Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Overwhelming Pull of TJ Maxx...

This past weekend I was luck enough to hang out with one of my fabulous bridesmaids/bestie/fashion inspiration. Unfortunately she is nearly six feet tall...which means we can't share shoes OR clothes. =(

HOWEVER, she likes to GET ME INTO TROUBLE. I look through her closet and I want new clothes. When I visit her, I immediately immerse myself in her closet. I love her closet. It's like my own personal Mecca. This doesn't surprise or bother her, since I've been acting this way around her clothes since Sophomore year in college. Anyway, while I was going through her things, I mentioned to her that she really had a billion dresses. She denied, so I decided to count. I was wrong - she doesn't have a billion - she has 65. SIXTY-FIVE! Anyway, this is beside the point.

The POINT is that three of the 65 had actually just been purchased at the TJ Maxx...and were BCBG...and were $200 less than the tag price. Sigh. That is just TOO much temptation to handle! Especially since M was in Vegas all week caddying for a friend, and had already spent his $200 slush money. (Hmm - SIDE NOTE: lately M has spent SO much more on clothing than me. When we were in San Francisco I spent $125 on clothes, he spent $275. Sheesh.)

Anyways, I vowed to return to TJ Maxx the next day with my mother - who keeps me in line and makes sure that I'm not blinded by the 85%-off price. I ended up trying on about even or eight sweater dresses...the smalls were almost all too tight (in my book anyway) and the mediums were hanging on me. Finally I found a pretty black turtleneck sweater dress...and bought it. I felt kinda bad since I really don't need any clothes and I'm TRYING to save for nursing school...but oh well. It's really classic and I'll wear it forever - or at least until I stop being a size 4.

At least I stopped myself and didn't buy the Steve Madden peep-toe leather "shooties" they had...


So M and I took the plunge...and joined Mint.com - I had been pretty apprehensive about the site's security, but after M and I watched the intro. video and saw all the nifty student loan features, we signed up.

Annnnnnnnd...it's ok. It's nice to see everything in one place - including my $0 IRA - but we couldn't get ANY of our student loans into our Mint page. So that sucked.

NOW I keep getting alerts about how we're over our "budget" on certain categories - oy vey! I know I need to go in there and turn them off for the moment, but I'm lazy!

On another note - I took my nursing school entrance exam on Saturday - tres fun. It was not that bad, but I'm just worked up in general about nursing school and my current job. We are SO not busy here, and I'm terrified I'm going to be let go before I can quit in the spring!

We shall see...

Anyone use Mint.com? What am I missing??

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dear J. Crew,

Please stop sending me e-mails with "Private Sale. 20% off. Ends today." in the subject line. You get me all excited about colored chinos and ribbon belts and statement necklaces, and then dash everything to pieces with your small print.

I don't want to spend $175 or more to receive my 20% off...Actually, I don't want to spend any money at all. Can you just send ME stuff? I'll wear it proudly and tell everyone I got it at J. Crew. Pinkie promise.

Sigh. I know I should tell you to hit the road and STOP sending me these misleading e-mails...but I can't help it. Preppie clothes are my crack.


Friday, October 10, 2008


Sorry I didn't get to this last night. The Office + football game + constant CNN + NEW Twilight trailer = very distracted Doris.

So. Freebies. I LOVE FREEBIES. Whether is's leftovers from one of mom's killer meals, or just those little bottles of shampoo in the hotel, I CANNOT resist.

PS - when I was little, I would look under my dad's sink and see rows of little bottles - when I asked mom what they were, she told me (with a roll of her eyes) that they were mini shampoo and conditioner bottles. She acted like this was a BAD thing. To me, it was magic. That feeling has never left me! Teensy bottles of perfume, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. are AWESOME - and even more so now that the airlines are crazy about their 3 oz. rule.

Anyway. In my quest for freebies, I consistently troll shampoo Web sites and sign up for free samples. Not only do I get to try all sorts of delish hair products, but they are perfect for the plane! Recently I discovered that Walmart.com has a whole sample section! You can get everything from lotions to tampons for free on there - and you don't have to sign up with an e-mail address (praise the Lord). Right now, Kashi is telling you to "Steal a Cookie" - and you should. Sign up and get a free (and healthy) cookie in the mail!! It's really yummy too.

With all the Green talk out there now, I have actually thought about how my Freebie obsession might be killing the earth (extra packaging, extra cargo weight, ginormous carbon footprint)...but I still do it through the mail...sorry.

We have a couple street festivals every year downtown, and they ALWAYS give away Freebies - literally I will eat lunch by grabbing Go-gurt, cereal and candy Freebies. Not so healthy, but tres free! Until I moved into an apartment, I would take ANY Freebie handed to me - koozies, lanyards, key chains...anything. However, I realized I was accumulating a HUGE amount of crap and I stopped.

If you want to enrich your MIND with Freebies, look no further than iTunesU. The iTunes store offers college courses on everything under the SUN for free! Many are audio lectures but there are some video lectures as well - M and I watched an hour-long lecture on post-partum care...with a birth scene MUCH much graphic than "Knocked Up." I think M was scarred. Anyway, you literally can listen to an entire Stanford history course for free. Which is AMAZING if you're a dork like me.

Also check out iTunes' podcasts for free audiobooks and other random lectures. Those things REALLY make the time fly in the car.

Does anyone have a fave Freebie site? Are you slightly obsessed with free stuff like me?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Momentary Change of Direction

Umm...I wanted to write about freebies, because Well-Heeled talked about them and I heart freebies to DEATH. BUT I came upon the following link and it made me internally laugh so hard I almost wet myself.

Before I bestow the link upon you, a few reasons WHY I heart this link (and site):
1 - the girl writes like my former theater-major-college-suite-mate talks.
2 - the post involves Twilight (the movie), something I'm buzzing about right now.
3 - I feel exactly the same way.

OK- Link!

Please look at the link. And notice how awful that boy looks. And then go to the following link and see how pretty he is in real life (or at least within the life of the movie...).

Hmmmk. I'm done with my 16-year-old self. Back to reality - and freebies. I pinkie-promise I'll talk about them later on today. I have a whole list to share! In THIS crazy-ass economy, there is never a thing as too many freebies!


Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I was lucky enough to spend the entire last week in California - the state of M's birth/childhood. M's parents threw us a California wedding party - complete with wedding cake - and it was sooo wonderful. My parents even flew out, and we all had a GREAT time.

The day after the party, all four parents, M and me drove to South Lake Tahoe - Tahoe is just gorgeous...I could live there and be tres happy. The lake is so pretty, and the weather is nice and cool! We stayed at a casino...and we WON money! Ok, so M won $8 at craps and I won $1.50 on the penny slots, but hey we still won! The room was unbelievable - it was almost as big as our apartment. Seriously. TWO bathrooms, a couch...a chair...king-sized bed...SO nice.

The next day we drove around the lake a little bit (along a road that had hairpin turns, sheer drops and NO GUARDRAILS), to where we could hike down to Emerald Bay. We toured Vikingshom Castle, which was really pretty - a mansion built by a very very rich woman in the 1920s.

After a couple more days in M's hometown, we went to San Francisco with M's parents. Sigh. That is another town I could live in - even though it is really expensive... I just love the big, bustling city, all the people, the arts and of course all the European stores!!! We hit LUSH, H&M, Zara and Mango - happiness! We spent some $$$, but since we had spent about $50 total on the entire trip so far we didn't sweat it.


Now it's back to the grind and BOY it sucks! =) I don't like having to get up so early (I keep saying that I'm still on west coast time), and I don't like having to sit in the same place for SoooLonnnng. But oh well.

I have SO much more to talk about, but I need to pay attention to the Presidential Debate. Oyvey. I'm NOT going to talk politics on here, but the two candidate's views on the current economic crisis are VERY interesting.

More soon!

Sooooo I'm a Slacker.

HI! Ummm so it's October. Oops! Apparently I didn't feel like writing in September...

Oh well.

To tell you the truth, there have been a TON of things going on in my life and I didn't feel like rehashing all of it. I've also been lazy - I get home and just DON'T want to type any more. Lastly, I got really upset when I read that Well-Heeled had a BAJILLION dollars in her IRA and savings account. I mean, I just don't have those resources, and I got down about it all.

So I stopped writing.

But I'm still here - still reading and going to class and trying to be fiscally responsible in this crazy economy.

I'll give some details about where I've been later, but for now - Hi again!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Couple Thursday Thoughts

1 – This semester, my professor is a hippie. Not that there is anything wrong with a hippie professor…I’m just not used to it! He said that during our Developmental Psychology class we would develop ourselves, watch film clips, listen to music, listen to him play his guitar, experience childhood – and we have the opportunity to be in the “Psychology Class Band” if we want. Wowsers.

2 – My little brother’s 21st birthday was this past weekend!!! Annnnnnd since he was only a week from going back to school AND none of his friends were in town…we had a party at my parent’s house. Yup. Beer pong, champing, both tequila and jello shots…it was tres interesting. We had fun – and I can’t deny that I’m excited to go out with him downtown! My mom was very anti-drinking for
most of the day – and then led off the rounds with Jose Cuervo. I heart my mom. =)

How is everyone's Thursday going?? Tomorrow is Friday!!!! YAY!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Poor Link...

...the link from my last post seems to have died. =(

However...if you post a comment saying you would like the lovely book spreadsheet, I can e-mail it to you (or upload it...or whatever)!

Let me know!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I <3 Reading (and a vampire named Edward...)

Sooooo my "Now Reading" section REALLY needs to be updated. Since The Ugly American, I've read Lolita, Twilight, New Moon, the first three chapters of Eclipse (Thanks S) and I'm now into Sophie's Choice. My coworkers also just handed me Nights in Rodanthe this morning, and I'm about 4 chapters in thanks to lunch.


Anyway...I think that tiny paragraph gives you a SMALL taste of my book obsession. I mean, I saw Batman: The Dark Knight this weekend, and although it was FAB (and completely draining I might add) I was REALLY THRILLED about the trip to Borders before the movie. =) I convinced my non-reading brother to buy The Stand (which I'm totally stealing after he's done) and my mom to buy The Secret Life of Bees (which I'm also stealing to re-read when she's done). On TOP of that, M and I bought Bless Me, Ultima (for book club) and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

Whew x2.

LASTLY...by other book-obsessed friend sent me this link where you can download a spreadsheet of the "1001 books you should read before you die." WHY is the spreadsheet so nifty you might ask??? WELL, because you can put a little "r" next to the ones you've read, and the spreadsheet magically tells you what percentage of the 1001 books you've read. AND how many more books you have to read PER YEAR two get through all of them before you die.

Yup. Bibliophilia meets Type A. Supersweet.

Anyway, download the spreadsheet and kill time. AND tell me how many you've read! I'm at about 75. Muwhahahaa.

Whew x3! SHEESH.

Lastly - my post title mentions a certain vampire named Edward. If you have read any of the Twilight books, heard anyone TALK about the Twilight books, or even seen the Twilight trailer...then you know what I mean. What. A. Hottie. If you haven't done any of the above, please let me know and I'll fill you in to the best of my ability. Swoon!

K. I've rambled long enough...have a lovely day!!!


We're Paid Off!!! Yaaaaaaaaaaay!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Feelin' Bummed

So as I said in my last post, I went to see The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 last night. It was great...full of fun places and friendships and cute boys...fun all around. But...I did cry during the movie. Like 5 times. Now I've been reeeeeeeeaaaaaaally emotional this week, so I use that excuse for the crying - but I don't really have an excuse for the general weepiness afterwards. I felt all bummed and friendless. I felt like life was stagnant. I felt that my life was unromantic.

And then I came home to M. He was really sweet...and held me until I stopped leaking tears.

And then today, I re-read the "what happened" section from a blog I'd heard of - and I realized (again) that my life is so blessed...

PLEASE don't click on the link unless you want to shed a few tears - my heart goes out to this guy and his little girl...

Just thought we could all use a bit of perspective sometimes...

See ya lata.

So Close.

As of today...we only have $270 left on the credit-card-of-doom. FANTASTIC.

Ummm my credit card bill was kinda out of control this month. I didn't realize why until I did a little breakdown: $200 for school tuition, $100 for M's bday, $150 for groceries, $250 for shopping and haircut, $100 for going out (to eat and out on weekends...)...and then a bit extra thrown in that I can't remember. However...does this stop me from buying a $14 dress at Old Navy last night? No. Does this stop me from going to a movie last night with friends? No. BUT FOR MY DEFENSE, the movie was only $5 thanks to a lovely AMC special, and my popcorn and drink was only $5 thanks to same said special. Hey, $10 for popcorn, diet coke AND The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (Oh yes, you bettah believe it - it was awesome!!!)? I'm so down.

There's always next month to be frugal...right?? Sometimes you need a tiny splurge...Anyways, I told M that all my shopping last month and this one still didn't equal ONE of his car payments. So there!

Have a great weekend everyone!!!!

Friday, August 8, 2008


I updated my savings toolbars! This needed to happen for several reasons:
1. We resigned our lease. Soooo we're not looking for a house for another year. Which is cool, because we really need to save for school!
2. We are SO CLOSE to paying off our credit card debt. Which is supersweet. And awesome. And great.
3. Preparing for nursing school expenses is priority NUMERO UNO. Do you KNOW how expensive medical textbooks are? First semester Screw travel. We can take a tiny trip!!!

The End is Near

Once upon a time, a cute boy from California moved to the East Coast for job opportunities and a lovely lady named Doris. The cute boy moved in with two of his friends...and proceeded to rack up some credit card debt as cut boy was finding his way.

Later on down the road, cute boy marries type-A Doris...who is obsessed with eliminating said credit card debt because she has never had such debt, and remembers her father telling her that credit card debt is right up there with selling your soul to the devil.

LONG STORY SHORT - the credit card debt will BE GONE at the end of August.

I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS! M's two friends (the ones he initially moved in with when he came East) are shocked...not knowing what to DO without their protective coat of debt. But M and I are thrilled. Thanks to our stimulus checks, a check from M's parents and M's raise we will be DONE. And then we can reallllllly concentrate on saving. =)


I'm SOOO impatient. I want it to be gone NOW, so we can start saving NOW. But I shall sit on my hands...try not to check the online account 300 times a day...and wait. And breathe. And be happy.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Clothes and shoes and bags, oh my!

I have a shoe thing. I got it from my mom, who in turn got it from HER mom. My nana died with many, many shoes – unfortunately they didn’t fit my mother OR me.

Anyway…after getting married I was subjected to sharing a closet. With a boy. Yeah. Anyone who lives with a guy can tell you how traumatic that is. Not that he takes up that much space, or that our closet is small…but my particular guy NOTICES EVERYTHING. Like…I’ll buy a shirt and clip the tags and hang it up before he gets home. POOF – “ Hey Bebe, did you get a new shirt?” ARG.

My mom never has this problem. She still hides purchases in the car trunk if dad is home, and then sneaks them upstairs later…and he never notices. Well, he does when the bill comes…but still.

Anyway. It is always nice to sneak a peek into a girlfriend’s closet…just too see how I compare on the closet scale. AND that is what I did last night before I saw Avenue Q (which was freaking fantastic!!!). I peeked in my friend’s closet and was thoroughly relived. This friend really isn’t a fashionista or anything – we like to compare the items that we got in middle/high school (and still wear) – but she dresses nicely. And it looks like we are on par in the closet area. She is possibly beating me – she had been packing all day and so shoes and clothes were missing from the closet. AND she has more purses.

SO THERE M. I AM NOT NUTS…my shopping is not crazy. Maybe not necessary…but not crazy. =)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I’m feeling pretty ungrateful right now. Ungrateful for my job, my wonderful apartment, my really cute cat, the fact that I have savings and that I have enough money to pay my bills and college loans.


I have no clue what brought this up. I think I am just especially crabby since my mouth STILL hurts from getting my wisdom teeth out last Friday. I mean, I took three Motrin three hours ago and my mouth is still aching. UGH – it’s WEDNESDAY. WHY is my mouth STILL hurting?

And, I have a crazy week/weekend ahead of me. I am SO lucky that my friend offered me one of her THIRD-ROW tickets to Avenue Q…and that’s tomorrow night. Also tomorrow night (but I’m not going) are an alumni mixer and a ballet class I would like to go to. Then comes Friday. My two friends got married earlier this year and have decided to move to China at the end of the month…to teach ex-pat kids. And they are coming in town for one last night of get-together-ness. And, it’s M’s bday this weekend. And my friend’s bday dinner this weekend. And I don’t have a present yet for M.

Sigh again.

And I’m HELLA bored at work. Like looking-on-Craig’s-List-for-NYC-apartments bored. I’m wondering whether I should have gone after a publishing job (like I wanted but was terrified of) after college. It seemed like such bad timing at the time – M had moved back to the East Coast for me (mostly), my mom would have flipped her shit…but I heart books…and I really think the industry is nifty. I know I would probably be disenchanted with entire industry…and that the pay sucks…and that NYC is impossibly expensive… but it’s an adventure. I really don’t want to go back to school…what if I HATE nursing??

On top of everything, I’m kinda freaking out because M got a raise. He is almost making double what I make. OK, not quite double…but a lot more than me. And that makes me feel…insignificant..? I guess. I don’t know. I just have always paid my own way…and helped HIM out with his credit cards and stuff. Now, the tables are kinda turning, and it’s odd. I need to talk to him about how I feel…but I have a feeling he is going to completely dismiss it and say it isn’t a big deal. But it IS a big deal – right?


Thursday, July 10, 2008

The IRA Blues

I was not a business major. I didn’t even take a math class in college. And, I know zip about investing. So, when my boss pulled me aside a week ago and informed me that I was (finally) eligible for our company’s retirement plan, I was both excited and immediately filled with anxiety.

My father has always told me that investing was the key to my future security – even though he really never pursued it. Even with his do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do advice, I was still STOKED about investing … when I got older. I didn’t think that my pennies earned by summer jobs would allow me to invest. I wish I would have pushed myself to buy something though! We did a stick market exercise in 9th grade that I kicked ass at – I realize it was play money…but I made a freaking 75% return!!! BUT, it was nerve wracking, even with play money. What if I chose wrongly?

Anyway, all those anxieties came back when the boss mentioned the IRA. It’s a SIMPLE IRA since I work for a small company, and that somewhat changes the game. Most everyone at work uses Vanguard…but my dad uses Fidelity. So, this is one choice – the company to go with. ALSO looming is the giant question of what type of portfolio I want to create. I realize at my age that I should go for a little more risk…but that is scary. I am NOT the gambling kind!

Thankfully my friend J offered to talk to me tonight about what I should do. He was a business major and worked at a fairly large bank, so I feel he has a good feel for this stuff. Much better than me anyway.

Sooooo yeah. I have to decide pretty quickly about everything…so I’ll keep you posted.

On another note – only FOUR more days to take my last TWO anatomy tests. Jeepers Creepers - I need to get on that STAT.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Twiddling my Thumbs

So. It’s Wednesday and I have about an hour and a half of work to do today. I know that seems like a lot to you peeps that get paid salary no questions asked – as it IS summer and it HAS been raining a lot and we DID just come back from a HOLIDAY WEEKEND – but for us peeps that have to bill our hours…BY THE QUARTER HOUR…its kinda torture.

Torture, because I can only browse the Web for so long without my eyes sticking to the tops of their sockets. Torture because I have to sit here with nothing to do while my anatomy chapter on body fluids and electrolyte balance is WAITING for me at home. Torture because I have had my space heater on for TWO hours now and my office is JUST getting warm-ish.

Sigh. This morning my coworker and I were making hot tea (I told you, I’m freezing – and slightly an anglophile), and she told me about her friend who was just laid off. With a two year old…and baby twins. So yes. I know it could be much worse…I am VERY grateful for my job…I just wish I had more to DO here.

LUCKILY I have a four-day week next week. NOT so I can laze at the pool, or even finish school work (my online class ends MONDAY thank God)…it’s so I can have my four impacted wisdom teeth CUT out of my mouth. I am not very happy about this…but it needs to happen. At least I get to spend a weekend drugged and slurping milkshakes on my parents’ couch – right?

Anyways. I am going to scrounge up some work to do…I have to put something on my timesheets, right? Ugh.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Crazy Morning

My cat thought it would be cool to wake up before dawn this morning. Soooo not cool cat…just not cool. In response to hit obnoxious noises, I shut him in the other room – and then proceeded to sleep about 45 minutes past my alarm. Supersweet.

So, now I have wet hair at the office. Which really isn’t that big of a deal since we have a business casual office and no clients will see me today – BUT my office is freezing. And so I am doubly cold. I’m currently sporting a really cool jean jacket – over my long-sleeved sweater and long pants – and drinking a hot cup of tea – on the first day of July.

However, things are still good. I’m halfway through my online class – HA. I find this funny because I have to be DONE in about 2.5 weeks…and it’s taken me about a month to get this far. Mind you, I’ve been completely slacking. But now I have to hunker down and get with it. woot! Also, we had book club last night and we’re reading Lolita for our next book!!! I am very excited, since it was the choice of yours truly.

I wanted to read Lolita as a group since it was soooo good when I read it a couple years ago. It’s uncomfortable and beautiful and downright disturbing. It also has a lot of facets that I didn’t see the first time around…so I’m excited to talk about it as a group. I know - I'm a dork.

Aight. Only three more days of work this week!! Yippie! AND we have plans for the fourth, which is very cool! Too bad we aren't leaving town...BUT the parents are coming in, so that should be interesting...

Monday, June 30, 2008

80's Movie Moment

Did anyone else watch Batteries Not Included back in the eighties?? I LOVED that movie...I need to find a copy...

I wanted one of those tiny robots sooooo badly...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Quick Note

Yes, it's been forever since I wrote...and I am le sorry. I have been le busy with le work and le reading for class and le reading for book club and trying to expand my horizons by looking for le house and taking le ballet class.

Whew. BUT I know this isn't a good excuse. AND I'M SORRY! =)

But I'll write soon. And probably not about money - because it really stresses me out. Like, I don't think I'll ever have enough and it makes me really sad inside.

But there will be more later! I have to run and go drink wine with coworkers!

Bye bye now!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Annual Review

Last Friday I had my annual review – my SECOND annual review. I can’t believe that its been two years since I walked through that door and made myself at home in my widdle office (with a window!)… Two years is a long time, BTW. I’ve only had one other job longer than I’ve had this one, and that was waiting tables/bartending. AND, I had breaks from that (like small summer vacations and my semester abroad).

Anyway. I had my review. And it was positive for the most part! And I got a (small) raise!! Which is AMAZING, especially in this crazy economy. We’ve had three contacts get fired in the last month or so, and it makes me very nervous to not have a lot to do at work. I guess the only solution is just to keep plugging along…but I get really bored…and want to do something else.

That was something noted on my review – keep away from outside distractions. HA easier said than done…especially when there is NO way I have eight hours of work a day. NO WAY. My timesheets are lookin’ pretty slim lately. But…I can promise that I’ll do all my work…and then goof off.

So yeah. My review. I don’t have to stare THAT down for a while…and hopefully at that point I can say, “This has been fun, but I’m going back to school. Want to give me some part-time work?” Seriously…if we are still this slow (well, if we are still this slow a year from now, I probably wont have a job) I could do my job in only four hours. Whatever.

But yay! I can look forward to about an extra $100 every month! P-A-R-T-Y! No, in all seriousness…the raise is awesome. It means that I am worth something to my company and they believe in my work…even when I don’t. And, that made me feel really awful. I hate lying to my coworkers and my employer about my long-term prospects at my company…but in this economy, what else can you do?

I made myself feel better with a little shopping trip to Forever 21. I know their stuff ifs crap, but its tres cute, and in my budget of under $20. =) I bought a cute little dress (it seems that everyone is wearing dresses out…does anyone else notice that??) and a pair of earrings for about $21. Supersweet.

On another note, I finished Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress...and Kabul Beauty School. Now I'm readingThe Glass Castle...and it's kinda depressing...alas. I have to work fast though - book club is next week and I haven't read the book yet!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Guest Post by Myrtle

Wow! We already have a guest blogger, which is very exciting. Myrtle is a fab 20-something with a good financial head on her shoulders...and she has some great stuff to say - let's hear it for Myrtle!!

Hello. I am Myrtle, Guest blogger #1.

I am completely in line with Doris’ idea of being Zen about money. I am a true believer in the Jedi way, thus think we have the ability to use the Force (=$) for good or evil. We sometimes get so obsessed with how much we aren’t saving and the money that we don’t have that we forget the positive things on which we choose to spend our hard earned cash.

I look at the lives that some of my friends and I live and I wonder why we spend so much time and energy fretting over our financial situation. I don’t think that it’s a bad thing to splurge every once in a while. As long as you avoid constantly splurging, I believe we’ll be ok.

A travel opportunity recently presented itself to me. The trip was unexpected and thus presented unanticipated expense for the month. For this reason I contemplated not going. After some deep thought I realized that the cost of the trip isn’t really prohibitive. ($250 for a plane ticket and a long weekend of fun.) While this is perhaps steep it’s not outrageous. I am young and unattached. If I can’t pick up and go now, then when will I ever be able to do so? It’s summer and I have no real vacations planned, so why not spend a little extra money for a little bit of fun.

Some of us are reluctant to jump on these types of opportunities when they arise because they throw off our budgets. I believe many of my cohorts and I are not strapped financially. Yes we are battling school loans and rents/mortgages and car payments and insurance on salaries that are much less than we deserve. Despite the occasional financial hiccup, we’re doing alright. We don’t yet have to worry about children and we are fortunate in that we don’t have any REALLY serious chronic health issues that require attention. We DO still get to go out and have fun with friends on occasion. We have some car payments and phone bills, but that also means we have cars and cells to use. Yes, loan payments suck… but it’s largely educational debt, which is not necessarily a bad type of debt to have.

I think we get caught up in micromanaging and we forget the big picture. We ARE doing ok. There are millions of people who are worse off than we are and we’re certainly feel fortunate to be in the position in which we find ourselves. I also recognize that by using the phrase “we” I am making some presumptuous claims, but I do believe that there are several readers who can relate. Yes we’d all like to save more and perhaps spend less, but maybe what we need most is to step back and breathe.

Thanks to Myrtle for her guest post!! I love advice from Myrtle because she always is so logical, even-headed and wise about most things.

If anyone else wants to be a guest blogger, or if you want to hear more from Myrtle...let me know. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Note on Books

I know I have a pretty photo on the side of the blog that shows you what I'm currently reading...but there is no other way for me to keep a running list of those books than to, well, make a list. =) So when I change books, I'll also make a note of the new book in my current post. I love to read, and if anyone has read, is reading or wants to read any of these books...let me know - I also love talking about books!

Since I started this blog:
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress - Dai Dijie
World War Z - Max Brooks
The Alchemist - Paul Coelho
Little Children - Tom Perrotta

Towelhead - Alicia Erian
Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett

Back to it

Only TWO posts in May? Pathetic. And, I know it. However, in my whole trying-to-be-Zen about money thing, I kinda lost the will to post. That and I’m trying to read a bajillion books and do classwork. Yup. Oh, and I want to start volunteering. And M wants to buy a house. And, I'm slightly freaking out about changing careers and going back to school.

However, one of my faithful friends (and readers) moved all the way to Chicago, so I need to stay current on my posts. SO. I will continue to be very Zen about money…I’ll continue to update my meters (I updated them today!!)…but I’ll talk about other stuff too. Like how M made chili last night that made my mouth burn at lunch today. Or, how I woke up exactly 15 minutes before my carpool ride arrived at our complex’s front gate. Interesting stuff. Ha!

Also…I really would like to have a few guest posters. This could be friends (you KNOW who you are), or random peeps. It could be about money (or the lack thereof), or about ANYTHING. And, I’ll keep is tres anonymous if you would like. So…if anyone is interested, let me know!

I promised I would knock a bunch of work out this afternoon, so I’m going to get on it and get movin’. BUT, I pinkie promise that I will be a better blogger. Just keep your comments coming so I have a little encouragement to run on!

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The South

Well Heeled recently posted about a country song, and how she:

"lived in big cities all my life, I’ve only visited the 2 coasts (and Dallas… if you count a layover), I don’t know anyone who’s even FROM the South. I’d really love to visit Charleston one day, though, just to see if it live up to its reputation of being the “best-mannered city in the U.S.

So, I guess, if I have any readers from the Southern states, what’s it like? What are some common misconceptions? What do you love about the South? What do you dislike? Is the pace of life really slower? How does a city in the South (say, Atlanta or Austin) compare with LA or San Francisco?"

I was pleasantly surprised by that post, and was excited that someone from the West Coast wasn't automatically dissing the South. Like many people do. However, I was not so excited about the response that Sense gave:

"Oh Boy. I’m from rural (as in cotton fields and horse farms are the only things twenty miles around my house) Virginia. I think living in a city in the South isn’t too much different from living in another part of the country in a city. City life is pretty much the same everywhere, except the accents are different. In cities, you find progressive people, more options for nightlife and cultural events, and more diversity (in general). The pace of life IS slower in Atlanta or Charleston, though. And everyone calls you ’sugar’ or ‘honey.’

In the rural South (as well as anywhere rural, most likely), however, there are still alot of holdovers from the past. I *hated* growing up in the country for alot of reasons:

1) Racism is the rule, not the exception. Our generation was taught in school and on afterschool specials that we were to treat everyone the same, regardless of race. In real life, though, my dad (who says alot of crap but isn’t racist at heart) got invited to join the KKK. Yeah–it’s still going strong. Before I moved to SoCal, my BEST FRIEND from high school told me not to date ‘any of those dirty Mexicans.’ I had a FIT on her.

1a) Why on earth are people still waving that stupid Confederate flag? They like that black people were once slaves, and want to go back to that time, one guy told me as an explanation for the flag sticker on his truck. to my face, he said this! I HATE the homophobia, sexism, and racism running rampant in the South. It makes me ill.

1b) No diversity. There was ALOT of segregation between black/whites in my high school, and virtually no other races to speak of (no Jewish, no Asian, no Latin-Americans…just black/white 50-50). Blacks and whites didn’t mix except in extreme circumstances.

3) it’s boring. This is how cow-tipping and muddin’ got their starts. And yes, I’ve done both. It’s humid in the summer, to the point that at 8 am in august, you have to shower after 5 minutes outside. Yucky.

4) People get stuck there. due to the poor school districts, most people don’t get a good education, and therefore can’t get into a good college. Then they get stuck in low-paying jobs. 90% of my friends from high school ended up having babies and/or getting married within 2 years of graduating high school–if they did finish at all. Every single one that got married then is divorced now. EVERY SINGLE ONE. It’s a trap. I’m the only one I know of in my class to leave the state of Virginia, except for the military folk who are now getting shot at in Iraq. I think when you live in the same place your entire life and don’t travel, it breeds racism and close-mindedness. Rural towns are a mecca for this.

Some things I liked:
1) The relative safety. it was a boring childhood, but there’s not much trouble you can get into, til you become a teenager.

2) cicadas, frogs, and cricket sounds on a humid night. (We had a swamp on our property.) Preferably with a thunderstorm rolling in. The smell of honeysuckle. Very, very peaceful.

No offense, but I hate the South. and I hate the country and the mentality. And i’ve been everywhere– from cities in the South to rural towns, to beach towns in the South, i’ve run into a terrible ‘fear of the different.’ my two best gay friends were stalked, almost got beaten up and lured out to a trailer for who-knows-what torture in Myrtle Beach once, as an example. and Myrtle Beach is a touristy beach town!

I think country songs paint a pretty glossy picture of how it really is to live in the south. The reality is pretty ugly.

I know you run into close-mindedness in any city or area, but I’ve run into MORE of it proportionately when I’ve lived in a southern town–this is just my experience, and doesn’t mean that I think everyone who lives in the south is racist or a horrible person. I don’t.

Sorry for the rant. This one touched a nerve…"

Well...Sense touched MY nerve on this one. Sense had an awful experience living in the South - while mine weren’t nearly as bad. My family moved to North Carolina when I was 6 (just late enough for me not to develop a serious accent) and I’ve lived here ever since. Not because I was “stuck” (I attended a top 25 university), but because I like having my family and friends nearby, and this is where my husband and I both got jobs.

Now, there are a lot of things wrong with the South - racism, homophobia and ignorance are rampant - but that is true for the majority of “small town America” - not just the South. In the cities you find more tolerant and accepting people, no matter what the region.

I just hate that people across the country give the entire region a bad rap because of the rural areas - have you guys been to the rural Midwest, rural PA (where my father is from) or even rural CA?? My husband is from CA, and often says, “There are more rednecks in CA than in NC.”

Now, some things Sense said I agree with, like the stupidity of the Confederate flag, the overall trashiness of Myrtle Beach and the lack of diversity. When I visited M's family for the very first time, I was really surprised at all the Asian families. I know that sounds really dumb and ignorant...but we just didn't have that many Asian families around when I was growing up. Sigh.

The thing is, I really like living in the South - it’s true…the humidity is AWFUL in the summer, but I love the mild weather, the summer thunderstorms, the lightning bugs and cicadas, the rolling topography, the proximity to both mountains and the ocean…and, for the most part, the people.

I have so much more to say about all this...but that is for another post/time/conversation. Does anyone else out there have positive or negative experiences with "The South?"

Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy Friday!


I feel AWFUL about not posting until now, but there has been a lot going on in my life and in my head. I had to come to terms with some money things – mostly that I am more than a little OCD when it comes to money and I need to chill out – or risk hurting my relationship with M.

Not cool.

So, I took a little time off from blogging so I wouldn’t obsess. Because when I blog I’m usually obsessing over SOMETHING. Ya know? BUT I feel like I am in a better place now, and can blog without obsession – at least today. =)

Here’s a money tidbit I’ve learned over the last week:
Planning parties can be expensive – I know this is a no-brainer, but throwing parties are usually expensive. AND I am throwing a “Sex and the City” party tonight, in honor of the movie’s release. But, I tried to cut costs by using stuff I already had and making the theme (and the invitees) the fun focus of the evening. It also helps that M’s friend knows the best kind of bargain vodka (cheap, yet no hangover). He’s my personal vodka expert! We’ll see how it works out.

On another note, my car is back from the shop and ready to roll! I was hoping they could, ahem, spray the front of the car to get rid of the yellow and black scrapes I’m currently sporting, but alas they didn’t. That’s ok though – the bill was still close to $600! However, I’m NOT panicking. Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa and their decision to give me savings bonds every birthday and Christmas, I have the cash to pay for my car repairs AND my impending wisdom teeth removal.

Now, I decided to trade in all my bonds, even though some of them weren’t fully matured. But…life goes on. I need the money and I would rather take this extra source of cash and put it toward these expenses, then take the money out of our emergency fund. It’s a choice I’m comfortable with, so there. So THANK YOU Grandma. I seriously appreciate the free car repairs and surgery.

Anyway, I have a TON to do – apartment to clean, present to finish (I’ll talk about that after Mothers’ Day), party to have, places to go, bridal showers to attend, bachelorette parties to attend, old friends to see and mothers to celebrate. WHEW.

Everyone have a great weekend!

OH and a PS to my last [GRUMPY] post…I miscalculated. I miscalculated and I nearly went nuts. It’s a really good thing I’m not an accountant because I would have been fired. So we’re fine. Very fine. And, M got a raise! =)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Grumpy Tuesday

D is a very grumpy girl. I just did my type-A subtract-all-the-bills-from-the-current-amount-residing-in-the-checking-account thing…and came up with a NEGATIVE number!!! HOW did this happen? (I should say, how will this happen…since I am looking into the future.) Sigh. I know how it happened…both M and I were over our allotted amount on credit cards this month (and I didn’t bring my lunch today – BOO!).

On top of that, we have our new monthly car insurance bill, plus I threw $200 at our outstanding credit card bill, plus the quarterly bill we get from our Alma Mater came. This doesn’t include the tuition for the class I just registered for (Yay! At least I got my online Anatomy class!!)


Yes, I know – we have an emergency fund for these items. Actually, the car insurance would have come out of that fund anyway…if we were on the 6-month plan. So. I transferred some cash over from the emergency account, and I’ll try to bunker down and chill out for another 2 weeks. But it’s just so hard. I try and keep myself from wishing away the days, but I’m really so bored at work that I can’t help it. I have a test tonight and a test Thursday…I really just want it to be next Friday so M will get his second paycheck!

I like putting money in our happy accounts – not throwing it down the drain to various credit/loan institutions. We have about $1,000 per month going to loans and credit stuff every month – and when you break it down like that I get kinda nauseous. That number doesn’t include our monthly credit card bills either! That is just car loan + school loans + paying off big credit card. Booooo. I can’t WAIT until we have paid off that credit card – it’ll free up some cash!! Then we can start chipping away at one of M’s school loans that has ridiculously high interest.

Anyway. I better go find something to do – I do have that annual review coming up…Anyone else having a downtrodden Tuesday?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Registration Day

I really lucked out in college – I had pretty good registration times for all four years, owing to a variety of factors: luck, my mom’s friend in the registrar’s office, being an English major…but mostly a combination of luck and wriggling my way into classes thanks to mom’s connections (she is the administrative assistant for one of the school’s academic departments).

However, tomorrow will be the second time I’ll register for classes out of my college bubble. The community college where I’ve been taking my class just switched over to stepped (?) registration – the more classes you have under your belt, the earlier you get to register. Good for students that are close to finishing a degree and need only a few classes, bad for the part-time student who is just trying to get some pre-requisites out of the way!

Anyway, I really hope I get into an online class…there is a night option, but it meets four days a week, for five-and-a-half hours PER DAY. Yeah. I really like to read and do stuff outside of class. So I think that’s a no. I checked the space in the online class this morning, and it looked promising – but I’m scared to look now! I’m getting up really early tomorrow so I can register at 7:30 a.m. – let’s just hope my professor wrote that letter to the department saying that I was passing! We shall see. I hate leaving things in other people’s hands (type-A, remember?).

Anyway, I’ve gotta run but I’ll do a quick weekend recap – drove to Charleston with A and E, met up with college Roomie and had an AMAZING time. Danced, ate, saw hot boys in flight suits (M already knows allllll about our tiny obsession), saw really hot planes (I heart flames)…and did a lot of shopping with no results. (Which was good for my wallet and bad for morale)

Anyway, I’m home and it’s raining and I’m a little bored. I can’t wait to get home, hunker down with my note cards and get crackin’ on those books!

I'll figure out my summer classes (and how to pay for them) tomorrow. Ha. OOOH that reminds me, I need to ask M about his work reimbursing him for his classes...that bill is due really soon!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Silver Lining

So. I was freaking out about two hours ago - about my car, about the insurance, about a ridiculously high credit card bill that just showed up. But...I talked to a reputable Honda guy, who says he can fix the car for $450 (after I drive home to see him). Insurance is obnoxious...but I think we'll survive this. I just need to yell at some people to fix everything. As for the credit card bill - M put his real estate classes on there (and work is supposed to be paying him back), which were more than $600.

So. We WILL be fine. I just need to breathe.

And, some great things have recently happened that I need to be grateful for:
- Our State and Federal returns are already in our checking account
- Our kitty got a clean bill of health at the Vet on Saturday
- I bought a shirt on sale for $19.95 (down from $88!!!) on Saturday
- We finally opened our online savings account
- I saw my mom, dad and brother on Sunday
- my annual review is in one month! (Hopefully this means a RAISE)
- I'm (hopefully) seeing a couple AMAZING college friends this weekend

That last one is a a bit iffy at this point. I was all about the trip to Charleston, SC - until my car decided to poop out on me. Now I'm thinking of taking it up to my parent's house so it can go in the shop.

I don't know... Anyway. The point it - I'm fine. M is fine. Kitty is fine. I just need to breathe, and it'll work out.

Car Troubles

I just got off the phone with Goodyear – they were just supposed to do a much-overdue oil change…and just called with news that my 1992 Honda needs more than $900 in maintenance repairs. This fact, plus the fact that my car will need a new timing belt next year (which is more than $500) make me want to cry. My car is only worth about $2,000…and I Just can’t afford this. But, we can’t afford a car payment either. Actually we could, if we weren’t paying $470 a month for M’s car. Yes. $470. My mom is calling our old friend that looks after our Hondas, to have him call the Goodyear and see if it’ll really cost that much or if they’re just BSing a 20-something woman. UGH!!! OMG. I JUST said this weekend how I love my car and I don’t want a new one. But I don’t want to pay more than $900 either.

Looks like our tax rebate check might have to go toward a car instead of M’s credit card bill…at least we have that money coming in. That’s a blessing.

I can’t help but be really angry at M. I don’t have a car payment, but I help him with his. The $470 a month plus the $900 every 6 month for insurance is UNBELIEVABLE. And now I don’t think we can afford a car for me because his costs so much. That isn’t fair. I have never had a ticket or an accident…and I have driven my old, beat-up Honda for more than 8 years now. Sigh. I’m just upset.

Auto insurance is another issue we’ve being dealing with. My insurance company decided that since I was married, M’s points from his accident last year should be on my policy as well – a way to strong-arm us into getting on the same policy. It doesn’t matter to them that M has his own policy that we pay on. SO UNFAIR.

So, I am pretty pissed about cars right now. I’m thinking I should just not get my car fixed, let it sit at our apartment complex and take the frakkin light rail every day.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

2007 Taxes? Check.

We finally finished our taxes the other night – glorious. We get a little more back than we expected…but had the unexpected expense of having to pay to file. We had borrowed my dad’s tax program, and unlike the free one online, you had to pay for both state and federal taxes. Not cool. Then, if you wanted to pay your filing fee by just subtracting it from your refund (the logical and lazy choice), you had to be $35 extra! That is insane. As M was objecting to the ridiculousness of the entire process, I whipped out my credit card. (This was the FOURTH time I had read out our W-2’s to M while he entered the info, and I was not doing it again…) Oh well. Way to go Turbo Tax…you suckered another one.

I’m really excited about getting a refund, but I am more excited about our “incentive check” that’ll be coming as well. We’ve already decided to put the whole amount toward our outstanding credit card debt…but I have the feeling I’m going to be accosted with requests for “Rock Band” when we have all that cash in the bank. I love Guitar Hero, and Rock Band is soooo much fun – it’s just that the game is $150…and that is a bit nutty to me. Oh well, M is amazing, so I should probably drop the stingy wife routine for a bit, eh?

We had book club last night – next up is Little Children by Tom Perrotta…and we decided to read Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov after that. I’m super excited about both – I’ve read Lolita already, but it’ll be good to be able to discuss that book – it’s a little racy. And by a little I mean very very unsettling. Problem is, I want to buy Little Children! The cover art (NOT the movie tie-in cover, I can’t stand those…I could talk about that all day…) is so great – with little goldfish or tiny cookies and grass… The cover is just innocent-looking, with a slightly-menacing feel. I love it and I want it. Oh well, we’ll see.

In other news, I didn’t win my office’s NCAA pool – oh well, I really wasn’t expecting to…but what HAPPENED to UNC in the Final Four? Talk about losing it…

Anyway, sorry it's been so long since I posted...but things have been crazy with work and school (I have two tests this week)!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Books, Books, Everywhere...

I’m going to keep this short because I’m absolutely exhausted – thanks to my latest reading adventure. I started My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult on Tuesday after class…and I’m almost done today. I’m a pretty fast reader, but this story has just sucked me in and isn’t letting go. Therefore, I stayed up reading until 1:30 a.m. last night, long after M went to sleep (the kitty too!). The sad/great thing is, I want to just drop everything and finish the dang book!

I’m kinda a bibliophile. I love love LOVE books – not just reading, but also owning them. Now, I am not opposed to libraries – like my best friend S – I even thought about becoming a librarian after college – but there is something about those titles lined up on a bookshelf. I had a really tall, five-self bookshelf growing up, and I think it slightly fueled my obsession. I would leave books lying around the house all the time…usually two at a time. When I got older and had even more books, it saddened me to have to move my
American Girl, The Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley books to an attic box. In college, as an English Literature major, there were even more books lying around.

Borders and Barnes and Noble continue to be soothing spots for me (I love used books stores too; I’m really not being picky. There are just so many more BIG bookstores) I always knew books were pricey, but after I graduated from college it really hit home. $20 for a paperback? $35 for a hardback? That is NOT cool. Still, from time to time I’ll give in and go on a tiny spree, and occasionally I’ll get a gift certificate and go nuts. M and I have two
Target bookshelves in our place, filled with colorful titles that range from classic to trashy – and I love every one of them.

Anyway, this is kinda random – but comes back to personal finance, I promise! If you count up all the books that I own, it would be a LOT of money. Now, it’s not quite as bad as Carrie Bradshaw owning $40,000 in shoes…but my books aren’t $400 a pop! Anyway, it’s a vice that I am trying to get over – I’ve been frequenting the library much more often (when I’m not reading for class or for the book club I started – I know, I’m a huge dork)…and I think I’ve only bought one hardback book since I completed my
Harry Potter collection. So, I’m doing better. But I still have to hold myself in check when I aimlessly browse a Borders…

Well, this wasn’t that short…but I could talk about books forever! Happy Thursday!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I really want to put some art on our dining room wall. And I want it to look like this. Right now we are about 1/6th of the way there…with one photo (bought off etsy.com) nicely framed and hanging smack dab in the middle of the wall. Sigh. Sometimes my mom’s Martha Stewart compulsions just take over and I want to decorate…too bad it’s so expensive to do so.

It doesn't help that I recieved THREE home-decorating-and-general-prettiness catalogues yesterday. Boo hiss. We still have a few hundred dollars left on various Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma gift certificates (left over from the wedding), but I really wanted to save them and put them towards a console table. Alas, that dream is quickly fading.

Food, Food, Fantabulous Food

Last night M and I went to our local ginormous grocery store and spent a wad of cash - $108!! I originally had our food budget down as only $150…which is ridiculous because my husband is 6’ 1” and loves to eat. As in a sort of human garbage disposal. So THAT budget item needs to be increased. However, I felt OK about the $108 or two reasons:

First, I spent a good 30 minutes poring over the Kraft quarterly magazine, picking out meals that were easy, looked yummy and had a short “needed ingredient” list. I hope that this will give us something to look forward to – not only cooking together, and then eating the deliciousness, but yummy leftovers as well too. (I don’t mind taking these for lunch. M, on the other hand, doesn’t enjoy it so much. He works with a lot of women, and although they will bring their lunch, the men in the company all seem to go out every day. Which is ridiculous. But, I understand why he is more compelled to eat out than I am…)

Second, we may have spent $108, but we saved over $25 with coupons and store specials. We also bought a lot of generic items. Really, when you think about it, $108 is not a lot of money. We bought items for breakfast (bread and yummy strawberry jam for me!), lunches (lunch meat, provolone and Dijon mustard), four separate meals and dessert (chocolate-peanut butter cookies…yummm). If we ate out instead of cooking, the four dinners alone could cost us anywhere from $80 - $120. So I’m trying to chill about the grocery thing.

I’ve been trying to be Suzie Homemaker and cut out coupons, create recipes, etc., but sometimes it’s just exhausting to come home after class (I don’t get home until 9 p.m. two days a week) and cook a meal. Sometimes I’ll get M to make something while I’m gone, sometimes he’ll make me a grilled cheese or omelet when I get home, or sometimes its just cereal – which is fine! It’s just amazing to me that my mom came home after work and always made an amazing meal. When I think about the time and money that went into all those home-cooked meals, I get a little choked up!

On another food note, M and I went to an out-of-town wedding this past weekend. It was great, and thankfully we didn’t have to pay for lodging since we stayed with friends – but we still had to pay for the meal on Friday night and the subsequent partying all weekend. On Friday night we went to a really nice restaurant – we got looped in before I could see the menu prices…$25 entrees, etc. – but we did relatively well and only spent about $75 for the two of us. But then you have to tabulate the money spent on gas and drinking…not cool. Although the weekend was probably only $150ish, that is still $150 I wasn’t planning on. (And we still haven't bought the wedding present yet)

Good news though, M might be getting promoted at the end of the month! I really hope it comes through – the extra money would be great…we need to get that credit card paid off!! One last note - last night I was cleaning up the place and found a $100 gift card to Macy's - the same gift card that I though I'd lost in the move! SuperSweet!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Savings Itch

All of you peeps may (or may not) have noticed that I increased the number of “savings bars” on the right side of the page. Well, I have the savings itch and I just can’t help it! Watching your savings grow is sooo delicious – it’s like eating a warm Krispy Kreme right off the conveyor belt (trust me, it’s awesome). There is just so much to save for!! I really want to have my own little house one day, and I am missing Europe SO MUCH right now – I can’t believe that it’s been nearly four years since I was over there.


Now…you may also notice that several of the bars are at 0%, and that is for two reasons:

1. M and I are doing really well on our budget this month…but as we all know, you pay for last month’s bills when you put everything on a credit card. SO, we won’t be able to start our savings binge until April.

2. I have no clue what savings account(s) to open. The house and travel funds will start with minor funding and eventually be emptied out, so it needs to be an account without a balance requirement. AND I want both accounts to be those loverly “high-interest online savings accounts.”

Does anyone know what is the best online account to open? One of my co-workers has one with e*trade, but that’s because she already has an e*trade account.
Well-Heeled and some other PF bloggers seem to like ING, but I’ve also heard good things about HSBC. Anyone have a suggestion? M and my dad really haven’t looked into these kinds of accounts, so I’m on my own figuring it all out – which is fine, I just want to be pointed in the right direction! So, advice welcome.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Last night I went over to a friend’s place for “craft night” – we watched Enchanted and knitted, painted and quilted. Amazing! I love those feel-good (and cheap) nights with friends. So much fun. Tomorrow M gets paid, and I’ll see how well I planned out the end/beginning-of-the-month finances. Hopefully it’ll go off without a snag. We’re going to carry a little bit of my credit card’s balance over, just so we have a cushion. Not my favorite thing to do, but oh well. Like I said, we’re doing much better this month.

So, if anyone has any advice or experience with online savings accounts, please leave a comment! Thanks!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


All things considered, today was a pretty normal Tuesday. I woke up feeling tired, since M and I stayed up watching The Hills last night (I hate hate HATE that show but M wanted to watch it. Don't ask.). I quickly showered and did nothing with my hair, which resulted in a very bad hair day. I couldn't find anything I wanted to wear and I ended up getting to work late. Again.

Work was S-L-O-W and I was bored for most of the day. Thankfully, my coworkers are hilarious and entertained me during lunch...and then some coworkers and I got coffee during the afternoon. So that was fun. However, Tuesdays mean Anatomy class - which usually isn't so bad, but I just wasn't feeling it tonight.

I get to class and we get our last test back - 109 out of 109. This cheers me up significantly, but I'm still feeling grumpy. I tell the girl who sits next to me that I'm tired, and she says, "Oh, I know - I'm going on 48 right now..." I have to clarify...because
surely she doesn't mean 48 hours without sleep. Right? Well, it turns out that is exactly what she means. With two jobs, four classes and a two-year-old, she's beyond burning the candle at both ends.

Suddenly I feel sheepish. I've been whining all day (to myself, but still) about getting up, bad hair, going to class, having to study, etc. - and she hasn't SLEPT in two days. Later on in class we're talking about her classes and she asks if I'm only taking this class. When I respond with a "yes," she goes on to say "well it's no wonder you get A's!" Once again, the sheepishness. I've been really proud of my high grades in this class, but it's true - I'm working full-time, but this is my only commitment. I don't have a child or a million things going on in my life. I'm worried about money and class and getting into nursing school - but I'm so LUCKY. I have an amazing husband, a great work environment, a pretty kitty and loving family. I'm healthy and we are on track to get out of debt.

Sometimes, you need perspective to smack you in the face so you can just chill and be grateful.

So that's what I'm doing tonight.

Monday, March 24, 2008

March Madness

Happy Monday everyone!!! That was for K. I personally do not approve of Mondays…but since they keep coming, I guess I should be somewhat nice to them.

I live in ACC country (and attended an ACC school), so am fully vested in the NCAA tournament. I was planning on only filling out a free bracket online with my old roommate’s family, but then I got roped into the office pool. Now, I know $5 is not a lot of money – but it’s a day’s lunch, or a skein of yarn (or two) or a pair of shoes from Rack Room Outlet! I mean…I’m just being practical here. Although I was unwilling to put my $5 in the pot, I must admit it makes work much more interesting when your boss shouts down the hall that she’s in the lead! Soooo I guess it’s ok.

March Madness doesn’t only refer to the crazy and unpredictable action of the NCAA tournament (DAVIDSON?? Seriously peeps, I’m proud of you and everything, but you seriously messed up my bracket.) – it also refers to the fact that M and I are trying really hard to get on track with our budget. We are sooooo close – and as I shared in an earlier post, I obsessively checked online and I think we’ll be OK this month.

However, there are some interesting things that came to light this weekend. M and I were at my parent’s house for the holiday weekend, and somehow I got on the subject of planning a trip to Europe. Don’t roll your eyes! I know we are in debt and have very lofty financial goals…but I thought that if we just put a bit of money aside every month, in a few years we would be able to go abroad. Well, that turned into Mike telling me that he would like to own a house by then (as in, within four years). The whole idea sounds very normal – I mean, he would be over 30 at that point – but it just seems very scary…and very unattainable. I’ve read some other PF blogs about people taking that leap, and it scares me for them!! It’s just a really adult thing to do.

Also, talking about this “Four-Year Plan” brought up another thing. Babies. M and I have talked about kids in the general…as in “oh, that baby is cute! Oh, that baby has giant ears! Ooooooh, that baby is scary!!” We’ve also talked “timetable” – such as…not now. With me leaning towards nursing school…it will definitely be a few more years (we hope) until we hear the little pitter-patter of feet. But, we don’t talk about it so much…and that’s ok. However, I realized with all this time talk that I was thinking about a five-year plan when it came to kids. Holy crap! It seems like we have a LOT of financial planning to do!

So yeah – that was my nutty weekend! I also re-learned how to knit, and started a quilt! I have a ton on my plate right now, but that’s how I like it. AND, my boss just came around with our paychecks! Yippie!!!

How was everyone else’s weekend??

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cutting Cable = Joy!

When the boy and I lived at our old apartment, we got drastically reduced cable and internet - thanks to the fact that he worked for the company that was renting us the place. Well, when he changed jobs and we moved to our new and bigger apt., we couldn't get the deal anymore...which was tragic since the bill came to $130 a month. For just cable and internet!! Now to be honest, we had gotten digital cable and DVR at our old apartment, which is not only fantastic (PAUSING shows, SKIPPING commercials, RECORDING shows with the push of a button - OMG), but addicting as well. So, we had to overcome that addiction and say goodbye.

Also, as a side note, may I say that Time Warner Cable sucks??

So M went to the cable place and returned the digital receiver...and told them we wanted basic cable (like, the $11 per month kind with 14 channels) and a slower (and cheaper) internet. Lovely! At first, we didn't even notice the change in internet speed (it's slightly slower), and the cable company still has not gotten rid of all our channels (we still get HBO, Discovery, MTV, CNN, etc.). However, the new rate didn't kick in the first month (stupid TWC), but now we have a $60 credit! Woot!

Not paying the outrageous cable bill is really helping our budget. AND, not paying the bill at all this month (or next) really helps us out too! Not to mention that TV is a complete brain-drain. Seriously. There were multiple evenings when M and I would sit in front of the TV for a few hours and then comment how "I can't remember one thing that we watched tonight" on our way to bed. Yeah - awful.

So, cutting cable is an amazing thing. You don't need digital cable and DVR (although it is great to rewind LOST to catch those "easter eggs"), use your VCR! And, ummmm, as an English major I have to tote the complete awesomeness of BOOKS. And hey, you can read those at the library (or at your local bookstore - once I read the entire Third Summer of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants at Borders/Barnes and Noble - don't judge, it's a great book!) - for FREE.

Anyway, what it comes down to is simplifying and enriching your life, and cutting cable did both of those things! Less TV = Joy!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Type A + Online Banking

So, I'm a first-born. That doesn't automatically make me a type-A personality, but I am one so whatever. Anyway. I'm sure the person that invented online banking thought it would be a swanky idea - Get all your bills in one place! Oh, the convenience! The problem is the accessibility...it gives us Type-A's something (else) to obsess over.

Example: This morning I was thinking about money (again) and wanted to check in on the checking account - BTW, it's my joint checking account, and I'll rant about that some other time - and so I went online. My innocent checking-in-on-the-finances turned into an obsessive play-by-play for the next few weeks. I wanted to see if we would be OK this month, even though BOTH our credit cards are ridiculously high. Thankfully, we will. I won't be able to put as much into savings as I wanted...but at least the cards won't carry a balance.

On a credit note, I am very proud of my spending this month - only $26 on the credit card so far! Granted, gas is unbelievably high and I'll have to fill up the car when we go home for Easter - but still. I'm excited!

::cough cough COUGH::

I still have that cold. No me gusta.

Anyway, I'm off - I have to go home and study study study for my test tomorrow. YAY cells, tissues, DNA & RNA!

Friday, March 14, 2008


So...it's 5:15 p.m. on a Friday, and I am still at work. Yup. I'm waiting for a press proof to arrive so I can grab it and then hand-deliver said proof to my boss. Who left for the day.

I now know how my friend feels who works at an advertising firm...only she is there until the wee hours of the morning! Not cool.

Anyways...I am very excited about this whole blog thing, even though my friend K. says that "Blogs are so 2002" - I am not amused. My significant other was wondering if the Blog's name would be "Dani Dorko" - also not cool!!! Sheesh. Give a sistah a break here.


I HATE COLDS! Even when they get you out of work for a day ... and you get to stay home and wander around in a Sudafed delirium...wear your robe all day...and talk to the cat. I like my cat.

BUT, back to waiting. I do not like to wait. For anything. Patience is not a virtue I've mastered...which could be the reason why I got married at 23. I always want the next thing...to get over that next hurdle. On Monday, I always wish it was the end of the day, so I can get home to M and D. Actually, I just want it to be Friday!

Even though today is Friday, I'm thinking about Tuesday - I have a test in Anatomy class on Tuesday and I haven't started studying yet. Blech!

Yuppers...Still waiting for that proof...

Maybe I'll go play a puzzle until it comes...hopefully soon.

BTW, Happy Pi Day!!