I've been in a slacking mood since my graduation in May.
I gave myself a trip to Hawaii with my DD. Well, Hawaiian airline had a great price (less than $400 round trip per person) and I get to stay at my friend's house and she drives me anywhere I wish to go. So, the only big expense I had was an airfare for two ($800), no cost for hotels and local transportation. Yes, I know, lucky me.
We left on June 5 and came back on 11th. So, I've been back for more than a week.
I haven't touched coupons.... Ahhh!! What's wrong with me!
Maybe I have enough stockpile for things I need. But still, I have no motivation to be frugal these days and spending more than I normally do.
OK, this needs to stop soon.
I promise I will clip coupons after finish writing this entry : )
Viewing the 'Every day life' Category
I've been in a slacking mood since my graduation in May.
I took last Friday off to make it 4 day weekend. Boy, it is very hard to be in full-working mode.
I had my commencement on Saturday, and my friends threw me a surprise graduation party that night. I thought they were taking me to dinner in downtown. Instead a bunch of friends and neighbors were at my friend's house (she lives a couple of houses down the street), and there was a "SURPRISE!!" I'm so blessed to have such good friends : )
They gave me a frame for my diploma and a "pot of gold". She has this large pot she uses for parties, and told everyone to pitch in instead buying me small gifts. I ended up getting $174. Well, really. I didn't need the money. I'm not a starving college student. I have a house, a car, a boat, yada yada yada.... I went back to school for, well, fun i.e. studying about business. (College kids think I'm weird.) But I was very grateful about their thoughtfulness. It really was the thought that counted. I'm very lucky to have very supportive friends.
Some people showed up just for fun : ) That is totally ok with me. They're like, thank you for making an excuse to party lol
I finished my last final exam last night. I am officially done with all the school work for my bachelor's. I still can't believe I am done. Wow..... It has been 8 years since I went back to school and seemed like a never ending road. But it ended. I completed 143 units with 3.94 GPA. (I have some extra units from classes for my A.A. and pre-requisites.) I'm so glad I spent my time working on degree instead of wasting it away. Time passes no matter what.
My commencement is on Saturday. Some people asked me if I will walk. Of course, I will. I worked too hard not to ; )
I viewed this Friday's paycheck. This is the first paycheck my raise is 100% incorporated. My take-home increase by $137 per pay-check. Nice : ) I'm still contributing 20% to my 401K. 401K contribution limit in 2009 is $16,500. I thought about maxing this out, then, I decided not to do it.
Reason: I need to save for a car.
I drive 2004 Toyota Rav4 that has about 105K miles. Well, I am planning to drive it until it totally dies on me. However, I commute over 60 miles a day and not having a reliable car is out of question. So far, my lovely Rav4 has been super dependable, but you just never know with high mileaged car.
So, I decided to start saving for a new car, in case something happened to my Rav4. I was thinking about investing in two or three stocks (like GE or Citi) for next 2 years in Sharebuilder account (say, $100 per stock per month) and see how much it grows by the time I need to buy a car. I guess my return will determine what kind of car I can buy.
Or, should I resort in regular savings account??? I think this car should last at least two more years. (I drive about 20K miles a year.)
What do you think?
Today was a super busy day.
My daughter was involved in the DUI prevention program called "Every 15 minutes". They mock an accident and have HS students experience what it's like to have DUI accident involving death.
Since she is one of "victims" in the scene, I had to drop her off at school at 6:30 a.m. for preparation.
Like I said, it is all fake, but they use real fire truck, helicopter, sending DUI driver to jail, and the kid who's "dead" at the scene is sent to morgue.
Anyhow, my DD played a role, victim who was transported to the hospital by helicopter.
She was actually pretty excited about getting a ride in a helicopter. LOL
Being her parent, I was asked to go to the hospital and played a parent of DUI victim. Yuck...
I know it was all fake, but it felt so real that I started crying in the counseling room when doctor told me my DD is injured and her brain is dead. (Again, it is all fake, but the doctor did a really good job making it sound so real.)
What hit me hard was, right after the doc, this lady came in and started asking me about organ donation.
OMG!! If this is real, I just lost my child unexpectedly, and have to decide if I'm willing to donate her organ now???
I cannot imagine people actually going through this for real. I really truly feel sorry for them.
DD is at "undisclosed location" and spending a night away as part of the program.
Well, I was doing all this between my work hour!! Leaving for the hospital about 10 a.m. and came back to work at around 2 p.m., then, parents retreat at school at 7 p.m.
I'm so glad today's almost over.
The weather is beautiful and I spent quite productive weekend.
1. Went to gym
2. Washed my car
3. Finished laundry
4. Cleaned pool filters
Since DD is in San Jose for leadership conference, DH and I went out and went to Red Lobster.
I met my friend and her sister. Started with morning coffee, window shopping, and lunch at Whole Foods.
I stopped by Target on my way home and bought a box to store holiday wrapping paper. I cleaned out one of my covers that I stored wrapping paper/gift bags/tissues, etc. It looks nice and neat now.
Then, I went grocery shopping. Bel Air had ground beef for .99 per lb. This is the cheapest I've seen. I bought two huge packages of ground beef.
As I'm writing this blog, my roomba is doing its job. I love this guy.
Anyhow, I feel pretty good now as I finished a lot of "to do" list items.
I finally finished filing my tax 5 minutes ago. We got $1100 back from fed and owed $750 to the State. Pretty much break even and that's what we wanted.
I'm kind of glad we owe State because CA is so broke. I heard a rumer the state will issue IOU for the state tax return. I don't know if it's true or not, but don't want to take a chance.
It's my spring break this week. I have all kinds of time this weekend. Time to hit the gym!!
I got a job I was applying for. I'm so happy.
I love what I do now, but this job will give me better career path. I will be learning new skills, like heavy duty project management, and I'm looking forward to it.
My new boss who interviewed me told me she has several internal candidates so I wasn't really counting on being selected. But I did : )
I also got 10% raise with this promotion. It's not too bad because I just got 4% raise in January.
Money wasn't my main concern, though. My spending habit hasn't changed, and will not change. My main concern was the job itself. I don't mind taking a pay cut if that's what's I really want to do.
On the other hand, it is nice to get a nice raise!!
Things I did today:
- Finished reading a chapter in Accounting book (I have an exam on Monday)
- Got pedicure (I was reading my A/C book while I was getting pedicure)
- Cleaned the house
- Did laundry
- Went to gym
I also went to Rite Aid. I don't know why but Rite Aid sent me $10 coupon good for any purchase. All of their FAR products were out, so I bought some pantyhose that were BOGO. I bought 4 pairs, and 2 boxes of footies, and paid $2.65 for all of them after coupon.
Then, went to Walgreens that is across the street from Rite Aid. I haven't bought Revlong FAR item yet, and today is the last day of Feb rebate. Paid with my GC, so not cash spent for this one.
I will be going to Walgreens first thing tomorrow morning to get a blink tears eye drops. They are free after catalina coupon. Colgate toothpastes are also free after catalina, like I need more toothpaste LOL
I found Ebates website from fellow blogger's link and used it for my holiday shopping. I received a check for $23.63. Not too bad for few extra clicks. I referred it to my friend, too.
Well, I was going to go lunch with co-worker today, but she got sick and took a day off. I didn't bring lunch today because I had a plan. Ahhhhh, I should've thought about Plan B. Actually, I had a can of soup, but didn't feel like eating it. Oh well, I went and got junk food. I will be bringing lunch for the rest of this week. I swear : )
It's Friday and I loosen up my wallet, or I should say, I loosen up my GC.
Morning: My Friday treat, Starbucks. Grande caramel latte & lemon loaf. I used a GC my DD gave me.
Lunch: To go's sandwich, $3.99. Paid with GC.
Dinner: Pizza. Used entertainment coupon book. $10 for a large combination pizza.
So, all and all, actual cash flow was $10.
It was nice. My DH bought me a basket of flower and a beautiful card. My DD gave me a GC for Starbucks : )
I gave my DH a GC for Sarbucks (which is his 2nd home) and got my DD a caramel apple.
DH found a recepi for beef short ribs and asked me to cook it. It came out really nice.
Grocery store was really busy. Since I wanted to buy little upscale food for V-Day, I went to Nugget instead of Safeway. Nugget sent us $20 off/$100 coupon, so it was good time to stock up, too.
I bought things for short rib dish, rasberry cheese cake, key lime cheese cake, and a lot of other items. The total was $91 after using $20 coupon. To me, it is A LOT for grocery, but it included some special items I normally do not buy.
Tomorrow will be study day. I will be meeting my friend who is working on her master's degree to become a speech therapist in the morning for coffee. We will complain about our school work, then, we both come home to study. Yeah, we're such nerds. LOL
I haven't blogged much. Not much is happening.
Three weeks into school now, and I have one exam next week already. But I feel like we haven't done anything for this class. (It's corporate tax class.) We just touched on corporate distribution and how it's allocated to dividends, return on capital, etc. I'm not sure what the professor will test us on.
Not so much excitement in money areas, either. Same old things.... I know market is not doing so good, but I'm still contributing 20% to my 401K. I just hate paying tax.
Oh, tax! I have file tax. Crap... I was going to buy Tax Cut last week but have been slacking off. I will do it this week. Yeah, I will.
By the way, my DD has her W-2 showing she made about 2K last year. How does it work? Will Tax Cut software handle our filing (DH and I file as married, joint) and hers?
It's middle of the month, so work is kind of slow. (Thus, writing this blog LOL)
I noticed airfare to Hawaii came down like $200 since lat time I checked. Round trip tickets are now around $600 in June time-frame. Hmmmmm....
Actually, lower price is a upside of bad economy. There are bargains everywhere, and gas is cheaper. Media is busy showing people who were over-spending when economy was good. But, I don't think there's much changes for frugal folks. I still clip coupons and pack my lunch. The amount of money in my wallet hasn't changed since Monday, and has no plans to spend any money tomorrow either. I still have enough gas for tomorrow.
- Got my last free tea latte using Safeway store coupon. Needless to say, all the store flyers are gone from the shelf, but I grabbed several copies on the first day of sales cycle so that I will have enough for the week.
- Spent $7 for lunch. I craved for special noodle dish at the Chinese restaurant near my office. It was worth it.
- Went to a yoga class last night. Her class is pretty easy and not challenging enough for me, but I guess it is a good stretching exercise before I go to bed.
- Realized it is the end of sale cycle and had to get some cheap cereal. Stopped by the store after yoga, and grabbed 4 boxed of Kellogg and paid $2 after discount and coupons.
I brought my breakfast and lunch to work. I want to go to Walgreens and Target today. Walgreen's has some good deals going on for Uniliver and P&G products. I want to hit the store before shelves are empty. I have some $1/1 coupons for Tide and Target carries travel size Tide for $1 or less. The coupons expire on 1/31, so I need to go to the store and get some before the expiration date.
I joined the gym on Sunday, and have been working out three days in a row. That's pretty good for me!
I just want to make sure I recover the cost of membership. Well, just kidding.... a little.
My friend called me and asked me to play bunco tonight with them. I said "SURE!" I normally have to say no because I have school, but not today. It is so nice that I have some break from school and be able to do something different.
So, no gym tonight, but will be playing bunco. It will be fun. It's been a while since last time I played this game.
Oh, about my spending today, I went to WAG and finally got free shampoo and conditioner. I need to go back there with more coupons and get some more before sales cycle ends. I didn't bring lunch today, and went to Togo's and bought a sandwich, a bag of chips, and 20 oz drink. $4.38 with "Get $1.99 regular sandwich when you buy chips and 20 oz drink coupon."
I signed up for gym yesterday.
But, not the one I checked out first. After I came home from California Family Fitness with $149 initiation & $54 monthly due quotation, I talked to my friend and DH, and I did more research. Then, I found 24 hour fitness was running a promotion $199.99 for one year. That is $16.67 per month! I went to check out the facility, and it was smaller than Cal Fit, but they have a pool and yoga class. The yoga class I randomly go to is $11 per class anyway. So, If I take two classes per month, I pretty much recover my cost.
Sign me up!!
The funny thing was when I sat with the enrollment coordinator, he didn't mention ANYTHING about this promotion, and started talking about initiation fee and monthly due. I said..."well, I saw a $199.99 promotion on your website...." Then, he said "Oh, that's what you want?" He didn't spend much time with me after that LOL I don't care. I got what I wanted.
One of my goals this year is to maintain my health and decided to spend money to make it clear to myself that I put some efforts in it.
So, here I went to the gym that is a minute away from my house to get a membership quotation.
Initiation fee: $149
Monthly membership: $54 if I pay 6 months in advance, $64 if I pay month to month
I didn't sign up right away, told the guy I will think about it and came home.
This morning, I told my frined and she told me other people joined with only $49 processing fee. Boy, I'm glad I didn't sign up right away!
I'm kind of discouraged by this right now and I didn't go back there to talk to the guy. I'm thinking about next "deal" to come around and sign up when initiation fee goes down to $49.
Or, should I go back and negotiate? Boy, I hate doing it.
I have a feeling 2009 will be better than 2008
DH and I went over to our friend's house for New Year's party on Dec. 31, and had a lot of fun. I bought some homemade pot stickers as usual, and everyone brought their signature dishes that were very good.
We slept in on New Year's Day, watched a couple of DVDs & Rose Bowl game. After that, I took down our Xmas tree. Our kitchen looks so much larger without the tree!
Today, I went to Whole Foods and bought some bacon for DH and bagels for DD & me. The store has a center cut bacon that is very expensive ($7.99 a package) but super yummy. I thought I'd buy it for DH as a new year's treat. He was pretty happy about that.
Then, I started writing down our spending in my new weekly desk planner. I bought the planner because I really like the layout, but wasn't sure what to do with it. Originally, I was going to use it at work, but figured this is a perfect planner to keep our financial records.
I will be heading out to Wal Mart soon to get some cheap veggies. Coupons expire on Jan. 10 and I want to use them up!
I went to Lasik surgery yesterday. The procedure itself only took about 15 minutes (or less). It was a lot more easier than I expected, and I have 20/20 vision now.
I haven't been able to see this well without any glasses or contact lenses for more than 30 years. It was worth the money for sure.
I don't know why but the Lasik center gave me an extra discount, and the final bill was $3,228. Kind of random discount on top of 15% discount from my vision provider. Of course, 'm not complaining!! Better than original estimation of $4,000.
Like I wrote before, I have some fund in my FSA account and DH's vision insurance will pay me $500. So, final out of pocket will be only about $500. Not too bad.
Until January 26th, I have a break from school. I took my final exam on International Accounting last night, and that was the end of this semester. Done. Finished. No more. Yeah!!
Amazingly, I only have 2 more classes to finish my degree. 2 classes!! It seemed forever when I went back to school back in fall semester of 2001. I took one class, American history, to see if I could survive, and I did. I cannot believe there's only one semester left to go.
November & December have been super expensive month.
November: DD's truck needed a break work and new tires. $860..
December: Our dog got really sick from dental problem. We ended up taking him to vet and he had some of his teeth extracted. The final price tag, $1,500.
And, I'm getting Lasik surgery this Saturday. Estimation was more than I expected because my vision is really really bad. $1,999 per eye. So, $4K total. My vision insurance company has a 15% off deal with them, so it will bring the price down to $3400. I'm also covered with DH's vision plan that will pay $500 for the surgery. With that, the final cost should be $2,900 and I have $2,200 in my FSA account. This is my Christmas gift to myself : )
Today was my birthday and had a very nice day.
I got some gifts. One of them was a beautiful hand made quilt. My DD gave me a pair of slippers that I wanted. My co-worker took me out to lunch, and few people text me wishing me a happy birthday.
Today was also bonus pay out day. I can pay off my tuition before getting reimbursed. Also, I am getting lasik surgery. With my FSA fund and the bonus, I don't have to finance my Lasik.
My DH & DD are at DD's school's football game. (This is a BIG one.) I'm home alone and actually really enjoying quiet moment. I'm grateful that I have a nice life, my family is healthy, and have good friends.
The weather forecast is rain this weekend. It is about time. I will be studying for my finals next week.
I have become a regular at a farmer's market. I stopped by this morning, and bought a broccoli, 5 tomatoes, 4 onions, and a daikon radish for $4. It is fun to see how vendors change their products by season. All the summer and autumn fruits are gone, and now they have apples, persimmons, and oranges. I love fruits but not so much of winter fruits. I love summer fruits, like peaches, apricots, and nectarines. It is a huge advantage of living in CA because I can get really fresh fruits around here.
Really, really busy at work. I just submitted a request for a temp person. Our business is growing and we were told to cut our overhead cost. It's such BS. Instead of giving us percentage goals (like, ask us to limit our overhead cost to under certain percentage of sales), they gave us an absolute number. We need to be at the 85% of our overhead cost in 2007. That's really stupid because our business volume pretty much doubled. Now, I need to whip up a presentation to convince our mgmt. why we need more people.
I went to Mandarin orange festival yesterday. I found an admission discount coupon, $5 for two, in the newspaper, and we parked in the street. (That's a huge advantage of a small town.) So, $5 total to get in the festival for me & DD.
I bought a 10 lb. bag of mandarin oranges. Most of vendors priced 10 lb. bag for $15, but I found $13 a bag vendor. I also bought creamed honey with mandarin orange flavor (1 lb. tub) for $6, Teriyaki flavor beef jerky $7, and a jar of Mandarin Cranberry pepper jelly $7. They are all homemade, or I should say farm made, and very very yummy.
As I'm writing this, I'm drinking a cup of tea sweetened with mandarin orange flavored honey. I will make some warmed bre cheese with pepper jelly for dinner appetizer.
Starbucks coffee $3.55
$10/4 Special K cereal (got $2 catalina back)
$6/2 Kotex (used 2 $1/1 coupon and got $1 catalina back)
$6.99/2 laundry soap
Salt, frosting, baking soda
Used $5 off coupon and paid $18, and got $3 catalina back. No cash paid because I used my WG gift card.
DH & DD are at the band review tonight. So, I went to Whole Foods and bought myself a pack of sushi and a piece of cake. $13. Their sushi was ok, but the take out pleace near my house is better and cheaper. Oh well, I tried. I love the store, though. I want to try their noodles next time.
I sent a cashier's check to the travel agency. That was a big hit to my savings account.
Then, we got new tires and fixed brake of DD's truck. It came under estimation. Yuppie!! Still, it was a chunk of money, $862.
After I sent the cashier's check at the post office, I went to Old Navy. They had $1 scarves & hats (limit 6) sale, so I couldn't stop myself to go there. At 10 a.m., they had pretty good selection of colors, and I bought 5 scarves and 1 hat. I went back with DD around 11:30, and most of them were gone. I still managed to find some more and bought more. They will be a nice holiday gifts.
I also bought DD a winter jacket. The regular price was about $70, and it was 50% off, and I used 10% off code I got by filling out customer survey. The final price $31. Not too bad.
We are sending a payment this weekend for DD's summer trip to Europe. $4,150. I thought I could take a break for saving up for her, then, we found out that her truck needs break work and new tires. Another $1000. Sigh....
It seems like I can never catch up.
It's Thursday, so I stopped by farmers' market as usual, and bought more Asian pears. DD loves them. And, we found that our dogs love them, too. My DH called me a couple of days ago and told me not to leave any food on the table. I was like....????? I didn't leave anything on the table but a couple of Asian pears in a bowl. We don't know how, but our dogs (two miniature dachshund) managed to get one of Asian pears out from the bowl, and apparently enjoyed it. I had no idea dogs like fruits!!
One of them is such a prince dog. He stopped eating a couple of weeks ago, and didn't eat almost three days. Of course, we were all worried and thinking about taking him to the vet. Then, it hit me.... it may be the dog food. I found a BOGO coupon for new dog food that are higher quality. Well, fillet mignon flavor to be specific. I bought several cans and totally forgot about it. My guess was he refuse to eat other "regular" kind after tasting fillet mignon. I still was not sure if this was the reason, but went to the store and bought it anyway and see if he would eat it.
Sure enough. As soon as we gave him a bowl of fillet mignon flavor dog food, he started eating. I mean, really good, and he emptied a bowl really fast. Gee.... I need to find more BOGO coupon for the dog food.
There are many stores going out of business around here. Linens'n Things, Mervyns, Shoe Pavilion are the big stores that are running liquidation sales near my house. I noticed Pei Wei (cheaper version of PF Chang's) is closed, and a couple of neighborhood restaurants closed, too. I wonder who is going to be next.
By the way, I drove by AM/PM gas station and the cheapest gas was $2.36. Boy, what happened to the gas price? Did we drill any oil well somewhere? It goes to show you it was not the supply & demand problem but more of greed game people played.
Anyway, I read a news about declining car sales. GM and Ford are doing really bad. Even Toyota sales is waaay down, and they're running 0% financing which is unheard of. I drive a Toyota and it is at about 95K miles. I'm planning to keep is as long as I can. I used to have a small GM car that I bought brand new. It stopped going reverse after one week. I had to insist to get a loaner while they fixed the problem. Its dash board cracked within one year, and the lady at the dealership told me I had to pay $600 for it as it was not covered under warranty. I think I had it about 2 years and ignition switch went out. Then, we decided to switch to Toyota. My Rav4 is 2004 model and, like I said, has 95K on it and still going strong. I did have a problem with the car, though. It was consuming more oil than it was supposed to. Toyota dealer took my car in and gave me a loaner right away. No hassle. No question asked. I think my next car will be another Toyota.
It's Thursday, and farmers' market day. I stopped by and bought 6 Asian pears ($1.50 per lb and paid $6.50), 4 bell peppers ($1), 3 tomatoes ($1), and grape ($.80 per lb. and paid $2) Total spending $10.50. My DD loves Asian pears, and they're in season now.
Benefit enrollment is due tomorrow for my DH. He just called me and told me he completed his enrollment. I finished mine last week. We are lucky that both of our employers offer really good benefits. Actually, it is one of main reasons I'm staying with the company. I cover DD with my medical because my premium is cheaper than DH's. My medical insurance premium is $7,239 per year for me and DD. I also have dental, vision, life insurance, etc. All and all, total cost for these benefits are $9,165 and my employer's credit is $8,170, that makes my out of pocket $995 for one year which is not bad at all. My co-pay for regular doctor visit is $15, and I use FSA money for it. Fortunately, the only time I visit my doctor is annual check-up and other preventative things. I'm glad my family is pretty healthy.
Our DD's Europe trip fee is due in November. $4,100. Ouch!! We have been saving up for it, but it will hit my EF. I originally had 5K for my EF goal, but had to revise it due to payment for the trip. We could use other payment plans and make smaller payments each month, but it does not give us price guarantee (i.e. price adjustment due to fuel charge, etc.). So, we decided to pay up front as we can afford it. The good news is, after this payment, it will free up some money we have been setting aside each month, and we can start building up our savings again.
I guess free-spending days are officially over.
"Get this: Americans saving more.
And, it is time for this saver (ME!!) to go deal hunting. When economy is down, there are so many good deals around. I love liquidation sales that can be discounted up to 75%. Great time to stock up on gift items.
As usual, time is flying by.
I'm taking three classes this semester, and they're all accounting. Blahhh..... One of them is Auditing and, to be honest, it is not for me. At least, not yet. I'm not talking about the subject itself, but I just don't feel auditing has much teeth in it. Of course, I have no auditing experience, so I don't know and I could be wrong. But if SOX is effective, how did this financial crisis happen all of a sudden? Where were the auditors? I was debating if I should take Corporate tax or Audit II next semester, and I decided to take tax class.
As for my job, things are really peachy. My company is doing really good and we have huge order backlog. Thanks for high gas price. Needs for public transportation is high and demand is strong. My department hit all the target figures, and everyone is happy. I will get a bonus in December for sure.
Since I've been super busy, I'm not even paying attention to deals. Well, I bought 15 bottles of softsoap body wash last week that I paid approx $3 for 15 of them. I was using the last bottle I got for free 2 years ago (I got more than 20 bottles for free from Rite Aid), and the deal does not come around very often. But, that is about it. I may stop by today to get a Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner from Walgreen today. There's $10 internet coupon and Walgreen has $10 rebate for the product that make it free this week. I may not use it but I can donate it for silent auction item when my DD's marching band host holiday dinner.
Talking about donation, I just donated a bunch of travel size shampoo/conditioner/lotion to holiday stocking program. I also donated 5 bottles of Windex to fund raising car wash DD's marching band had last week. These free/cheap items are really handy during holiday season because people are asking to donate many things.
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