Monday, December 22, 2008

Reflecting - 2008

As the year 2008 comes to and end paving way to another year full of hope and excitement, its time to look back and see how far I have come in fulfilling my ambitions and goals. Rather than focusing on the goals that I did not meet, I would like to start this post on a positive upbeat note and focus on the things that I have achieved so far:

Career Wise: This has been a very good year for me. I have landed a fulltime position in a very good company. I report to a manager who is attentive to my needs and has been helping me grow professionally. I have taken an Advanced Excel training session which is helping me get my work done faster. This training was long due on my resume. I work in a team that is laid back and yet delivers everything on time. The people in my team have kept me motivated through out to go after my goals.

Marriage: The year started off pretty rough between Mr. Scorpio and I. Things started changing slowly through the year. We had our up's and down's but both of us have taken deliberate actions to understand each other and make things work albeit the differences. I have realized that the only way to keep my relationship work is to keep it first. I thank god for giving me the wisdom I needed to get it back on track. In the beginning I was constantly complaining about my marriage not working but it suddenly hit me that I need to put effort to make something work. My husband and I can watch Joel Osteen’s episode without being judgmental about the whole religious thing since both of us are born Hindu’s and have different perspectives towards “other” religions. This is a big achievement for me. All is well now.

Personal/Spiritual Life: 2008, has been a remarkable year for this part of my life. I participated in the Susan G Komen- 2008 race for cure and raised $140. I completed my first 5k run which has been long due. I registered for MS-150 and bought a bike to train myself for the 180 mile ride. I have been going to the gym 4 days out a week and playing volley ball twice every week. I started taking Piano lessons in June and gave my first piano recital on Dec 6th. I was nervous during my performance but it was an awesome experience while it lasted.
Spiritually, it has been an exciting journey. I got involved heavily into Art of Living and experienced a new level of spiritual growth. I cannot say that I have found myself a good place to start this journey; however, it was not a bad place to start either.

Wealth Wise: I have done the best in this category. I am not debt-free but I realized how important it is to be so. I started putting a plan together to rid myself off debt as soon as I got back from India.

I was able to bring my CC balance to $9000. Started with 16000 this year.
I paid all my relatives and friends that helped me during my education. (Paid off $5000)
I put $1000 in my savings since June 2008.

I started tracking my financial journey through a blog and that has kept me motivated to get rid off my debt. I am on way to paying it down. 3 more months to go. As Joel Osteen says, “it has been raining on me” and I am thankful to God for making this a smooth journey.

Health and Happiness: Mr. Scorpio and I are doing well; again we would like to thank God for blessing us with good health. My parents are doing great and so are his. My father-in-law is coping well with his leg injury too. All my folks back home in India are doing great too. All in all, it’s been an outstanding year.

Vacations: My husband and I visited India for first time after our marriage in 2 and half years. I had an amazing time in India and cannot wait to make another trip. We had a family reunion in Virginia in August and it was so much fun. My husband and I are going off to Vegas the day after tomorrow. It’s going to be our first vacation together in a long time and yes we made it. Can’t wait to have fun. I got some nice stuff for my husband to wear. He rarely spends money on clothing these days. We had fun shopping together in a long time.

This post has left me feeling better than when I started writing. I did not know how much I progressed until I have put the pen to the paper. I just got out of a 30 min meeting with my manager who has filled my mind with good words of encouragement. It feels good to walk out of a meeting knowing that “I matter”. . All in all, it’s been an outstanding year for me and I hope to take 2009 up a notch.

So how did y’all do this year?

Monday, December 15, 2008

December Goals – Week 2 Check in.

The past two weeks have been a bit disappointing financially. I have spent some considerable amount of money on eating out and it was not just for myself, I paid for my colleagues as well. So here is how I did with my goals.

1.Loose 8 pounds. I am 148 right now, would like to bring it down to 140 lbs. Lost 4 pounds already so that’s a good start
2.No spending days on Tuesday and Thursday. I think I am doing ok here and sticking to the plan
3.No rice eating days – Monday and Friday. I have actually managed to take it 4 days out of a week.
4.Start a good book, yet to decide the pick. I haven’t looked for any book per se, but spotted a book from my husband’s collection named Magic of Thinking Big and started reading it
5.Try to go bike riding once in two weeks. No action taken

Coming to Credit Cards, I started out this month with an outstanding balance of $ 10419, I should have knocked off 1000 dollars off as planned but I have an outstanding balance of $10029 which is very disappointing. I am actually not sure where all that money went. I need to stay focused especially when I am so close to paying it down.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

An intensified WANT!!!!!!!

(This post is just a week late :)
I woke up this morning to what ended up being a very sorrowful Thanks Giving day. My husband told me about the attacks on Mumbai in our country, India. My mind cannot comprehend what could be going through these terrorists minds while they are mercilessly killing innocent people. All this chaos and mayhem for what? While a part of the world is mourning the deaths of the unfortunate people, the rest of us our are getting ready to be the first in line for what’s supposed to be the day for the mother of all deals- The BLACK FRIDAY. I tuned into CNN as usual to see what’s going on in the world around me and heard that a Wal-Mart employee has been killed while opening the doors in the early hours of the Friday morning to let the people in. People were so caught up in trying to be the first one to grab onto the “supposedly” best deal that they completely ignore that a person has fallen flat on the ground and is being stepped over by hundreds of people. How can people be so ignorant and how intensified is their want that they are trying to satisfy. Here is a picture that I took while walking adrift in the mall on Black Friday. BEBE had to close its store for sometime because it did not have enough people to handle the busy cash register and people made a huge line that went around the store and to the door. The store management had to close the doors for sometime before they could let anybody in. (Sorry, tried downloading pics from my blackberry, I guess I do not have the right software.. will leave the pics to your imagination.)

An action that is set to satisfy an intensified want will not result in satisfaction. Once a want is satisfied our mind will immediately come up with another one. I have experienced this first hand and I think all of you have to. I never wore watch for 7 years and I told myself the next time I will wear one is when I can afford an expensive one. My husband satisfied that want of mine last year when he got me a diamond studded Swiss Army watch. I loved to show it off, immediately within the next 2 days I had another want that I was looking to satisfy- Getting a Louis Vutton Bag for myself. Thanks to all the PF bloggers that kept me away from satisfying that want. I still want to own it but not now, when I really feel I can afford and will not feel guilty after buying it.

When I think of wants I get a picture of the Domino Effect, you knock off one and that leads to another and another and so on, it’s like an endless cycle that will not let us experience life as it is. Wants make us feel that we are not happy where we are. Though some might argue that WANTS propel us to go forward in life, I still believe that being able acknowledge wants and make rationalized decisions is what keeps us ahead in life.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

November Round Up and December Outlook

I will be working this weekend and I guess I am not going to have any time to post until Dec 1st. I decided to do it now rather than wait till I get to the next month.

November Round Up
It’s the end of another month which brings me one more step closer to my debt free month. November was a good month except for the fact that I had to put 300 dollars away for HOA fees instead of paying towards my Credit Card. My Wamu CC should be paid off by Dec-15th and then I will have to deal with only one Credit Card which is also a big kill. It has 9200 balance on it. I will be paying off 2000 dollars a month until I bring the balance to zero.

Coming to the monthly progress report. This is how I have faired in November. This month has gone by sooner than expected.


Nov-Beginning Balance - $2845
Nov-Ending Balance - $1200

Nov Beginning Balance - $9932
Nov Ending Balance - $9219

Nov- Beginning Balance - $ 24330
Nov Ending Balance - $ 23820


As planned I have been working out 4 days in a week until date and I will keep up the pace until the end of this month. I have added 2 more Pilates’ classes on to my existing list. We have our Volley Ball play-offs coming up and I believe I am prepared for it now. Enough of loosing 10 straight games-phew.

I have stuck to my budget and commitments. I decided not to buy any piece of clothing until I knock off all my debts and this month has also been added to my success log(However, my evil twin is luringme towards the black dress I saw at Black and White Store, umh $125, should I or shouldn't I).

December Outlook
Oh, the end of the year, what an exciting 30 days these will be. I have always liked December; it makes me feel like I am going to be a whole different person even though except for making new resolutions there isn’t much change. Well, of course if I keep up with the resolutions there will be changes. On that note, I think it will be a good idea for me to start deliberating on the new resolutions or projects that I would like to take up in 2009. I will definitely try to fit in some voluntary work in there. I will be part of projects that I wanted to by starting out small.


  1. Loose 8 pounds. I am 148 right now , would like to bring it down to 140 lbs.
  2. No spending days on Tuesday and Thursday
  3. No rice eating days – Monday and Friday
  4. Start a good book, Yet to decide the pick
  5. Try to go bike riding once in two weeks

Wish me luck people

Monday, November 24, 2008

No Spending Days

Though I can account for every last penny that goes out of my checking account, I would want to see how much I will end up saving by sticking to a NO-SPENDING day. By this I mean, no morning breakfast tacos, no going out for lunches and no nothing, absolutely –Nada. After careful deliberation I have decided on the two days I won’t be spending any money and those days would be Monday and Friday. Friday, is a long shot because my husband will be back home and we might end up going for a movie or something. So I will restrict Friday’s to my work day. Following this plan should save me 50 dollar’s a month. I will keep tracking my progress on the monthly budget evaluation that I do.

Looks like I will end up working through the holidays except for the Thanks Giving Day. It will keep me from shopping though its not as much fun.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What happened to all that love?

I woke up this morning and suddenly remembered the initial days when my husband and I are started going out. It was a beautiful feeling of being in love. I used to look forward to the day at night and keep my cell phone right beside me so that I would not miss a call from him. I used to come out of class and immediately check my phone for any missed calls. Every day felt like a walk in a beautiful park. I had a smile on my face for no reason. I could sit through a boring class with his thoughts on my mind. I sit here and wonder as I write what happened to all that love. Did it fade away or am I caught up in some bad dream that I have looped my life around it. I want to feel like that again, I want to look forward to him coming home every Friday. I want to be like that old me again. I have so much love to give yet I hesitate. I dreamt of this beautiful relationship that we would cherish together, something like my Mom and Dad have. I have never seen two people being so much in love and being so expressive about it. My Dad constantly appreciates my Mom and my Mom showers her unconditional love upon him , its like I feel whole when I am amidst them. I want to be like that and I working towards being like that but I cannot control my thoughts, thoughts of me possibly having a better life if I was single, but I want to be with my husband , the problem is I have strings attached. I see him as a woman hater and I look for signs to prove me wrong. May be I am missing the fact that my actions lead to his opinions about women. I am aware of it sometimes I work towards it and sometimes I fumble, does fumbling once takes me back to square one again. Isn’t there room for empathy?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Recession Sucks

I was talking to my husband today and it looks like his project is going to end in a month. That brings us back to square one that is looking for another job. He has been trying to find something locally so that we could be together and avoid all the traveling and the expenses that go with it but it has become quite a challenge to find something where I work. Looking at the bright side of the situation, I think this will be a perfect opportunity for both of us to learn how to live on a single income like many other people do. While I was working towards my Masters Degree I was able to live on 731 dollars, my monthly stipend as a graduate assistant. It’s amazing how our expenses increase with our income. My rent right now is more than the stipend I used to get 3 years ago. I would have to accommodate another monthly payment from my salary if my husband does not a find a job by January. I wanted to buy a nice dress for my Piano recital that’s coming up next month, but I guess I won’t buy anything right now.

Well, I am not going to think too much about the situation, I will face it when I get there.

I hope this does not push my debt free month (Mar-09) further.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Can we afford to buy a house right now?

I have been researching a lot lately about the precautions my husband and I need to take as first time home buyers. Though we are not seriously looking to buy a house, I wanted to break down the numbers and see how my expense sheet will look if I were to buy and home and then decide if I would still want to buy a house based on that. This is how I approached it.

Determining how much house we can afford.

I wanted to keep our income estimate extremely conservative while coming up with this number. Most PF blogs or sites advice to spend around 28% of a households “pre-tax” income while determining the amount of mortgage payments they can afford. I have decided to use a different approach. Instead of the pre-tax income I am going to use the after tax yearly income to determine how much in monthly payments we can afford. Also, I am going to use only my income for this estimate (the lower of the two incomes) reason being if one of us were to loose a job we can still afford the payments without digging into our savings-if we have any by that time J .

My after-tax yearly income = $51,767 (Rounded to the nearest dollar)

According to financial pundits:

I can afford a house that is 3 times my yearly income = $206000(rounded off to the nearest dollar)

If I were to use my after-tax yearly income the number would be = $155,300. I like the 206000 number better because I would like to buy a house in a good community with easy access to highways and good school districts and I believe I can find something for that price in Houston. In fact the price I am looking at is between $175,000 – $200,000. So I am within the ball park.

Say if I were to buy a home for $195,000 including closing costs, my hypothetical expense sheet post home buying will look like this assuming a 6.5% interest rate on a 20 year loan and 2.5% property taxes and zero down payment.

Monthly Mortgage: 1941 (Used

Electricity : 250

Utilities : 100

Maintenance : 150

Taxes (Pro.Mntly) : 410

Grand Total : $2,851

Monthly take home pay: $4,313

Mortgage payment to Income Ratio: 66.10%

This is way more than the 28% that they suggest probably because they used pre-tax income to come up with that percentage.

Using the balanced budget formula, I can spend 50% of my income on needs but if I were to buy a home I will be spending 66.10% without including the food expenses. So I would have a to either wait until I get a good amount of raise, or save enough for the down payment that will reduce my monthly mortgage expenses. I guess I will go for the latter instead of waiting for a raise.

For now, Home buying is out of question.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Buckle Up America!

It’s another manic Monday with 1.2 million job losses reported till date. DHL is cutting 9500 jobs on top of the 5400 job cuts it has announced earlier this year and closing all its US domestic operations. Circuit City has filed for bankruptcy which makes job cuts apparent and AIG gets another forty billion dollar bail out. The time has come to fasten our seat belts for the bumpy ride ahead since the worst is yet to come. Most companies are being proactive in preparing themselves for the rough ride and are taking a close look at their operations and trimming the expenses where ever they can. Though loosing a job is something that we cannot control what we can control is how we perform at our jobs. It’s no time to slack off now. Now is the time to show what a great asset you are to the company.

It’s equally important to maintain fiscal discipline and delay any instant gratifications or what have you. My husband wants to plan for a Thanksgiving get away to Vegas which would cost us at least 1000 dollars in spite of booking the flights and hotel with all the points that he has accumulated till date. I do understand how important these trips are to bring us close to each other but I am not sure if I want to take it now. My debt free month March-2009 is just 4 months away and I do not want to do anything that might delay this. But if going to Vegas is imminent, I will possibly look for new ways to save more money. November is going to be expensive for us. We need 1500 dollars to pay towards the taxes and HOA dues for the 3 acre lot that we own.

Right now I am focused at doing my job right and keeping my job rather making myself another add on to the job-less statistic.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

October goals round up and November outlook

October has been a fairly good month financially, though I did not meet my personal goals. I paid for my credit cards as planned and in fact increased my contributions towards savings by 150%. Previously I was contributing 100 dollars a month but now I increased it to 275 dollars. I cannot wait for Mar-09 and be debt free. I realized that making breakfast at home isn’t working out well and what I learnt is that it’s actually more expensive to make my own breakfast than spending 1.94 at the cafeteria and top of that, this daily activity is something that I look forward to everyday. I get to work and go downstairs and get my BF taco and get some coffee from the break room sit down and browse through the morning news. It’s all worth it and I think it’s important that I am not too hard on myself that might actually lead to more spending.

I am going to buy a domain name to host my site so that it will be easier to log all my journals. It’s quite hard to upload excel sheets on to the blog spot. Well, you should find me there in couple of days and I promise to keep my journey interesting.

Ok, coming to November, I am not going to plan anything BIG and then try hard to keep up with it instead I am going to go with the flow. Just take one day at a time and do whatever I feel like doing at that moment. Gives me more flexibility that way. Before I leave it there, I think I do want to commit myself to one goal, which is to go to Barnes and Nobles and get back to the habit of reading. Reading is the only activity that keeps us from spending and at the same time helps us learn something new. I picked B&N as my reading corner because; I can read the books for free and the choice is endless, well almost and I can sit down have a cup of coffee if I really feel like having one as Starbucks serves coffee over there.

That’s it, November is the Thanks Giving month, I just want to thank GOD for giving me the ability and means to stick to my plans and helping me get through this tough financial times.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Saving for the Present!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have been trying to discover, the reason for my existence. What am I and why am I here and what motivates my action. I believe that human’s are always forward looking. We look forward to things and most of the time forget to live in the present. It’s like this constant battle in us to work towards something or save towards something. Seldom it makes me think, what if I keep saving every penny that I can hoping that it would provide me a good cushion when I grow older and suddenly one day I come to know that I have one day left to live. How will my perspective be towards life? I am pretty sure I won’t be thinking twice about going out for a lunch on that day. If that’s the case isn’t future always dependent what’s happening now? Then why do we save, when change is permanent and the only thing in our control is right this moment. I guess that’s what makes life so interesting. We live in anticipation that our future beholds something – a secured debt free life that gives us flexibility to do what ever we wanted all this time. I realized that the best time to live is not the past nor the future but the PRESENT moment. Present moment gives us a sense of control on life that we always wanted and our freedom lies in realizing in this.

I am not saying that we should splurge instead of saving but instead acknowledge the fact that life can take some unexpected turns and be wise about it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Damned by Debt DON'T to be Afraid!!!!!!

I was reading JD’s blog, getrichslowly, this morning and he was writing about a new book that has taken a lighter approach towards budgeting without the boredom that follows along with it. I agree that the balanced approach highlighted in the book makes it easier for rookies or people damned by debt not to be afraid of the word “BUDGET”. After reading his review of the book, I realized that the book and folks like me have one thing in common – WANT. As per JD, the book describes the HAUNTED word WANT as a good one for the first time in any finance journal that I have read. I am at a place where I am today is not because I like the word –WANT but I have attached too much of myself to it. So, all I have to do right now, is to balance out the attachment of the daunted word to myself and I will have it going. Sounds pretty straight forward isn’t it. JD, quotes from the book that we have to spend 50 % on Needs which includes housing, utilities, bills etc which should be paid before we even think of the word entertainment or saving. 30% to Wants and 20% towards Savings. The authors say this simple rule will set us on the path to freedom. I really liked the way they put it. Sounds easy on money slackers like me. If I were to spend my income according these authors, this is how it would look like:

Income: $4300

50% twds Needs - $2150
30% tads Wants - $1290
20% twds Savings-$860

Where in as of now, this is how my income is spent:

90.47% twds Needs - $3890
2.32% twds Wants - $100
6.39% twds Savings - $275

This is because I have $12,000 in debt that I am knocking off right now. I should agree that looking at my budget, I get a bit stressed but looking at the balanced budget suggested by the authors from the book JD mentions I feel more relaxed and happy. More so because for once I can see a WANT category in the budget without being guilt ridden. It’s actually been a positive reinforcement on me. Thanks JD, for this article,

Let me know how you guys matched up against the Balanced Budget

Friday, October 24, 2008

Birthdays and Expenses

It’s been a hectic day today with lot of month end stuff going on. Somehow I got through it even though my manager tired to drive me crazy. We have a lot of expenses coming our way this month. We took our beamers for a service check up and both need around 1000 dollars maintenance that’s not covered by our warranty. I can’t blame myself enough for that beamer purchase. I went out car shopping with a 3000 dollar budget and ended up spending 35k. One of the most stupid purchases I have ever made. Something that goes down in value. Did not have my priorities straight then. My husband’s beamer is all paid off and mine still has 23k outstanding. On top of these expenses we have our annual HOA dues that need to be paid and need to do some maintenance on the lot. I spoke to a yard guy that luckily lives on the same sub division and he says he will mow our lot for 100 dollars. My husband’s birthday is tomorrow and he is hitting his big 3 – 0.

I have 2 birthdays coming up that I need to attend and buy gifts for. Spending money sucks. Its like, I had money and lot of free time so I ended up spending. Now I do not have enough money or time but I still end up spending. I guess there is no way out, we are social beings, we need friends and we need to make small sacrifices for friends and family. Hopefully, all this good karma will help me hit a lottery some day.. Oh shoot I still have to spend a dollar for the lottery… Damn, why can’t stuff be on sale for FREE?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another day goes by

I could barely sleep last night, I was s**t scared being alone. I wasn’t like this before while I was practicing my meditation and yoga may be I need to get back to doing it. I slept with the lights on waking up every 2 or 3 hours and making sure the doors are still locked. I watched the movie “When a stranger calls” last weekend and I guess the director did his best scaring me to shivers. I keep watching scary movies albeit their negative affect on me. Three more nights before my sweet hubby arrives and I will sleep like a baby until he leaves the following Monday.

I am very proud myself. I have come a long way managing my credit. I am progressing very well. I still have 6 more months to pay it down and then my husband and l will start saving for our house. I have been tucking away 100 dollars a month towards emergency savings and I will increase the contribution after I pay off my credit cards.

It been more than two and half months I have bought a single piece of clothing. This is the longest time during my six year stay in the US that I haven’t bought any thing. Its liberating actually and the best part is I don’t feel constrained, I am actually enjoying it. Another major achievement is turning into a vegan. I remember telling my friends that this is something I could never ever do and here I am two months hence holding my head up high- Yes, I am a VEGAN. I hope I don’t beat the drums too loud. You never know the person sitting up there watching all of us can put our strengths to test any moment.

BTW, I guess y’all are eager to know my number from yesterday’s posting, its $34 though I make only $25.096 per hour after taxes. I hope to come closer to this number within the next year. I have a performance review coming up and I hope it will be a smooth ride.

I have also joined the gym at work today. Its 15 dollars per month and I guess it’s a good deal. Except that I hate to take a shower during my workday but I think it will be easier with the jeans-pass we have at work.

Have a great rest of day people ;)

Monday, October 20, 2008

What's your number?

In today’s crazy competitive world it’s very important to know what your worth. Not, what the companies that hire you think you are worth but if someone were to ask you today how much you are worth, do you have your quote ready? The question intrigued me when my manager and I were having a casual discussion about spending time on manicuring the lawns. He told me that he would rather pay 20 bucks an hour and the get the job done rather than him spending that time on the lawn. According to him he is worth $120. It is very important for a professional person to come up with that number. That shows how confident one is when he/she is trying to sell their services. Having this discussion previously with my manager helped me a lot to help my friend realize how much she is worth.

My friend Mel moved from Singapore to Houston a couple of years ago. She owned and worked in her own spa back in Singapore. She found a job as a beautician which was paying her $10 an hour here in Houston. She drives 25 miles to get work and pays $7 in tolls everyday to get to work. She was working long hours with no proper lunch breaks. She was always complaining about how much she hated to work there. One of her clients referred her to another lady who is planing on opening a spa quite close to Mel’s house. The lady called Mel for an interview and offered her $10 an hour and my friend happily accepted as she could save all that money she was spending on gas and tolls and the time to get to her previous work place.

She called me and asked me if she made the right choice. She is one of finest people that I have ever got my eyebrows and massages done with. I advised her to let the lady know that she will only be able to work if she is paid $12 an hour. My friend was hesitating initially (since there are quite a few people who will jump in for previous offer) but she gave the lady a call and the lady agreed instantaneously. Knowing what you are worth is very important. Mel just increased her weekly earnings by $80 and monthly earnings by $320.

Here is how I came up with what I think I am worth.

1. What sets you apart from others: This defines your skills and how you adapt to the changing needs of the market. Do you make a confident and conscious effort to equip yourself with the new technologies or are you happy to work within your own area.

2. How confident are you within your skill set: If you were to rate yourself with you skill set, what would that rating look like. Do you try to find ways to do the job effectively instead of efficiently?

3. How open are you to learning: I see people at my work processing the same invoices for the past 30 years. They have made their cubicle a second home. Though I don’t intend to lookdown upon what they are doing, I always wonder why they do not get bored of what they are doing. I believe the quest to always learn something new keeps me alive. Our department is going through a new implementation replacing COGNOS (a reporting tool); I keep hearing from people how they hate to learn this new tool all over again. I think learning keeps our brains active all the time and something to look forward to.

4. Do you invest in yourself: How much do you invest in yourself? Not just getting dolled- up and looking pretty J but investing in your career. Are you investing in yourself to get new certifications and learning to new applications from time to time that will boost your career?

If the answer for all the above questions is a big “YES”, I am sure you got a big number over your head. I have been working for the past 2 and half-years and I constantly find ways to boost my career. Having said all this, you guys might be wondering what number I will attach to myself. Any guesses?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Daddy’s Girl

I have started writing a PF blog 2 years ago and then I discontinued it. Being born in India, our culture is much different from here. In the US, you grow up and you live your own life but in India we grow up and we live others life too (Others meaning our parents our siblings etc.) Though I am honored to be given an opportunity to give back to my parents what they have spend all their lives giving me, I become frustrated sometimes because these keep me from attaining my own financial goals. I love my parents and they mean more than anything in this world to me. When I was 3 or 4 years old, I used to always tell my Mom and Dad that I will take care of them when I grow up. My parents have given us a good infact wonderful life. They bought us whatever we wanted even if that meant sacrificing their needs which was always the case. I still remember that time when my Dad gave my mom 5000 rupees to buy a sari and my Mom bought three of us new clothes for a festival. One way I figured out to handle this problem is to re-define the word ME. For now, it includes my Parents and later my husband once I finish my commitments towards my parents. Below is what I am planning to do for my parents:

Arrange investment money for my Dad: $ 10000
Buy a car for my parents : $ 8000

My previous plan also included constructing a house for them, but my lovely Big B-I-L took over the responsibility. I am glad he is part of our family.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Married yet Single

I have mentioned in my previous posts about maintaining individual bank accounts between my husband and I though we have been married for 3 years. There is a reason why I keep it that way. I have come out college with around 10,000 dollars in it. Though I paid off most of it after I was employed, I charged two huge transactions on my CC when I went to India last March for the first time since I have been married. We, in India have lot of rituals or obligations (as I would like to say) to not just marry off your daughter but marry her off the Joneses way. My father sold all of his business to pay for my education and my siblings’ weddings. By the time it came to me, he had nothing left. I got married to the man of my choice with absolutely no dowry and my in-laws were not so happy about it because I reeled in Mr. Scorpio for free. Though they haven’t made a big fuss about it, I often started hearing some rambling about it. When I went to India earlier this year, I knew they would be expecting my father to have some jewelry made for me. I did not want my father to take that burden, so the firs thing I did when I got off the plane was to buy some jewelry for myself on my CC. I told my in-laws and my husband that my father bought it for me. My smarty pants husband knew about it but he just kept quite.

Well, at the end of trip I was left with 15,000 dollars in debt and with a new job to get back to in the USA. I decided I will only maintain joint accounts once I paid off all my debt. I don’t want my husband to be paying for some choices that I have made (Though I really can’t justify it to be wrong). I am well on my way towards it. I will keep pressing on.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Goals not met

I have set up some goals for myself last week and our the 5 I have planned to do, I did not accomplish even 1. Well I did go running once but my goal was to go for running 3 times. I have decided not to set-up any goals until I accomplish what I have already set. So there goes my this week's plan.

I pumped another 145 dollars into AIG. I got in at $2.50 per share for 55. I hold 319 shares of AIG now. I would like to keep buying below $2.50 until I hold 500. I am into AIG for the long run. AIG is the largest insurance company and has an abundant cash flow. The disposal of some of its assests to help pay out the loan from FED reduces the market cap AIG has, few years down the lane when markets adjust themselves AIG should come back up. So I am not going to panic by constantly refreshing my TV monitor.

My piano class was cancelled today so I went to HEB to get some groceries. I have been spending $1.94 every day for breakfast. I told myself I am going to save that money by making BF at home. So I got some food items to make the BF tacos at home. Usually I have eggs, cheese and hash browns in my taco. Here is the amount I spent on buying stuff for my D-I-Y breakfast.

Eggs: $2.39
Tacos : $4.29
Cheese :$ 2.20

Total : $8.88

I spend $9.70 per week for BF. The stuff I bought from H-E-B should last me two weeks. Savings for 2 weeks: $10.20

So how do you guys save money on little things.. Any tips?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


It’s a busy day today at work. It’s good in a way, time goes by so quickly. I dread days when I don’t have much to do except to keep staring at the computer. I try to put that time into use by reading or learning about stuff that I do not know. But too much of anything doesn’t do much good. I am very confused lately about my professional career. Questions like:

1.Should I stick to what I am doing now?
2.Does this job take me where I want to be few years down the lane?
3.Is this what I want to do for life?
4.Which career should I pursue of meeting my goal of becoming a Project Manager in 3 years?

These questions keep creeping up in mind and not letting me give my 100% to whatever is that I am doing.
I have read an article in PINK magazine (that I just subscribed 1month ago) and one of featured guest gives a very good advice to young professionals like me to “Keep doing what you are doing instead of thinking too much about your ambitions”. She was very right in saying that and now days whenever I feel down and confused and keep thinking about her advice.

I have failed to keep up my 5th goal that I set for myself to have breakfast at home. No matter how much I try and go to bed early, I am unable to wake up at 6.00 and go to gym and make breakfast. Let me see how far my evil twin controls me tomorrow.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Weekend rewind and plans for this week!

I ran my first 5K ever last Saturday. It felt nice to have finally done something that I was wanting to for so long. My timing was 36 min and I am very happy about it. I have attended two parties over the weekend by myself as Mr. Scorpio (My husband) was out of town. I love to observe people when I attend parties, not that I am judgmental or anything but I just love to watch how people react to things. It’s amazing how different people think differently about the same thing. I have met quite a few women with vibrant and active personalities and I started thinking of forming a team where in we can do activities together whenever we all get a chance.

Coming to my plans aka goals for this week. Below is what I would like to accomplish:

1. Go to gym 3 times during the week
2. Ride the bike twice during the week
3. Restrict to eating out only once.
4. Write up an email to all the ladies I met at the party proposing to form an all- girl team and come up with a name for it.
5. Have breakfast at home instead of spending money at the cafeteria.

No.4 on my list is exciting me; I have to wait and see what the outcome will be.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Snickers Financial Stand as of October

I have been away to the world of blogging for almost two years. After reading several blogs of savy investors and frugal livers, I decided to get back on to track. I have been maintaining a record of all my expenses and investments. Going forward, I will be updating my blog imposing a check on all my finances. So, here it goes:

As of October 6th -2008 this is where I stand financially.

Balance on Credit Cards : $ 13950.00
Blance on Car Payments : $ 26000.00
Savings in ING direct : $ 375.00
Investments : $ 1200.00
401K : $ 2100.00

I have been paying off my CC sincerely for the past 5 months. I should be left with zero balance on my CC by Mar - 2009.

I bring home $ 2156.00 bi-monthly,thats $ 4362.00 every month.

$ 2000 towards Credit Cards
$875 for Rent
$100 for Piano Classes
$100 towards my savings
$150 for gas and other personal expenses.
$660 towards the Car Payment.

I have been trying to keep a tab on unneccessary expenses that I cannot account for every month. I will be paying off all the Credit Cards by Mar-09 if I keep up this pace and I will. Next I would like to knock off my car payments.

My husband takes care of food and other entertainmnet expenses. We have still not reached a point in our marriage that we could save and invest jointly. I will let time decided when that happens.