12.28.2011

Happy Holidays! Condo Update

Hi everyone! I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas and got lots of nice presents:) Sorry for neglecting the blog this week, I have been so busy at home catching up with family and friends. We went to SF where I spent almost $60 on parking for the whole day :( but it was worth it spending time with all my cousins, bro and sis. Tonight and tomorrow I have dinner plans so hopefully I don't spend a lot as well but I am excited to see more friends!

Back to personal finance - so as you know the BF and I have been condo shopping for the past 7 months or so. We finally found one we both loved and put in an offer the other day. It's a bank owned property and it's $144,900 for a 1 bedroom condo in a location we both like, and it's about 10 mins away from my work. It's a top floor and end unit with high ceilings, a walk-in closet, fireplace, spacious balcony, and a full size washer/dryer area. Most condos we were looking at had low ceilings and stackable washer/dryer areas. The downside is that it doesn't come with any appliances besides a crappy electric stove and tiny microwave but our main focus is the actual structure/location of the unit/walls and other structural things that we can't fix. Appliances are easy to fix and we will upgrade them soon as well as the kitchen. There are no granite countertops or anything like most places we saw but we really liked everything else about this place. HOA is $220 and believe me when I say that this is standard or cheaper than most complexes in the County (sadly). We decided to go for a 1 bedroom since we are not sure if I will be working full-time if I go back to school and we don't want to be responsible for something we are not capable of in a few months.

There are multiple offers right now on the place, mostly from investors who are out of the country so we shall see what happens. They are moving pretty quickly since we put in an offer just 3 days after it was listed and they are no longer taking offers after 1pm today!! Our real estate agent says we have a good chance since we are local. We put in $2,000 to show we are very interested and we already had our broker submit the pre-approval. I'm so excited but I also don't want to get my hopes up just in case we do not get this place. It is our first offer after all and I know it doesn't always happen that way. Whatever happens will be meant to be I'm sure.

I'll leave you with some pics so this post isn't all words!










12.23.2011

In & Out 12/23/2011

via

Happy Friday folks! And Merry Christmas Eve of Christmas Eve! Unfortunately I'm about 1.5 hours away from finishing up an 8-hour day at work (a very unproductive one to say the least) but the good news is that I am almost freeeee from work!!!! Until the new year that is.

Thought I'd do a quick in and out post before I am on my way to my hometown to enjoy Christmas parties, wreak havoc with my best friends and eat up a storm. It's going to be fun.

- IN -

  • Remember those movie tickets I bought off ebay and never received? I followed GND's advice and filed a claim ASAP. It must have scared the seller so he/she refunded my money this morning!
  • I always seek advice from my mom and she told me to go ahead and get my personal statement reviewed by Gradvocates as well. I was about to pay for it and noticed that their prices went up! Originally $74, the price went up to $95. I emailed them and they gladly gave me the $74 price. I am happy both my PS and my resume are being reviewed by the same company.
  • My friend who moved away from San Diego came back this week to visit her BF. We went on a double date and had dinner/drinks this week and then we found out we were on the same flight for tonight! Also happy that we booked Southwest so we can sit next to each other.
  • My best friend is picking me up at the airport tonight. Can't wait to see her cute baby boy again. He's already 7 months. Time flies.
- OUT -
  • I had to buy movie tickets at Costco last night since I never got them from ebay. I had to pay $127. If my seller had shipped them to me, it would have costed $108. Oh well. I'm just glad I have the tickets to give to people as gifts!
  • I am STILL NOT PACKED. My flight leaves at 9:30pm tonight and we're going to be at the airport by 7ish. One of the old luggages smelled like cat pee and BF had to hose it down last night. I really hope it worked or I'll have to buy a new luggage.
  • So yeah I have to pack a crapload of knit sweaters, a coat, leather jacket, blazer, jeans, boots, heels, flats, electronics, gifts, and toiletries. I am NOT a light packer and I need all these items with me. I will be seeing a lot of people that I haven't seen in awhile =) Should be an interesting few hours after I get off work today.
If I don't get to blog again before Sunday, I wish you all a Merry Christmas! Stay safe :)

12.22.2011

Something I Never Thought I'd Pay For

I've been spending a lot of time on top-law-schools.com (TLS), a forum for people applying to law school and in law school with a plethora of resources and threads. There are a lot of open-ended components to my application such as the personal statement, diversity statement, addendum, why statement, and resume-basically a lot of writing.

I never thought about hiring a company to critique my work because I'm so used to doing this myself; also I have a lot of friends that are willing to do this for me too (thank you:). A friend on TLS mentioned that he submitted his resume to Gradvocates, a company that specializes in editing all of the aforementioned components to the application process with quick turnaround times. My friend told me they made his resume look "kick-ass" and they gave him a lot of helpful ideas and tips. 

I decided to jump the gun and pay $50 to get my resume beefed up within 7 days. 

This is what I paid for:
  • An edited resume that is 100% free of spelling, grammatical, and mechanical errors.
  • Detailed comments explaining problems with your resume.
  • Helpful suggestions about how to improve the content, substance, and organization of your resume.
  • A personalized email discussing the biggest problems with your resume and how we fixed them.
  • FREE "second look" at your resume by our editing team after you have implemented our changes and recommendations.
  • Unlimited email interaction with editing team.
  • Piece of mind in knowing that you are in the hands of professionals that have been in your shoes and know what it takes to succeed.
Honestly at this point, I've invested so much time and money on LSAT classes and my applications that I want my resume to be foul proof and perfect. Or maybe perhaps, I don't know..I am getting lazy and it's the holidays, and I still have other important parts of my application to complete (and other things to do) so I gladly paid $50 to get the resume portion taken care of. What's awesome about it is that the 7 days include the weekends and Christmas, so I will get my resume back before next Thursday! This works out perfectly for me since I'm planning to submit my apps the first week of January and this still gives me plenty of time to work with them and fix it up if needed. 

I'm pretty confident and happy with my personal statement and it's almost in final draft form. It's $80 for them to critique my personal statement but I'm still on the fence as I mentioned. What do you think?

Have you ever paid for services like these to help you? Should I pay $80 to get my PS reviewed?

PS. This was not sponsored! Just my personal experiences. I'll update with another post on what I thought and if it was worth the $50.

12.21.2011

Christmas Shopping Update

I'm getting a little nervous now. I bought most of my Christmas gifts online, and everything came in except for the movie tickets. I purchased 17 movie tickets via ebay and now I'm getting really worried. I purchased them on December 10th and it's been over a week now, and the tracking still says Electronic Info Received. This means the seller still did not send it out and he only printed the shipping label.

I really don't want to deal with the headache of filing an ebay claim yet, I just want my movie tickets. I have all the popcorn buckets, candy, coke bottles, hot cocoa, and other goodies to put in the buckets with the movie ticket however the most important part of the bucket is still missing!!! I sent the seller an email telling him to put it in the mail today because I'm leaving Friday. I'm really kicking myself right now for not following up or checking the tracking number again.

I am crossing my fingers that I get them this Friday or else people will just have to get their movie tickets in the mail after I receive them =(

I still have to get my little sister some gift cards from Forever 21 and Cotton On and then wrap some last minute presents. I also received a Coach purse from my uncle in the mail yesterday and I am truly grateful! However I don't like the style and it's too small for me so I'm hoping I can exchange it for a different style.

It seems like there's so much to do and so little time. How's everyone else doing with their Christmas preparations?

12.20.2011

Another DIY Christmas Gift Idea

Happy Tuesday! Does anyone else feel like this week is dragging? I think I'm just really anxious to pack up and  fly home on Friday night, for an entire week! I am so excited I can hardly focus on anything right now.

For all you last minute shoppers, here's another DIY idea that is super cheap and you can get as creative as you want!

Inside, there are ingredients for cookies! You can put candies, oatmeal, different types of chocolate chips, etc. The jars and ingredients are cheap and your giftees will be amazed that you put effort into a personalized gift. I think I will do this next year!

all photos and ideas via

12.19.2011

Weekly Money Check-Up 12/19/2011

via My Pretty Pennies
1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on a CVS trip! I bought a ton of nail polishes and wrapping paper for xmas gifts. I spent $50 but each nail polish was around $1.
2. Today I am thankful for a BF who genuinely cares about us and our future. He's always rooting for me and helps me in so many ways. I am very grateful for him!
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was made friends with people on the law school forum. We all traded personal statements last week and I'm actually having fun critiquing and also receiving great feedback on my personal statement.
4. I will consider this week a success if I successfully bake goodies for work, wrap gifts, pack for home, and finish my personal statement.
5. One of my holiday traditions is staying up until midnight on xmas eve and unwrapping gifts altogether. We usually kareoke and drink until my aunts are pretending the lamp poles are stripper poles, and we end up watching scary movies.

12.16.2011

Paying it Forward

Happy Friday everyone! I came across this amazing article today, and I just had to share it with you (if you haven't read it yet). Read about it here.

via pinterest
Apparently there have been some anonymous people paying off layaway accounts at K-Mart. This is what Christmas is all about. 

"At Kmart stores across the country, Santa seems to be getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn't afford, especially toys and children's clothes set aside by impoverished parents.
Before she left the store Tuesday evening, the Indianapolis woman in her mid-40s had paid the layaway orders for as many as 50 people. On the way out, she handed out $50 bills and paid for two carts of toys for a woman in line at the cash register."
I actually wanted to cry after reading this, because in times like these, we often forget that we can all help each other in any way possible. It's so easy to turn away at the homeless people begging for money or people standing outside of grocery stores asking for donations, yet if we all did a bit more giving, the world would be a better place. This story was very humbling for me and has reminded me what Christmas symbolizes. It's not always about presents and gifts, it's the thought that counts.
I've always wanted to pay it forward yet I always seem to forget when I'm rushed in line and at the store. As another December goal, I'm going to pay it forward at Starbucks the next time I am there and hope that it inspires someone to pay it forward in return.


And because great minds think alike, my blogger friend Michelle over at Sense of Cents actually posted about the same article - check it out here!
Have you ever paid it forward? What did you buy and did you get to see the person's reaction when they found out you paid for them?

12.12.2011

Weekly Money Check-Up 12/12/2011 & Christmas Shopping

via My Pretty Pennies
1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on Christmas gifts! Read below for a summary of gifts I purchased so far.
2. Today I am thankful for lots of people that are willing to help me with my personal statement. My Money My Life being one of them, an attorney at work, and my lovely BF. I only hope to be able to help someone else out one day the same way I've been helped.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was cheer up a coworker who was feeling a bit out of her element. I made her laugh and tried to bring some optimism in her life.
4. I will consider this week a success if I finish my 2nd draft of my personal statement and have it read by a few people I trust. If anyone who is great at writing/editing is interested in reading it, let me know :) The more eyes, the better.
5.  One of my favorite holiday decorations is Christmas lights of course!


Christmas Shopping so far - $365.88:
  • 15 AMC movie tickets from ebay - $108.90
  • Boots for my mom from DSW: $107.64
  • Boots for my family's secret santa from UrbanOG.com: $34.30
  • Sister's phone cases from eBay: $5.03, $4.30
  • Brother's HDMI, ipod case, and Skull Candy earbuds from Amazon: $40.36
  • Wal-Mart (candy, popcorn buckets, clothes for nephew, nieces godson, some groceries): $65.35
  • Still need: PF secret santa gift, baking items for coworkers, mexican coke
I did a lot of xmas shopping online so I'm hoping all of the items get here before xmas. The phone cases and all the electronic accessories people wanted this year were all cheap from amazon or ebay. The movie buckets were easy to buy from Wal-Mart and the tickets were cheap from ebay again! I think I did pretty well within one weekend and I didn't have to go to the mall. I still need to buy a few more items to finish up but I think I'll be under my $500 budget!

Anyone do anything interesting this weekend?

12.09.2011

In & Out - Friday 12/9/2011

Happy Friday everyone! Today I feel compelled to do an in & out post as I feel like Fridays are great for rounding up the work week.

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- in -
- Pinterest. I'm hopelessly addicted. Here are some of my favorite pins. Follow me on pinterest! (username: omgiwant). Sources for all pics are on my pinterest.

clear nail polish + eyeshadow
- I reserved Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 at Blockbuster Express. Can't wait for movie night!
- Finally sent some money to savings! Haven't done this in a month so it feels good.
- Finally went to the gym today to my favorite Turbo Kick class. It felt so good to be back. Hope to keep it up.
- Boss approved my time off for the week between Christmas and New Year's. Can't wait to go home, I haven't seen my mom and stepdad's side of the fam since August. Woohoo!
- Grateful for amazing people, colleagues, teachers, family and friends who have been so supportive during this time.
- out -

- Anxiously waiting for my LSAT score. And you thought I was done talking about it :P
- Need to spend a lot more time on my personal statement.
- Christmas shopping progress currently at ZERO. I got nothing! Hope to fix that this weekend.

Any ins and outs for you guys?

12.06.2011

Cheap & Easy Christmas Gift Idea

It's the most wonderful time of the year again and I know it's inching closer and closer to Christmas so I thought I'd post my yearly Christmas gift ideas (well just 1 idea this year).

Last year I posted about DIY Christmas gifts and I even made some homemade bath salts for friends and family. It smelled good and it was cheap! I also worked out a Christmas budget last year. Also if you like Christmas songs, check out my compilation of favorite holiday tunes.

Once again this is how Christmas makes most of us feel and I posted this last year -
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Quite scary if you ask me. I don't like it when Santa's mad at me. So this year I am still going to prove that I love my friends and family a lot but I'm going to aim for wayyyyy under my $500 budget.

I have about 20 people to buy gifts for. I have a huge family and lots of loved ones in my life that I cherish. I save up all year long in my Gift Fund for this special occasion.

Since I was studying and I have a bunch of other stuff to take care of, I have to start my Christmas shopping late this year and I have to get it done ASAP and as cheap as possible. I'm glad that the adults in the family (anyone 18+) are doing Secret Santa on Elfster this year so that eliminates about 11 people on my list. I still have my mom, dad, stepmom, stepdad, sister, brother, stepsis, BF's mom & dad, BF's sis & brother in law, BF's nieces and nephews, BF's 3 cousins, my 4 gal cousins, my 2 secret santas, my BFF, BFF's hubby, and BFF's baby (my godson!).

How do I take care of the majority of this list in one fell swoop? Last night BF and I decided that we're going to make movie buckets for everyone! This takes care of everyone but the nieces and nephews, my secret santa, my bro and sis, and my godson. We're going to include 1 movie ticket per person, a popcorn bucket, candy and those classic cokes in a bottle - sorta like this:

via
If we calculated everything right, it should come out to a maximum of $15 per person!

Do you have any cheap Christmas gift ideas?

12.05.2011

December 2011 LSAT High & Weekend Recap

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Happy Monday everyone! I finally took the LSAT this past Saturday and it feels so good to be done with it!!!!! I am pretty sure I got my target score since the test was definitely easier than the previous LSATs I took as practice tests. If I don't get into any schools this year since I'm applying a bit later than normal, I may take it again in June. But for now I'm done! I feel really weird after doing nothing but studying/working for 5 months. I still feel like I have to study or carry around my backpack and heavy LSAT books or that I have to decline every single social invite. When I was just hanging out yesterday, I still had that gnawing feeling that said "I need to study!" since I'm so used to feeling that way. I'm so happy I took Blueprint (read about it here) and that I waited to take the test until I fully mastered the material.

I wanted to cry after taking the test (like right after I finished the writing section) because honestly I have been trying to take this test since I graduated in 2009 and I never had the motivation, drive or energy to take on this beast of a test. I feared it and had accepted that I would never be able to understand it. I probably logged close to 450 hours studying for this thing and never had a break starting with work at 7am until 3:30pm, then studying from 4pm-10pm or 11pm with minimal rest breaks. I honestly think putting my finances in order really helped me see that if I put my mind to something, I can achieve it. Corny but true. Now I have to write personal statements and wait until my scores come out in 3-4 weeks. The torture! Thanks for sticking with me during my journey :) Thank you especially to My Money My Life for the LSAT advice and guidance.

Yesterday the BF and I decided to start Christmas shopping now that I have the time! We went to Ross but I didn't find anything except a cute sweater dress for $14 for myself -__- and BF bought a new office chair for us at Staples. I guess we'll try again next weekend. I saved up $500 throughout the year specifically for xmas gifts however I will definitely try to stay under budget! Anyone have any good websites for xmas shopping?

12.02.2011

Modern Hooker

via
Saw an interesting article on LearnVest today about a woman that dates men for $1,200 of free food per month! Although LearnVest barely mentioned their thoughts on this matter, I would have to say that I think it's stupid (although different) that she used men in this way. She makes $45,000 a year, she pays $1,475 for rent and the article claims she needed at least $1,000 a month for her credit card bills and "needed" $500 more for food.

First off, I hate how this article doesn't go into depth about her credit card bills. Why the hell does she have $1,000 worth of credit card bills to pay each month? I wish they explained that a bit more. Was this debt that has been racked up from necessities or is it just frivolous spending each month? Next - her rent. Why does she have to live in that apartment? I know it's Manhattan but couldn't she have moved to a different part of New York to find a cheaper place to live? Everyone commutes these days. Find a roommate. Find a 2nd job. Make a budget!!!!

Secondly, this gal and her friends used spreadsheets that contained details about each guy's Match.com profile but of course the article doesn't go into depth concerning what the spreadsheets contained and what they used them for. Lame.

Thirdly, they had a cap of 5 dates per guy. That is so rude! I feel super sorry for these guys who are obviously trying to take girls out on dates. I hate articles like these; they don't serve a purpose to me than basically exposing the fact that people do this sort of stuff and in a way giving others the idea to do the same thing.

Apparently the gal has a boyfriend now and is tired of playing the game. I have no respect for people that do that sort of stuff. Although I think it's nice when guys pay for dates and extravagant dinners, to rely on someone just so you can eat that night is absurd.

Do you think I'm being too harsh? What do you think of the "modern hooker"?

12.01.2011

December Goals!



Happy December!  I love Christmas and all the beautiful images posted today. Hope they start your month off on a great note:) I think it's time I get back on track with some monthly goals. PS. I updated my twitter link above, please add me so I can participate in all the twitter fun!
  1. Finish my personal statement, addendum, and tidy up my resume for my applications.
  2. Chat with my teacher and coworker who will be writing my letters of recommendation.
  3. Get back on track with working out - I'll start off with 2 times a week as I don't think I have time for more.
  4. Take new photos and post my Louis Vuitton bag on Bonanza or eBay
  5. Start and finish Christmas shopping (on a budget).
  6. Purge my make-up collection. I have a lot of old make-up that I've been meaning to clear out.
  7. Find recipes for the baked goodies I will be making for my family, friends and coworkers.
  8. Start bringing lunch to work again instead of starving myself.
  9. Stay within my food budget this month.
  10. Load up my Starbucks card because look at all the times I went last month and I didn't use the rewards card!
  11. Buy nothing frivolous for myself!

all images except #10 via

Care to share your December goals?

11.30.2011

What are YOUR PF Pet Peeves?

via
I was reading The Girl Next Door's Guide to Finance's blog (love it btw, and I'm going to refer to her as GND in this post) and was inspired by her post about personal finance pet peeves.

GND's pet peeve was going to a drugstore and seeing cashiers with crazy manicured nails with designs on them. I totally LOL'ed at this because I saw the image in my head and was nodding in all sorts of agreement. Wait, wait- the cashier with manicured nails wasn't her actual personal finance pet peeve but it was the fact that people spend a whole crapload of their income on things they don't need when they aren't making much to begin with. Obviously the cashier could have a sugar daddy but she may not!

My personal finance pet peeves are as follows:

- When people buy things just because they are on sale and then badger me about it like they got such an amazing deal. It's not a deal unless you were going to buy it for full price! It's not a deal unless you already spent the money and got some of it back.

- When people buy doubles or triples or basically hoard things (again only referring to items that are not needed, but are basically wants....LIKE MAKE-UP). Have you guys watched the make-up gurus on YouTube? Why the need to buy multiples of drugstore lipsticks? I don't get it!

As an added bonus, here are some things about me that MIGHT be someone else's pet peeves!

I return a lot of stuff. I always have buyer's remorse...why? I tend to shop impulsively. But hey at least I snap out of it!


So what are your PF pet peeves?

11.29.2011

The Golden Handcuffs


I'm sure you've heard of the term "golden handcuffs" before. You feel like you are staying at your job only because you need to support the life you want to live. I enjoyed reading this article at Your Life in Their Life's blog and the first part just hit home for me -


"The office cubicle that replaced your dorm room has now become your jail cell.  You leave the cell at night, but you don't feel you ever truly get away.  You might not hate what you're doing, but you definitely wouldn't do it for free."


SO DANG TRUE. Obviously I only started working full-time almost 2 years ago but still I am already getting the feeling of working to live and not living to work. I would love to live to work and enjoy my job thoroughly and feel as though I am making a huge difference in the world but how could I also enjoy my life with all the things I buy and do by just volunteering? The only reason why I stay at my job is to get further in my career, and to make more money to support the life I want to live. That's the whole premise of my blog.


His blog entry talked about how our success at our jobs leads us to believe that we earned rewards so we end up buying ourselves items that we see fit for our lifestyle. The major question was: Are the cuffs tightening due to the amount of money you're making or due to the increased standard of living you enjoy with the money?

11.28.2011

Weekly Money Check-Up 11/28/2011

Ahhh, back to the daily grind after a long weekend! I hope you all had an awesome Thanksgiving break and spent time with loved ones and good food:) I had a great time at my dad and stepmom's place with a small and intimate lunch on Thanksgiving followed up with a lot of talking, coffee, and desserts. I stayed up late until midnight on Wednesday night cooking and preparing my side dishes. Everyone loved them!


1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on a TV! BF and I have been planning to buy a new flat screen HDTV to replace our old old old TV. We play video games a lot and watch movies so this was a purchase we have been planning for a long time. We knew we were going to buy one on Black Friday this year and we were ready to wait in line at Wal-Mart, however BF was browsing the Wal-Mart site on Thanksgiving morning and they had put their TV black friday prices online so we snatched up the one we wanted - a 51" Samsung plasma for $500. We also used my ebates to get 4% cash back. Yay.

2. Today I am thankful for getting better. I must have ate something bad on Saturday night which resulted in a fever, body aches, ginger ale, stomach pains, bed rest, and throwing up all day yesterday. I was really hoping that it wouldn't be a week long sickness and today my fever is gone. I hope it doesn't come back!


3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was cuddle with my dog. He's the best at cuddling! As BF always says...that's why we have a dog.


4. I will consider this week a success if I keep on studying for the LSAT and KILL the test this SATURDAY! I have to do some last minute things too like check out the test center, print out my ticket, pack a snack for the break and pick out some questions to do as warm-ups. I'm excited to get this test over with and I have been studying for 5 months. I would like my life back.


5.  My favorite Christmas song/album is Mistletoe by the Biebs. I really want to check out Michael Buble's Christmas album though. Love him!

11.24.2011

Days of Thanks

I loved reading Serendipity's series on Days of Thanks so I thought I'd give it a shot. Of course it's a given that I am thankful for my family, BF, friends, dog, job, health and life but here are some other things I am VERY thankful for!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

1. My Macbook - I can't live without this thing. It's how I watch tv shows, study, write, and allows me to surf the web. I love you macbook.
2. Hazelnut creamer - Ever since my dad forced me to make him coffee each morning and I took a whiff of this stuff I've been addicted. I wouldn't love coffee without hazelnut creamer and for that I am very thankful.
3. Sprinkles cupcakes - You are the only red velvet cupcake I will eat. I compare everything red velvet to you.
4. PS3 - Thank you for keeping my BF entertained while I study. Also for providing me with an outlet for yelling and screaming and giving myself finger cramps.
5. Unlimited data - Sprint rocks. When all the other carriers capped off data as I was finally getting a smartphone, Sprint still had and still offers unlimited data. Looking for the cheapest gas station? Found it! Looking for the closest Target? Found one!
6. Jeggings - My regular jeans hate you. But I love you so. When I feel tired and lazy I throw on some jeggings and boots and bam, instant put-together look.
7. Fage greek yogurt - How can you be healthy but taste so rich and creamy? I love eating you for breakfast or a midnight snack and love how I don't feel guilty afterwards.
8. Honey - So sweet, gooey and adds an instant kick to anything. It makes a huge sticky mess but nonetheless it's worth it.
9. Traffic lights - Thanks for stopping those crazy drivers who think they're drag racing in the middle of the day and giving us all a fair chance to share the road.
10. Credit unions - So thankful for having a credit union in those dire times of need when I need to pull cash out of a random ATM. No ATM fees yay!
11. Mint.com - Need I say more? Budgets, trends in my spending, and reminding me that I spend way too much at Starbucks. Thanks for the reality check and keeping me in the green.
12. Libraries - How are libraries still free? Endless amounts of books, study rooms, and free types of classes on weekends.
13. Fireplaces - There's nothing better than sitting by a fireplace watching movies or drinking wine coolers while laughing with family or friends.
14. Calendars - Where on earth would I be without calendars? My friend and I used to laugh about how we write things in our calendars AFTER they happen.
15. Price matching policies - Best thing ever!
16. Persimmons - I can eat 10 of these in a day. They take forever to peel but I love them. Favorite fruit and thankful they are in season in time for the holidays.
17. Coupons - Goes with #15. Manufacturers' coupons, RetailMeNot
18. Giveaways - It's so cool that there are giveaways all over YouTube and the blogosphere. Connects everyone and gives people a chance to win something!
19. Drive-Thrus - Thanks for preventing me from starvation many many many times!
20. Being part of the blogworld. How could I not end with this? I love how we can all share our thoughts and be part of one large community.

11.23.2011

My Financial Bucket List

Bucket lists. Is it dorky that I will actually have a financial bucket list before my real life bucket list? Or what if I want my financial bucket list to be my real life bucket list?

Anyway, this post was inspired by Give Me Back My Five Bucks' giveaway for $500, sponsored by Life Insurance Finder, the life insurance experts. Please feel free to join!

My Financial Bucket List
Some of these are realistic and some of these are more like wishes from an imaginary genie. It's fun dreaming :)

1. Max out my roth IRA for 2011...... and infinity and beyond!!!
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2. Travel fund at $5,000. Hawaii, Bahamas, Guam, New York, Paris, Japan, and Vegas await me.
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3. Save up for law school - Ideally I would have $120,000 but I'll keep this at $10,000 for now.

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4. Buy an investment property - 25% down
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5. Wedding fund - $15,000.
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6. A job where I can work from home doing what I love that pays more than enough.
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7. Sell all the items in my closet that I don't want for a huge profit.
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8. Buy my dream house with a hefty down payment.
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9. Set up a 529 fund for my future baby.
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10. Retire early! I'll still probably work part time or freelance doing something, I have to be doing something!

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What's on your financial bucket list?

11.21.2011

Weekly Money Check-Up & a 3 Day Week!!!!

beautiful floral inspiration that reminds me of fall
Ok seriously how is this week Thanksgiving? Here are my thoughts in bullet form:
1. The LSAT is next Saturday. I am nervous, excited, and ready to get it over with. I have been prepping for months and I am confident I will get the score I want. I have a lot to prep for that day and lots of studying to do so that's what I'm looking forward to the most.
2. I have to make side dishes for Thanksgiving at my dad's house this week. Thinking mashed potatoes, candied yams, and a green bean casserole. I love green beans! This is the first time I'm not spending Thanksgiving at my mom's. I really miss them :( However I'll see em all for Christmas. Anyone have good recipes?
3. Yay for a 3 day work week!! That means today is actually Thursday and tomorrow is Friday. Or it means I have to buy groceries tonight to make all my side dishes. Crap.
4. I'm getting worried that I won't be able to finish my personal statement in 3 weeks. I foresee a bunch of late nights at the library. Or coffee. Or both.
5. The BF bought a PS3 this weekend. We stayed up until 3am this weekend playing zombies on Black Ops. I have to ban myself for the next 2 weeks. This is NOT good for my studying schedule!!! Anyone else play black ops?


Here's my weekly money check-up, courtesy of My Pretty Pennies.


1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on food. I took out BF and his parents for their favorite buffet on Saturday. I don't mind since they help us out a lot. Also we discovered Bristol Farms' amazing deli, comfort food bar, and salad bar this weekend. Not good for my wallet.
2. Today I am thankful for my family, my life, my health, my coworkers, my friends that still stay in contact with me even though I live 8 hours away, and the blogosphere. Also thankful that the LSAT is almost here so I can go back to normal life (for a bit).
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was take my dog running. Nothing makes me happier than seeing him run with his tongue sticking out happily. I feel bad for keeping him indoors but he is a baby (at 6 years old) and hates the cold so he doesn't go out too often. We're trying to take him out everyday still since it hasn't been raining.
4. I will consider this week a success if I finish up all the important projects at work, think of some Christmas gift ideas, bake my side dishes perfectly, take a practice test with a good score and study study study!
5. This Thanksgiving, I'll be in Orange County. Hopefully the traffic isn't too bad.


I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a short week:) Please feel free to share your favorite recipes!

11.18.2011

Joint Credit Cards - Brewing Up a Storm?

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I thought this picture was totally appropriate for this post! Today I'm going to talk about "joint credit cards" dun dun dun....*cue thunder noise*

BF and I have been together for 6 years now. I know cah-raaazy. He's working on saving up for a ring I swear. I think. I hope. Anyway we know everything about each other's finances as I've talked about before but we haven't combined accounts because it's just easier to keep everything separate. Once we buy a place together, get married and have kiddos I'm sure that will all take place but right now we are taking it slow with combining accounts.

I incessantly nag him to open up a card for rewards. He has the same crappy Thank You card that I have from Citibank and he has other credit cards with a zero balance (thank goodness!) but he prefers to pay with debit. He says he helps small businesses (which I totally get) but he could be getting rewards! Cash back! Anything! If any of you know how hard it is to get someone to change their old ways, it's like beating a dead horse. Nothing and I mean NOTHING will change their minds.

Yesterday when I mentioned to him that I was opening up a Freedom card he surprisingly took interest. However when I told him he should open one and that I'd even manage it for him (not paying for it, just making the payments for him from his bank account), he went off on his tangent again of not wanting to open up another card. He has a ton of accounts and he hates remembering all that stuff. I can't force him to do what he doesn't want to do anyway. He suggested that I add him onto my card as an authorized user so that he could build up my credit (not that it needs building, mind you) but also so we can rack up more points. I know I titled this post "joint credit cards" but we're only thinking of doing the adding an authorized user thing, which is really not a joint credit card because it doesn't help the authorized user's credit and it doesn't do a pull on their credit either.

Now, I truly trust him but I'm not stupid (heck I write contracts for a living) and I think before this happens we should draft up and execute a domestic partner relationship agreement which addresses the fact that we will both be liable for the charges if anything should happen. I'm not sure how strong this would hold up in court but it is something.

My big dilemma now would be how to separate the transactions. It wouldn't be beneficial for us to just use it as a joint expenses credit card because I spend more than him and it wouldn't be fair to split everything in half. I also am a bit worried (okay I'm freaking out) about how this will affect my budget and Mint account. I am super OCD about my budget and Mint account and I don't want his transactions clogging it up! I don't want to exclude every single one of his transactions either.

Anyone have experience with this sort of thing? Does anyone know if Chase can separate transactions from an authorized user even though it's on the same account? I'll probably be calling Chase this weekend. Anyone have horror stories with joint credit cards, adding an authorized user, or any advice in general regarding this topic? Would be helpful! Thanks:)

11.16.2011

How to Maximize Chase Sapphire Preferred & Freedom Cards

I feel sort of crazy right now guys. I just opened up a Chase Sapphire Preferred card like, a month ago. Before that, I only had one credit card (store credit cards don't count) and it was my Citibank Driver's Edge card which turned into the Thank You card (which I abhor, the only good thing about it is the protection and other fun stuff they cover). So now I'm up to 2 credit cards, but I only use my Sapphire Preferred and Citibank has a zero balance.

After reading a ton of blogs about maximizing credit card use and rewards, I think I'm going to try and open up a Chase Freedom card after the holidays. Basically, I got the Sapphire Preferred because I loved the 2x points on dining and travel, no foreign transaction fees, and the amazing points conversion. Basically each point could be worth more than a dollar if you redeem points through their Ultimate Rewards portal and transfer the points to a travel partner. You can basically transfer points to travel partners like Continental, British Airways, Marriott's, Hyatt, etc so you could get a round trip flight to a foreign country or free nights at Marriott's, just by using your card wisely (for dining and travel mostly). There is an annual fee of $95 but it is waived during your first year.

I'll show you how this annual fee could be more than compensated for by opening up the Chase Freedom card.

Enter the Chase Freedom card!
No annual fee
1 point per dollar spent
5 points on rotating categories each quarter (up to $1,500/quarter)
If you're a Chase checking customer (which I am) you get 10% bonus on all points earned each month, plus 10 points per purchase.

Example for Chase Freedom (thanks to Fat Wallet):
Make 16 purchases spending $400 in a month
$400 = 400 points because of the $1/1 point Freedom reward
+40 points: 10% bonus being a Chase checking customer
+160 points: 10 points per transaction (16 transactions)
400+40+160 = 600 points for $400 worth of spending

Instead of just using this for cash back, you can transfer these into the Ultimate Rewards partners at 1:1 ratio. HOLLER! Once I open up my Freedom card I'm not going to use my Sapphire card unless it is for anything outside the 5 point quarterly categories or for dining/travel if they are not on the quarterly categories as those are 2x the points on Sapphire, or for foreign transactions or items that need more protection.

And seriously this sounded like it was sponsored by Chase. It's not, unfortunately. But I'm just really loving all of their cards, my checking account, and their customer service lately. For savings, I prefer my ING Direct account though.

Anyone else maximize more than 1 credit card? Interested to hear other cards and strategies!

11.11.2011

9 Weird Ways I Save

Personal finance is just that, personal. We all scrimp, save, splurge and spend on different things. We're not robots. I don't make a lot of money but the way I live really helps me save and spend the way I do. I remember being totally inspired when I read I Will Teach You to be Rich and Ramit went against all the other finance gurus and said do not cut what you love, such as going to Starbucks. Instead think of big ways to save such as looking at what you spend A LOT on and cut from there. That way, you won't get that "pinny pinching" feeling like you are depriving yourself of life. This really hit me hard and that's how I look at saving.

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9 WEIRD WAYS I SAVE:

I don't pay rent. If you're a somewhat regular reader of my blog, you'll know that I don't pay rent. I live with my boyfriend and his parents in their backyard. In a little guest room. With no bathroom and kitchen. Read all about it here if you are interested. This is obviously the biggest part of the reason why I can save so much. This means I can keep 100% of my income.

I don't go full blown grocery shopping. and when I do I go to Food for Less. If you read about my living situation, the only groceries I buy are usually salad or sandwich ingredients, yogurt, and small snacks for work.

I drive a Toyota Corolla. My parents bought me a corolla for my 16th birthday. I am so grateful my dad didn't succumb to my insistent begging for that 2-door RSX. The gas mileage is unbelievable. A full tank of gas is at most $40 and I can drive 7.5 hours with just 1 tank. I love my car so much! It is super spacious and easy to maintain too.

I shop at cheaper stores for clothes. My mom always shopped at cheap stores and I follow in her footsteps. Ross, Marshall's, Target, Forever 21, H&M. Sale sections. I'm not picky and for some reason I can't spend a lot on one clothing item. Maybe in the future I can shop at J. Crew and Nordstrom's hahaha.

I don't need to dress up for work. This goes along with my last point. I don't need to buy suits or work pumps or anything business casual for that matter. This also means I can come to work in yoga pants so no dry cleaning or alterations for me!

My BF fixes our cars. I am so blessed to have found a guy that can fix anything and everything. He changes my oil, my windshield wipers, tires, any belts, coolant, battery, etc. The great part is that he teaches me how to take care of all this stuff so I know how to change my flat tires, patch tires, change oil, and change the battery.

I like drugstore make-up. Besides foundation, blush and skincare products (I have sensitive acne-prone skin), I buy my make-up from the drugstore. I like neutral eyeshadows so I don't need many, and I love Rimmel, Maybelline, Revlon, and Loreal for my eyeshadows, lipsticks, lipglosses, eyeliner and mascara.

I eat cheap food. This is hard to admit but I eat a lot of fast food. I know it's unhealthy and I know I should stop but it's so cheap! I also eat a lot of vietnamese food because it's so light and cheap as well. My favorites are spring rolls and their vermicelli with lettuce, cucumbers and carrots.

I watch movies on DVD. I barely go to the movies and I actually find it really uncomfortable. Every time I go I have an awful experience like someone repeating every other line in the movie, someone coughing every second, or people just being plain rude. I would rather watch a movie in the comfort of my own bed with my dog! Also the BF and I like to rewind certain parts to get a better understanding of it so we prefer DVDs.

That's all I can think of for now! 

What are ways you save?

How Far Would You Go For $$$?

You know when you're in the shower, enjoying the hot water and start getting deep into thought? Yeah that's me. I like to brainstorm when I'm in the shower. The other night I was thinking about more personal statement ideas and for some reason I drifted on to thinking about how far people would go for money. We all know that people do crazy things such as going on reality shows (or is it so crazy anymore?), competing with people, eating insects, taking risks for entertainment. But how did this all start? I miss the good ol' days of Price is Right, Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy. But those are boring now! Now we have weird things like cook-offs, design disasters, modeling, etc. Everything has been turned into a cash competition.

Then I started thinking about movies.


Movies; actors and actresses are glamorized for sometimes doing what they love but also for sometimes putting themselves out for money. Sure you get publicity, ability to work with certain directors and other great actors, but what about values? I'm sure you would think twice about shaving your head (ladies only, don't think this is bad for guys), or getting naked, gaining an extreme amount of weight....all for a role in a movie. But when it comes down to it, the crazier the approach to the part you play, the larger the money offered becomes. If you are lucky enough to be offered this amount of money, would you take it?

I always thought to myself, I would never shave my head. I love my hair too much! I would never want to put on weight purposely. But if I was offered a million bucks? I could help my family, boyfriend, my future kids, etc. Maybe I am being too selfish? I think I would do it. I don't think I would do anything at the account of anyone else though such as if I had to hurt someone. 

How far would you go for money?
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