Saturday, February 28, 2009

February Month-End

My savings side-bars have been updated!

I had $250 leftover from my February budget! I decided to put it all into my Roth IRA for 2008, bringing me to $4,750 in total contributions for that calendar year. I was not sure if I would be able to max out my 2008 contributions to $5K, but it looks like that should not be a problem if all goes well in March with my budget and any leftovers! Just in time for the April cut-off date for 2008 contributions, too.

February Review & March Goals!

February was a short month but it was also busy for me! Work got to me by the end, but now I am finally finished with my transition and will be full-time in my new position starting Monday. All the loose ends are tied up and I have finished training 3 different people in my old department to take over my responsibilities. A lot of work, but now I can move on!

February Review
1. Review my budget and adjust accordingly with my pay increase, most likely allocating a bit more to savings each month - Pass! I now bring home an extra $90 per month, so I am putting an extra $25 into to my Travel Fund, $25 into my Car Maintenance Fund and $25 into my "Other" category. The leftover $15 is for residual spending. :)
2. Splurge a little on myself (using some of the money from my budget) - earrings, manicure/pedicure, a spa day? - Pass! I did buy new earrings, but then lost my old ones. And I plan on going for a mani/pedi this weekend or next week!
3. Complete my taxes - Pass! I finished my taxes, filed and got my federal return! Still waiting on CA state refund, which might take a while.

March Goals
1. Do more activities with friends: go to the gym 4x per week instead of 3x, go on a hike, go the driving range!
2. Cook at least 2 new meals, including at least 1 in the crock pot.
3. Finish 1 book. (My Mom said she would be sending me a really good one.)
4. Register for December CFA Level I.
5. Complete Employee Self-Appraisal and discuss goals with my new supervisor (even though no one is getting a raise this year).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


A few of you have asked about the pattern for the sweater my Mom knitted me.

This is the link to the blog where she found it, and I believe the pattern is on Ravelry. (There's a link in that specific post.) My Mom told me that with the yarn she used, the approximate cost of the sweater was $28.



I can't find my favorite earrings: white-gold hoops. I've been looking for them for 3 weeks now and they are gone.

But unfortunately, I am 90% sure that I accidentally threw them away. I had purchased new earrings a few weeks ago, took out the other ones and put them in the mini jewelry box they came in. And I think I put the case in the little bag and somehow tossed the bag without thinking. :(

I went to Macy's (where I got the originals) to see how much it would cost to replace them...


The worst part? This was the 2nd pair of the exact earrings that I've lost. I lost 1 of the earrings in NYC about 2 years ago and my brother bought me the same pair as a replacement for my graduation present last May. I feel like an idiot - I am so careful with everything!

I want them back. But I know I don't want to pay $135 for them, when I think I got them for about $60 originally. Sigh.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Match Date #2

I went on my 2nd date tonight.

His pictures were a lot more attractive than he was in person. (They were also side views of his face.) It was fairly awkward. All he did was make jokes. I don't mind the occasional punchline, but really... this was a bit much. Every 2 seconds. I ended up laughing most of the time - I have a great laugh - but this was the I-am-so-uncomfortable-I'll-give-you-a-weird-look-and-awkward-laugh type. Also, asking me how many Match dates I've been on so far within the first 5 minutes of our date and then "bragging" that he had been on more than me? Uh, not exactly good date etiquette. Plus then proceeding to tell me about all of his prior dates. Mum's the word?! Apparently not...

He was nice enough and paid for our drinks/appetizer (happy hour, 2 rounds, came to $20). Let's just say I don't plan on seeing him again anytime soon. When I was driving home, I realized that he reminded me of an ex-boyfriend and an ex-boss rolled into one: aka not my type at all. (Hence the "ex's.")

Oh, the joys of dating!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Weekend Recap

Another fun weekend! I went out for a friend's birthday on Friday to our old favorite dive bar for pool and shuffleboard, then I came home to a mini party at our apartment so I stayed up later than I anticipated but had a great time! On Saturday I hung around and played mom to my very hungover roommates and caught up on some TV. Today I went to the driving range and made tortilla soup!

$20, Bars


$10, Groceries

$5, 1/2 a bucket of balls at the driving range

Total: $35

I can't believe how little I spent this weekend! I didn't have to buy groceries since I stocked up last weekend and I didn't feel like going shopping, so it was nice to relax and not spend so much. :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Happy Friday!

It's payday and my federal tax refund was direct deposited into my accounts! My E-fund, Travel Fund and Roth IRA are very happy right now. :)

I also came home to a package from my Mom which was a gorgeous knitted hoodie! I took a picture of me in it. It's super warm and comfy. Now, if only I could learn to knit such amazing pieces! I love it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

(Long) Weekend Spending!

I had a 3.5 day weekend and it was very relaxing and I got a lot of things accomplished. I spent my half-day on Friday at the DMV for 3 hours to change my license from my home state to California. (I got 100% on the written exam and am now patiently waiting my new ID!) Friday night was low-key, my roommates and I watched Taken which was a great action movie. On Saturday I went shopping and finally found some new work out pants (but still in need of new tank tops) and went out to dinner with my old roommates from my last year of college. It was so much fun to catch up with them at our favorite pizza place with greasy food and drinks! On Sunday I went for coffee and today I ran errands (in the rain!) and did some cooking for lunches this week. :)

$0, I used a free movie pass

$48.98, 2 new pairs of work-out pants and some other items at Target
$16, Dinner

$0, My date paid for coffee

$49.58, Groceries
$11.84, Ink cartridge re-fill at Costco

Total: $126.40

First Meetup

I did sign up for And PoF.

Today I met up with a guy I had exchanged a few e-mails with on Match for coffee. It was a little awkward at the beginning and the end, but the conversation wasn't bad. We talked for almost 2 hours, but there wasn't really a spark and while we have some things in common, he didn't really "wow" me - even though he seems to be a decent enough guy. He was not very confident and was more reserved, whereas I am very outgoing and confident. And I need someone more like me. (He also looked fairly different than his pictures, which might have been a year old.)

However, he was nice enough to pay for my tea at Starbucks. I wouldn't be surprised if I heard from him via e-mail, but I won't be saying yes if he asks me on a date.

I signed up for a 3-month membership on Match and I'm glad I did. I get a lot of one-line e-mails from guys and there is a lot of "digging" to be done to find semi-decent/decent ones on both Match and PoF. I have started exchanging some e-mails with a new guy on Match who works in the same industry as I do and we seem have a lot more in common than guy #1. We are planning on having lunch next weekend, so we'll see what happens with that. :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More Surveys!

I have been doing the occasional survey through Pinecone Research whenever I get them. I received two checks for $3 each last week. I deposited that extra $6 into my E-fund. :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Roommate J: "This burrito cost me $5. And I only ate half of it!"

Money Maus: "So you have leftovers for tomorrow?"

Roommate J: "Yes. Which means this meal was only $2.50! I should do this more often, I think this is one of the cheapest meals ever."

The average meal I make costs around $1 to $1.50 per serving. I take my lunch to work every day and maybe buy lunch 2-3 times a month, max. J buys lunch and goes to Starbucks twice a day when he works, spending about $14 per day. J is not a saver, so for him to realize that meals can be made for cheap is a big step for him - and that leftovers are a good thing.

I just smiled and went back to typing this post. :)

Long Term Wants

1. LASIK (I've worn contacts since I was 12)
2. Christian Louboutin heels
3. Condo in/near a downtown location
4. Mini Cooper
5. Fantastic wardrobe

And not necessarily in that order. :)

One of Those Faces...

I took a few things to the dry cleaners today and the owner was convinced he'd seen me before, even though I had never stepped foot into the store until this afternoon.

Last week, the instructor who teaches yoga before my kickboxing class, asked me if I worked at a bar in a specific neighborhood of my city.

A few weeks before that, someone at the bank asked if I had a sister who lived in the area because they swore my look-a-like had come in earlier that day.

Apparently I have a twin (or multiple!) wandering around.

Or I just have "one of those faces." It's sort of entertaining. And it got me a $2-off-per-item discount at the cleaners today! :)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Economic Stimulation

I went a little crazy with my spending this weekend. But, I did not go overboard - good thing I didn't find work-out clothes that fit me! In the end, though, I decided that it would be nice to stimulate the economy. Plus the money I spent shopping has been budgeted thanks to my bonus. :) I saw He's Just Not That Into You which really isn't like the book at all, more of a movie based on the concept of the book. I did think it was hilarious! I used an AMC movie pass I had so that was free.

$16, Dueling piano bar with my roommates

$150.80, New Asics sneakers to replace my 4-year-old Adidas ones
$31.25, New earrings (I can only wear expensive metal, so I buy white-gold at Macy's)
$5.81, Dinner at Taco Bell (we were running late to the movie)
$0, Movie :)

$59.56, Wal-Mart (I bought way too much. Lots of essential toiletries that I was out of plus extra items like Crest Whitestrips, chips and VitaminWater...)
$17.23, Trader Joe's (I try to spend under $20 a trip here and go every few weeks, but I fell in love with one of their Indian soups-in-a-bag... and they had 2 new varieties so I bought those as well)
$11.89, Henry's (local supermarket which is fantastic for its produce... I stocked up on fruit like blackberries, apples and green grapes plus couscous and other things from their bulk bins)
$2.99, Whole Foods (If I could shop here regularly, I would! I bought a large on-sale bottle of Kefir, my new indulgence)

Total: $295.53

Finished My Taxes!

I successfully filed my taxes for the first time ever! In the past, my Dad has always done mine since I was a dependent. Turns out I am getting a fairly large refund for 2008. $1,039 from federal and $332 from state. However, since my state is California, I'll be waiting on that money for a while!

I've decided to put my entire state refund and $500 from my federal refund into my E-fund, so it will get a nice $832 boost this month. I also plan on putting $200 into my Travel Fund, $50 into my Car Maintenance fund (my 60K mileage check-up is approaching quickly) and $39 into my Gift Fund. The remaining $250 will be for whatever I feel like. :)

What are you doing with your tax refund, if you are getting one? (I know next year I will owe some taxes based on my withholdings.)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Spoke Too Soon...

We are doing a salary freeze. No increase in April. This article that I read today really makes a point, too, especially since my company is also doing a hiring freeze.

I'm just glad I got a slight salary increase with my promotion and I'm getting a tax refund.

And, of course, that I still have a job. Good luck out there. It's scary!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Net Worth & January Month-End

My net worth increased by a ridiculous amount last month... 45.04%! This was almost completely due to my bonus and a lot of savings from December that were allocated throughout the month and some gift exclusion money from my Dad. What a nice surprise! (The majority of the increase was in cash as opposed to retirement or anything else, and some of it will be spent.)

I also updated my sidebars and have reached $5K in my E-fund! That gives me approximately 4 months worth once I cut out going out to restaurants and such. Now time to start pushing towards my 2009 goal of $8K. :)

In terms of month-end, I had $250 leftover from my January budget. I have decided to put $200 into my Roth IRA and $50 into my E-fund.

Weekend Spending!

Between getting my bonus and the Superbowl, I really enjoyed this weekend! I went out on Friday to the bars with my roommates and some friends, went shopping on Saturday and we threw a mini-party yesterday which was a blast. :)

$8, Drinks at the bar

$16.05, Khaki pants (so I can wear them when I start taking golf lessons again!)
$24.14, Victoria's Secret (5-for-$25 new underwear minus about $2 from an old giftcard)
$5.98, Lunch

$0, I baked home-made fries for the game and our friends supplied way too much alcohol/food!

Total: $54.17

January Review & February Goals

January felt like a very long month! It started out with my birthday and ended with Superbowl weekend. I have been splitting my time at work between my old position and training in my new position, so the days don't go by as quickly since half of it is now a learning process. It was also a difficult month with relationships but a good month in terms of income - my raise went into effect and I got a bonus!

January Goals Review
1. Review my budget and adjust accordingly with my pay increase, most likely allocating a bit more to savings each month Fail - I had some OT in for my first new paycheck, so I'll have to keep this for February!
2. Keep reading/knitting/working out Pass - I finished Water for Elephants and am now reading Freakonomics and The Secret. I didn't knit, but I did work out 3-4x per week, so now it's a great routine.
3. Get renter's insurance (my roommates & I keep putting this off) Fail - We put this off AGAIN!
4. Get my license changed to California Fail - Turns out the DMV closest to my place is booked until mid/end of February and I don't want to go without an appointment since the wait is FOREVER! I might try to go on my half-day on February 13th.
5. Figure out what I need done on my Civic for the 60K service & estimate costs Pass - I checked out some nearby places and looks like it will run me about $200 for the service, which isn't too bad and MUCH better than the dealership!
6. Learn to use my new food processor and my crockpot that I received for Christmas and my birthday Pass - I used my crockpot for a few snacks/meals and it worked out alright. I used my new food processor to make soup and it is fantastic!

February Goals
1. Review my budget and adjust accordingly with my pay increase, most likely allocating a bit more to savings each month
2. Splurge a little on myself (using some of the money from my budget) - earrings, manicure/pedicure, a spa day?
3. Complete my taxes

I'm keeping it short this month.

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