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.

via
- 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 -
tumblr
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

via
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?
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