I haven't changed my categories for a while. Yeah, I had 2008 Resolution. Oh boy, it's like 2 years ago. Time to change my side bar.
I deleted "2008 Resolution" (about time...) and "School". I graduated last year and don't really need it for now....
Aaaand, new category was added for 2010. "Decluttering in 2010"!!
Yes, my new year's resolution is to get rid of 6 things every day.
My goal is to get rid of 2010 unnecessary items this year. 2010 divided by 365 days is 5.5. So, I figured if I get rid of 6 things per day, I will reach my goal.
I went through my desk and closet and got rid of two or three garbage bag full of stuff last week. And I threw away some old paperwork from 2001 (!!) two nights ago. I should easily reach January goal of getting rid of 186 items.
I haven't changed my categories for a while. Yeah, I had 2008 Resolution. Oh boy, it's like 2 years ago. Time to change my side bar.
We re-did our curtains and it was over $400 for all the rods, balances, and panels. When we were paying for items, I told her I had some coupons but forgot to bring them. She told me she will adjust the price as long as I have receipts.
I went home and looked for coupons, but I could only find two. I needed more than two because I bought total of 12 items and coupons are good for single items. (it's 20% off coupon for single item.)
So, I posted a message in Facebook, asking my friends if they have any they can give me. Well, I got some responses and scored 10 total!!
I went back to the store and asked for price adjustment, and got about $80 back.
Yes, it is so worth to ask for help. The power of networking.....
studying for GMAT. I originally scheduled GMAT back in July, then, I realzied I wasn't ready. I paid extra $50 to reschedule, and the new date is Jan. 9. Yes, it's around the corner, and I feel I'm so not ready.
I should have been studying for the test, but I have a hard time motivating myself for some reason. I have (or I should say I had) two weeks off, so, should have plenty of time studying.
Instead, I'm internet surfing and playing scrubble on Facebook. Sheeesh...
One thing is that this test is about testing my overall skills and knowledge, so, other than knowing strategy of taking the test, there's no one specific area to study. I need to know basic of math and English, and who knows what they will ask.
I've been doing English sentence correction problems and doing poorly. That leads to no motivation cycle. Grrrr.
Well, good news is, I won't die doing poorly on this test and I can take it again as long as I pay for it. Also, the school I will apply is not accepting any students in 2010 anyway (the deadline for fall 2010 was Nov!!), so there's no hurry doing this. I ended up taking it now because I went ahead and applied for the test last May, right before I graduated = I was still academically motivated lol
Anyhow, I will take the test anyway and see what happens. If I score good enough, one less thing to worry about in 2010.
DH needed new reading glasses. We originally had an appointment at Wal Mart vision center, but they screwed up the date. So, I cancelled it and made another appointment with an eye doc at the shopping mall.
It was a very fancy eye wear store, and has the latest exam equipments. I found this place from DH's vision insurance website (VSP). I was surprised how great the coverage is.
Co-pay for exam is $10, and co-pay for lenses is also $10. We upgraded the quality of lenses, so our co-pay was $25. Still a great deal. DH has a frame that he loves and insisted he wants to use it, so we didn't buy new frame. Frame is covered up to $130. We ended up paying total $35 for his new glasses : ) (It would be close to $400 without insurance.)
Actually, I don't mind paying more because I still have some money I need to use in my FSA account. Oh well...
We also got 30% discount on sunglasses he wanted. I told him I will buy them as a Christmas gift. The original price was $180 but with 30% off, it was $126.
Unfortunately, my employer dropped VSP and changed to United Health or something for vision. DH and I cover each other for dental (we have double coverage) but not vision. I should have DH's vision insurance cover me and DD next year so we can use this store as well.
Wow, I didn't realize I haven't written anything since September. I guess I was more focused on my job than blogging during my work hour ; )
Anyhow, 2009 has been a great year for me and I made another accomplishment. I will be contributing full $16,500 to my 401K this year. Yipeeee!!! I've always wanted to do this, but I did not make enough to reach this amount before. (There's a max % I can contribute from my pay.) I am super happy and very proud what I accomplished.
I had to get rid of some catalina coupons that was expiring on Sunday. I bought 2 bags of Nuts cluster that are free after RR. Used $1/1 coupons, so this was $2 money maker. I also bought 2 newspapers, 2 gums, and a bag of chocolate. Out of pocket was less than $2.
Great week for stocking up baby wash and baby lotion. I bought ten bottles of baby wash/lotion/powder that I will use them for my co-worker's baby shower. The total price of baby goods was $30, and I used $15 worth of coupons and getting $15 in rebate. Thus, free. I had $25 Rite Aid gift card I got from previous promotion, and paid out of pocket portion with the GC. No cash impact which is nice.
They have cheap grapes again this week!! I love them! Also, Yoplait yogurts are 50 cents each if you buy 10 or more. I found $1 off on 8 cups coupon in Pillsbury website. That make them 40 cents each. Sweet!
I heard the President's speech about the healthcare reform last night. I'm from a country with government health care. So, I will share my experience what it's like.
First of all, it is NOT free. Everybody pays in, just like SSN tax we pay. And, just like SSN, employers pay 50% and employees' share is 50%. I don't remember how much I was paying, but it depends on how much people make. People pay more if they make mroe, and people pay less if they make less.
There is one government agency, and it administers all health issues. And here's what people get.
- When kids are in school: A group of doctors and nurses come to school once a year. It is called physical check up day and everyone participates. Each student have "health record book" and it has record of results from annual check up day from K - 12. Nurses measure students' height, weight, check their basic health condition, anything critical for children's health. This check up includes dental and vision. If the student show any kind of warning signal, a doctor will write up a letter and it will be sent to parents so that the parents will make an appointment with their doctor. This annual health check up is done no charge to students.
- After people get jobs: Grown up version of annual physical check up is provided by companies. Again, a group of nurses and doctors come to our office once a year and give us physical check up, including measuring blood pressure, taking x-ray, etc. People over 30 years old are sent to stomach cancer screening (because Japan has high stomach cancer rate), and people over 35 years old are sent to what they call "Human doc" for very thorough physical. This is part of employees' benefit, thus, no charge.
- For housewives and self-employed: Local government (such as cities and towns) have medical office where similar service are offered to people who cannot take advantage of employees' benefits like above. These local medical offices also provide parenthood classes for pregnant women and their husbands, and issue "Mother and child" book so that we can keep health record of both mother and the baby.
- When you get sick, you can go to any doctor you want. There's no such thing that you need to choose your doctor. If you get sick when you're traveling and found a doctor by shopping mall, you can walk in and receive a treatment by showing your insurance card. The cost is the same no matter where you go. Different doctor may prescribe different medicine, but the difference of amount is nothing to fuss about. When I went to see a doctor when I got sick, the most I paid was like $10 or so.
- My cost of hospitalization when I had C-section was about $3,000. (well, it was like 18 years ago... but still...) It was a private hospital. I had my own room, three gourmet meals provided every day, my own shower, and I was there for 10 days. (Normally, people stay in hospital about 4 to 5 days for normal delivery.)
I won't say their system is perfect. There are problems including rising cost due to fast pace of graying society. However, I've never heard anyone filing bankruptcy due to medical bill. And, people live for a long time over there.
As I mentioned in my previous post, my co-worker said she wanted folding chairs for camping.
I bought four of them at $3 each yesterday at CVS. I asked her this morning "Do you want to buy folding chair? They're $3 each."
She couldn't believe how cheap they were and was pretty happy about my offer. The regular price of these chair was $25. She was so happy that she saved so much money, and I told her to go out to dinner with the saving
Well, I'm happy too that I didn't have to store them in our garage, and got $12 back.
I shopped A LOT today, taking advantage of 90% off sale.
I went to two CVS and bought some great summer stuff. I bought several inflatable pool toys. Regular price of one toy was $54!! I bought 2 of them.
My plan is using them for my DD's silent auction item. She's in charge of student body and asks me to give her something for fundraising dinner every year and it has to be close to $100 in value. (or she needs to solicit local business to donate their merchandise.)
I also bought some other summer toys for emergency gift (means unexpected event I need to come up with a gift) for kids. They are $2 to $3 each after 90% off.
At second CVS, I found some folding chairs and bought four of them at less than $3 each. I will sell them to my co-worker at cost. What happened was that I was telling my co-worker this morning about scoring some folding chairs yesterday. She said she was looking for folding chairs and went to Wal-Mart, and found them at $20 each. She didn't buy them because it was more than she wanted to pay. She can have four nice folding chairs for $12.
I bought some other stuff, like lunch tote 32 cents, BBQ brush 30 cents, portable fan $3, cooler $3, etc.
I used $4 off/$20 purchase coupon, and it worked out nicely. I spent grand total of little over $40!! That's splurge for me, but that means I got more than $400 worth of products. Some of them will be Christmas gifts for my friends. (Such as cute lunch tote that I bought 5 and paid 32 cents each.) They're so cute!!
I heard some CVS marked summer items down to 90% off.
I stopped by one when I took DD to lunch. They only had 75% off tags. I walked out the store not buying anything.
Then, I went to another CVS. BINGO!! They had 90% off sales going on. Shelves were pretty much empty, but I scored a couple of 9 ft umbrellas ($7 each) and three folding chairs ($2 each).
I will keep checking other CVS in town. I heard some stores don't bother running 90% off sale, but it's worth to check it out.
This week has been a great week at Walgreens and Target.
I got several free Carefree, Thera Flu, and Colgate toothbrushes. Thera Flu is my favorite cold medicine and I know I will use some this winter. I love it when I can get cold med for free.
I'm also getting cheap Special K products at Target. They're sale for little over $2 and I get $5 gift card when I buy 4 of them. On top of that, there are coupons in coupons.com. I've been paying less than $1 for 4 products (combination of cereal, crackers, and cereal bars).
BA's post about celebrating frugality made me think about being frugal.
I guess I'm frugal..... at least compared to some people.
I save 20% of my salary to 401K, invest $200 to Sharebuilder, do not carry CC balance, clip coupons, send out rebates, and always looking for deals.
On the other hand, I carry LV purse (which I debated for five years to buy it, saved money and paid cash for it) and have other name brand stuff.
Oh, and I take vacations in places like Hawaii.
Why I save 20% of my salary to 401K? Well, I think the answer now is "Because I can". I've been working for the same company for 10 years, and got a couple of promotions. I always try to contribute 20% of my salary since I started working in the U.S. However, it wasn't that easy when I was making around 40K or so. I still managed to save about 15% every year. Over the years, it got easier because my salary increased. It's so nice that I have some spending money even after saving 20% to 401K. Oh, and another reason is that I am not counting on SS I know the system will be there somehow, but who knows how much I can get out of SS in 20 years. I'd rather be prepared.
Why I clip coupons and hunt deals? I guess the answer is "Because I like it". DH and I make decent salary and our household income is little over 100K. I know it's not a lot (especially in CA), but we can live pretty comfortable without being so tight about money. But, I just cannot waste our hard earned money. We do not have rich relatives and everything we have is bought with the money we earned. So, when I know I can buy a box of cereal for 10 cents, why do I want to pay $4 for it? I'd rather save the difference and buy DH his favorite steak. He works hard, and he deserves it.
Well, I guess my life style does not make sense to some people lol I have bunch of coupons in my LV purse, and pay 10 cents for cereals but pay $10 for a piece of meat. But I have my own reasons why I spend our money that way.
I guess I can call myself frugal : )
to see gain in my Sharebuilder account.
I've been buying stocks of different companies every month. I pick these companies depending on how I feel. Sometimes it's drug company, sometimes it's bank. I do it for fun and I consider $100 as my monthly hobby expense rather than saving or investment.
Anyhow, I had this HUGE loser stock that wiped out other stocks' gain for a longest time.
I saw gain of $100 first time since I started my investment! (which is about 2 years or so...)
It's so nice to see gain instead of loss. Hahaha : )
I've been checking my 401K balance and so happy that it's back to 6 figures!! Yay!!
One of my friends is getting a divorce. She's been married for 17 years and has two boys. Her husband is a friend of ours, too. And he's a great guy who worshiped his wife.... until he found out his wife wasn't faithful to him.
I think the husband wanted to do over, and was willing to forgive his wife. But the wife said she doesn't love him anymore and wants to get a divorce. In their case, I'm feeling sorry for the husband. He's so screwed.
His wife never worked, and doesn't have a college degree. So, she knows she won't be able to get a high paying job. Thus, she wants him to pay her spousal support in addition to child support.
I had lunch with her with other friends and a couple of her comments kind of touched my nerve.
Me: "My co-worker was paying his ex-wife $700 for spousal support."
My friend: "That's it??"
Well.... do you know how hard it is to earn $700???
Me: "Do you have your own bank account?"
My friend: "With what money can I open a bank account?"
Well.... it doesn't cost $100k to open it. All you need is... maybe... $20??
So, here she is, doesn't even have her own bank account (to me it means no independence whatsoever), and pissed off a guy whom she will totally be dependent on financially, and complaining that the only job she can find is a kind that pays $10 an hour. Well.... you need to start somewhere.....
They live in a beautiful house that cost them $1M when they moved in a couple of years ago. Of course, it is upside down now, approx. $200K. Her husband doesn't want to sell the house because he knows he cannot sell it for what he wants. He is so angry at her now that I really cannot blame him. He always treated her like a princess, as far as I know.
They're going through mediation now but not sure how much they will agree on stuff like house and spousal support. I just hope she is making a right choice for her.
I went to Staples and got a free backpack. It is a promotion going on this week and it's good towards ANY backpack.
I bought a $40 backpack that was originally $52. (!!) I also bought few more FAR items.
It's a great deal for people with school age children. If you don't have a need for it, you can always donate ; )
I am a big believer in education. So, I jumped on when I saw a campaign ad for "Operation Backpack". (OperationBackpackSac.org) This is to donate a new backpack with school supplies to school age children. Stores are having back to school sale and I love shopping. Perfect win-win for me!!
I went Longs/CVS and got free school supplies. Then, I went to Target and got cheap color pencils, markers, etc. (They're like 50 cents each!!) I also bought a backpack at Target for $9.99 that came with a lunch pail. Yay!!
The backpack was pretty full after I put all the school supplies. I hope a boy (I made an assumption from the color or back pack and school supplies I bought - mostly blue and green) who receives this backpack will be happy.
My friend threw a party last night. I brought my homemade potstickers as requested and they were gone in 10 minutes. I should have made more, but I brought about 40 of them. I need to double my batch next year.
I went to Rite Aid for free pads. Stay Free products are BOGO and I had 10 BOGO q's. Since I went to the end of sale cycle, I only could find a dozen of them. But it's OK. Got a dozen packages of pads and paid .33 each (sales tax). This purchase also counts towards rebate.
I also bought new Purex laundry detergent. It's a sheet and works as both detergent and softner. They were BOGO at Walgreens and $2 q's were out. I paid $2.5 per package that has 20 sheets in it. It comes to 12.5 cents per load. I was curious to see how well this product works. I did about 5 loads and so far so good.
I realized my profile was outdated, so I updated it. It seems that nothing is happening but there are some changes in life.
First big change is that I'm not a student anymore. I've been saying "I work full-time and going to school" for last 8 years. Not anymore. That's a huge change for me. Another change is my job. I was working as a financial analyst for a small dept. (sale of about $10M) I got a promotion in April and now work as a project controller, managing projects that are $180M and $90M respectively. The job itself is pretty much the same, but the numbers got much bigger.
It's a lot of fun and I love what I do : )
It will be very hot here this weekend.... like 105 degrees. We're planning to go to Folsom lake to stay cool. There will be so many people there.
My DD's friends are coming along. I will be making some sandwiches and fruits salad for them.
Not sure what I'll do on Sunday. It will be another hot day. Maybe I should go to gym and work out a little. I've been lazy and haven't been working out these days.
Other things I can do is clipping coupons and decluttering my closet. My neighborhood is planning a large neighborhood garage sale in July, so I should look for something I can sell.
Our governor visited my company today. Yes, it is the governator. He looked exactly like in pictures and movies. (Sometimes, these movie stars look very different in real life....) And, to my surprise, he was a very good speaker as well. And he did say "I'll be back" at the end of his speech.
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 : )
I went to Target website to see their new Target coupons and found Kraft mayo coupon. $1/1! Yay!!
I've been wanting to buy some cheap mayo and was eyeing on 18 oz mayo that are $1.99. Since manu q. I had expire today, I was going to get some at the price of $.99. After target coupons, they are free!!
Needless to say, I got some free mayo today. I was pretty happy.
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 ; )
There are deals everywhere and I can barely keep up!!
Kraft foods whiped out so many good coupons. I was busy printing them away last week. I got a dozen of free bbq sauce, 2 packs of free strawberries, 4 cheap movie tickets, and there's more to hunt.
I will have my last final exam (I mean this is my last one for B.S degree) and will be free from school. So, let the deal hunting begin!! LOL
Cool whip will be 49 cents per tub starting tomorrow at Save Mart. The deal I was looking for. Yay!
I checked my 401K balance and I am very excited. It is back to 6 figures!! Return % is still low but I really don't care. I have 15 to 20 years till retirement. I will just ride out this bump.
This week has been great for some deals. So far, I bough 15 boxes of Special K cereal and planning to by 5 more. I paid $1.38 each for first two trips, and 38 cents each for the third trip. Big thanks to fellow couponer on HCW Target forum that new printable showed up on coupons com and Kellogg website. I printed some more coupons and cut out coupons from cereal box, and I will pay 38 cents per box for my next trip as well. $17.60 for 20 boxes of cereal (88 cents each) isn't too bad.
If there's a week worth to drive around deal hunting, this is one of these weeks.
Bayer glucose meters are on sale at Walgreen's and there's manufacture coupons that covers entire cost. When you buy one, you get $5 catalina back!! I paid $1.31 for sales tax, and received $5 back. $3.69 profit!!
Nivea body wash is free after Register Reward item and I printed a bunch of $1/1 internet coupons. I make few cents after buying it.
There are some other free after register reward products I'm not even paying attention to. My goal now is to use up my glucose monitor coupons. (I bought 10 of them on eBay paying $3.99.)
Target is another good place to shop. My DD eats Special K cereal and they are $2.39 per box, and you get $5 gift card when you buy 5 of them. That makes $1.39 per box which is pretty darn good for Special K cereal. I couldn't find any decent deal for this product for last two months, so we were completely out!! It's time to stock up again.
Kraft dressing was $1.56 after price cut and there's manufacture coupons $1.5/1 for them. 9 cents for a bottle of dressing. Great deal!
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.
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