Monthly Archives: April 2012

Stay Open to Options

It has been a pretty crazy week! I worked on so many projects and papers this weekend, my head was literally ready to explode, and I was ready to punch a wall. For a couple days there, I thought I was broken. I felt very depressed and unmotivated, and thought great this is me…I don’t want to be me! Well, thankfully I saw my friends and went for a run. I am back to my energetic self! I am hoping this motivated me stays along for the ride this week. This is the last stretch of the semester! I can do it and so can you!!! For those who are out of school, do you remember your last week?

I realized that for the past year, I have been limiting myself in terms of opportunities. Granted I have worked really hard, picked up great leadership opportunities, and really built an impressive set of skills, but I have been focusing on this definite path for a career. I crafted this ideal career path, and set particular goals. I have said no to a couple of opportunities because it didn’t fit what I wanted to do.

So now, I am reminding myself that I have to keep my mind open to any opportunities that might pop up and surprise me. I have to remember that life is full of surprises and opportunities. I think I am ready to say “Bring it on world!”

Have you found yourself limiting yourself by not considering certain opportunities?

SavvyFinancialLatina

P.S. Back to work for me. I have to finish all my schoolwork by Friday…so close! I also have to rent a car.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Remember when you were a kid and wanted to be an astronaut? I recall wanting to be a senator, lawyer, software engineer, and a successful business woman.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? What are you now?

I have been trying to figure out what the future holds, and what my plan is for that future. Every time I run into an “adult,” they ask me what do you want to do? I have a professional answer to the question, of course, but, honestly I don’t know what I want to do.

I know that whatever I end up doing should make me happy. Because that’s what I want to be: happy! Life is too short to just work my entire life.

Now, the question is how will I align happiness with my career goals. How have you aligned your happiness with your career and life goals?

Have a great Sunday everybody!

SavvyFinancialLatina

Going Back to School in the Fall

Cover of Supply Chain Management Review

Cover of Supply Chain Management Review (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, I decided that I am going back to school in the fall. I only have 3 courses to finish my MBA, so I might as well get it over and done with, right? I have applied for a couple scholarships and will hear back in the summer. Although I am really hoping to get a scholarship, I am not betting on it. I’m sure there are more qualified candidates than me with better essays. I already have a $1,000 scholarship for the next four semesters, as long as I take 5 graduate hours. I should have applied for a couple more scholarships, but I’m no wonder woman, I can only do so much. Please don’t hate :/

I already registered for one class: Flexible Manufacturing Strategy. It’s from Tuesdays from 4 to 7 pm. I heard it is a really interesting class. Hard, but cool! I am a little excited about it (that’s the school nerd speaking there). I know, I know…I have been saying I am burned out with school. And I am…but hopefully a couple months off from school will change that. In case you are wondering what the course entails:

The use of automation in manufacturing is continuously increasing. This course covers the variety of types of flexible automation, including flexible manufacturing systems, integrated circuit fabrication and assembly, and robotics. Examples of international systems are discussed to show the wide variety of systems designs and problems. Strategic as well as economic justification issues are covered.

I have also been advised by some of my older friends to take Demand and Revenue Management. Description below. But I had the professor for Supply Chain Management, and he sucked. The class was extremely hard and he was not very good at explaining anything. They say the Demand and Revenue class is his baby, he loves it, and it’s very informational. My professor did the bag pricing algorithm for airlines.

 This course focuses on the expense involved in managing conventional and idiosyncratic demand through the supply process. Demand for a single unit or an assembly (network) of units requires forecasting that incorporates prices and macroeconomic factors. Perishable supplies are optimally priced by considering their amount (inflated in overbooking), location, vintage, and customer classes. This approach is relevant for airlines, hotels, parks, rental cars, broadcasters, art/sport events, and retailers.

I am, also, considering doing some classes online. Has anybody had any experience with MBA programs online?

Which means this summer I have to save $5,000 to pay for tuition. Yikes!!! Can you believe the cost of tuition….sigh it’s a little depressing. Guess I’ll be waitressing and doing odd jobs to fund my tuition account, on top of looking for an internship/full time job. Knowing that I want to return to school in the fall is helping my anxiety a little bit. Remember, I am a planner.

I’m not going to lie, this week has been tough. I know that the semester is almost over, but this last stretch is extremely painful especially since I have no motivation to do my work.I just can’t wait to go to South Carolina!!! First actual vacation in 3 years! Trying to stay positive readers.

How about you? Any decisions you have made recently you want to share? Anyone going to school in the fall or are in school now?

SavvyFinancialLatina

P.S. 10 More Days Left After Today

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Pushing Forward

I heard back from two companies about jobs the past week. I did not get a job offer from one, although I was very close. I was basically told to come back after two years of work experience. Lesson learned: I need to be more confident about my abilities and express my critical thinking skills in a better manner. It was a great company, but the job was going to be very demanding. Travel 80% and hours during the week and weekend. Part of me feels disappointed that I didn’t make the final cut. Another part of me feels glad that I didn’t get it because of the intensity of the job. After four years fast tracking through my bachelor’s and graduate degree, I want to relax a bit, enjoy time with friends, workout, read books. You are only 22 once in your life right? Unfortunately, I am not sure if this attitude goes hand in hand with having a competitive career?

I got a job from the second company, but was extremely surprised to have them offer a whopping 14K less and less benefits than what I was offered last year with just my undergrad. Not to mention I am bilingual. I have to call them to turn them down tomorrow. Here’s a lesson that I learned from that interview: Always ask salary range before the interview. I spent too many hours pursuing a job with a low salary. I think this is going to come bite me later on.

So, now I am back to square one. I really need to concentrate of finishing this semester. Ten more days- two more exams, two more papers, two more presentations. Then, I can go on vacation, reenergize and get back on the job search horse.

I talked to my husband about our plans for the summer. Basically, we figured out that since I don’t have a job yet we are going to have to move in with his parents temporarily this summer. We will also have to postpone my car purchase.

11 More days Left. I think I can do it.

SavvyFinancialLatina

Working on Our First Post School Budget

So, in Saturday’s post I mentioned that I have been scared to start dreaming or planning for the future because I don’t know where we are going to land yet. But I really really want to share my proposed budget. The hubby and I have a couple of dreams for the future. He wants to start his own business, but we need money to invest in it, and a good cushion if it goes south. This is a dream, who knows when it will happen, but we want to save up for it. Thus, for the next 3 years after graduation we need to save. We want to have fun, too though. So my job is to find the perfect balance of having fun and saving.

So, I know we need to invest in our 401Ks, max out ROTH IRAs, build emergency fund, build travel fund, build savings. So many goals, where do we even start? Well, since I don’t know how much our salaries are going to be, I cannot project anything on this part yet. Instead, I am going to work on our budget.

So my target maximum spend per month is $3,000. $3K is after taking out taxes, FICA, healthcare, 401K contributions, ROTH IRA, savings. This is how much I think we can spend and be happy. No more. Totally happy if it’s less.

Fixed Expenses: Rent, Renter’s Insurance, Car Insurance, Netflix, Cable, Internet, Netflix, LA Fitness, Cell Phone, Electricity (sort of..), Monthly Prescriptions.

Right now this is what I budget- Rent ($520), Renter’s Ins. ($14), Netflix ($9), Cable/Internet ($93-$140), LA Fitness ($33), Cell ($40), Electricity ($36-$90), Meds($115). Car insurance & my hubby’s cellphone is deducted from his paycheck. We also live in a really cheap apt. We want to upgrade. LA Fitness will increase to $50 once I am added to his plan. Cable/Internet has been weird. We need to get a better deal. ATT is really expensive. With a promotion we were paying $93 for cable and internet. Without promotion cable and internet is $140. We cut off cable, and kept the internet. But hubby wants cable again. My cellphone is a really cheap plan on a really bad network -MetroPCS-. It works, but I will need a better cellphone once I start working. 

Variable: Groceries, Take Out, Gas, Entertainment, Car Maintenance, Extra Medical Expenses, Gifts, Other.

Allowances: Monthly Allowance for Me & Hubby (We can spend our “allowance on anything”)

**There are no car payments because we will be paying for my car in cash, and my husband will own his car outright by June or July. No student loan payments either.

***I am thinking about taking out $50-$100 out every month for our Christmas gifts fund.

**** I also have an excel sheet where I used to keep track of our expenses. But I need more tools to make life easier. I just opened up a Mint account.

It’s good to have my thoughts on paper now. This is a work in progress, to be continued.

SavvyFinancialLatina

P.S. 15 Days To Go

The Top Ten Lessons Steve Jobs Taught Us

I wanted to write a post that motivated all of us to improve and be better. I, also, know that some of us are feeling pretty anxious and stressed out over things. Erika at FromShopping to Saving got accepted to law school and is feeling a little anxious about it. Michelle at Sense of Cents is finishing up her semester and is really frustrated over school projects. I’m also super anxious and stressed out. I hope this brings motivation to your day.

Click on this link to be redirected to the article
1. The most enduring innovations marry art and science.
2. To create the future, you can’t do it through focus group.
3. Never fear failure.
4. You can’t connect the dots forward- only backward.
5. Listen to that voice in the back of your that tells you if you’re in the right track or not.
6. Expect a lot from yourself and others.
7. Don’t care about being right. Care about succeeding.
8. Find the most talented people to surround yourself with.
9. Stay hungry, stay foolish.
10. Anything is possible through hard work, determination, and a sense of vision

Some nifty quotes from Steve Jobs himself. From his Stanford Commencement Speech:

“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

SavvyFinancialLatina

P.S. 16 MORE DAYS UNTIL FREEDOM!!!

P.S.S. I emailed my advisor to register for fall classes to finish MBA.

Indulging in Dreams

It’s Saturday afternoon. I’m sitting at Starbucks working on my laptop while my hubby is at the gym. Now, usually from 3-5 pm I have pilates and cardio kickboxing, but due to a family dinner we have tonight, I decided against it. I had a brunch this morning for a mentoring program I participated in, and then stopped by a friend’s house to pick up a finance book I need for Tuesday. If you don’t know already, I am counting down until I finish my studies this semester. It has been an extremely rough year, and it’s finally catching up to me. The good thing is that I did last this long, right? It’s crazy. Honestly I can’t believe I am already graduating. Four years ago I was still studying and taking AP and IB exams. I had just decided to come to my university, and had started planning what courses I wanted to take. It was an exciting time. I was going to move out and live on my own at college! Those times honestly make me smile.

Indulging in dreams have kept me going for a long time. I have been a little scared to indulge in dreams lately. I have no idea what’s going to happen next month. Will I have a job?

But I have realized that there’s not point in not indulging in dreams. Why should I be scared? So here is some insight into what my daydreams consist of lately:

1. Traveling- We are going to Hilton Head in 2 weeks and of course, I am so excited about it. One of my BFFs is moving to Boston for her Grad program in August, and I am going to visit her! I also have a friend moving to LA. I want to go visit my family in Mexico.

2. Car- I cannot wait to have my own wheels :) . That’s all I have to say about that.

3. Routine- I have no routine at school. I can be working anytime during the day or night. If I do other things during weekends, I regret it during the week. Is it bad that I’m looking forward to the 8-5 routine?

4. Paycheck- Duh???  Who doesn’t want money???

5. Saving- Cannot wait to start contributing to our 401Ks, maxing out our ROTH IRAs, and start building up our savings.

On another note, Panda Express is genius. They put it right next to Starbucks. It’s also overrated. I totally should not have spent $8 on it. I am now $8.16 poorer.

What are you up to on this fancy day?

SavvyFinancialLatina

P.S. I need to register for fall classes to finish my MBA. :(

My Roots

Tonight, in my endless pursuit of avoiding my dreaded papers and studying, I ended up reading The Happy Homeowner’s Confessions of a PF Blogger. Her story took my back to my roots, how I ended up in the US, and learned how to speak the English language. Everyone has a story that shapes who they are, here is a small part of mine.

I remember playing with my younger cousin Emi in my grandmother’s backyard. It was a beautiful day and the sun was shining. We were playing in the sand, speaking in some language that only kids understand. I remember talking about how I was going to learn English, and subsequently, saying gibberish in an attempt to imitate the English language. At that time I was only  4 or 5. I didn’t even know what the American dream was. Frankly, I don’t even think I realized in what part of the world I lived in. Who does, right? I was enrolled in a parochial kindergarten school, and we had an English class. We were only learning the basics. I remember my English vocabulary only consisting of “frog, milk, hello.” Despite the fact that English was so foreign to me, the language fascinated me. But I did not want to leave my country. Everyone I loved and that loved me was there. It was painful.

My parents had immigrated to the U.S. first. My dad was just suppose to be in the US temporarily for a job, and a couple of months turned into a year, and then my mom joined him. After a while, my parents decided that they wanted to bring me to this country, so that I could be with them. I remember that I did not want to go, but I had no choice. Growing up in America as a foreigner is not easy. As a kid I was teased. The fact that I did not fit in forced me into reading books. Instead of playing with friends, I would go to the library and check out books. I read and read and read. :)

Since I could only watch kids’ shows on PBS from 4 to 6 pm (remember zoom? Arthur? Bill Nye the Science Guy? Wishbone?), my tv time was limited. Back then we didn’t have internet either! No friends, no tv equals lots of time to read :)

I was also  more aware of our circumstances than most kids my age. I knew my parents were struggling financially. My dad worked so much and we had so little. I don’t remember asking for much.

Navigating the American world for my parents was hard. They often used me as a translator. So there I was, an 8 year old kid translating for her parents, negotiating prices, and arguing for their rights. I think that is why I feel so comfortable talking with older adults! I had to speak to adults in an authoritative way at a very young age.

My experience has definitely shaped my personality. I am very independent. I know that I have a strong personality. I believe in hard work and determination.  Even though I will finish my MS soon, life has just begun! I plan to conquer it too :)

What about you? What experiences have shaped your life?

SavvyFinancialLatina

P.S. 19 Days Left. I am also borrowing a friend’s graduation cap and gown, so I don’t have to fork out $100 to get one. :)

Five Lessons About Women in Business

I am a little late to posting my daily blog today because I fell asleep super early last night. I usually write the post at night around midnight, but last night I passed out at 11 pm. I don’t even remember passing out, that is how tired I was. I feel a little bit more energetic today!

I found this great article in the WSJ titled “Five Lessons About Women in Business.”

Lesson 1: Difference Matters – I have learned that trying to be like a man does not work. Men do not respect you. Instead, I concentrate on what makes me, as a female, different. First, I bring intuition to the table. Many males fail to see the subliminal messages people send across the conference tables. I am actually pretty good at catching these things :) . I love studying people!

Lesson Dos- Identify what should change and What Should Stay the Same- This applies to both company and personal branding. A company cannot remain the same if it wants to succeed in the marketplace, right? Which means you cannot remain the same. Learn and grow every day. Have a growth mindset, not a fixed mindset. I am not the person I was four years ago when I started my university studies. How have you changed in the past four years?

Lesson Trois- Creativity is Always the Answer- Think outside the box! The article mainly talks about women in advertising, but this applies to any problem you are trying to solve. think about how you can add value to a service or product. One of my challenges when working with people is that they constrain themselves when solving solutions. They say “I can’t do this because I don’t have enough data.” Umm….did the Romans need data to invade England??? Now, they failed in establishing their rein there, but they did not sit around the campfire pondering about how much data they needed to support their actions. This is a little extreme, but I hope you understand what I mean.

Lesson Four – Feedback Breeds Success- I completely agree with this! I am a fan of constructive criticism and enjoy getting feedback.

Lesson Five- Emotional Intelligence – Empathy, compassion, and responsibility are very important attributes! Women have learned to celebrate these hard to quantify attributes :) . People skills are very important. I am in a field that can be very quantitative. Most of my classmates are awesome at building models. Although I am good at it, I know that my strongest asset is the blend of my qualitative skills with my quantitative skills. I can work with people, while they find it difficult to work with people.

This doesn’t just apply to women, it applies to men, as well.

What do you think?

SavvyFinancialLatina

 

How to Save on College Medical Bills

As a college student, my budget is pretty tight. Unless it’s extremely urgent and I am about to die, I basically avoid doctors. Healthcare is super expensive! I already pay about $110 on medicine every month I need. I have my yearly checkup with my doctor back home :) . However, there are times when I cannot avoid a doctor. There are a couple of ways I saved on my medical bills in college.

First, take advantage of your school clinics! I really love my on campus clinic. When I had tonsillitis freshman year, I went to my on campus clinic, the doctor diagnosed me and gave me medicine.

Second, if you are stressed or going through some hard stuff, make an appointment with your on campus counseling center. You don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars to have someone listen to you. I’m actually a little embarrassed to admit, but I actually went to the counseling center freshman year. I was having some anxiety issues and reached out for help.

Third, if you need any dental work, check out your local dental school. I had to get my wisdom teeth removed, and it was going to be very expensive. Instead of paying $2,000, I paid $500 to get them removed. It took a bit longer to do, but the students and doctors were awesome! I would go there again to have dental work.

Fourth, working out keeps your body healthy and strong. Your immune system is stronger so you are less likely to get sick. Take some group fitness classes at your school gym, or join intramural teams, or sport clubs! They are a lot of fun and you can make friends quickly. I was in my Honors program intramural flag football and volleyball team freshman year. We sucked, but it was fun!!! I actually regret not continuing to do this after freshman year.

Hope this helps you save on some medical bills!

Three more weeks until I turn in my last assignment. It’s going to be tough. I am already stressed out! I, also, heard from one of the jobs I was interested in landing. I did not make the 2nd round. Probably because of my lack of work experience, bah. Oh well, have to stay optimistic! Crossing my fingers. Please send good vibes :)

What do you think? How much do you pay in medical bills? Do you have any more tips?

SavvyFinancialLatina

P.S. 21 Days to Go!!!!

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