Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Emergency Fund: What To Use It For?

Some recent events - like my car being towed and getting locked out of my apartment - have had me thinking what my emergency fund is really for. Obviously, yes, anything that constitutes (in my opinion) as an emergency; any unexpected, rare, sudden occurrence.

For instance, if May had not been a 3-paycheck month, I would have had to take the towing fees out of my emergency fund. If one of my roommates had not been coming home soon when I was locked out, I would have called a locksmith and would have paid for that out of my emergency fund. Luckily, I have not yet had to dip into the fund to pay for anything!

I then made a list of what I would personally use my E-fund for:

  • Job loss
  • Medical expenses
  • Taxes (if owe any)
  • Other: out-of-city/state moving expenses, major car repair (if car fund doesn't cover it), plane ticket to wherever in case of a family emergency/death
I am sure I am missing any sort of incidents, because who knows what could happen - but these are the "big ticket" items I could come up with.

Is there anything else you would add? What have you used your emergency fund for?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Weekend Spending

I already gave a brief rundown of what my weekend plans were, and ended up following them - mostly. I did go shopping on Saturday after staying in on Friday, and then went to the driving range after my mini shopping excursion. It was by far the most gorgeous weekend we've had in two months thanks to May gray and June gloom, so I got a bit of sun on my arms where I forgot to apply sunscreen. On Sunday I went to the gym in the morning and then studied the rest of the day. (Oh, and watched some episodes of season 2 of Gossip Girl that I borrowed from a friend... it's an addicting guilty pleasure!) :)

$5.75, Lunch with roommate

$25, sandals on sale (used a Macy's gift card)
$21.63, pair of white shorts (perfect for July 4th!)
$8.10, sandwich for lunch (took the leftovers home for dinner)
$9.18, a lot of fruit at the grocery store!

$0, stayed home!

Total: $69.66

Saturday, June 27, 2009

This Weekend

Sorry for my lack of posts recently! I even forgot to do my usual weekend spending one from last week, oops. (I have been focusing on studying this week.)

K has been out of town on business since Tuesday and won't return until Thursday, which helps with my chance to study. I took last night off and read some more in the latest book my Mom sent me, watched TV and basically did nothing/relaxed. Today, once I finish catching up on blog reading from this week, I am going to the mall to do some shopping! I've been keeping my eye on these sandals and am looking for a few new clothing items - both for work and casual wear.

I then plan to go to the driving range that is in the vicinity of the mall (with a driving range card that I found from a few years ago, which still has money on it and is still valid!) and after that, I will come home and spend the rest of the night studying. On Sunday I am going to the gym in the morning, study all afternoon and go to the driving range with a friend in the evening.

It will be a good weekend! :) Hope you enjoy yours.

A Lot of Studying

I have mentioned previously that I signed up for the CFA Level I exam in December 2009. It is directly related to my career path and is a graduate-level, independent study exam, though 3-day seminars and 16-week courses are available. I am lucky enough that my employer covers the registration costs of the each of the three exams as well as additional study materials. A lot of individuals in my industry are looking towards this instead of an MBA, though having both is even better, of course!

I have been trying to put in a lot of study time. 250+ hours of study are recommended, an average of 15 hours per week for 4 months. Luckily I started early and have time on my side and am about to complete a second topic area of study. However, it is an extremely overwhelming amount of information. Most of it will be brand new material, but a lot of it also comes from my Finance degree and Accounting minor background, which certainly does help. And some days I just don't have the brain capacity to study, or I get distracted by doing things with friends.

The studying will be a long, stressful, trying time over the next months until the exam at the beginning of December. I have always been a hard worker and diligent studier, I just know I have to buckle down and learn all the material. In the end, whatever the result, it will be worth it - for I truly enjoying increasing my knowledge.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Designer Jeans

One of my lovely readers suggested I do a post about designer jeans after I mentioned them in my tagged post. As I have stated, I own 4 pairs:

Out of them, 1 pair of 7's was a Christmas present and the other 3 pairs I have bought for myself, 1 per year over the last 3 years. Since I am petite enough to fit into kid's clothing, it actually makes the jeans fairly cheaper than the regular women's sized ones. Including taxes, I have never paid more than $110 for any pair of designer jeans so I have spent just over $300 total on my jeans.

As for my favorite pair, that would be my 7's. I really like dark denim and the fact that they have some "stretch" to them. The Hudson's are my second favorite and the True Religion's my third, since both do not have the extra "stretch" that I love like the 7's do.

Of course, they are all fantastic and I wear them constantly! :) Though now I wonder if I could ever go back to regular, non-designer jeans... I think I've spoiled myself!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why a Duplicate Key is a Good Idea

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you would know that last night I managed to lock myself out of my apartment. For 2.5 hours. Without my cell phone or shoes!

I was taking the trash into the garage where our bins are, and the door that leads into the garage always swings shut but it's NEVER locked. Well, guess what? It was locked this time and I didn't know! (One of the roommates had been locking the door because one of our garage doors is broken, which I didn't know either, and can just be lifted open so anyone could essentially get into our apartment.)

When it rains, it pours: My one roommate is out of state on vacation til this weekend and the other was on a business day-trip about 2 hours away. I was able to finally get in contact with him via a neighbor's cell phone (after calling my Mom to get his number, since I didn't know it off the top of my head) and he was stuck in traffic, but headed back. On top of all that, we did have another key outside, but our landlord had asked for it back, so my roommate put it in an envelope. But never mailed it. So it, too, was in the apartment!

I am going to buy a magnetized key holder to put somewhere on my car and get my key duplicated in case this ever happens again. It was frustrating and annoying, since I couldn't do any reading. Luckily the stove wasn't on and my crock pot was on the "warm" setting. Lesson learned, and now looking back, kind of funny!

Do you keep a duplicate key somewhere?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tagged, Once Again!

I was tagged by Sunflowers @ The Debt Chronicles! Good thing, too, as I have been trying to think of something to blog about recently. Also, I'm just going to list the 7 facts and not tag anyone back - especially since I can never follow all the on-going tagging! :)

Seven Facts

  1. I have an obsession with designer jeans ever since I bought my first pair 4 years ago (and they still look as good as new!)... I own 4 pairs.
  2. I love text messages! Good thing I have unlimited texts through Verizon!
  3. I am under 5' tall (short?)
  4. My favorite foods are Indian and Thai (mutter paneer and pad see eew, respectively)
  5. I do not include my car ('02 Civic) in my net worth
  6. I love the cardio kickboxing classes at my gym and would be willing to pay a LOT more than I do now just to keep going to them
  7. I wear my heart on my sleeve -- which gets me into trouble sometimes!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend Spending

I had a decent weekend! Friday I ran some errands and then had a low-key night in. On Saturday I went to a friend's party with my roommate, his gf and K. On Sunday, K and I went to lunch (he paid) and ice cream (I paid), then watched a movie and later in the evening I went to a friend's place for some girl talk and wine. :)

$44.82, Prescriptions & vitamins at Target/Costco

$0 (Gotta love No Spend Days!!)

$7.44, Ice cream with K
$4.01, Father's Day card

Total: $56.27

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Employed for One Year!

I have officially been employed for one year! I can't believe it's come by so quickly and I have my first year in the workforce under my belt.

Especially in this economy, I am very glad to have my job.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Too Many Appointments!

I managed to schedule a lot of appointments this week. It's messed up my work schedule so I'm doing make-up time and then taking time off for my appointments, which has meant long days.

It also means two co-pays of $10 each and an unknown amount. One of the appointments is a one-time-only deal and I was told that it should be covered under my insurance... so hopefully I don't receive a huge bill for it!

It'll be interesting to put a bunch of co-pays into my budget, but I always keep a bit of a buffer so I know I should be fine. Plus, my E-fund is always there if it does turn out to be a larger-than-expected expense!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Running Around (and a Wedding!)

I ran around like the wind after work yesterday. I had a Dr.'s appointment, then needed to get some bloodwork done at the nearby lab. Yuck - I hate needles, but luckily it was a complete breeze and they were so quick I didn't have to pay the $1 parking fee due to the "grace period" for short visits! $10 co-pay. I then made it on-time to my hair appointment. $60 (including tip) and it looks fantastic!

Stopped by Target on the way home and picked up various items including a picture frame for a friend's graduation present ($9.99) and some wood salad spoons ($3.19) as a little something extra for my friend's wedding this afternoon. Also some cosmetics, ice cream and 2 frozen pizzas ($3.33 each!) as I was way too lazy to try to make dinner at 8pm, especially since I had a low-key night in - roommates are both out of town and K is coming back from his business trip this morning. Target total was $30.54, some of which will be coming out of my gift fund. Total spent on Friday: $100.54.

My friend's wedding day has finally arrived and I can't wait! The weather is gorgeous and it will be a blast. I also have not been to a wedding since I was 12, and then I didn't even know the couple. I am so excited!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sidebar Updates

I've updated my sidebars. I am easily within reach of the $8,000 in my E-fund! And hopefully soon I'll be using more of the money in my Travel Fund... Though that could be easily wiped out with a plane ticket or two!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Net Worth for May

I updated my net worth for May. It increased by 12%, thanks to my retirement accounts and my extra paycheck in May!

One Year Blogiversary!

Today is officially my one-year blogiversary! It really surprises me that it's been a whole year since I graduated, landed a job, and started down the path of personal finance. I have created my own net worth and learned a lot along the way!

One year ago, my goals were simple: donate to charity, open an ING savings account and open a Roth IRA. I have done all three (I contribute $25 monthly to a rotation of 3 different charities, including my alma mater) and even maxed out my Roth IRA for 2008! I absolutely love my ING savings account... especially the sub-accounts.

One of the biggest events, both personally and financially, was my promotion. It has been exciting and enjoyable - and it occurred so quickly that it truly surprised me! However, it also makes me respect the company I work for in seeing my potential, and that I hope I can be here a long time. I did my taxes for the very first time (using TaxACT) and I also started dating K in March!

I have felt welcome in the pf (and general blog) community and continue to read all of yours daily as inspiration. Here's to another great year of blogging and personal finance! :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

(Almost) Halfway Through the Year!

It's officially June and almost halfway through 2009. Wow! I feel like so much has happened, yet not enough - and that it's going by WAY too quickly! How did I do with my May goals and what will I try to accomplish in June?

May Goals
1. Begin studying for CFA Level I. Pass! I started May 3rd and have been putting in a few hours a week. The exam is in December, so I feel comfortable just easing into the studying. Just need to keep it up!
2. Add $20 prescription and $30 Blackberry Data Plan into budget. Pass! Was able to fit these in without much adjustment, since I had some wiggle room in my budget anyway.
3. Take my car in. Really... Pass! Well, it went in for a tire rotation and 14-point oil change/checkup at the local EZ Lube ($40 with coupon, would have cost $60+ without!) - they made some recommendations, but I discussed with the men in my life who said those are unnecessary at the moment. Hooray!
4. Go out more often with friends! But keeping "Entertainment" spending at $75 max. Pass! I went out with my roommates once, out with my best friend and her bf once, went to a grad/pool party and spent less than $50 on all of it! (Also thanks to some free movie tickets I had.)
5. Use Crock Pot for new, quick and easy meals. Pass! I made this, this and this. I would highly recommend the first two! :)
6. Look into taking ballroom dance lessons with K who keeps mentioning it! Fail. The subject has come up, but we keep procrastinating on actually doing it. And we didn't even make it to yoga!

June Goals
1. Get first ever credit report!
2. Try more recipes.
3. Plan a trip for later this year - either home, to NYC or perhaps something else entirely!
4. Sign up for summer golf lessons, with a budget of ~$200.
5. Celebrate: One-year of being at my company and one-year of blogging!
6. Review/Adjust annual goals.

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