Category Archives: Life

23 Years Old and Counting

Next month I will be turning 24. I’ll be one year closer to 30. The older I get, the more I learn I don’t know everything. I have knowledge in certain pockets of life, but still have so much to learn. This is what I’ve learned so far…Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 7.35.34 PM

-          Don’t be afraid to question – Growing up, I would always get in trouble because I never did anything the way my mom asked me to. She always told me to ask her before I did something to make sure I did right. You think this would translate to me being able to follow rules, but actually it turned me into a questionnaire. It sort of backfired on my mom. I question a lot of things including society rules, authority, matrix organizations, religion, politics, etc. I believe my inquisitive mind is one of my best advantages.

-          Independence – I have always been rather independent. While it might upset my parents, saying I didn’t raise myself. I quite know I didn’t raise myself, but I, also, know I do a lot of things without needing guidance. I figure it out. I don’t need a set of instructions to get from Point A to Point B. Actually I’m terrible with directions, as I don’t really follow them step by step. I do get lost often, and sometimes end up in places where I wouldn’t have ended up at if I had just followed the instructions, but I’m not afraid. I can stand by myself if I have to. If I truly believe in what I’m doing, I’m fierce, and stand by it. Even if I’m alone in the wind. As long as I’m appropriately dressed! I have never wanted to depend on my parents. I have tried not to ask for money. I managed my own budget since I left for college, and I never needed my parents to rescue me. I have been extremely responsible and own a house already with my hubby. I, also, own a mortgage! Haha!

-          Open Mind – Even though I can be rather stubborn on some of my beliefs and attitudes, I do believe I have an open mind. I’m very accepting of other cultures and super curious about how other cultures interact. I’m always asking my foreign coworkers, friends, acquaintances about their country, culture, and how they are adapting to a new country. I have a very heterogeneous base of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances.

-          Reading – I love, love, love reading. I was a complete bookworm as a kid. If I wasn’t babysitting during the summer, I was reading books. I don’t read as many books now due to time constraints, but I still try to sneak some reading time. This has helped me greatly in life. I keep up with current events easily; I’m able to talk about public affairs, international policy, science fiction, latest trends. Did I also mention I love subtitles? Reading expands your knowledge base.

-          Love Thyself – I’m learning to love myself, faults and all. I’m always trying to improve and turn my faults into strengths, but I’m also learning to accept myself. This has helped my confidence and self-esteem.

Well, hello again, little blog

It’s been a while. I can’t believe I haven’t written a post since the end of November. But December was a crazy busy month. I really let my writing slide because I couldn’t keep up with everything. We bought and closed on a house, went on a quick vacation, hosted family, finished a gazillion projects at work, started working on the new house, and spent boatloads of money.

Buying a house has been an experience for sure. Thanks to my dad, who took a couple days off work (unpaid), our house’s electrical stuff is working. We contributed to Lowe’s earnings this quarter! In less than a month we bought a fridge, fans, lights, wire, outlets, screws, step stool, and who knows what else. I just paid a garage door man to realign our garage door.

Let’s just say after we finish some after Christmas shopping, we will be tightening our belts once again, paying off the credit card bills, and get back to saving.

For those of you planning to buy a house, be prepared to spend lots of time on it and lots of money.

2014 is just around the corner and I have been thinking about my goals for next year. I feel like 2013 flew by. I accomplished a lot, but now what next? What do I concentrate on? What’s my new challenge?

I know of a lot of things I want to do, but I want to concentrate on a small batch of goals in my daily life. What have you been up to???
Sorry, I went so radio silent!

 

What I Want Out of Life at 23

I’m 23 years old, and some months. I don’t think 23 is what I thought it was going to be when I was younger.

When I was really young I thought I was going to be:

1. A CIA Spy – Seriously I fantasized about being a CIA spy when I was young. This is around the time ALIAS came out on ABC and I became obsessed with the show. I wanted to dominate various languages and kick some ass.

2. Traveling the world – well as a spy, I would travel the world, but in this scenario I would be a famous National Geographic photographer, or a world news journalist. The point is I would be traveling the world. Seeking out adventure!

3. Aspiring writer – Well, technically, I am an aspiring writer since I blog on the side for a hobby, but I really wanted to be the next New York Times Seller. One day I will write my book!

My ideas of what I want out of life has changed. I know I don’t want to be stuck in my job forever. Financial independence is on my mind.

So what’s the plan. I’m not sure yet, but my husband and I are slowly crafting it.

We know we don’t want to be consumerists. Yes, we will need things, but we don’t need more than we need. We don’t need a super huge house. Just a house with a nice layout.

So here’s the plan for the next two years, which will take me to age 25:

  1. Help my family prosper. Focus on my family and friends. Love and friendship is first.
  2. Buy a nice, affordable home 
  3. Max out retirement accounts including 401K and ROTH IRAs
  4. Travel – We want to focus more on traveling and experiences.
  5. Save up money for investments
  6. Work on maintaining a minimalist lifestyle every day of the month
  7. Get promoted at work
  8. Increase side income

I’m just trying not to feel so lost as a 23 year old. This is an interesting period in life when you realized everything you thought in college is not really true. At least for me. I feel like every day I realize what life is really about.

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The Perfect Weekend

This past weekend was perfect. My husband and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary. What does a perfect weekend consist of? Food. You will probably gain 10 pounds. Fun. You will definitely have fun. Sun. You will get sunburn.

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So, Saturday I woke up and got ready for my hair appointment. I managed to schedule my hair appointment on our date night, so my hair would be pretty! I, also, stopped by Nordstrom and got a complimentary makeover by Smashbox.  I bought their eye box because I needed new eye shadow and I really liked their eye shadow. Their foundation is so light. I have a whole bottle of MAC foundation that I don’t use because it’s too heavy on my skin and I break out. I don’t really use foundation on a daily basis because my skin breaks out and my dermatologist has recommended no foundation.

Then, I went home, and my husband surprised me (well, I knew) with French toast. It was so very delicious!!! I hadn’t had French Toast since last year on our 1 year anniversary.

We then headed to the movies. We watched Wolverine. It ended up being a pretty cool action movie. Don’t go for the plot. The action was so cool!

We, then, went to dinner at Saltgrass. Oh my god was the food delicious. My mouth waters at the thought of it. We ordered the Texas rattlers, which are jalapenos infused with pepper jack cheese and whole shrimp, fried in a delicious batter!!! Amazing!! I’m getting hungry writing about it. Can I go home now and eat it? The shiner bock dipped bread is so light and buttery. Want more. I ordered a ribeye. Can’t go wrong with fat, juicy meat!

We came home, and I passed out for an hour. I needed a nap to digest all the food. We spend the rest of the night watching Weeds.

Sunday morning we woke up to go to Hurricane Harbor. If you buy your tickets online, make sure to buy them 3 days in advance to get an additional $6 off. Use Discover and get 5% off your order.

We spent the entire day riding the lazy river, swimming in the wave pool, and hitting the rides.

We did everything without a hitch either. Usually, we forget something or get lost, but no, this weekend the stars were aligned, and everything went by perfectly!!!

I absolutely love my husband. Not to get mushy and all, but we make a great team

Revenge is A Dish Best Served Cold

Were you ever bullied in school? Told you couldn’t do something? Someone ever hurt you? Maybe the people who bullied you weren’t really at fault. Or maybe the people who ignored you weren’t meaning to ignore you. But either way you felt like killing someone, right?

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I know that there have been people that I truly disliked. This dislike came from them saying or doing something that I did not like.

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Revenge…..If I had a penny for every soap opera, movie, or show based on someone enacting their revenge.

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There are definitely people on my list.

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I definitely think of a revenge plan…

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But then I try to remember success is the best revenge.

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Libraries are Amazing!

I love, love, love books! Libraries have always been a safe haven for me. When I first came to the U.S., I refuged myself in the school’s libraries. I would check out 1 or 2 books a day and read them on top of doing my homework for school. Reading helped me improve my English and expand my imagination. I still pride myself in having better writing skills than most Americans; despite the fact English is my second language. During summers I would go to the library and check out the maximum amount of books. I would walk out with 7-10 books every week. I would live vicariously through the characters, and dreamed of one day living their adventures.

I even dabbled in writing fiction when I was 14. I wrote a couple of chapters, and shared them with my band leader. So far the only person that read the chapters before they were lost in time.

My “fun” reading slowed down significantly in college. Most of the time I was too tired from reading textbooks, articles, and case studies, to tackle reading fiction. Plus, my college library did not have an extensive fiction collection. I have never been a believer in buying new books. Sure I have bought books at garage sales for 50 cents, but I can never see myself buying a book for full price.

Why? Our local taxes are already paying for new books. There are an estimated 123,291 libraries of all kinds in the United States today. This estimate includes all types of libraries: public libraries, school libraries, academic libraries, and special libraries.

Overall, for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the percentage of federal government funding for public libraries is less than 1 percent. State government funding comes in at ten percent. And eight percent comes from grants, monetary gifts and donations, and library fines and fees. But the remaining 81 percent, the bulk of public library funding, comes from the local tax dollars of the residents reserved. For greater detail, see the report from ALA’s Office for Research and Statistics, Funding Issues in U.S. Public Libraries, Fiscal Years 2003-2006 (PDF).

It’s so easy to check out books in the library. If you can’t leave the house or don’t want to, most libraries offer e-books now.

My husband and I are nerds. NERDS are fun! NERDS FOR LIFE! We were so excited to go to the library on Saturday. He checked out a book, and set a hold for an e-book. I checked out three books, and then went home and checked out an e-book. So I’m now currently reading 2 books simultaneously. LOL. Scratch that – I finished one book already! Check out Magic to the Bone. Really cool book 1 of a fantasy series!

Do you go to your public library? What books are you currently reading?

UBoulderLibrary spittoon

UBoulderLibrary spittoon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The Happiness Advantage

Are you happy?

I’m really weird. Ever since I was 6 years old, I have been wanting to improve. I constantly place new challenges, and every time I accomplish these challenges, I set new ones. The cycle repeats itself.

Well, except for my time spent in the kitchen. Despite the fact I have been on my own for a while, I have managed to NOT learn many recipes. It’s not for the lack of trying. My mom has tried teaching me many a times. My grandmother and grandfather have also taken their shot at teaching me. And my mother-in-law has tried, as well. Let’s just say I make some pretty good sandwiches!!! :)

I remember back in high school, I was so focused on getting in college, I may have sacrificed some time with friends and family. My passion to land scholarships in high school, so I could attend college, took over my entire life.

Once I got into college, life was awesome for a while. Freshman and sophomore years were some of the best times with friends. But then reality hit, and I had to start concentrating on landing an awesome job after college. I worked extremely hard through junior and senior year. Sometimes I wish I would have taken it easier.

Now, I relax a bit more. But I still am very goal oriented. I’m already thinking of my next career move. Trying to figure out how to enrich myself.

Sometimes I feel like a hamster running in a standing wheel.

I have been trying to be better at being happy and satisfied with my life. Why???

I listened to TED TALK: Life Hack. Shawn Achor talks about the happiness advantage.

TED (conference)

TED (conference) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being happy has extremely positive effects on your life. A lot of people think happiness will come after success, but in reality it doesn’t. So we should be happy NOW because it will lead to:

  • Better secure jobs.
  • Better keeping jobs.
  • Superior productivity.
  • More resilient.
  • Less burnout.
  • Less turnover.
  • Greater sales.

I have to remember that I am a happy person. A lot of times I interprete my own dissatisfaction with the status quo with unhappiness, but it’s not. I enjoy improving and finding new ways of thoughts. I just have to remember to relax and enjoy the present.

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How do you define success in life?

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I am now a staff writer for Dimespring! Dimespring is a community of people with varied backgrounds and interests in personal finance, sharing their unique points of view and advice to help you make better decisions with your money when tackling life’s financial hurdles. Check out my guest post – Savvy Financial Latina: Forming a Friendship with your Finances. 

Today, I decided to write out a conversation I had with myself. Lately, I have been wondering a lot abut the future. Frankly, it both scares and excites me. I’m excited for all the measurable goals I will be able to scratch off my list, but I’m scared for all the goals that are fuzzy and hard to measure. I’m having these thoughts, maybe somebody else is???

“Success in life comes NOT from holding a good hand, but in playing a poor hand well.” – Warren G. Lester

What defines your success?

I’m still not quite sure if I have succeeded in life. I know that at every cornerstone in life, I felt the sense of accomplishment. When I graduated college, I was extremely delighted. I was even more delighted when I received and accepted my job offer. But those moments of success and accomplishment quickly diminished, and then the hard part came.

What comes after success?

For me, it’s about figuring out what’s next. So what? I’ve accomplished my goal, but what’s next????

How do you continue success in life?

I think success is an interesting feeling. I have never truly felt satisfied. As soon as I completed an assignment, I was ready for the next one. I’m extremely impatient. I want things now, and I diligently plan a way to get them. I’m always raising the bar, trying to be better.

Do you feel successful right now?

There are times that I feel successful. But then, I start thinking about how much else I want to do and feel discouraged.

How do you defeat the sense of discouragement to succeed again?

It’s all about the big picture, right? I just keep thinking about the big picture. All the little pictures add up to a big picture.

I thought I would be grown up by now. I’m almost 23. I thought I would know what I wanted to be by now, or how I would define my success. But I’m as lost as ever. In school, there were always guidelines. Someone was always number one. The lines are extremely blurry now. I’m not really sure what I want to be five or ten years from now. Do I want to be a CEO at 37 years? Or do I want be working for myself by the time I’m 40? The questions perplex me every day. 

How did you figure it out???

 

Life Is Too Short

Life is too short.

If you don’t know, I babysat on and off again for a family over the past 8 months. I found out yesterday the boy I cared for died. He was seven years old, such a sweet, innocent, happy kid.

I’m still in shock. Honestly, I go from almost crying in front of my office monitor to not quite believing it’s true. It can’t be true right? Such an innocent creature on this earth who was suppose to live, go to school, go to college, is gone.

It’s sad. I just saw him a month ago. I felt like I could have spent more time with him.

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I think we often rush in life, forget to smell the roses. I know I often do. I obsess over our financial goals or my career goals, but that’s not the important part of life. It’s always about the people.

Remember to tell your loved ones you love them. Fight for your loved ones; don’t forget they are more important than any materialistic objects on this earth.

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I Have a Boring Personal Finance Story

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Every day I read stories on how people are working their way out of debt, or paid off thousands of dollars of debt in two years. While I’m extremely happy for these people that decided to get out of debt, I understand my financial story is a little boring. Why? Because I never accrued thousands and thousands of dollars of debt. I graduated with no student loans, no consumer debt, and no private loans. My parents were not rich. Actually quite the opposite. I come from a very modest, lower income family. My parents make no more than $30,000 a year and that is working more than 40 hours a week, and maintaining side hustles when the opportunity rises.

I learned from a very early age the importance of a dollar. I actually understood why I couldn’t have the toys on TV, the latest make up, or the latest clothes. I didn’t even get internet at my house until I was 15 years old in 2005. I had to save up to pay for 50% of my laptop, back when laptops were at least $1,000. I would do my research at the library an hour at a time, because your time slot only lasted an hour, and you then had to get in line to get back on the computer.

I worked hard through school because I realized school was the only way I would be able to improve my future. But I also understood higher education was extremely expensive, and I knew I did not want and could not get into debt while going to school. So I worked my butt off during high school. While many kids remember high school as a care free time, I remember it as sleepless nights of homework, exams, and long term papers & projects. This is how I ended up graduating at the top of my class, valedictorian, and earning a full ride to university. Note: I was an extremely grumpy teenager due to not being able to sleep enough.

Once I started college, I realized I could take more than 15 hours a semester, take summer classes at a community college for some of my basics, and graduate in less than four years. I could then use the fourth year of my scholarship to pay for my Master’s degree. So, I accelerated my undergraduate studies, started taking graduate courses when I was a junior, and finished both my bachelor’s, and master’s in four years. By May 7th 2013, I will also have my MBA. And I would have graduated with no debt.

Maybe some of you may think I got my scholarships because I’m Hispanic or come from a  lower income class. I have heard a lot of people argue that they don’t qualify for scholarships because they are not a minority or poor. But in reality these arguments are just excuses. All of my scholarships were merit based, which means I had to have an extremely high GPA, along with extra curricular activities, and top notch recommendations.

I, also, understood I could not spend more than what I had in the bank. I have always been really careful with money, and thankfully I have never had to worry about paying my bills. Granted it has always been a pretty tight budget, but I had friends who would be in the negative numbers before the month ended, and had to borrow from multiple friends to carry themselves over to the next pay check. This is a never ending cycle because it is very hard to catch up.

Some people may choose to live life paying off monthly debt bills. I am not one of these people. It’s simple. Save before you spend.

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