11.29.2013

Save, Share, Spend - Christmas Giveaway!

Hi everyone! Happy black Friday :) Are you all out shopping, or are you waiting for cyber Monday so you can shop online, or are you passing altogether on shopping? Fear not...today's post offers up FIVE chances to win gift cards for your holiday shopping needs.


Christmas Shopping Giveaway!

First Prize Two $50.00 Visa Gift Cards

Second Prize One $50.00 Home Depot Gift Card and One $25.00 Home Depot Gift Card

Third Prize One $50.00 Target Gift Card and one $25.00 Target Gift Card

Fourth Prize One $50.00 Walmart Gift Card and one $25.00 Target Gift Card

Fifth Prize One $50.00 Starbucks Gift Card and one $25.00 Starbucks Gift Card

You can save these gift cards for something special. You can share them with someone else. You can spend them on anything you like. The choice is up to you, but you have five chances to win!


Contest Details:
  • Contest runs from November 29th to December 13th!
  • This is a blogger sponsored giveaway (meaning that a bunch of bloggers got together to pay for your prizes, this is not sponsored by any companies :))
  • Winners will be notified by email, therefore a valid email is required. 
  • All entries in the RaffleCopter are optional but each entry = 1 entry!
  • Terms and conditions are in the RaffleCopter widget.
  • Open to North America Only (Gift cards cannot be shipped to PO Boxes). 
  • All entries will be verified.
What I'd Spend the Gift Cards On

If I won a Target gift card I'd try to spend it on gifts but me and you both know that I would have to either spend it in the shoe section (cute boots/heels), clothing section (cute sweaters!), make-up section, and if all else fails...there's also the cute home decor, and you can always use it on toiletries or food! If I had some Home Depot gift cards to spare, I'm pretty sure I'd win best girlfriend award. My bf loves to create things and fix things so we used to spend a lot of time at Home Depot when we lived together in San Diego. I used to hate going there but now it's fun exploring the store and seeing how he creatively fixes things from parts of Home Depot lol. If I won the Visa gift cards I have a few things on my wishlist that I'd like to get. I want a slimmer peacoat in camel, a chunky cardigan, and I need a skirt suit. Also, Walmart and Starbucks giftcards are always essential in my book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Which gift card would you most like to win and what would you buy with them? (or who would you give them to?)

11.28.2013

Thanksgiving and Family Group Texts

Happy Thanksgiving! I've been in an incredibly positive mood lately. I'm not sure if it's because I'm not completely inundated with work or if I'm finally getting enough sleep or if it's because I love the holiday season! I'm enjoying the time before having to study for finals this weekend by spending time with family.

My sister and I went grocery shopping to make some side dishes for our family Thanksgiving party today. I'm making a green bean side dish (made with bacon, a homemade cheddar cream sauce, and panko breadcrumbs), artichoke spinach dip in a crock pot, red velvet cake with cheesecake pudding filling and topped with icing and crushed oreos. (Got all of my recipes from Pinterest!) My mom is bringing the ham, eggrolls, chow mein, fried rice, dutch crunch apple pie and drinks. My aunt is bringing the turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy, and my other aunts are making stuffing, mac and cheese, and other side dishes. Our family parties always include raw tuna with sesame oil/seaweed and BBQ, and various other goodies!

My family consists of a lot of females, so we were group texting yesterday and planning to match outfits for today's party. We started discussing it in the morning and finally decided around 7pm haha. We are just so ridiculous, we couldn't make up our minds. At first I suggested everyone dressing in "fall" colors like cream, burnt orange, tan, beige, brown, etc. My cousin then countered with purple, to which I responded..."We'll all be wearing purple and eating turkey?!" hahah sooo after bouncing different ideas around from leggings to denim to coordinating colors, we finally agreed on a somewhat neutral palette of navy blue, cream, brown. Basically, everyone just thought about what they were going to wear and planned all of our outfits together. We also plan to go Black Friday shopping at 12am since we've never done that and we thought it would be fun to do it with family! I'm pretty excited to spend time with family this year since I've been really busy and I also won't be spending Christmas with them this year (I'll be spending it with my dad and stepmom in LA).

Every night I say a little prayer of what I'm thankful for that day, but usually it's that I had a good day and I just give my thanks for being alive and whatnot. During Thanksgiving I really appreciate the things in my life that I sometimes take for granted.

I'm thankful for so many things...
  • Lots of supportive people in my life - I am not sure what I would do if I had to hold all of my emotions in. So many people listen to me complain and whine, and in addition, provide supportive words and advice to get me through. I am so thankful for family, friends, my boyfriend, mentors, and also blog friends.
  • Lifestyle - I feel blessed to live a lifestyle that allows me to not go to bed starving or hungry, to have a roof over my head and a warm bed to sleep in every night, a closet full of clothes, a choice of what to eat each day, and freedom to do what I want each day whether it's go to school, go to the gym, or avoid those things altogether :)
  • Never being bored! I'm not sure what I did before technology..thanks to YouTube, Blogger, Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, Hulu, Pinterest, Bloglovin, etc I am NEVER bored. I'm also now a huge procrastinator but it's so much fun!
I think that sums up what I'm the most thankful for, but of course I am excited to partake in all the eating festivities that Thanksgiving brings! I hope you all have a safe holiday and if you go shopping tonight - be careful! :)

11.24.2013

A Little Bit of This and That

Hi everyone, how is it almost December already? I swear we were just celebrating the holidays. Sorry about falling off the face of the blog world again, I've been really busy with school as usual.

Shopping Update

My last post I mentioned that I was shopping again, and yes it's still hard to resist shopping especially since it provides an almost therapeutic escape from all the stress that I've been enduring this semester. I returned a lot of things that I decided I didn't need, things that I bought impulsively.

I've been able to control my shopping urges because the 2 hardest and most time-sucking things ended in the beginning of November...my advocacy class along with my negotiation competition, and all the research, brief-writing, oral arguing, negotiating practices, meetings, and stuff ended. We got 1st place in contract drafting and 5th in negotiation. Right now I still have 3 finals to study for but I'm happy that my workload lightened up a bit.

Thanks for all of your suggestions in my last post about resisting the urge to shop. I agreed with a lot of things to help such as meditating, putting my energy towards something else, and making sure you have a limit for shopping money. I have turned to studying a lot, watching youtube videos, catching up with friends, watching tv shows, and going to the gym when I have free time instead of getting sucked into going to the mall or shopping online. I do have to admit, with all of the holiday sales and winter wear in stores, it's very hard to resist. I allow myself to browse online once in awhile because I just can't go cold turkey, and it sounds weird but it is calming for me to "online shop." Does this happen to anyone else?

I think it's hard to find a middle ground in something that you were very extreme in, almost like any other addiction such as smoking. My boyfriend was a smoker for 6 years and then in order to quit, he just had to go cold turkey. That was almost 7 years ago so I'm proud of him! I just think for shopping, there's a difficult line to draw as to what exactly "cold turkey" is. I don't think I could stop shopping such as online shopping, completely avoiding the mall (and uhh does Target count?), etc...that's just not gonna happen. But I think it's also good to abstain from spending money on anything unnecessary; btw I liked your guys' suggestions on having a set amount to spend each month/every few months for shopping. It's also difficult to find a middle ground because shopping is more broad and can include shopping for groceries, toiletries, and food.

Fall and the Holidays

Anyway, how is it almost the end of Fall?! I love this season...the weather, nature, food, decor, and fashion of this season is just the best.

photo - brunchatsaks.blogspot.com
After Thanksgiving, it will be Christmas! Last year I made the mistake of skipping Thanksgiving with my family to study for finals, but I ended up getting sick and having the most terrible time ever and missing all the fun around the holiday season. This year I'm definitely going to soak up the holidays and remember that law is not supposed to take over my entire life. I should take a break every once in awhile to keep from burning out. I also went Christmas shopping with my mom to help her find gifts for a lot of our family members. It was so fun because I love shopping (obvs), I wasn't the one spending money, and it was cool trying to get quality items for a good price. We ended up getting almost 20 GREAT gifts for $300.

Btw I'm liking anything and everything oxblood aka maroon this season. Maybe liking isn't the right word, more like obsessed.

This color:
source
And I know this is pretty counter-intuitive especially on my shopping update post but I got these Target wedge booties recently and they are absolutely adorable.

source
What are your favorite parts of Fall and the holiday season? Anyone start listening to some Christmas music already? I might have :)

10.29.2013

Wedding Talk and Dress Budget - Soulmates Dresses Giveaway!


Hey everyone! Today I'm able to offer this awesome giveaway, thanks to my buddy Jess at Mo' Money Mo' Houses. Special thanks to Jess for allowing me to be part of this giveaway! Also, special thanks to Soulmates Dresses for hosting a fabulous giveaway :)

So let's talk about weddings today. This has been something that's been on my mind quite often lately. I'm turning 26 this Sunday and I guess it's just that *time* where marriage, babies, growing up and all that jazz are often in the near future. A lot of my friends have gotten married, are planning to get married, or are pregnant. I'm not even engaged yet, but being in a long-term relationship yields lots of marriage and wedding discussion between us so I've definitely thought about it!

Anyway, as I discussed in a previous post, I'm not up for a huge wedding. I'm mindful of our debt (thanks law school) and I want to focus on living frugally to pay off that debt and live within our means. In addition, a huge wedding is just something that I don't really care for. My boyfriend and I agreed that we are more into investing money into an engagement ring and our wedding bands. It's not about having a diamond, but it's more the symbolic meaning behind this as well as it being something we can wear and look at everyday to remind us of our love. They can also be passed down.

We've discussed having some sort of a wedding that is a cross between an elopement and a destination wedding, where immediate family members can come if they like and we would just get married without a reception, just a little ceremony. Right now we were thinking in the ballpark of $5,000 or less. Even at the $5,000 mark I sort of cringe knowing where we are with our financial state right now, but knowing that a wedding ceremony wouldn't take place for another few years (after I pass the bar/get a job) I realize it's an arbitrary number at this point and I can't predict what will happen in the future. We might think it's way too expensive and skip (postpone?) it or it might just be in our price range.

During this ceremony I've often thought of what kind of dress I'd want to wear. One thing I would want is not to spend an exorbitant amount on a dress. I'd want it to be white or beige-ish, but nothing extravagant. My cousin had a small court wedding just last month, and what was hilarious was selecting a dress for the mother of the groom. It took several days and they ended up finding a dress at Forever 21 (not ideal, but it worked). If you are looking for an appropriate dress for the mother of a bride/groom, definitely check out Soulmates Dresses and enter the giveaway by following the prompts in the Rafflecopter widget below! Good luck! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

10.09.2013

Falling Back into the Black Hole

I need to come clean. I have fallen into the black hole that is shopping, and I mean shopping. Having no income and living solely off of student loans is not good for my shopping habits, not good AT ALL. The reason why I first fell into the black hole of shopping often is because I was bored. I was bored in college and I had nothing else to do. It later became a hobby, and I started buying and selling often, going on treasure hunts and thrift shopping to find cool vintage things to sell. Later it turned into an unhealthy obsession with finding unlimited designer bags and shoes.

Well now....now, I've been turning to it because I am completely stressed out. I spoke to my counselor about how stressed I am with school and she mentioned something about avoidance behavior. It's completely normal for people to avoid doing work because they are stressed out. These past few weeks have been absolute hell for me. I procrastinated on my appellate brief for as long as I could until it hit me that I only had a week to tighten up my research and write the dang thing. I just submitted my brief last Thursday and finished the first draft of our contract for our moot court competition. I had a quiz last week and I have another midterm this Thursday, followed by a quiz next week, an oral argument the week after that, and a bunch of sparring sessions for our negotiating competition in November. It is only getting worse and worse on the school front.

My avoidance technique of choice has been SHOPPING. I cannot help turning to shopping online at night when I am stressed the F out. Why? It's easier than crying and it's easier to focus my attention on something that makes me happy rather than something that just depresses me. I also try to turn to exercising but I end up tiring myself out because I end up working out too much. Shopping can take only a few minutes and you don't have to go anywhere.

So let's talk about the damage shall we? I'm almost afraid to think about it. I've purchased a blush from MAC ~$25, a few drugstore make-up products from Ulta (mascara, foundation, concealer) ~$50, some Fall clothes from Old Navy ~$90, ankle boots from Charlotte Russe ~$50, and 2 massages ~$150. This is all within the past 2 months and I am probably missing a few little things that I can't even remember. I know, it's completely excessive, but I just can't find the strength to resist. Why do things seem more enticing when I'm stressed? Why does shopping help ease the pain of law school so much?! It's funny, I talk to my law school friends and they are the same way. Retail therapy is really that....retail therapy.

So this is it guys. I need to stop, and I need your help. What should I do? Btw, I am not using student loans to pay for all this stuff. My dad gives me money each month but instead of saving it like I usually do, I've somehow convinced myself otherwise. I need to get back on the saving bandwagon. I am not making any income right now!! Also, this will bite me in the butt when I get a job and realize I could have saved all this money. It's just been so easy to keep spending when I've already opened the door, and this semester has been the most stressful time of my entire life...I'm not exaggerating. I can't wait for this semester to just end.

10.08.2013

Trick or Treat Halloween CASH Giveaway!

Happy October everyone! I've been incredibly busy but I thought I'd pop in here for a sec to mention a really awesome giveaway that a bunch of bloggers put together.

The giveaway is open to everyone, world-wide and there will be 3 winners, announced on November 1st. Terms and conditions are in the Rafflecopter widget and all entries in the Rafflecoper widget are optional (the more you do, the more entries you get!).


This month's giveaway is all about Halloween! I'm incredibly excited for Halloween although I don't trick or treat, or even go all out and dress up anymore. It's always been a favorite holiday of mine a child...because who DOESN'T love free candy?! I also love scary movies, fall weather, Halloween decor, pumpkin patches, and all the scary amusement parks/mazes/things to do around this time of year. I just watched Insidious 2 and I thought it was really scary! I just love being scared, and I'm also going to this event called Halloween Haunt at Great America. It's an amusement park where everything is Halloween-themed for the month of October, people jump out and scare you, and you can still ride all of the rollercoasters.

I still need ideas for a costume this year though. Last year some friends were highlighters, Magic Mike, dinosaurs, and a bunch of half-naked unidentifiable characters (hahah you know what I mean). What is your favorite part of Halloween? Also do you have any appropriate costume ideas to share? I'd love to hear them!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

9.15.2013

I Don't Know How to Relax

Sooo I need some major help guys. I honestly do not know how to relax. Today's post is not financial related, but definitely life-related. I need to vent.

The stress is looming and totally real right now. October is rapidly approaching and I seem to have stuff going on each week. I have my appellate brief, moot court deadlines, and oral argument in October, following closely by my negotiation competition in November and then finals.

Right now, I don't even have time to eat lunch in between classes and activities. I've been juggling a heavy class load with running from Law & Business board meetings to planning and coordinating a mentor/mentee program, attending moot court meetings, drafting a contract for our negotiation competition, interviewing for fall (I'm crazy) and summer jobs, spending hours on flowcharting and outlining evidence, scheduling/coordinating meetings for advocacy, researching for my appellate brief, and on top of that finding the time to maintain relationships and be somewhat social, and exercise and walk my dog everyday.

This happens 7 days a week and it's funny how I am supposed to be adding more to this list: negotiation practices (sparring sessions), appellate brief writing, oral argument prep, trial observing, conference calls for moot court, and outlining for my other class.

Okay wow, I've never seen it all written out like that. The pressure is real. I'm insane. My counselor has told me to stop adding more to my plate, but it's like I'm having some weird competition with myself and trying to see how much I can really handle.

I think I just realized that I can't take on working part-time at this point. I'm in the interviewing process with a company that I really wanted to work for but I will have to tell them that I just can't handle it right now, but I'd like to see if I can work there next semester. I am so glad I decided not to write on for any journals this year (can't imagine fixing citations and writing a 25-page paper this sem).

.......is it really???? via
I am constantly using lists and updating all of my calendars, managing emails, and setting alarms. They're actually really helpful. I've been a list person but this is a whole new level of organization and planning for me. Everything is scheduled in my Outlook calendar and color-coded. So I guess I have one redeeming factor that's keeping me put together and that's my organization and time-management skills.

When I try to stop thinking and relax though, I get more stressed out not doing anything. I don't want to waste time napping but it just feels like I'm in overdrive, all the time. I don't think it's healthy to continue on this streak. Last year I was burnt out right before finals, and got incredibly sick. I would like to avoid that unfortunate luck again this year.

I try to take breaks and watch my favorite TV shows like Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy, but I find myself still doing work while I watch, otherwise I feel unproductive. When I run everyday it is an awesome stress reliever, but there are times during my days that I just want to pause for a few minutes and learn how to calm down. I'm naturally a high-strung person and I fear that I've become more type A. There's nothing wrong with that, but for someone who has never been extremely type A, it's a bit all shocking to me how extreme I've become.

Anyways, do you have any tips on learning how to relax? Would love to hear your suggestions.

9.13.2013

Lessons Learned: Going From Full-Time Executive to Full-TIme Freelancer Part 2

This is Part 2 of the Going From Full-Time Executive to Full-Time Freelancer post! Enjoy!

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Freelance writing offers wonderful opportunities; you can work from anywhere, schedule your own hours, pick your own clients and choose your topics. But I often wonder how many give up before they find real success?

I started freelancing in the fall of 2012 after spending 15 years working in television news. It’s common in the news business to work long hours, holidays and weekends - especially when big stories happen, but 12 hour days working until midnight started to add up. When my father’s health began to fail, I knew it was time to reassess my life.

As a person who loves to write, freelancing seemed like the perfect fit. But I have since learned it takes more than talent and hard work to succeed. Here are a few things I have learned so far in my journey.

Pick a Niche
In television news, most people are generalists. They can research and write about any topic, but they don’t necessarily have an expertise. That was my dilemma.

After years of writing about everything from crime and politics to business and weather, I was finally able to write about the things I loved; outdoor activity, health and personal finance. While I had hoped to focus on health, I was often passed up for higher paying jobs because I didn’t have academic credentials.

I started getting regular offers for personal finance articles, as well as pieces about office dynamics and leadership. Since I had training in these areas, I was able to write about what I understood on a deeper level with less time doing research.

Lesson learned: The less time you spend researching, the faster you write and the more money you make an hour. Save passions for your blog until you can get paid for them.

Find Clients
Many bloggers tell you to only take jobs that you really want and that pay well. It’s a great idea - if you have a lot of offers. I didn’t start out with a portfolio of articles, just a handful of blogs that proved I could write complete sentences.

I spent an enormous amount of time searching job postings, researching potential clients and applying for jobs. I still do. It’s a major time suck, but well worth it when the client is pleased and gives you steady work.

Many job boards, like Elance, post extensive client information including reviews, job descriptions and payment terms. They can also post feedback on your work - which helps build up your credentials! Sure you have to bid for jobs, and you are competing with writers around the world, but it is a great way to pick up clients.

Lesson learned: Create several templates for cover letters that can be customized, focus on long-term clients, limit time on job boards.

Be Smart
Not every client is who they claim to be. Some are simply trying to get whatever they can, as cheap as they can and they have little respect for the writer.

I got suckered in - twice. The clients made big promises, then disappeared off the face of the earth along with my paychecks. One was even a preacher! In both cases, I failed to ensure the clients had funded the escrow. My mistake. 

Lesson learned: Keep in constant communication with clients, get payment benchmarks for longer projects and make sure they fund escrows.

Set Your Hours
When I worked in TV, I always worked evenings - so happy hour was just a pipe dream. I quickly discovered going for cocktails at 4pm ended any chance I had at working that day. It’s so hard to go back to a lonely computer when all your friends are out!

Some people write better at night, others early in the morning. I do my best work in the afternoons; after I have checked all my email, Twitter and news sites. I use natural breaks, like phone calls and texts, to update social media and limit my time so it doesn’t slip away.

Lesson learned: Find your best time to write and prioritize other activities around that so you don’t waste time staring at your computer and wishing you were somewhere else.

Stay Focused
As a freelancer you have to handle writing, marketing, clients, accounting, social media, education, training and more!  No matter how many hours I work, I never have enough time. So, I prioritize based on a paycheck. That’s why my blog has been ignored and my social media skills lack consistency. I know, I know - they are key branding tools.

But it’s not easy doing it all. Especially in the beginning when you are spending a lot of time trying to find clients. Staying focused, staying organized and staying motivated is a challenge that every freelancer faces. Add to that all the distractions online and time can easily slip away. I have learned to use lists to keep organized, but it is a work in progress.

Lesson learned: Create lists, goals or other motivating tools to help you stay on track, don’t get too down on yourself, reward yourself when you succeed. 

The Government’s Bite
This is the first year I will be completely self-employed, so I am not entirely sure what to expect. I do know I will be paying the government for the first time. My tax preparer crunched the numbers for things like taxes and social security. It’s more than I thought!

I recommend contacting a tax professional ahead of time so you can prepare better than I did. They can also advise you on keeping records for tax write-offs; like subscription fees and home office expenses.

Lesson learned: Stay organized by keeping folders for online and paper receipts, stash at least 30% of income for taxes and get professional help.

Freelancer’s Friends
In the beginning I was skeptical about freelancers who offered advice to newbies. I kept bumping into writers who bragged they “made millions as a blogger”.  I didn’t want to trick people into click on banners or fill my copy with misleading ads, so I dismissed many advice columns.

Now I realize, I just needed to find the right people. It is a lot of trial and error, but I am glad I took the time. LinkedIn helped me find groups I identified with and MediaBistro aggregates a good range of topics daily.

Lesson learned: There is a lot of advise out there, absorb as much as you can and use what works for you. No one is controlling your path but you, so make sure it’s the right one.

Laura Slawny is a freelancer writer for ConsumerFu.com where she researches and experiences life’s hidden shortcuts to help others save time and money.

9.11.2013

Relationship Chronicles: How to Deal With a Partner's Risky Investment Choice

I thought it would be great to do a post on how to deal with your partner's investing style and particular investing choices. The BF and I have been discussing finances again and I thought I'd share a lot of choices that we've been making or are about to make. If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know that we enjoy having "financial meetings," sometimes planned or sometimes unplanned haha.

A common theme during our meetings is planning. We enjoy discussing our current financial state, including going over income, student loans, living expenses, retirement saving, and other savings goals such as for travel/wedding/ring. I discussed weddings recently, and I will be talking about our plan for an engagement ring soon.

However, one topic that came up last night during one of our meetings was an investment/new venture that BF has been working on for awhile now. It's going to be an online start-up. I've been helping him with the legal research and stuff; I've known about it for about 2 years, but it's always nice to get updates on the finances, discuss the current state of investing, and set expectations.

It's easy to come to an agreement when you are just investing in simple vehicles for retirement such as a 401k or a roth IRA. However, what happens when you or your partner have a certain investing choice that is risky?

Since I've been in that position before and we're still continuing forward with the decision to do so, here are some tips that have really helped us!

1. Communicate all concerns
All relationships require communication. This is definitely no different. I don't know what I would have done if the BF did this on his own without consulting me. We may not have combined finances but we plan to, and I wouldn't want to figure this out in the long run. Open the door for communication by discussing investment options and start off with discussing your concerns. One partner may feel like he/she is alone in the decision, but by offering advice and sharing concerns, I think it shows that you want to be involved and thus your partner will open up more.

2. Ask lots of questions
In a situation like this, it's easy for one person to feel a bit left out. After all, the investing idea was not his/hers and it might not even be something that he/she is interested in. Try to get involved and understand where your partner is coming from. I know my BF is passionate about this endeavor and by asking lots of questions, I was able to ease my mind and also inquire as to his goals and expectations with the future of the business.

3. Estimate risks and balance with potential earnings
This one actually stresses us both out, but it is absolutely necessary in order to gauge whether the investment choice is right for both of you. We like to estimate earnings on the high to low end, and balance it with the potential risks. We play around with numbers and expect for the worse, to understand that it is possible to lose everything; and would we be okay with that?

4. Calculate and allocate for other savings goals
I think a lot of uneasiness comes from the unknown. While investing in a 401k or roth IRA is somewhat safe (with all that data and graphs offered to you), I think comfort can be found even if investing in a risky vehicle such as a start-up business. Consider all other savings goals and whether you are still in line with those.

5. Set a time limit or a budget
There should be an understanding that a risky investment comes with a price to pay. Almost all start-ups fail - I learned that in my entrepreneurship class. However the rewards could be great. We discussed a max amount of money that we wanted to invest but also realized that we couldn't do this forever. We have lots of other savings goals and it's important to account for that. Having a time limit or a budget will help you feel better about the overall cost.

6. Be flexible and prepare for change
With a risky investment choice, there is no automation. We can't automatically send a few hundred bucks to a brokerage firm to handle for us. What we put in has to be monitored closely and possibly used for something else. It's been a great learning experience so far, but being flexible and open-minded helps the process.

7. Get involved
I would say a big part of my enthusiasm for my BF's start-up is the fact that he has kept me in the loop since day one. I enjoy business myself, and I've been helping him with some legal research and website content. If this happens, I'd be ecstatic to work with him. Who knows what the opportunities will be? It's also fun to work with your partner!

I actually didn't intend to come up with a list for this post, but I honestly just put together a few ideas that we've been implementing. It was just easier to organize it all, and you know I love lists! I'm sort of a visual learner, so I like organization!

Of course, these are just tips. At the end of the day, you and your partner decide on what's best for you. It will also depend on either party's response/reaction. I know some people are much more passionate, however I also think it takes compromise and understanding to get down to the bottom of the decision.

Have you ever dealt with a partner's risky investment choice?

8.30.2013

5 Important Strategies For Managing Credit Card Debt

Finances can behave strange, but you need to realize that your finances behave depending on how you handle them. If you do things wrong, then debt proves to be one of the most obvious factors that can prove to be a deterrent to your finances. Amongst this one of the most rampant reasons again happens to be credit card debt. Now if you’re one who’s living each day under the growing burden of credit card debt, then understand for a fact that it’s very much possible to manage your credit card debt as long as you know how to. Effective credit card debt management can actually prove rather beneficial when it comes to stabilizing your financial profile.

Key strategies for managing credit card debt

Managing credit card debt can be easy as long as you know certain strategies and tricks involved. It can actually guide you from a debt-ridden life to a debt free existence. Check out the following key strategies that tells you about effective credit card debt management.

1.  Acquaint yourself with the facts: When it comes to managing credit card debt well, then it’s rather important that you acquaint yourself with the hard facts of your credit card debt. Instead of making some large purchase with your credit card, it’s time to figure out the true end costs. High time you learnt how exactly interest rates and payments work with your credit cards. Do your calculations right and you might just be surprised at the figures yourself.

2.  Always be farsighted enough: Remember, it’s important for you to be farsighted enough about certain things. When it comes to credit cards, then you’ve got to realize that they can only benefit you in the short run; whereas, it causes substantial harm in the long run like accruing debt. Hence you should write all the figures down related to your credit cards and keep a record for the next 2 to 3 years at least. This should tell you a lot about your spending patterns related to credit cards and you can then rein in your finances accordingly.

3.  Design a proper budget: Effective debt management definitely calls for proper budgeting. If you continue spending what you feel like, then there are high chances that you’ll bury yourself so deep in debt from where there won’t be any chance of extricating yourself. This is why it’s important that you stick to the designed budget religiously. Practice discipline when it comes to your finances. Cut out all those things that’s putting you in debt all the more.

4.  Try credit card consolidation: Another thing you could try is credit card consolidation. This is something that can relieve you from the trouble of dealing with multiple credit card payments. Consolidation would enable you to enjoy the ease of having only a single monthly payment to deal with. Moreover, consolidation enables you to benefit from greatly reduced interest rates which does a lot to relieve your debt burden.

5.  Stop using your credit cards: When in credit card debt, it’s rather important that you stop using your credit cards. However, that doesn’t mean you close your accounts. Rather make it a point to purchase with cash as far as possible.


If you’re able to adopt the above strategies, then you should be able to take care of your credit card debt for good. Don’t get deterred by debt, instead manage it effectively enough.

8.27.2013

Lessons Learned: Going From Full-Time Executive to Full-TIme Freelancer Part 1

Hi everyone! Happy Monday! I have a really cool guest post today from Laura at ConsumerFu.com. Laura made the switch from being a full-time executive to a full-time freelancer! I know a lot of people made the switch, are thinking of making the switch, or are planning to make the switch soon so I thought it would be helpful to hear some of the lessons Laura learned in budgeting and saving money when the time came to finally make that switch. Enjoy!

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Ever stare out the window and dream about giving up the daily commute and office politics to be a freelance writer? The most successful bloggers make it sound so easy! All you need is dedication, hard-work and a commitment to succeed - right? 

I can tell you first hand, It’s not that easy.

I walked away from my career as an Executive Television News Producer after my father suffered a medical emergency. He owned his own business, employed dozens of people and worked nearly every day. Yet, a bad fall and a series of unexplained events left him confined to a hospital bed. It served as a wake-up call.

I turned to freelancing so I could spend more time with family. It offered the flexibility and control I needed, and the creative outlet I wanted. It didn’t come with the salary or the security of a corporate job, but I was prepared to live off my savings until I could make it work. The first step was figuring out how to stretch my savings.

People who keep monthly budgets are way ahead of me on this one. But since my budgets have always existed somewhere in the far reaches of my mind, cutting expenses came one lesson at a time.

Lesson 1 - Home vs Work Expenses

If you’re not going into the office, you save on things like dry cleaning bills, coffee breaks, lunches out, vending machines (for my steady fuel of Diet Coke), parking fees and gas. I honestly thought this would save much more than it did. My work was only 15 miles from home and I brought my lunch half the time, so there wasn’t a huge savings.

I was most surprised about all the extra costs of being home all day! Since I was working on the computer (and running laundry and the A/C) during peak times, my electric bill shot up. I found myself snacking all day too, so my grocery bill increased. And get this, my water bill also rose since I was now using my bathroom all day - they never warn you about that in the blogs!

Lesson 2 - Cut Out Luxuries

Luxuries are all about perspective. I can tell you, my perspective changed over several months. At first, I cancelled my monthly massage club, avoided nicer restaurants, got rid of movie channels and stopped buying good wine. It wasn’t enough.

I had to trade out locally sourced produce, meat and dairy for whatever was on sale at the grocery store. I bought cheaper coffee, stopped drinking Diet Coke and quit buying bottled water. I cooked only what was on sale and discovered that sometimes generic works just fine. I still find things I can eliminate. But looking back, I would have started the process while I was still getting a regular paycheck.

Lesson 3 - Lower Your Standards

So many movies depict writers as slobs who sit around in sweats all day - I vowed not to fall into the stereotype. I maintained my daily routine, except I replaced slacks and sweater sets for casual wear that didn’t need dry cleaning. After a few months, I realized I could save a lot of money if I lowered my standards a little more.

  Hair care - My stylist brought my color closer to my natural dishwater blonde so I could go longer in between appointments to hide the gray. I also switched to cheaper products, and only use the good ones on important days.

  Makeup - I replaced my department store makeup with cheaper lines found at Ulta. I had to experiment a lot to find good replacements, but it’s definitely worth the savings!

  Nails - Eliminating twice a month mani-pedis saved me money and time. It’s easy to maintain shorter nails with clear gloss, and I used lighter colors on my toes until I got a hang of it. Now I use salon pedicures as a treat for achieving small goals.

  Clothes. My favorite stores are now out of my price range, so I avoid them altogether. I don’t even window shop because I know I will be tempted. Instead, I stick to the classic styles, which last forever and can be replaced at any price point.

Lesson 4  - Look for Hidden Expenses

In retrospect, I should have researched all my expenses long before I left my job. Once I had more time to review bills and actually read all my emails, I discovered I was paying hundreds of dollars each year in automatic subscription payments. I found newspapers, magazines and online subscriptions that I didn’t even use anymore.

That started intense reviews of all my bills. I cut apps offs my cell phone bill and premium channels off my cable bill. I also scrutinize my credit card bill each month to make sure I’m not missing anything.

Lesson 5 - Keep the Important Things

I have read about people who cut their budgets to the extreme; selling their cars, canceling cable, consigning their clothes. That wasn’t my goal. I simply wanted to save where I could without completely altering my life. That’s why it was so important to keep the things that I loved.

I maintained a membership to a tennis club that I use almost daily. I also kept my computer and internet so I could work from home, as well as my iPhone so I could respond to clients when I was out. I don’t regret any of these things.

Like my budget, my freelancing career has been a series of lessons. There are things I could have done better, things I could have done earlier and things I could still do to maximize my return. But the ones that stuck - are the ones I experienced all on my own.

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Laura Slawny is a freelancer writer for ConsumerFu.com where she researches and experiences life’s hidden shortcuts to help others save time and money.

8.25.2013

No One Knows Yourself Better

So it's 1am on a Saturday night/Sunday morning and I just felt compelled to share some thoughts on this past week. I've had some very inspiring conversations with people and felt like I gained so much in just a few days. I just need to write it down to keep reminding myself and also maybe to help inspire you too, with anything that you need motivation with - finances, work, career, school, family, fitness, etc.

I asked you guys on Twitter if there was such thing as stepping out of your comfort zone too much or whether it was great to keep pushing boundaries and trying new things.

Some fun responses:




The general consensus seems to be that pushing your boundaries is a good thing. This year I've been changing a lot and being open to more things that I could never have imagined doing even if someone paid me. I still don't think I have the guts to go skydiving, but I've been wanting to push myself in other areas. 

I never thought that moot court was for me, but I decided that now is the time to start and practice my public speaking skills, I'm already paying for an education so why not learn more about my strengths and weaknesses, and hopefully build on them? I tend to enjoy self-improvement but somehow ignored a lot of great opportunities just because I was too afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone.

I almost backed out of moot court tryouts yesterday but I miraculously survived today and put in my best effort after lots of prepping. I was offered a spot a few hours later and I could not be more ecstatic. I really owe it to you all who helped encourage me to face my fears. 

What came across as odd to me was the fact that my friends kept commenting that I was so collected today before my tryout. They said they liked how I was so confident, but if only they knew how terrified I was and how I spent the past 2-3 days agonizing over the dang thing!

Fear is a funny thing. It can feel like it consumes you yet it doesn't necessarily mean that it can be noticed. If that's the case, then why not push yourself more and continue to grow? 

This brings me to realization #2 of the week. 

I spoke to an academic counselor the other day since I was feeling overwhelmed with schedule planning.

He said, "no one knows myself better than I know myself." 

And it's so true!

I think that's something I forget about a lot, and I tend to start listening to fellow classmates about "what's best." In reality, what's best for someone could potentially be the worst for me. Everyone is so different. 

It's like finances, there is no right or wrong route as long as you get to your destination. What destination exactly? Well that's your choice to make. It's whatever makes you happy and it doesn't matter how long it takes you or which path you take. It doesn't even matter if you want to change that destination.

Well I hope this post wasn't too much for a Saturday evening, but I just felt the need to share some inspiration in my daily life. Hopefully it could help inspire you too. 

8.24.2013

How Your College Student Can Learn Money Management

College students have racked up about $1 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. Considering college provides some of the most formative years in a person's life, establishing good money management processes while in college is crucial to alleviating that future debt. Parents are key role models who are critical in mentoring and modeling responsible cash management strategies during these crucial life skill-building years.

Managing the Extra Essentials of College Life

Beyond the typical costs of education -- tuition, books, fees -- students have added expenses for dormitory or off-campus lodging, meals and entertainment. Students living on campus will probably see an increase in meal plans this year. Universities such as Minnesota State University are offering creative alternatives to the standard three squares a day, according to MNSU.edu. MSU offers flexible spending meal plans, which give students the option of spending part of the meal allowance on snacks outside the dining common and hot take-out meals, occasionally. Students are in charge of proactively managing their money, and taking advantage of social activities without extra spending. Programs such as these, which encourage flexible spending plans for students, are prime ways to practice credit management.

Credit Cards

Living within a budget is the first step to establishing solid credit building behavior. Parents might suggest students skip the meal plan altogether. One option for controlling spending is with parent-sponsored prepaid credit cards. Parents authorize or fund prepaid cards with money that would have paid for the meal plan. This allows students to control what they eat and when, within a budget.

Another option is to co-sign for one of the cash back credit cards or a similar service. If you employ this method, you must ensure the student is responsible enough to make timely payments every month. Even though these types of cards typically have higher interest rates, paying the balance on time each month builds credit while providing a small cash return.

Most major credit card companies offer cash back incentives. Offers vary from one percent cash back on any purchase, to as much as five percent back on select purchases for gas, groceries and home furnishings. Offers.com reminds consumers that excellent credit scores (minimum of 720) allow lower interest rates. Rates can easily jump from 10 to 24 percent (or higher) with only one late payment.

Spending just $5 each day on discretionary items -- such as sodas, coffee and movie rentals -- adds up to almost $8,000 over a four-year college experience. Teaching kids to spend money wisely is crucial. Making purchases with a credit card and paying in full each cycle, lets students earn up to $400 on their discretionary items, rather than paying hundreds of dollars in interest.

Why Does Credit Matter?

Building a strong repayment history sets the stage for those insanely low auto rates currently offered by many credit unions. For example, Associated Credit Union offers rates as low as 1.75 percent with an exemplary credit history. The rate can go up to almost 12 percent as the credit score declines. Learning to manage credit isn't a requirement at universities, which is why working with your college student to pay off credit cards responsibly is a vital parental role -- even after your child turns 18 and leaves the house.

8.21.2013

Rings and Things: Going the Non-Traditional Route Part 1

Hi everyone! Today I was going to write about engagement ring shopping. I'm not engaged and no one popped the question, but I wanted to talk about the price of rings and diamonds. What this post turned into was a post on my thoughts on weddings, specifically my future wedding.

Let me back up a bit.

When you've been with someone for almost 8 years (scary haha) you probably already discussed marriage. Otherwise, why would you stay with that someone for that long? This is sort of cliche and silly, but BF and I knew we were soulmates from the very first week we started dating. I can honestly say that he is my best friend and the only person for me in this lifetime. When we started dating we just became inseparable. It was the nauseating, overwhelming, and too much for you kind of love from the very start (probably since I was 18) and I still remember us getting giddy over marriage after a month of dating. It felt like we knew each other for years.

So you see, marriage somehow was always in the stars for us, and we planned to get married after I finished law school. We never talked about the engagement of it all because I think we've always wanted that to be a surprise, but we've thrown ideas around about having a small and non-traditional wedding or getting married at court first then having a ceremony in a few years. It all depends on our finances and the reality is that we would rather be married than have a big wedding, and we would rather go on a nice, long honeymoon than have an extravagant wedding. We've thrown ideas around about having a destination wedding for just immediate family members, where everyone pays for their tickets. Another option was a backyard BBQ or a tiny DIY garden wedding.

When I mention this to people, I seem to get the same response.

"It should be nice," they say.

"You want to be able to look back and remember your special day," is what I hear often.

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The thing is, I want something small. When I look back, I'll still remember the love we celebrated with the people we love, and without all the financial burdens. I'll remember it as the beginning of another chapter in my life.

I can't say that I've never dreamed of a big wedding (just look at my pinterest wedding board lol), but when I think about it now, I just don't want to deal with it. My thoughts may change if I make more money later (or if we win the lottery, which we don't play, but maybe we should) but at this point I'm not feeling it. Our finances don't allow it and I'm not willing to receive help for it. I would rather have my parents help me pay down my student loans or help me pay for a down payment on a condo before contributing towards a wedding. Unfortunately I don't have the luxury of having it all haha. But what's weird is that I'm perfectly okay with that.

(Btw, if my parents are reading this - all 4 of you, if you want to help me pay down student loans AND help with a wedding and a down payment - no one is stopping you. HA in my dreams right?)

The wedding industry makes a ton of money by sucking in brides to be with lavish images, reinforcing the old idea that a wedding should be the most memorable day of your life, complete with extravagant everything (you have to have a nice dress right, and flower arrangements, and a great photog, and the list goes on and on). That's not to say that you can't have a DIY wedding or stick to a budget, but it definitely contributes to that "idea" floating around in my head that a wedding should be something that society wants it to be, which in turn adds to the desires that someone has in their head. I completely succumb to it myself (again, see my pinterest board) but I am now in the stance where I am being realistic and putting other priorities first. I remember reading posts like these and scoffing at everything the author was saying. It's funny when you change your stance on something isn't it?

I guess we'll see what happens when the time comes (I'm thinking 2 more years) but I am also incredibly excited to plan a small wedding on a budget. Right now we're thinking $5,000 for the celebration and $5,000 for a ring. The BF wants to spend more on a ring though....

This is what leads me to my thoughts on engagement rings. But, I'll save that for another post because I have a lot of questions and a lot to say on that topic.

What are your thoughts on non-traditional and small weddings? Is it the new "thing" to do these days? Would you be offended if you weren't invited to a friend's wedding because it only consisted of family members? Do you have any tips on a DIY wedding? I'm new to all of this so I would like to hear thoughts. Guys, gals, married and non-married, I want to hear everyone's opinions :)

And thanks for reading this whole post. Kudos!

8.19.2013

Victims of Number Psychology

I'm always interested in hearing about people's salaries. "How much does that person make?" is a question I always wonder. I'm just curious when it comes to how much a person makes doing a certain job or in a certain industry. News articles like to flaunt headlines about the best jobs with the highest paying salaries, the highest-paying internships, or the easiest jobs that pay the most. Things like that.

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What is actually more important is your overall net worth, because it takes into account your income, your debts, and your assets. Now that's what is more accurate than a person's salary.

The funny thing is, salary is something of a psychological number to me. I've always been rooting for the BF to get a higher paying job, and now that he's making a lot more than he used to, the psychological effect is that he feels richer. That would definitely be the case if everything else in our financial world stayed stagnant.

However, that's where my life comes into play.

The BF and I knew that I would be quitting my job. That meant losing $45,000 (pre-tax) a year. In addition, I tacked on some debt (currently at $31,000) and by the time I graduate, that number will triple. The BF's salary is definitely a lot more than what he was making before, but with me not working and adding debt, we realized that we were just as poor as we were when we were both working full-time and I had zero debt. Yet, we were scrimping and saving like no other back then! We should be doing the same instead of splurging a lot more these days.

Talk about a rude awakening!

I'm pretty sure we were both not feeling well after that conversation. Of course, the BF is definitely entitled to spend more since he has been paying down his debt and his income did increase. I like how he thinks about the both of us as one whole and how our finances are practically one but at the same time I'd rather not think of it that way since it makes me feel bummed out about our finances.

I don't know what it is but I still want to look at our net worth as individuals rather than combined because psychologically, it makes me feel better to know that he is making a lot more as one person (even if I have no income and a lot more debt now) vs. our past scenario which was two people making less money each and me not having any debt. Isn't that weird? I'm sure I feel that way because this situation is temporary and I'll eventually have to start working after I graduate. Also, once your salary goes up it can't go too far down....can it?

For now I am definitely enlightened by our reactions and will get back to saving like a poor person again, i.e. not splurging. We've definitely been eating out a lot more freely than before and getting useless stuff that seems necessary but really isn't (like a humidifier and laptop speakers).

Do you ever wonder about people's salaries? If so, do you end up realizing that they may have just as much debt and could have a lower net worth? Or are we too focused on salaries and income these days?

8.16.2013

Link Love: Fave Reads and the End of Summer

Happy Friday everyone! I cannot believe it is mid-August! Where on earth did the summer go? I had such a great time in San Diego and I am sad to see it end, but at the same time I am excited for school to start again (weird right?) and to start getting back on the daily grind....literally, because that means more coffee at 3x a day.

This weekend is my last weekend in SD and sadly I'll be doing work and homework mixed with some packing in between before I head back up to the bay area for school on Monday. My calendar is already getting jam-packed and I can feel the stress coming. My goals this school year are to stay focused, try not to spread myself too thin and to spend more time on relationships (boyfriend, family, friends). Last year I definitely failed in the relationship department and alienated myself from many.

My class load for this fall includes 14 units - Evidence, Advocacy, Con Law II, Adv Legal Writing and a Clinic where I'll get to do client intakes/interviews at a pro bono legal center. On top of that I want to try out for the Honors Moot Court External IP team. It will be focused on negotiating...how sweet would it be to get to participate in the competition? I also want to try my luck at getting on the ever so prestigious Law Review. Oh yeah, I'm also the internal VP for the Law and Business Club board so I'm excited for that too! I think that should be enough on my plate. I think I will have to hold off on an internship until spring or maybe next year. I still have to make time for interviewing...currently I only have 1 OCI interview lined up next week. We shall see how everything pans out!

I haven't done a link love post in awhile, partially because there is just so much out there that I've been loving and I haven't been keeping track. I also have been immersed in reading tons of different blogs/websites focusing on fashion/shopping (you all know that is my #1 passion), health and fitness, legal matters and just general politics and news. I also have a sensitive post coming up soon on a topic that is near and dear to my heart - it's a post about shopaholics and recovering shopaholics. Stay tuned!

OH also if you are in the US, check out the September issue of Shape magazine! I'm featured in there somewhere :) I still need to pick it up myself!

Okay enough of my rambling...onto the link love!

Here are my top reads that I enjoyed:

1. Cheap Ways to Stay Healthy at Making Sense of Cents
2. The Importance of Learning How to Negotiate at Newlyweds on a Budget
3. Money & Relationships: Joint Accounts at My Alternate Life
4. A great post on Roth IRA Withdrawals at Debt Blag
5. Gender Discrimination: When Powerless Language Can Be Powerful at Femme Frugality
6. How Much Should You Spend on Office Clothes? at Mo Money Mo Houses (btw congrats Jess for the new job!)
7. Oprah & the $40,000 Bag at Budget and the Beach

Other favorites of the moment because I can't contain myself:

Favorite color right now: I have been LOVING any shade of turquoise and coral.

Favorite music right now: I love all the top 40 stuff out right now, but I just discovered Jay Loftus through youtube and his songs are just soooo gooood! If you like Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson and the like definitely DEFINITELY check out Jay Loftus on YouTube or Spotify.

Favorite item of clothing right now: I've never been a "dress" girl. I've always gravitated towards shorts (denim shorts particularly) or skinny jeans. This summer I lived in colorful skinny jeans for work (casual dress code) and recently I've been obsessing over dresses. They are just so comfy and cute! I bought some recently at BR outlet and Gap outlet.

Favorite food/drink right now: I've been craving watermelon juice. I want to buy a watermelon today. Also, I'm into salads with "fruity" dressing. I had a salad yesterday with a mango dressing that was delicious. Also another favorite is a raspberry vinaigrette.

Favorite skincare or makeup product right now: Recently discovered MAC mineralize skinfinish natural since I don't really wear liquid foundation. This powder is perfect for me since I just want a light light coverage. Also I'm obsessing over the Foreo Luna since my Clarisonic Mia broke. The only downfall is that it is $200. Too much for a skincare product? Probably so!

I think that's pretty much it! What have you been reading this week and what are your favorites of the moment (color/music/clothing/food/drink)?

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8.06.2013

Money Options for the Unemployed

Hi everyone, happy Tuesday! Today I have a guest post about ways to find money when you're in between jobs. Enjoy!

These days, people are being let go left and right and finding a new job can be difficult. Until the economy really takes a turn for the better, maintaining a job or finding a new one may be hard. 

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If you have found yourself in the position of being unemployed and are worried about money, there are things you can do to try and alleviate the stress. Being unemployed does not have to a stressful period as there are many ways of making money to hold you over until something more stable comes along. 

Depending on your talents and resourcefulness, there are various avenues for getting money without taking on new credit or loans.

Below are a few practical ideas on earning a bit of cash whilst looking for something more fulltime:

Can You Answer Me Please

There are several online forums interested in having professionals answer the questions of their users. You can get paid to answer questions about your profession or on other various subjects. If you are dedicated and available as required, you will be able to pay all your bills from this contract.

Personal Shopper

Some people are so busy; they can’t even take time off work to buy clothes. If you have the passion to dress for success or make fashionable choices, you can make money shopping for others. Research thoroughly; this helps you to establish what kind of designs flatter the body shapes of your clients. Treat them like celebrities and they will keep asking for you.

Offer Research Services

If you have the patience to sit and research on any subject, you can get work researching for authors who want to publish their books. Improve your research skills and they will refer others to you. People completing their degree programs are required to do research for their dissertations. You will have continuous work in no time.
If you are not interested in performing these jobs, you still have other options of making money in your locality.  Take a look at the jobs below.

Baby Sitting Services

You may need a reference from a known person in your community to be offered a chance to babysit someone’s child. You are at an advantage if you live in a friendly neighborhood. Take a short first aid course as children can get hurt while in your care. Learn fun activities to ensure the child left with you is entertained and they may even request for you when their parents go out.

Walking Dogs

If you love dogs, look for a job walking them for their owners. If you are well organized and able to handle them you will have regular work. Ask the owner if you can bathe the dogs after the walk for an extra fee. Most pet owners will pay well to ensure their pets receive the best care.

Offer Car Wash services

The majority of people in your neighborhood will have a car to get to work. You can print out flyers about your car washing services and hand them out in your neighborhood. Do not be afraid to get dirty.  Word of mouth will get you more work to build your egg nest.

Mow Lawns

Most people are afraid of hard work; you can mow their lawns to make that extra cash. You can do other cleanup activities for them to increase your spending kitty. If you have the know-how, offer to change their car oil as most people hate doing it.

Run Errands

You can buy groceries for a stay at home mom for a fee in your neighborhood. An elderly person may require you to accompany them as they go to the bank. They will pay you for that service.


There are many ways of making money if you know where to look. Talk to people and let them know you are available for work.  Unemployed doesn't have to mean no income or taking on loans, it could actually turn out to be just the kick in the pants you need to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams.

8.05.2013

Meal Plan Monday!

Hi everyone! Happy Monday :) Hope you guys had a great weekend, and don't forget to enter the August Cash Giveaway!

Last Wednesday was the last day of my internship, and it was definitely bittersweet. I enjoyed working there a lot (I'm planning to delve more into details in the next post) and will definitely keep in touch with everyone there!

I have two more weeks of summer remaining, and I'm spending them in San Diego with the BF until the very last minute (I start school August 19th). Since he works full-time, I'm going to be spending my days working on some research for his side business, cleaning, and cooking! I'd love to do this full-time in the future. This is my first real "vacation" without stress in awhile, so you bet I'm soaking it up as much as possible. Nothing makes me happier than helping out my BF and cooking good food!

Since I'm going grocery shopping and meal planning today, I wanted to share some of the meals I'll be making for the next 2 weeks. I also have to go to 3 grocery stores - Albertson's, Vons, and Trader Joe's. We compared prices and quality at all the grocery stores and Albertson's has great beef, veggies, and fruits, Von's is for bread and chicken, and Trader Joe's for specific TJ items like salsa and tomato sauce.

Today I'm making a filipino dish called Chicken Nilaga. It has chicken, carrots, bok choy, cabbage, chicken broth, lemon, fish sauce, and potatoes. My grandma made this a lot when I was growing up and we love it over rice. BF will also have this for lunch on Tuesday.


On Tuesday, I'm planning to make spinach enchiladas with a cilantro cream sauce using this recipe. I also want to make Chipotle's barbacoa beef in a crock pot for Wednesday but I have to let it sit overnight. That way we can have enchiladas and burrito bowls for Tuesday-Thursday (including lunches).


We like to eat out on Fridays or Saturdays, so depending on when and if we decide to eat out, I will be making Chicken Rollatini on the day that we decide to eat in. This one looks so delicious! 



On Sunday I want to make Mongolian Beef since BF can take it to work the next day.


Next week I plan to use the crock pot a lot since I'll be packing and getting in a lot more work during the day.

Here are some crock pot recipes I want to try and also these easy garlic cheddar biscuits!








When meal planning, I try to focus on using similar ingredients in all of the dishes. We're going with a lot of mexican style dishes so that I can use the same ingredients like beans, rice, beef, chicken, sour cream, cilantro, tomatoes, mozzarella, etc. Also, the dishes may have to be shifted around depending on the amount of leftovers.

What are you guys making this week?
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