When you have loans that have interest that compounds yada yada, I would have no idea whether it is calculated correcty.  This is where I'm jealous of those who can read and understand math.  I think they are usually the ones, who can read and understand complicated medical studies. 

Can anyone make sense of this?  Here is an example that makes my head hurt.  Perhaps I'm just tired.  Yeah, that's it. 

"Thus the US Department of Education will usually seek a settlement that is at least 115% of the loan balance or the default claim paid at the time of the default. They may be willing to accept less if the default was very recent."


http://www.finaid.org/loans/settlements.phtml


Offline britchick

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2013, 12:23:35 PM »
Theyer,

Thats really good news  :)I ended up in debt re my health, debts kept mounting and   i now have a Debt Management plan...yep ...there is a light at the end of the tunnel.......im so relieved.

britchickx

Offline hope_for_a_cure

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2013, 12:30:39 PM »
If it is an option where you are, ALWAYS clip and use coupons for groceries and paper products.  Some things such as your ISP may not give you much wiggle room for savings though. 

An austerity program is never really fun but you will benefit in the long run.  Best of luck!

Offline alberche

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2013, 10:32:18 PM »
Hiya mecch!

Money, whatizit?  :(

LOL

Well, what I do: I have an excell sheet, so I know what will be my fixed recurrent monthly spend all the year long, based on real figures from last year  (electronic banking helps). My income is not regular now, so I try to make a forecast on the lower side on how much it will be. This helps me to know my spending limits. My priority is food, then basic home services: electricity/heating, phone and internet. After that, paying debts or credits: credit cards (get rid of them if possible), loan bills.... After that taxes. Going out to the cinema, theatre, travelling, purchasing music, garments, indulgencies... have become a sweet memory of a more prosperous past time.

Fortunately in Spain we have, for the moment, free meds, labs, healthcare (this could change in the future months/years, we probably will have to pay little amounts for this and that, what will mean a bigger monthly spent).

Other things I do: sharing my car, using more my bike for short trajects, I have also changed all light bulbs at home by LEDs, for heating I switched from electricity to gas, in summer with a fan, lots of fruit and liquids, and a bit of patience, I said goodbye to ai rconditioning (we go well into 40's celsius in August here). Internet, phone, TV, I pay 49 Euro (about 70 USD) per month, 10 MB speed, toll free phone calls, including my cellphone, and 80 TV channels. I switched to a cheaper company, "virtual operators" as they call them here, offering better fares to gain market share. Insurance (car, home...) I renegotiated all my contracts, amid the crisis, they'll prefer to reduce their fares rather than loose a client. Food: here we have purchasing clubs, you can access fresh locally grown vegetables, eggs, etc, clubbing with other people to make collective purchasing to local suppliers: farmers, artisanal producers... Big supermarkets are OK for cleaning products, pasta, cans, rice and things like that. Try the own supermarket brand rather tan commercial ones, quality is acceptable and price may be a half for some products. Fuel, unfortunately you don't have in the US our tiny turbocharged diesel engines,  I get 900 km (600 miles) autonomy from my tiny 1,3 litre Ford Fiesta, 1,40 EUR/litre (about 7 USD per gallon I reckon), and with 40 litres of diesel (1  gallon is about 3,5 litres, isn't it?, so about 11-12 gallons per 600 miles). Garments: I purchase winter garments on January, when they do the big sales. And summer garments on  September. I purchase this year what I will wear the next year. At second hand shops you can find cheap and original things as well. Cinema, theatre... I switched to books, read a lot!!!, bookcrossing, e-books, sharing and interchanging with friends.

Well, essentialy: get rid of all you do not really need. Negotiate and push your suppliers (electricity  and similars) to offer better prices, and try to be consistent noting your expenses monthly, and checking whether you are within budget or risking to exceed, you will have a predictive tool to correct excesive spending or to ask for help if needed before you get in trouble.

I has worked for me so far. True, there is a point you cannot reduce anymore, unless you change completely the way you organize your life, short: you get poorer, you need to get used to it and act proactivelly. Tough, but I think most of us are passing or passed through this anytime in the past.

Our Grandparents have lots of knowledge on this also, they passed the war and the years after and learnt it by heart :-). Good to listen to their point of view on this.

Hugs!!!

 8)
love is blindness...  a wonderful song!

Offline mecch

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2013, 09:29:21 AM »
Well you are right, our grandma's did this well. At least mine were wonderful money managers.
As for the rest - it seems clear to me you are a GREAT money manager.  I'm just managing to avoid really bad behaviour.  Otherwise, its not easy and not efficient.
Im smart enough to know what I should, like all your behaviours...  Though things are not as tight with me - I'm middle middle class in income but really should live more economically, to secure my future.  Suze Orman style. 
The challenge is Im not "emotionally" smart.
Also have had several really poor spouts and even homeless.  As I get older I seem LESS able to be in control, and easy about what comes my way.  Whereas when I was young I was always optimistic, resilient, and could land on my feet and rebuild rebuild rebuild. Also I could be strict and monkish on the "lifestyle" and be really controlled about this and for very extended periods.
_____________

I am glad so many people shared their experiences and feelings on money management.  At least for me it makes me feel less like a freak cause I can see for some it is difficult too, and for some it is anxiety making. 

Its not that its impossible but Its the difficulty and the anxiety.  But I suppose the only solution is to keep plugging away and just buck up and do it, no matter how anxious it  makes me.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Habersham

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2013, 11:59:18 AM »
Do they have something similair to a 403 (b) where you are now?

BTW - I was just reading a murder myster set in Paris and someone said about the strangled victim  "poor mec - he never saw it coming!
Because I Can

Offline mecch

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2013, 12:10:21 PM »
yeah mec just means guy.

retirement planning is part of the anxiety!!!  Stupidly didn't expect to be single in my 50's as my last partner was a long term partner but a decade younger than me, all my previous planning was dumb ass. 

Also changing countries.

there is an equivalent to 401K but not another special one for education/non-profits.  I have some sort of 403 b money in the US I have to find and bring over...  Not much but whatever...

Anyway retirement is a ways off.

When I was in my late 30's I had some friends/colleagues in their early 50's, women, and yep, you can guess. Got dumped for younger wives.... It was horrible on so many fronts but one of the injustices dumped on these women was that they had to REALLY work an awful lot between 50 and retirement age, because their futures had completely changed at divorce....    I watched one work herself to the bone - she got thin and aged quickly and looked haggard, it was harrowing!  Just to try to maintain a lifestyle I guess she decided was impossible to give up, or simply didn't want to give up.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2013, 08:55:31 PM »
My retirement plans consist of inheriting a tidy sum of money, made more fortunate by the fact I only have one sibling.
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline Theyer

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2013, 02:00:45 PM »


Anyway retirement is a ways off.




I think rich people and financial managers might take issue with this mind set .

My retirement plan is to hope for a left wing government.

In the early days 85/86 every bit off financial advice I was given by professionals proved wrong , oh so wrong in the long term.
"If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people ."  Tony Benn

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #24 on: November 01, 2013, 02:10:48 PM »
If any of our dear fora members possesses a large, girth-ish tallywhacker with an ample prepuce I would be more than happy to share my forthcoming inheritance with you.

Fondly,

MP
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline Theyer

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2013, 07:27:35 PM »
If any of our dear fora members possesses a large, girth-ish tallywhacker with an ample prepuce I would be more than happy to share my forthcoming inheritance with you.

Fondly,

MP

I wish you all the luck possable in your search for enormous genitalia , come the revolution there might even be research money or at least  one off those TV shows " Make Auditions Pay "
With thanks
m
"If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people ."  Tony Benn

Offline alberche

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2013, 07:40:50 AM »
True, living with economic restraint could, actually, be a bit depressive. But what can you do when you cannot do otherwise? In these times "crise oblige" (as frenchies would say), so I think it is better to adopt the practical point of view and go for it at least on all that depends on your options and decision making. Nobody is going to do it for you anyway. And much less probably nobody would volunteer to help you.

As one get old, I think it is important also to simplify things, to preserve only those things, objects, routines, that are actually important. Particularly when you live alone, no matter what kind of relationship you have with your partner (if any) or friends. It is something very personal, intimate, i guess.

The simpler is your life from a material point of view, the easier for you will be to cope with unpreviewed changes, to move to another place, to start new activities, and so on. You become more free, less dependent, in many ways.

But, in the end, as I said before, it is a bit depressing, and it is tough. And it is not easy at all to keep a balance between this toughness of doing so and at the same time keeping some degree of illusion to keep carrying on.

Hugs!

 8)
love is blindness...  a wonderful song!

Offline Theyer

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Re: Are you an easy and efficient money manager?
« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2013, 01:28:16 PM »
Off course what would make it so much easier would be if all ones,s friends ,family also shared the economic plight aids brings to so many off us , instead off showing one what goodies are missing . Its really amazingly selfish off them to carry on regardless . And while I am at it --the old chestnut money does not bring or make for happiness. I much preferr bring miserable with money , and when I am truly happy I don,t give a toss after all you can always bolt from the restaurant or bung it on the credit card .
"If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people ."  Tony Benn

 


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