11.30.2011

What are YOUR PF Pet Peeves?

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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?

11.02.2011

Want It Wednesday

Happy hump day! Today is actually my *Thursday* since tomorrow is my birthday and I decided to give myself a 3-day weekend. I have no idea what I will do on Friday but I do know I will be staying up super late Thursday and spending all Friday doing as I please. It will probably consist of LSAT studying though. Booo...

I have been dying over these boots.... DVF Yokoe boots. Aren't they amazing?

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The perfect riding boot with a heel. Do I need it? No. But I do want it. I already received 1 carat diamond earrings from the BF for my birthday :) I can't ask him for these! It's not in my budget though at close to $500.

11.01.2011

Sephora Friends & Family Haul

I've been thinking and I really think I will be turning this blog into a lifestyle blog. As my header states, it should be a mish-mash of all sorts of topics. I don't blog often because there isn't much to share about my saving habits and they don't change very often. I think I will be posting a lot more about life, things I want, hobbies, my dog, etc. I hope I don't lose any of you as readers but I will still be posting financial things as well. I just want this place to be more interactive to show more of my personality.

Anyway-As you all know, Sephora is having a 20% friends and family event and if you need to buy make-up or skincare now is the time to do it since that stuff NEVER goes on sale!

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Here's the list of stuff I HAULED. Literally HAULED into my online shopping cart in a frenzy.
  1. Clinique Acne Solutions Foaming Cleanser
  2. Clinique Acne Solutions Clarifying Lotion (toner)
  3. Clinique Acne Solutions Clearing Moisturizer Oil Free
  4. Clinique Acne Solutions Oil-Control Cleansing Mask
  5. Bobbi Brown SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer in Light
  6. Make Up Forever Duo Mat Powder Foundation in Light Beige
  7. Lancome Genifique set (came with their eye cream)
  8. Gucci Flora Eau Fraiche set (came with the lotion!)
FREE STUFF:)
Birthday Philosophy Vanilla Shampoo
Per-fekt Brow Perfection Gel in Caramel
Supergoop! SPF 35+ Save Face A.M. Moisturizer With Advanced UV Protection
Bliss Triple Oxygen + C Energizing Cream 


I got all this stuff for a total of $231 including 3-day UPS delivery. This Thursday is my birthday and my skin is looking horrible lately so I decided to splurge on the Clinique Acne Solutions skincare items as well as the Lancome Genifique. I am truly excited for all of these products. Every time I go to the mall I douse myself with Gucci Flora Eau Fraiche and I have been dying for it for ages. I also haven't found a good foundation and I'm not one for heavy coverage so I thought I'd try out the tinted moisturizer and the duo mat powder. I usually don't buy expensive make-up and just stick to drugstore items so hopefully I will be satisfied. I was also looking at the Brazilian peels but I couldn't justify the $78 price for 4 applications. I know it is much cheaper than a facial at a spa but maybe I will ask for a sample another time to try it out first.

The great part about Sephora is their return policy. If I got the wrong shades for my skin I can exchange them easily. No questions asked! My skin is pretty easy to match though since I have never had a problem. Hopefully the swatches I saw online were accurate enough.

What did everyone else pick up at Sephora?!
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