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Archive for January, 2012

Business trip

January 31st, 2012 at 12:24 am

I went to Knoxville, Tennessee for business. This was first time for me to visit Tennessee and I had no idea how pretty it is there. I was also surprised to find many nice restaurants there and enjoyed my meals with my co-workers. Since I was on my business trip for 3 days, these 3 days are pretty much NSD. I get meal allowance that covered my lunch and dinner.

Come to think of it, tomorrow is the last day of January. Time to review how I did the first month of this year.

Pay day and NSD

January 21st, 2012 at 04:27 am

It is pay day, and NSD.

The weather was pretty nasty today. It's raining and windy. Fortunately, I was working from home today and totally enjoyed it. I love the power of internet that enable us to work from home.

HCE

January 20th, 2012 at 08:00 pm

I received a letter today from my company. I'm now in the category of "HCE - Highly Compensated Employee" and can contribute only up to 10% of my annual salary to 401K.

10% of my annual salary is less than max of 2012 ($17,000)

Crap. Really?

My co-worker told me about this a couple of years ago, and I didn't even care because I was making waaaay less than HCE category.

But my promotion and job change to high cost of living area (salary is adjusted upwards to adjust the cost of living) pushed me into HCE.

I really don't feel like I am making a lot, but I guess I do.

Well, good news is I can still contribute 10% of my salary. I should be happy about that.

Finally, 50K miles posted

January 17th, 2012 at 09:22 pm

I applied for United mileage credit card so that I get 50,000 bonus miles. After several weeks of waiting, it's finally posted to my United Mileage Plus account. Yay!

I have total of 100K miles now and thinking about how I can use them. I can visit my daughter who is in Salt Lake City, or my husband and I can fly for Vegas or somewhere fun.

Planning free stuff is always fun : )

Free Southbeach diet snack bar

January 15th, 2012 at 11:02 pm

I went to Walgreen's this morning to get some Southbeach diet snack bars. They're sale for $5.99 and they give you $6 register rewards.

I thought they were gone by the time I get there, but surprisingly, they have a ton of stock. I think people didn't even know they were free after RR because this store does not put out the sign for them.

Anyhow, I got 5 boxes and used some of RR to get VIVA papertowl and Lysol wipes.

I also stopped by CVS and got 3 greeting cards. You can get $3 extra bucks when you buy 3 greeting cards including .99 cents cards. So, free greeting cards if you buy three .99 cards.

Free lunch today

January 13th, 2012 at 05:26 am

My boss asked me to review some document and I was stuck in a conference call from 9 to 3. Good news is he ordered lunch for us who were working on this project. I didn't bring lunch today, so I had to buy something if he didn't offer lunch.

Anyway, I normally have "emergency food" in my drawer such as can of soup, or cup noodle or something so that when I forget to bring lunch or didn't have time to prepare anything, I have something to fill my stomach.

My company is moving to new office and it will be "New Office Concept" = we don't have our own desk. Yup, it is first come first served type of office and I don't have my own drawer anymore.

This sucks. I need to find place to stash my emergency food.

At the same time, it is an opportunity to work from home more often. Some people are totally against this new office concept, but I am actually fine with it. I don't have much attachment to my cubicle anyway. I'm more excited about being able to work from home more often and new office location is little closer to my condo.

How easy it is to spend $$......

January 12th, 2012 at 02:53 am

As I posted before, I received my Citi credit card. I've been using this card for all the purchases I make since I received it in order to get 500 reward points. (I need to charge $2,500 in 3 months.)

Today, I charged our car insurance which is close to $900 for 6 months. Charge on this card is already more than $1,000.

And, I have this card for like.... less than a week. Wow...

It amazes me how easy it is to spend money if I'm not careful, or even when I'm careful.

Good news is, most of the charges I made is things I buy anyways, such as household goods like bathroom tissue and laundry detergent. So, I'm not spending on things I don't need.

I think I will receive 500 points earlier than I expected.


Is economy getting better?

January 10th, 2012 at 06:28 pm

I work in Silicon Valley and it seems that economy is picking up around here. One of my co-workers mentioned companies cannot find office space and going even outside of San Jose.

Actually, we lease our office space form Google and they're kicking us out as they're expanding like crazy. Our CFO told us we found the office space about a mile from here. He thought it was too expensive so he was looking around more, but couldn't find anything else that are cheaper. So, he came back to the original location, only to find out the price went up LOL But this time, he agreed to sign the lease contract knowing nothing else is available for the price range he had in his mind.

Now, that's in Silicon Valley.

In Sacramento, one of my neighbors posted in her FB page her company is growing (she works for an insurance company) and hiring people. When I go to the shopping mall in suburb of Sacramento, it is always packed.

I wonder if economy is finally getting better, or is it just regional thing. Do you feel it in your area?

Importance of making things visible

January 8th, 2012 at 08:20 pm

I organized my drawer yesterday, and thought about how important it is to make things visible.

It was a drawer for my clothes and I found things I was looking for while I was organizing things in it. After the organizaiton, I now can see everything in this drawer so that I won't waste my time or money thinking I don't have certain items that I actually have.

The same principle applies to our savings and debt. I haven't done it for a while, but I will write down all the savings and debt we have and understand where we stand.

Anyhow, it is a great coupon day today. There are 4 inserts and some great coupons. I found BOGO coupon for shower gel my hubby uses and CVS is having a deal, buy 3 get $4 in extra bucks. So, I went and bought 3. Final price after extra bucks including tax is $4.5. Not too bad.

I thought about buying some more newspapers, then, decided to order coupons from coupon clipping service. It will be cheaper and I can get more coupons I actually will use.

Citi card arrived!

January 7th, 2012 at 04:48 pm

I applied for Citi thank you card and just received it. I will get 500 points if I spend $2,500 in three months.

My plan is to pay some of our utilities and car insurance with the card. Car insurance is due soon and I will charge 6 months premium which is about $900. (We have 3 cars including my DD who is 20 and the premium for her is high.)

I can charge our cell phone and grocery, too. I need to keep track of what I charge to this card. Once I get the points, I will move on and cancel this card.

Needless to say, we have enough to pay off the balance so that we won't pay any interest.

Cable TV cancelled

January 6th, 2012 at 03:50 pm

We reviewed our monthly expense and decided to cut back on some things.

First, we cancelled landline. $33 per month savings.
Then, we raised our deductible of home insurance. Approx. $400 savings per year.

The latest one is cable TV. We were paying $95 and I hardly watch TV. My husband watches it but he was complaining about the quality of channels, too many re-runs, commercials, etc.

So, he called the cable company and told them we will cancel it. Guess what? They kept offering him lower rate and the lowest they offered was $22 per month for next 6 months and they will even give us $50 rebate!

He didn't take the offer and went ahead and cancelled it. But, we were amazed how low they were willing to go in order to keep their account. At the same time, I was kind of upset that how much they were charging us for so long for so much!!

Anyhow, it is $95 per month savings.

Total savings so far
Landline $396
Home insurance $400
Cable $1140 (Wow!)
Total annual savings $1,936

NSD

January 5th, 2012 at 03:33 am

I ended up having NSD today. I was going to stop by Japanese market to buy a bento box for dinner, but my soon to be roommate was coming to get a key for the condo. So, I came home straight from work. I had some frozen dinners in my freezer and I ate it for dinner.

Here's a little Background about the condo......

We live in Sacramento and I was offered a job that I couldn't say no.... So, I took the job in November 2010. The thing is... it is in Bay Area, 140 miles away from my home.

So, I rented an apartment and was doing weekly commute between Sacramento and Bay Area. Coming down to Bay Area on Monday morning and go back to Sac on Friday afternoon.

Then, my hubby started to spend more time in Bay Area as his company has HQ in Bay Area as well. We needed a place we could take our dog with us. So, we bought a condo. Why not rent? Rent in Bay Area is sooooo expensive and it is almost better to buy if one can afford it. 1 Br 1 Bath apartment can cost $1,500 around here and it is getting worse as high tech industry is picking up.

So, here we are. We have two mortgages (sigh.....). Good thing about Bay Area is there are plenty of young professionals who need place to live. So, finding a roommate is not that hard. Could we do without roommate? (The purpose of having a roommate is of course reduce our mortgage payment) Maybe. But we're not here on weekends and I travel quite often. So, why rent extra room that sits empty and it generates $900 per month. Some people may prefer complete privacy, but hey, I'm too cheap and go for the money.

Back to work

January 3rd, 2012 at 03:25 pm

Today is my first day back to work in 2012. I came to office in 7 in the morning to get started. People around here normally don't come in until 9. It is my quiet alone time to get things done.

I used my Starbucks reward coupon to get a Triple Venti Caramel Macchiato. That is $5 cup of coffee that I got for free.

We had pizza last night and I brought left over for lunch. Today may be my first NSD this year, too. Woo hoo Smile

Redeeming rewards

January 2nd, 2012 at 05:14 pm

My points with Chase Freedom was almost 20,000 and I was thinking about redeeming points.

I was going through their reward website and noticed some gift cards are 10% off. I redeemed $100 Kohl's GC, $50 Macy's GC, and $50 Banana Republic GC for 18,000 points.

I'm thinking about cancelling Freedom card and switch to United (it's Chase anyway....) to earn some miles. I will keep looking for good credit card deals and try to maximize the benefits they offer.

Happy New Year

January 2nd, 2012 at 12:26 am

I hope everyone had a nice New Year's day. Mine was busy busy busy, but good.

We went to our friend's for New Year's Eve party. It was a lot of fun with a lot of people. We came home after the count down.

I went to gym this morning and burned 500 calories. After that, I checked store flyers and coupons. P&G insert has $2 off Tide coupon this week and Safeway is selling 100 oz Tide for $9.99 when you buy 2. I managed to get 2 coupons, so I bought 2 for $7.99 each.

I have one more day off tomorrow, and will be going back to work on Tuesday.