Saturday, November 29, 2008

What Did I Purchase On Black Friday?

Nothing. I did indeed go shopping, but it was more so to spend time with my friend than to actually buy anything. Well if you count the lunch I bought at the mall, I spent $10. I saw some nice perfumes and really cute clothing, but nothing I absolutely had to have. It probably helps that I stayed out of Zara and H&M, the two stores that are my budgetary kryptonite.

I still plan to use my first December paycheck to load a Visa gift card with $200 and when its spent, that means I'm done my Christmas shopping. I will also give friends, co-workers and aquaintances holiday cards as I have been doing for the past two years. I refuse to incur more debt just because it's the holiday season.

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, I'm just trying to enjoy the rest of my weekend...Monday means back to reality and priorities in the following order: (1) work, (2) two papers to write, (3) two finals to start studying for (4) and a fundraiser (for the non profit I am a board member of) to make final plans for that is taking place next week.

The tragic death of the Wal-Mart employee in New York puts things in perspective and makes me ashamed of the conspicuous consumption that takes place this time of year (even in the midst of this economic slump). No deal is worth the loss of a life.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I am thankful for...

I am thankful for my family, friends, my health and the promise of the future. Today is a day not to obsess over the little things like how much further I have to reach my personal and professional goals, but give thanks for the big things, like spending the holiday with my loved ones. I hope any one who is reading this is able to do the same.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Credit Cards

I am on track to pay off my Discover credit card balance ($250) with my first pay check of December. If I do receive a holiday bonus this year (I wasn't at my current job this time last year, so I'm not sure if we get one), half will go toward textbooks for the Spring 2009 semester of my classes and the other half will go toward my Visa card balance. I will decide how much money I can comfortably afford to put down on my Visa card balance per month in December, but I am leaning toward $300. I hope by seriously cutting back on my discretionary spending (a.k.a. - shopping!) starting in January, that I will be able to pay off this credit card by the end of 2009. I'm anxious to start saving for my car, and I won't do that until this credit card is paid off.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yet another goal to save for...

I want one of trusty laptop that I've had since my junior year of college has served me well, but I'd really like an upgrade. Hey I'm only human, and my laptop is frustratingly slow. So I've started yet another savings pot for a MacBook and added my fall semester financial aid refund check to it (but I am not adding this goal as a sidebar). I am only supposed to spend the refund on school-related expenses, and I think a reliable computer counts as a school-related expense right? Unless some type of computer catastrophe strikes in the interim, I hope to fully fund this goal and purchase a MacBook sometime next year.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weekend Spending

It’s been way too long since I’ve done a weekend spending log. I plan to do better with that in the upcoming weeks when my spending has the potential to get really out of hand because of the holidays, so I have to be vigilant about keeping track. I didn’t spend all that much money over the weekend. Spending the last several Friday evenings in my 8-week class really does a good job of curbing my Friday spending. I have a bad habit of shopping after work on Fridays and I have not been able to do that. I know I am probably the last person, but I finally saw Iron Man over the weekend and it was pretty good. Movies come and go so fast, sometimes it’s just easier to wait until I can rent it. I attended a jewelry party over the weekend and purchased a pair of silver earrings for $20 which was the amount I allotted myself to spend at the party. There was also a woman selling handbags and another giving henna tattoos, but I opted out of both of those purchases because I really didn’t want to spend anymore money. I made an online credit card payment of $100 over the weekend also, but I didn’t count that into my total because it won’t clear for another day or so.

Movie Rental $4.00
iTunes album download $11.00

Earrings $20.00
Groceries $33.00
Metro fare $3.00

Eyebrow shaping $10.00
Window shopping for gift ideas...FREE

TOTAL: 81.00

People seeking to make a quick buck off of the Inauguration

Since I live in the District, the whole city has been buzzing about the Inauguration activities that will be taking place in honor of President-elect, Barack Obama. I am excited about the prospect of being so close to all of these activities, but I since I don’t have personal or professional connections (working on it though!) to take advantage of to gain entrance to any events (so far), I am relegating myself to events open to the general public. I would like to attend at least one Inauguration Ball partially because of the opportunity to be apart of a historical event and partly because I love to dress up.

One thing about this whole flurry of Inauguration talk that I hear everywhere from work, to conversations with friends, to overhearing random tidbits of convos on the Metro is: Where will out-of-towners stay because it is virtually impossible to get a hotel room anywhere near DC? Homeowners are taking advantage of this fact by attempting to rent out rooms and even their entire homes to out-of-town guests coming for the Inauguration. Washingtonians plan to rent out their homes for astronomical prices to make some quick money.

I respect your hustle if you plan on going through the headache of finding reliable tenants, clearing your home of personal effects, and being prepared for any damage your short-term tenants could inflict on your personal effects or property. Since I rent and don’t own my place, I am not taking any chances. It’s just not worth it for me…though I live in an ideal part of the city for that sort of thing. I have a good relationship with my landlord and am not trying to mess things up by having subleter’s damage my apartment. But my friends are welcome to come visit me and couch surf to take in some of the events with me if they so desire.

So I’m just curious, would you sublet/rent out your place if you were in the DC area to make some money off of the Inauguration activites?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Today was an accidental no-spend day

What does a day-off from work due to Veteran's Day and two looming deadlines for grad school assignments equal? An accidental no-spend day! During a mid-week vacation day, I would have normally gone out to shop, seen a movie, met a friend for lunch, or at least take a coffee-run to Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts, but with a group project to prepare for and a paper to finish by tomorrow, I did the practical thing and did my school work and some other tasks I needed to take care of. I also took a great mid-day nap.

If I ever start my own company, I will have plenty of couches for people to take optional naps in lieu of lunch breaks, because I for one feel so much more productive after a nap! But I digress, maybe on a week when I have a fully stocked fridge and a week's worth of money on my Metro card, I will try a whole no-spend week...well maybe I'll try that after the holidays.

What is the longest stretch you have gone without spending money?

Monday, November 10, 2008

November Goals

The month of October flew by, It is hard to believe its over. I know its 10 days into the month, but now is the time to set my goals for the month:
  1. Choose holiday gifts for my immediate family. I have a self imposed budget of $150 for gifts this year. I will load a Visa gift card with this amount and once its gone, I'm done shopping. This amount does not include my mother's gift which is also a very belated birthday present, so will be pricer than every other gift I purchase. I'm open to any home made gift ideas any one might have!
  2. Purchase holiday cards for friends and family members and mail them.
  3. Register for Winter/Spring 2009 grad school classes after talking with my advisor. Price textbooks which will be purchased in December.
  4. Put in request for any time I will need off from work for the rest of the year.
  5. Go to the gym a minimum of once a week. There are a few classes I want to try out including this dance inspired workout called Zumba.
  6. Attend a minimum of one professional or networking event. Meet a minumum of at least three people at any event I attend and keep in touch with them (via email).
  7. Formally ask at least one person I admire professionally to mentor me. Set up expectations both ways so this can be a mutually beneficial relationship.
I decided to scrap my goals from last month because I did not make progress on many of them. In debt repayment news, I should have my Discover card paid off by next month! When the balance is zero, I will re-focus on paying down my Visa card.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get Out and VOTE!!!

I'll leave all of the political commentary to the political bloggers, but I hope that those who haven't voted early get out and vote today. It's not necessary for me to explain who I voted for and why, but I will say that I cast my vote first thing this morning. Your voice should be heard also, every vote counts!