Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday? Not For Me!

I have never shopped early on Black Friday. My Mom has gone with my brother before for computer-related/electronic items (flash drives, external hard drives, etc.) but I would much rather sleep in. Or catch up on my TV shows I missed from earlier this week - which is what I did this morning while the rest of my family played golf.

However, I will be going this afternoon to do some poking around and to see if I can find anything that's left over. Enjoy the rest of the long weekend! :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
There is so much to be thankful for this year. I am most thankful for my family, my friends, my health and my job - on top of many other things. Truly blessed. Have a wonderful day with your friends and family, wherever you are and whatever you are doing. :)


I booked my flight to Vegas for New Year's Eve! I am going December 31-January 4 with two girlfriends. My flight, which I purchased a few days ago, came out to $190 round-trip. I will have free accommodations on the Strip through one of my friends, which will certainly help decrease the total cost.

This will be my first "real" vacation which will all be paid out of my own pocket. (I am spending this Thanksgiving weekend with my parents who are visiting me in Southern California and then I will be going home to see them and my brother over Christmas, where my parents paid for the flight.) The cost of this Vegas flight will almost deplete my Travel Fund, however my leftover budget money from this month and December will go towards pushing it up for that long weekend.

A few pf bloggers recently went to Vegas and this will be my 3rd time. (I went in high school with my family and in college for 2 days over Spring Break - however I ended up with food poisoning so that particular time was a wash.) I am definitely looking forward it and crossing my fingers that I don't get sick. It will be a blast!

So far, the cheapest NYE options are Fremont Street ( thousands of people, a few live bands and the light show) for $40 or hanging out on the Strip for $0. I am estimating a budget of $400 to cover taxis, food, alcohol and entertainment. I do not gamble but might play some fun slots for $10 or $20 max and I do not plan on doing any shopping. But we'll see! :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

$2.50 Gone...

I bought a large pomegranate (my favorite fruit) last weekend for $2.50.

However, I didn't know that you are supposed to keep them in the refrigerator. When I cut it open tonight, the seeds were incredibly dark (instead of a ruby-red color) and there was some mold on one part. :(

End of Another Weekend

Another fun weekend. Bars on Friday night, driving range on Saturday with my old roommate, low-key movie night on Saturday night and kickboxing/cooking today. It was by far one of my cheapest weekends in a long time!

Bars, $9

Groceries, $11.54 ($7.05 of this was on my Ralph's gift card)

Groceries, $11.28 (I bought a pie for my roommates and I made this soup - it's delicious and most of it is being frozen for lunch this week)

Total: $31.82

"People First"

People first, then money, then things. - Suze Orman

At the beginning of 2008, my Mom mentioned that I should watch "The Suze Orman Show" on CNBC. I had never heard of it, so I gave it a try on a Saturday night after one of my finance professors had also recommended it.

And I've been hooked ever since! Suze gives fantastic advice. She is straight to the point, offers lots of insight and covers a variety of topics--all of which are PF-related. Of course, the "Can I Afford It?" segment is my favorite.

I would love to be a guest on her show one day! :) I truly believe the above quote as well, which is her end-of-the-show tagline and I try to follow it in my own life.

Starting next week, I will begin a "Suze Says" post on Sundays or Mondays with a piece of financial advice from her weekend show.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Balancing Act

It's difficult to balance being a 22-year-old on a budget while trying to sustain a good social life.

Especially being single and living with roommates who would rather spend a night at the bars than a night in watching a movie or having drinks at home.

Especially when most all of my friends earn higher incomes than me... and sometimes significantly more so.

I generally do not spend much money out at the bars (1-2 drinks per night/occasionally buying a drink for a friend) and go out either once per weekend or every other weekend. I let my friends know that I can't afford much and most of the time I will offer to drive in order to save money.

But then there's going out to restaurants, seeing movies, shopping with girlfriends and other fun things that can quickly add up! I allocate $50/month to Entertainment - which encompasses most of the aforementioned activities - and $50/month to Shopping, which usually doesn't get used so it gets saved for when I do purchase clothes/shoes.

I would love to be able to go out to the bars and spend $20-$30 per night drinking with friends, or go to a movie and then a bar, or a restaurant and a movie, et. al., every weekend - but I and my budget just can't do it... Well, I could - but I would have to forgo saving.

It's difficult. I make compromises, I give in at times and I put my foot down at others - but I definitely can't wait to have more disposable income.

How do you balance a budget with your social life?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Downtown for Dinner!

Watermelon martini + Ginger-crusted salmon with wasabi mashed potatoes and snow peas/carrots = a lovely 2.5-hour dinner with a friend from out-of-town :)

Cost: $40 (of course, friendship is priceless!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Thanksgiving Gift

Last week's paycheck included a $30 gift card. We normally get a monthly Shell gas station gift card for $20, so I was confused as to what this one was. On Friday, though, our department's administrative assistant handed them out: $30 to Ralph's grocery store, as a Thanksgiving present!

Most of it will be used for normal groceries but some of it will go towards a mini-Thanksgiving my roommates and I want to have this weekend. Hooray! :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weekend Spending

I did a lot of fun things this weekend. Went to dinner with my roommates, saw the new James Bond movie and went out on Saturday night. However, my clothing purchases made it a fairly pricey weekend! I had not purchased clothing for myself since May--if you don't count shoes, that is. Here's what I spent:

Dinner, $11
Movie, Free (I used an AMC pass I had!)

Groceries, $16.90
Marshall's, $12.91 (I bought a muffin pan and a set of ramekins)
Bars, $21 (I bought drinks for my roommates and 1 for myself)

Black pants for work, $45.26
Holiday Party/New Year's Dress, $104.25

Total: $211.32

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Perfect Weather = Even MORE Shopping?!

I spent this afternoon in lovely 85-degree-and-perfect-blue-sky weather at the outdoor mall.

I purchased a new pair of black pants for work and a holiday party dress. Since the store was having a 25% off everything sale today, the damage done by the dress was $104.25. Not bad for a fantastic item that I will surely wear many times! I am just glad that this boot was not available in my size, as my bank account really would have hated me...

I bit the bullet and strayed from my obsession with little black dresses. I went with a little pink dress this time!

Friday, November 14, 2008

More Shopping!

I decided that I needed to replace my basic black heels. So, I purchased these ones from Amazon! I am so excited. Total damage: $83.90. (Worth it, as shoes last me 4+ years!)

Yesterday I went to Marshall's and purchased a set of 6 martini glasses for $10. They have already come in handy for this yummy cocktail! (A set of 4 similar ones at Target was $15.)

Tonight will be dinner and a movie with my roommates. The movie will be free, since I remembered I still have 2 AMC movie passes left! (I was given 4 of them and a $50 gift certificate to The Melting Pot as a parting gift from my 3-year on-campus job in June. I planning on using that for my birthday in January!)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

MySurvey Check!

I received a MySurvey check for $10 in the mail today! I redeemed it beginning of October and forgot about it, so it's a nice surprise. It is going into my Travel Fund.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

10 Must-Haves

I am going to respond to Penny's question about 10 Must-Haves, in no particular order except #1.

1. My Family/Friends - My Mom is my best friend and my Dad introduced me to the joys of traveling and turned me into a foodie. My friends keep me grounded and make sure I have fun!

2. Internet - I am addicted to e-mail, reading blogs, catching up on TV shows, chatting with friends, Facebook, etc. (I could manage without a cell phone. I think.)

3. Excel - So I can keep my personal finances in order!

4. Good Food - This includes cooking and restaurants. Mostly ethnic food!!

5. Travel - I love to travel. I wouldn't be who I am today without my study-abroad experience or the fact that my parents had taken me to 16 different countries by the time I was 15. :)

6. Laptop - Without my laptop, I wouldn't be able to use the Internet or Excel or do online banking...

7. Online Banking - Seriously. Enough said!

8. Comfy Pants - I love to be comfortable! :)

9. Make-up - It feels good to look presentable.

10. Contacts & Car - Tie (so, technically, 11 must-haves!) because without my contacts I couldn't see and without my car I couldn't get to work as public transportation is next to nil where I live.

What are your 10 must-haves?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Needs vs Wants

There are some things that I need:

  • A new pair of black pointed-toe heels (my old ones are looking very worn and they are 4 years I wear these almost daily to work - I could get them repaired, but it would cost around $30 which is a little less than 1/2 the cost of a new pair for me)
  • At least 1 new pair of pants for work (I currently have 3 that I rotate through, plus 2 skirts and a few dresses - however it is too cold for those now and the pants are 5 years old!)
And there are some things that I want:
  • Some new work shirts (I mostly wear cardigans and light sweaters since our office is really cold, but I'd love some dressier/more professional items)
  • New earrings (I found small studs that I want at Macy's, 2 pairs for $40 - all my other earrings are hoops)
  • A new purse!!!
  • Holiday Party dress (I have 1 or 2 options in my closet... but what girl doesn't love new dresses?!)
  • New work-out pants

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Only 2.5 weeks til Thanksgiving!!

I had a great weekend! Spent time with my roommates, friends and myself - including going to my intense but awesome kickboxing class at the gym, doing some reading and cooking*. :) Here's what I spent:

Wal-Mart, $5.90
Groceries, $6.22
Lunch with a friend, $6.45
Curry Pies from a local market, $10
Nordstrom for a new blush, $19.04
Alcohol, $21.91 (I made this martini for myself & friends, which comes out to $1.18 per drink... so much nicer/cheaper to stay in than go out to the over-priced bars. Plus it was delicious!)

Total: $69.52

*Though sometimes I wish I wasn't single!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

(Late) Weekend Spending for Nov 1!

I know it's Thursday, but... here's last weekend's spending breakdown:

Pizza, $15.00
Brunch, $10.00
Groceries, $81.25, $128.41

  • $40.97 on Christmas gifts for my roommates (this will come out of my Gift Fund)
  • $17.49 on my very first chef's knife (thanks to Kris for the link!)
  • $69.95 on a vacuum cleaner (how can I say no to over 1,000 reviews on Amazon?!)
(I ended up spending $0 on Halloween because I drove to the bars, so my drinks were purchased for me by my friends!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

October Budget Leftover

I had $200 leftover from my November budget.

Instead of putting it into my E-fund like usual, I decided to put it towards my Roth IRA.

It's a great time to buy for the long-term, so I can't justify putting any extra money anywhere else at the moment!

NYTimes - Your Money Article

I thought this article from the NYTimes' "Your Money" section rings very true.

It makes me proud to be a PF blogger, to have a community of bloggers/readers that provide constant support and an overwhelming amount of advice! :) We make a fantastic club.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Time for Change...

As a permanent resident of the USA, I did not vote in today's election. (I am a Canadian citizen.)

However, all I can say that this is certainly a historical time in the United States and, I believe, a good change for both the United States as well as for the world.

Congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama. I look forward to what the next 4 years will bring.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November Goals!

For November:

1. Stay within budget & contribute $200 to my new Roth IRA.
2. Learn to cook more than one new meal.
3. Work out 2x per week & try a different class such as pilates or yoga.
4. Purchase Christmas gifts.
5. Buy a vacuum and keep the apartment clean(er)... it's rough with a 1,900 sq. ft. townhouse, 3 of us roommates & a constant stream of friends!
6. Finish a book & start a new one. (I want to spend more time reading instead of watching TV.)

October Month-End

Time to re-visit those October goals!

1. Settle into my budget. Pass.
2. Work out 2x per week. Almost - I worked out 2x per week & joined a gym, but had a cold from last Sunday through Thursday so I didn't work out this week. But I would have!
3. Learn to cook one new meal. Pass - More than one! :)
4. Sell old TV on CraigsList. Fail - I put it on CL but had 2 buyers fall through. I re-posted it yesterday at a slightly lower value.
5. Start to purchase Christmas gifts Fail - I did not purchase any gifts, but I found exactly what I am getting my roommates. Just have to buy them!

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