Thursday, October 30, 2008
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.