Monday, July 29, 2013

Update for July and August Goals

As stated in a previous entry (click here),  I had set 3 goals for the months of July and August. Since July is about to end in a couple of days, I've decided to post an update.

Goal # 1 - Lose 5 lbs by August 09, 2013
So far, I had lost 2.5 lbs. Yes, half-way there... I still have until the 9th so... *crosses fingers.* Actually it fluctuates between 2.5 to 3 lbs, depending on what I eat of drink. It didn't help that for my brother's birthday, we ordered in food from this nearby Portuguese restaurant, Portuguese Churrasqueira.The food was delicious, and you definitely get more for what you pay than what you would get in other restaurants. Needless to say, my belly was happy, the scale was not.

Goal # 2 - Pay off two of my credit cards by August 31, 2013
I am proud to say that I have accomplished this within two weeks of posting the original entry. I am now replacing this with a new goal, which is to pay off the next credit card within three months. This credit card will take a little longer to pay off due to its balance being a little higher, but I am hoping that I can do this within three months. :)

Goal # 3 - Organize all my receipts and documents by July 23, 2013
Okay, so technically I did meet this goal but not quite the way I had planned. First, I didn't finish until the 24th. I procrastinated up until the 23rd, thinking it was going to be really easy. Turned out, I was wrong. I had accumulated bags full of receipts and junk mail. I had to sort through them and weed out the ones that I can/need to get rid of. Second, even though I had sorted through them, and organized them as best as I can by the 24th, it took another day and a half to shred the unwanted ones. I can only shred so much before the shredder overheats. Yes, it was that much that my shredder had to take breaks. Third, new junk mail keeps arriving in the mail, and new receipts (from the hubby, of course) keep showing up to be filed. And fourth, I know I have bins full of old(er) receipts and documents that I had stashed away in places that are not too easy to reach (under the bed, on top of the closet, under bins of yarns...).  But once I get to them it's just a matter of shredding them so no biggie. Also, I was able to finally check all my lotto tickets. No, I am not a millionaire (yet), but I am $28 richer.

At this point, 2.5 out 3 goals is not bad at all. I have never been so motivated before. I expect to accomplish more in the future, and will be posting a new entry with my new set of goals. Until then...


Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Seven Baby Steps

As some of you may know, I have been focused on getting my financial life in order so I can then achieve my other goals. My goals are:

1. To pay off all my credit cards
2. Buy a house
3. Start having babies (LOL)
4. Own a business
5. Retire in style

Yes, Goal # 3 sounds funny coming from me, but eventually I do want kids. I say "eventually" because I want to own a house first before I start popping them out. I want to be financially in control because having a baby is expensive. Imagine the expenses involved in buying/owning a house (utilities, mortgage, TAXES, repairs, to name a few), then you add a baby to the list.

Owning a house will always come with financial burden (for lack of a better word), but that's the thing... I don't want it to be a burden. Realistically, having a baby first then buying a house, or having a baby and buying a house at the same time, can be done... And I'm sure it has been done this way more times than not... But wouldn't it be better if my husband and I are financially stable before we have a baby?

I've heard different things from different people. One, told me that it was just another (about) $100 extra monthly expense. I don't believe her. LOL. Maybe for the diapers and food... but in the long run (*ahem* college), it'll be much more. Plus, I want to be able to provide comfortably for my future children. I want to be able to buy every single one of them the latest in toys, gadgets, etc... if I want to. Yes, if I want to. It doesn't mean I will. I don't want to super spoil them, but I want to know that I could.

With these (long term) goals in mind, I have been reading and researching a lot about budgeting, paying off debts, and eventually living debt-free. One financial "guru" really made an impact on me- Dave Ramsey from Granted, he's selling books and software to help you "change your life," but his website is still full of information on how to get to your financial goals, and how to secure your financial future. I have never read any of his books, nor have I tried his software, but what I love about his website is the fact that someone like me, who knows pretty much nothing about finances, is not overwhelmed by all the information. He (or his people) had listed things in steps, and had explained everything in layman's terms.

One of the things that really got my attention is The Seven Baby Steps.

Baby Step 1 - $1000 to start an Emergency Fund
From what I understand, this is different from a Savings Fund/Account. This is strictly for emergencies, such as unplanned car or house repairs, or hospital bills. I say "unplanned" because if you can somehow plan for it, factor it in your budget without having the need to dip in this fund, then I guess it's not really an emergency. The money in this fund cannot be touched unless it's an emergency. I believe a Savings Fund is for your future and, I guess, for super-emergencies only...

 Baby Step 2 - Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
I especially love and agree with this one! You pay off the smaller debts (balances) first, then work yourself up to the big stuff. In this method, the interest rate doesn't matter unless you come across a debt that it pretty much around the same amount. When you do, you pay off the one with the higher interest rate first, obviously. You pretty much pay the monthly minimum for the other bills, concentrating/paying more towards the smallest bill. Once you pay off that debt, you then put whatever dollar amount you were using to pay for it monthly towards the next smaller debt. You keep doing this until all your debts are paid. I love it and its concept! Once you pay off a debt, no matter how small, it gives you this feeling of accomplishment and keeps you motivated. It's like losing weight... Once you see the numbers on the scale going down, it keeps you motivated to stick to your diet!

Baby Step 3 - Three to Six months of expenses in savings
The goal here is to have enough money in your savings to support you and your family for three to six months should you lose your job. First, you need to calculate how much you need/spend monthly, multiply it by three or six. The dollar amount you come up with is your minimum goal to have in your savings.

Baby Step 4 - Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
Once you've accomplished Steps 1 to 3, meaning you have no debt, then you can start investing. I am already doing this (although not 15%) through my 401K. I guess once I reach this step, I should really be investing 15%, and hopefully, I would be more stock market "savvy," that way I would be investing in areas where I can get the maximum rewards.

Baby Step 5 - College funding for children
I didn't really research this area that much, but apparently, you have to figure out how much you should be saving at 12% interest in order to have enough for college. I'm assuming this is per kid. Need I say more? If I choose not to have kids, can I skip this step? LOL.

Baby Step 6 - Pay off your house early
At this point, you should have extra money (even while doing Steps 4 and 5) that you should put towards paying off your mortgage. That way, you'll truly be debt-free earlier.

Baby Step 7 - Build wealth and give
Enjoy the fruit of your success and hard work, but try to leave an inheritance for future generations. Also, don't forget to give back and help the less fortunate ones!

I can't wait to start crossing things off this list. I have definitely met the requirement for Step 1, I am currently working on Step 2, and I am sort of doing Steps 3 and 4. I am getting there... LOL.


Friday, July 19, 2013

The 52 Week Money Challenge (Weeks 1 & 2 Update)

Week 01 - July 12, 2013
Week 02 - July 19, 2013

Current Savings : $3

(Image courtesy of: - I'm just adding the red check marks as I go along.

As of today, I have $3 saved up for this challenge! Whoo Hoo! LOL.

In other news, I am currently working on a pair of gloves, and catching up on my "shows." I just got around to watching last season's Leverage, and I just found out that it was canceled back in December due to its ratings falling. Bummer... I really loved that show. Plus, I loved the actors/actresses, their characters, and their onscreen chemistry. :(

Now, let's talk True Blood:
     - Not liking the Billith story line, but I do like the Vampire-Faery twist.
     - Eric Northman, a.k.a. Mr. Alex Skarsgard, still F****** HOT.
     - Still love Pam and her feistiness!
     - Could not stand Tara as a human, but love her as a vamp!
     - Sam's sex appeal (?) is just not doing it at all for me.
     - Lafayette is still Lafayette. Love, love, love!
     - I still find Alcide (Joe Manganiello) hot, but I am not a fan of how his character has been acting at the moment. That she-wolf (bitch? LOL) has been getting on my nerves... She needs to go. Really.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Thor Beanie (Knit and Crochet)

I actually started (and almost finished) this around the time I made the Loki Beanie. But before I could sew the wings on to the beanie, I misplaced the beanie. Seeing the Thor 2 movie trailer, I was motivated to work on this project again, and I decided to just start from scratch. The beanie and the wings were inspired by/based on several photos I've seen on the internet.

The beanie was knitted, using a light (heather) gray yarn. The "silver" yarn I found was just not thick enough to my liking. I crocheted the wings using white yarn, and hand sewn it to the beanie.

(Sorry for the low quality photos. I was too lazy -and too excited- to take decent ones...)

Thor v. Loki? I have a soft spot for "bad" boys, so Team Loki all the way! (Also, because I find Tom Hiddleston hot!)



UPDATE: November 06, 2013

The Thor and Loki beanies are now available for sale at :)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Let's Talk Knits...

I know it's summer and it's too damn hot to even think about winter accessories, or even just handling yarn in general, but how pretty is this scarf?

Image courtesy of: Maryse Roudier

It's called the Gathered Scarf, and the pattern is by the very talented Maryse Roudier. Even her name sounds cool! This is definitely going under My Future Projects section, and I can't wait to work on it. As of now, I am currently working on 3 (knitting & crocheting) projects, which I hope to finish soon.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The 52 Week Money Challenge

To help me save, I've enlisted my sisters and the hubby to do this challenge with me.

What is it?
A simple way to save money. I won't have a boat load of money at the end, but it's still extra cash. Plus, I am mostly doing this to condition myself to put away a little money every week. It's starts off small, which I think is great! If I do it this way, I have a higher chance of completing (than quitting) this challenge.

How does it work?
I have to save the dollar amount of whatever week I am in. For example, I have to save $1 for Week 1, $2 for Week 2, $3 for Week 3, and so on... It'll be $52 for Week 52. By the end of this challenge, I should have $1378.

(Image courtesy of:

Oh yes, I am dead serious about saving and being frugal. Can you tell? LOL.

On a different note, I was able to catch up on my reading recently. And of course, first up on my list was Dead Ever After, the thirteenth and final installment in the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I don't want to spoil it for the others who have yet to read it, but I am disappointed with it. Actually, halfway through, I was very tempted to just stop reading. But I invested (money and time) in the other twelve novels, and I felt I owe it to the characters, whom I have grown to love, to finish it. I was (still am) disappointed with the main and sub plots of this particular installment. And of course, even though I saw it coming, I was still disappointed that Sookie did not end up with the one I was hoping she would. (If you know me, you know who I'm referring to.) The ending, and how she tried to tie everything up, just didn't make that much sense to me... There were a lot of inconsistencies. The writing felt sloppy and rushed. In addition to the book being very anti-climatic, the author pretty much murdered all the characters. She just didn't seem to care any more. After all that the characters (and I) have been through from Book One to Twelve, this book was a big -please excuse my language- F*CK YOU to the characters and the readers. That's what it was. I will just leave it at that.

Image courtesy of:

On a good note, the ending wasn't concrete so who knows...? Actually, Charlaine Harris is coming out with another book, After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse, so there is still hope. Although it is not a novel, I may still get the ending I want. From what I understand, it will just list all the characters of the book and what happened to them in the future. I am considering buying it... (Even though I probably shouldn't since, clearly, the author seems to have lost all care for the characters, and her readers... Maybe I'll just borrow it from the library then. LOL.) And yes, I am crossing my fingers that I will still somehow get the "H.E.A." I want. :)


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"Budgets are a necessary evil."

Frugal - [froo-guhl]
1. economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful: What your office needs is a frugal manager who can save you money without resorting to painful cutbacks.
thrifty, chary, provident, careful, prudent, penny-wise, scrimping; miserly, Scotch, penny-pinching.
     wasteful, extravagant, spendthrift, prodigal, profligate.
2. entailing little expense; requiring few resources; meager; scanty: a frugal meal.
     scant, slim, sparing, skimpy.
     luxurious, lavish, profuse.

(Definition courtesy of:

Ever since I got my first job at the age of seventeen, I have always been financially independent from my parents. I never asked them for pocket money, or allowance. I would buy my own clothes, shoes, etc. And since it's my own money, I didn't have to explain my expenses to my parents. And maybe it's this taste of "independence" that got me where I am today- a person who needs a crash course on frugality.

I have long achieved financial independence, now I need to achieve financial freedom. In order to accomplish the long-term part of Goal # 2 from my previous post (to pay off all my debts), I need to be more careful with how, and where, I spend my hard-earned cash. I don't need to be one of those hard-core frugal people. I just need to be better in managing my finances if I were to follow through on this. With this in mind, I have decided to make a list of things I can do to help guide me.

1. No more eating out.
     Unless, of course, it's unavoidable. Let's be realistic: I am not giving up "going out," or hanging out with friends. And for most of the times, going out comes with spending. Plus, sometimes you have to eat out for special occasions. I just have to limit, set budget, and brown-bag it whenever I can. After all, I am trying to be frugal, not cheap.
2. No more unnecessary purchases.
     No doubt, I am guilty of this. However, if I come across the perfect pair of red, strap, stiletto sandals, I will buy it. I have been on the hunt since I broke my favorite pair a couple of years ago. But I will give up buying yarn and makeup (two of my many weaknesses!) I don't need. (Ugh! This means I have to give up my weekly trips to A.C. Moore, Michael's, Target, Harmon, and/or Sephora!)
3. No more new clothes.
     Key word: new. If I want to update my wardrobe, I will try to refashion what I already own, or just borrow from my sisters. That's what they are there for! LOL. Actually, this will give me the motivation to be more creative... Time to break out the sewing machine. :)
4. My savings account is OFF LIMITS!
     I have to remember that a savings account is for real emergencies only. Also, I will try to put a percentage of my paycheck every pay day.

I am also giving myself a weekly allowance, which I can either spend or save. I know it's going to be harder than it sounds but I am willing to really try. Hopefully, this guideline will make it easier. I just have to remind myself that I am doing this to reach a bigger goal- to buy a house. :)

Now since we are on the subject of being frugal, I feel the need to confess... I did just buy the Samsung Galaxy S4 this past Sunday. Did I need it? Of course not, but I wanted it. I promise that this will be my last unnecessary splurge. (I think...)

And speaking of unnecessary spending. I had to go to on an unscheduled visit to my doctor yesterday, which led to me paying a $50 co-pay. It was all because I have a soft spot for spiders. I wouldn't let my co-worker kill a spider yesterday. In fact, I tried to save it. And since I have no fear of them, I decided to bring/carry the little guy outside with my bare hands. Of course, the spider, not knowing what I was up to, decided to bite me in defense. (Oh yes, the irony...)

At first, it wasn't a big deal, but then I started to experience a slight tingling, which then proceeded to slowly spread up my arm. Apparently, that was the spider's venom slowly spreading through. I had to go to my doctor to get medication, which was administered by injection in my uh... gluteal region. Now a day later, the tingling is gone and my arm feels better. All that is left of my experience is a tiny spider bite on my left palm (which now looks like a mosquito bite), a (still) sore butt cheek, and a $50 hole in my wallet. Lesson learned. LOL.


Goals for July and August

"... Okay, so, um... like what are your guys' hopes and dreams?"  - Josie Geller in Never Been Kissed


Oh, I have big dreams. And in order to achieve them , I need to make major changes in my life. Lately, I've been thinking about making these changes more so than ever. I do this a lot. I make a list of goals but then fall short of following through on them. This time, maybe if I blog about it, I will actually accomplish them. I will make them realistic and attainable. And if I have to, I will also break each goal down so that I don't overwhelm myself, especially with paying off my debt. I will also give myself target dates, that way I am really forced to stick to whatever it is I need to do to get to where I want to be.

Goal # 1 - Lose 5 lbs by August 09, 2013
Since the husband and I met, I have put on about 15 lbs. My goal is to lose only 5 lbs because I actually lost 10 lbs already. What?! What?! I heard that it is really hard to lose the last 5 lbs but I have gotten this far so I know I can do it! I just need to be stronger. Lately, my cravings have been out of control... I must keep them in check!

Goal # 2 - Pay off two of my credit cards by August 31, 2013
The goal is really to pay off all my debt. Eventually. Sadly, I have quite a collection of credit cards... Let's face it, I won't be able to pay them off overnight. It will definitely take months. But so I don't overwhelm myself, I will just do one or two credit cards at a time. Since this is the internet, that is all I will mention in this category. One can't be too careful nowadays...

Goal # 3 - Organize all my receipts and documents by July 23, 2013
I am giving myself two weeks to do this. This includes checking all those lotto tickets I have bought and accumulated. I could already be a millionaire and not know it! (Hey, that will take care of Goal # 2!)

I think three goals for now should do it. If I happen to accomplish one before the target date, then I will update it, and add another goal or two.

Wish me luck!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Well, hello there...

Whenever I neglect my blog, I always feel the need to start off by explaining myself... to give some sort of a valid excuse. But the truth is, the main reason I haven't blogged is plain laziness. And since I am being honest, the reason I am blogging right now is also laziness. I am supposed to be cleaning, and in the middle of it, I chose to take a little break and blog. Yes, because I just had to. Procrastination in its truest form.

Now that that is out of the way, let me go back to cleaning. Next up on my list... shredding old documents and receipts. Yay! Fun!

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