Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Going Wine Tasting!

Remember the bachelorette party I was invited to a while back? Well, it's this weekend!

A lot of the girls who were invited ended up canceling last minute. So, instead of 15 girls for a wine-tasting getaway, it will be 5. Which also (unfortunately) means that the accommodation price has increased a lot. I had expected about $200 total for the entire weekend, but now it will be more like $250-$300. Accommodations alone per person are $135. Then there's the wine tasting (~$50) and one nice dinner (~$40) on Saturday plus any other costs such grocery store food (we're only eating out for that one meal I believe, so ~$15). Her bachelorette gift for $30 already came from my Gift Fund. Plus I'll be bringing my own bottle of wine to share from home!

Based on those numbers, I am hoping to come in at under $250 for the weekend, which still isn't bad! I'm just glad I don't have to fly anywhere and it's only a 45 minute drive from where I live. :)

However, it is my very first bachelorette party so I'm extremely excited and I believe a small group will be great. I can't wait to see my girlfriend and have a lot of fun! My trusty Travel Fund will cover all the expenses.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Extra Income!

I received two Pinecone Research checks this month for $3 each. I also received mileage reimbursement from 1Q09 at work for $9.90.

I am putting $10 of it into my Gift Fund!

Weekend Spending

Basically, I had one of the most amazing weekends of my life. As usual, I spent all weekend with K. On Friday we went out with a few of my friends for a birthday celebration and had a blast! That night, K said he would like it if I would call him my boyfriend! So, it's official, we are together instead of just dating. :) On Saturday we went to brunch and then on a 3-hour hike in a local state park and along a long stretch of beach. My legs and feet were so tired and sore the next day! But it was a blast. On Sunday after brunch we drove our cars to his place and washed them by hand - music turned up loud, in the sunshine, and having a great time together. I couldn't be happier right now!

$25.79, Gas
$0, Bars (K paid!)

$0, Brunch (K paid)

$11.98, Brunch
$41.54, Birthday present for my brother

Total: $79.31

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Welcome to the world of Blackberry...

Yes, that's right. After 2 years with my wonderful LG VX6800, I am finally getting a Blackberry!

I am getting a Curve. I am still on the Family Plan with my parents, but now I will be paying $30 per month for the unlimited data plan. (My parents will pay for the voice portion as part of their plan.) This will fit in fine with my budget. :) The phone itself is free, as we had a $100 credit towards a new phone with Verizon for being loyal customers. (My Mom and younger brother are also getting new phones, but they chose different free/cheap phones.)

It's arriving tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I joined Twitter yesterday! You can follow me here.

What's funny is I used Twitter over a year ago. I got bored with it as hardly any of my friends used it. Now I'm excited to start it up again as a somewhat anonymous blogger. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Weekend Spending

Hot weekend. It was in the high 80's every day! I spent almost the entire weekend with K. On Friday we went for a (simple) hike in a local state park/beach area - I think this is going to become a weekly occurrence. On Saturday, he made a delicious breakfast and then we ran some errands and took a long walk on the beach. On Sunday we went to brunch then watched a movie at his place - thank goodness for a/c! That night I went to the Britney Spears concert with some friends and had a blast. (I will admit that I like her performances. I saw her 7 years ago and she was fantastic then and great now.) ;)

$73.41, Shopping (I bought a new tank top & a bathing suit - love them both!! K paid for groceries for dinner)

$6.35, Coffee for K & an Italian soda for me
$11.60, Groceries

$30.54, Brunch
$26.84, Target (prescription re-fill & some groceries)
$10, my share of parking & gas for the concert

Total: $158.74


I ate, shopped and spent time with my parents/friends who live in the city during my NYC vacation. I spent more on clothes than I did on anything else during my trip! I bought a new pair of work out pants, a new pair of wedge heels for spring/summer that I absolutely adore, 1 pair of pants and 2 cardigans for work. Here's my spending breakdown from my wonderful Easter vacation to NYC!

Clothes: $218
Gifts: $30
Food: $24 (I got away with so little because my parents live in NYC for part of the year, so I was able to stay with them and they paid for the majority of my food! So lucky. I offered to pay on numerous occasions, but they wouldn't let me.)
Alcohol: $30 (1 round of drinks at a bar with 2 friends)

Total: $302

I can't believe how little I spent! I know this isn't an ordinary vacation since I had no flight or accommodation costs. I am taking $84 from my Travel Fund to cover the non-clothing expenses of my trip. (The clothing is being covered by the clothing allocation of my bonus.)

We'll see how I fare on wherever I go next! :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I had a great long weekend in NYC and am still recovering.

I had over 250 e-mails to sort through at work this morning.

I still have over 120+ blog posts in Google Reader to catch up on.

And of course I have to sort through my finances to figure out what I spent! I'll have some longer posts soon.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easter Vacation!

I am off to New York City tomorrow until Tuesday! I am using 2 days of vacation next week and will not blog until I return. I have a very fun weekend ahead with lots of dinners, drinks, seeing friends and perhaps a play or musical.

All of my money for the trip will come from my Travel Fund. My accommodation is free and my flight was using points, so it only cost me $10 in taxes/fees when I bought it a few months ago.

I am not setting myself a budget since my Travel Fund is flush right now - and I would love to do some shopping and splurging!

Happy Easter, if you celebrate it. :)

Weekend Spending Report

Another really fun weekend! On Friday I went to K's and we made an amazing dinner of flank steak, asparagus/bok choy and portabello mushrooms with wine and cheese for dessert. Mmm. On Saturday I went to to Universal Studios with my roommate and his girlfriend which was a blast! (Except for the House of Horrors... that was scary and I don't do scary.) The weather on Sunday was more than perfect, so I spent the day at the beach with K and met some of his friends - and I ended up with a bit of a sunburn! Oops. It did end up being a pricey weekend - but I had an awesome time. :)

$10, Groceries (I offered more to K but he barely accepted my $10!)

$50, Universal Studios ticket (using an $18 online discount!)
$12, Parking (my roommate bought lunch and drove)
$3, split a bag of yummy popcorn as a snack in the theme park
$14.50, Dinner on the way home (I had leftovers for the next day)

$0, Brunch (K paid)
$26.14, Gas
$20.30, Groceries

Total: $135.94

Monday, April 6, 2009

To the Max!

It's official!

I maxed out my Roth IRA for 2008!!

Thanks to a lot of budget leftovers, my own personal savings, my tax refund, my company bonus and some money from my parents, I was able to accomplish the $5K max.

It feels great! :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

1Q09 / Annual Goals Review

I decided to see where I am in terms of my 2009 annual goals since 1/4 of the year is now over! (Time flies.) So far, so good! :)

  • Increase Net Worth to $15K. I am at almost $19K!! The important step is to keep it going up, we'll see what the rest of the year brings. Maybe the goal should have been higher.
  • Increase E-Fund to $8K. Slowly but surely. I am almost at $6.5K!
  • 2009 Roth IRA: Contribute at least $3K (I don't believe I can max it out...). I have contributed $600 so far in 2009 and am still aiming for $3K, if not $4K.
  • Take one extra vacation (I am already planning for Vegas again and a trip to NYC, so this would be something else entirely) I made plans for January 2010 already, but nothing else in 2009 yet. Perhaps, a weekend away with K if things continue to go well?
  • Get back into golf (lessons & perhaps playing on a semi-regular basis) I have been going to the driving range a lot more often! I might sign up for lessons this summer.
  • Study and sit for CFA Level I (in December '09) I registered for the exam and received my books. Now it is just a matter of getting into the habit of studying.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

March Net Worth

I updated my NetWorthIQ to reflect March. An increase of +11.96% is great!

This is thanks mostly to my retirement accounts increasing from the market upswing, not spending as much on dining out (due to K paying) and my state tax refund finally arriving.

I also updated my sidebars.

March Review & April Goals!

Let's see how I did on my March goals and what I have planned for April!

February Review
1. Do more activities with friends: go to the gym 4x per week instead of 3x, go on a hike, go the driving range! - Fail. I went the driving range a few times and kept up with the gym 3x per week but did not do much else. However, K has mentioned going hiking, kayaking, and camping plus taking a dance or yoga class!
2. Cook at least 2 new meals, including at least 1 in the crock pot. - Pass! I made a delicious chicken dish in the Crock Pot and something out of one of my cookbooks.
3. Finish 1 book. (My Mom said she would be sending me a really good one.) - Fail. My Mom sent me 3 books and I have only started 1.
4. Register for December CFA Level I. - Pass! I registered earlier this month! Here we go...
5. Complete Employee Self-Appraisal and discuss goals with my new supervisor (even though no one is getting a raise this year). - Pass! I completed my self-appraisal but the discussion is not until mid-April.

April Goals
1. Do more outdoor activities - preferably free/low-cost ones!
2. Gifts: My brother's 21st birthday present & my girlfriend's bachelorette present.
3. Finish 1 book. Really!
4. Start studying for December CFA Level I.
5. Take car in for 60K mileage (and try to keep cost around $200)
6. Get renter's insurance. Seriously!!
7. Enjoy my vacation to NYC and try to keep spending around ~$300.

I don't know why I have trouble coming up with monetary goals. Perhaps it's because I have no debt and I always spend less than I have budgeted? I save a lot and I do a lot of cooking at home, too - which keeps my food costs down. Hmm, what if I started to force myself to spend on a few more things? Like 1 nice meal per month? Or perhaps track my daily spending so readers could get an idea of where my money really goes? Suggestions??

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

March Month-End

March was a long month! 31 days, no holidays or vacation, but I did start full-time in my new position (definitely enjoying it) and started dating K. :) It was also both of my parents' birthdays, so I did spend a bit on them. The "Make Work Pay" stimulus showed up in both my paychecks as well!

After putting in the few items I purchased yesterday into my budget spreadsheet, I was happily surprised to find out that I had $275 leftover from my March budget.

$250 is going into my Roth IRA and $25 is going into my E-Fund!

Taking Lunch to Work!

I cook almost every night. Last night, K made me dinner at his place - it was delicious! Salmon with fresh ginger and a side salad.

Since there were no leftovers, when I got up this morning I realized that I did not have lunch for work today! I take my lunch every day. (The last 2 weeks, however, I have gone out for lunch with my roommate on Fridays. I am trying not to get in the habit!)

Our office has a small on-site cafe with various options. A new company recently took it over and now offers a lot of organic/healthy options. So, I decided to try it today! For $3.75 I got a BBQ chicken and avocado quesadilla on a wheat tortilla. (Oh wait. Not exactly healthy. But organic!) But it was so tasty and convenient. And for under $5, no less! :)

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