Category Archives: Spending

Black Friday 2013 Planning

So, I’m not the personal finance blogger who will tell you don’t shop on Thanksgiving or Black Friday. First of all, it will be hypocritical, second of all, as long as you shop for items you need, I see nothing wrong with shopping on Black Friday. Especially if you determined the prices on these items are better. I’m using Fat Wallet to check out all the leaked ads. This is not a paid link! Totally recommending their website.

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We’re planning on moving into our new to us home in mid-December. I already know we need a few things.

-          Refrigerator – After looking at refrigerator prices, I really wish we had negotiated the fridge into the contract. We should have at least tried. I didn’t like the color of the fridge (black) because it contrasted with the rest of the appliances (white), but who cares about color when you don’t have to fork out a few hundred dollars for a basic fridge (minimum). You live and learn, right? We’re not going to be buying anything fancy. Actually, we are going to be buying the most basic model. Our fridge in our apartment is fairly new, works great, and is basic. So I looked for the same model, wala, it turns out its affordable. I have been price shopping between Lowe’s and Home Depot. Right now, I’m going to try Lowe’s to price match Home Depot’s price. If they price match it, I’m going to then use 10% off from a moving coupon I got at the USPS store. Then, I’m going to use a gift card to pay for the fridge. I’m going to redeem my Discover cash back points. This is great because it doesn’t come out of the budget. If Lowe’s doesn’t price match it, I will have to buy the fridge on Home Depot, and then, get 10% cash back through Discover.

-          Security Surveillance system – I want to be able to check our home while we are away. Looks like I want to get a Q See model from Tiger Direct. It’s part of their Black Friday special. It’s cheap. But we could also fork out for a slightly better system from Revo America. From what I have read, these lower end cameras have pretty much the same specs. I’m still doing research.

-          Vacuum – This whole being an adult and spending hundreds of dollars on things we need is overrated. My little vacuum I bought to vacuum my little dorm bedroom cannot handle our current apartment’s size (700 sq. feet). It’s on its last leg, and the motor is dying. I think I bought it for $50 at Lowe’s in 2008 when I was getting everything ready for college. I have been price shopping for Dyson’s. All the big retail chains will have Dyson’s 25% off regular price. I found a better deal on Sam’s club. So I will be buying our Dyson on Friday.

-          Xbox 12 month Live Membership – Time to buy another 12 month subscription. Looks like it’s going to be Best Buy. The plan is to buy it online through the Discover portal (5% cash back!), and then, I’m going to use a $5 coupon I have from Best Buy (My Rewards Points).

-          Shower head – The master bedroom in our new to us house needs a new showerhead. I found a Kohler shower at Bed Bath and Beyond. BBY is handing out 20% off coupons at their stores. So, I’m planning to go grab one, and use the 20% coupon to buy the shower head.

This is the main list. I still have a couple other items I have to research. It’s a short list, but you would be surprised the amount of hours and research that have gone into compiling this list! Good thing is I find it fun. I’m trying to minimize our expenses as much as possible.

Is it just me, or are the costs for buying a home adding up really quickly? We haven’t even forked out the money for the down payment or closing costs. A house is not an investment you get money out of, unless you’re turning it into a rental. It’s a roof over your head that you are paying for at the end of the day.

Company TV Auction for Charity

I’m starting to enjoy my company more and more. Today I found out one of my favorite people in my team got the promotion she deserved. Beyond ecstatic for her! Plus one more for the female team, oh yeah!!!

My company organized a fundraiser for a charity. They decided to auction off the “old” TVs, they are no longer using. There were 40 TVs up for auction! TVs included Samsung 46, 40, and 32 inch TVs.

They also had smaller LED TVs, a bike, older laptops (software cleared), and some TVs that were slightly damaged.

I won’t lie to you, it got pretty heated!!! I ended up fighting with a lady for a TV, and lost it because she half scribbled her name at the end.

Lesson learned: make sure to have cash immediately on hand, to snag your TV. The five minutes it took me to go upstairs to grab my cash, the lady convinced one of the guys running the auction she got the last bid, even though it was a scribble, and the guy had highlighted my name.

If I had had the cash on hand, I would have immediately given them the cash and claimed my TV. Thankfully, I managed to bid on another TV, and had a coworker guarding it to increase that bid. I won the bidding on that one.

Another tip: bring a friend along, and divide and conquer.  Make sure to bring a friend who is not going to cannabalize your bids. Or if they are, make sure you are bidding on seperate things.

Got my momma a 40 inch Samsung TV!

Since we already have a flat screen TV, and right now we don’t need an extra one, we’re giving the TV to my mom. Hah I surprised her today and she’s ecstatic. She doesn’t have one.

Third tip: If you are bidding, make sure you stick till the end, otherwise you’ll never get the product. There were some people that just put initial bids at the beginning of the auction but never came back.

I definitely got a high from bidding! I really do love getting a great deal!

English: Samsung Logo Suomi: Samsungin logo

English: Samsung Logo Suomi: Samsungin logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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I Went on A Shopping Spree Last Week

I went on a shopping spree last week and it felt awesome.

First, my black pumps died. I had been wearing them despite the fact the soles were worn down completely, and my feet were killing me every day. I finally went out and bought me some new pumps that I could wear at work. I bought a black and a tan pair.

Cost: $130 Gianni Bini Michelle Mid-Heel Pumps

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Dillard’s had an additional 30% off already reduced clearance items on Thursday, and I went all out. I bought four pairs of earrings, a bracelet, and two blazers for work.

Cost: $80

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I bought some towels. We really needed new towels. The towels we have are super old. I have some pink Wal-mart towels given to me for my high school graduation, and my husband inherited some towels from when he was a kid. But towels are expensive, so I kept waiting for them to go on sale. I scored some Lenox towels at 66% off. Seriously, these towels were $30, and I got them for $10.50. I bought three.

Cost: $32 + tax

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My parents, my brother, and I are going to a family wedding this coming weekend. It’s actually my third cousin getting married. She invited us, so I had to buy a present. I bought her a Lenox towel set (two big ones and a medium size one) and a blue knitted throw. See picture above.

Cost: $41

The present would have originally been purchased for more than $100, but I got on a sale, so score. Plus, It feels odd to have to buy a present for someone I barely know. I apparently use to play with this cousin when I was three years old, I have only seen her once when I was 20, and we are only facebook friends, but since we are going to her wedding it’s expected to buy a present. Sometimes I think my mom and dad’s family are very one sided. We are always expected to buy gifts for our family, but we rarely receive any gifts from them. I never received any wedding or graduation presents from my family (other than my grandparents), yet it’s always expected from me to send presents. Story for another day! But definitely food for thought. At least this time we are going to the party, usually we don’t, and still send a present.

I should feel bad for spending almost $300 in one week and non-necessary stuff, but I really don’t. I needed new shoes, jewelry is always fun, and I bought blazers for $20 and $25 each. That’s a steal! The towels are amazing! Seriously :) So glad I bought them. I actually only bought two the first day, and went back the second day to score some more, but there was only one left. Next time I’m taking the lot!

I know the personal finance world always focuses on being thrifty and frugal, but sometimes it’s good to have some fun and relax!

I, also, made an appointment for the end of the month at the Dior counter in Dillard’s. I’m determined to learn how to put on mascara and eyeliner correctly!

Any recent purchases? :) Come on, make me feel a little less guilty!

We Cancelled Our Cable

On Monday, I sat down to look at my cable bills since I knew our promotional period ended. What I hadn’t realized was the promotion period ended in early January, and for the past three weeks, I have been paying full price for my services. This is what happens when you don’t pay attention to your bills, and they are auto deductible on your credit card.

So, I called the cable company to cancel our cable or see if we could get a better rate. Here is the conversation with AT&T.

Me: “Hello, I would like to cancel my cable today.”

AT&T: “I would be glad to help you today, but are you sure you want to cancel?”

Me: ” Yes, unless I can find an equal promotion to what we have right now. I’m just not willing to pay more for cable.”

AT&T: “Well, let me check.”

Me: “Ok.”

We went back and forth for the next ten minutes, with lots of silences in between. He would tell me to wait to talk to his manager, he would come back, and present option, and I would tell him to wait, and call my husband, and then come back and say it’s not good enough.

I actually got a pretty good price, but in the end it wasn’t worth the extra fifty bucks a month to watch 2-3 hours of TV. AT&T is extremely expensive compared to Direct TV. The AT&T guy actually said if you are interested in getting Direct TV, I could offer you a better promotion. Unfortunately, we do not have a balcony, so we can’t get satellite. My husband has his Xbox now, which is his main source of entertainment. And I always watch netflix and hulu on my computer. No point in having a service we don’t use, so we cancelled our cable.

Next bill to tackle is our insurance policy. We pay $219 every month for renter’s insurance (like $10), and for insurance coverage for my husband and I. Our cars aren’t even that new. He has a 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer, and I have a 2007 Honda Civic.

Have you looked at your current bills, and determined whether you really need them or not? Have you picked up the phone and renegotiated price?

Reflections on Moving

I can’t believe it’s Monday again! Time is flying by really quickly. We are already a third of the way through July! I hope everybody had a great weekend. I spent my weekend moving. On Friday, we got the keys to our new apartment, I moved all our clothes to the closet, and Saturday morning we rented a U-Haul to move all our stuff. Thankfully, my SIL’s boyfriend and a friend helped us move. We had an entire production line. We would load boxes in my MIL’s SUV, drive up to the apartment (parking garage), and move heavier things on the elevator. I spent the rest of Saturday unpacking and arranging the apartment. So now, it’s perfect! We love our apartment and the return of our very own personal space. I feel as if a 100 pound weight was lifted off my shoulders.

When googling for images, I found this crazy cool album cover. Really redefines the word “Reflections.” Reflections is Jerry Garcia‘s third solo album, released in 1976. It includes five songs that were performed by the Grateful Dead. All of the then-members of the Grateful Dead contribute to the music on this album.”

Here are some thoughts on……..

Living with family: The idea in theory to save a little money while transitioning to a new phase of life sounded great. The idea in real life….meh not so great. Living with family is stressful. I think relationships with family are better when money nor space are shared. Honestly, I am not sure if we saved that much money, since we ate out a lot more. Comments or actions that are usually forgotten in normal life, easily resurrect when living with family. I am hoping familial relationships improve since we are out of their house. I saw a House Hunters episode where a mother & father were looking for a house with their son & daughter-in-law, as in planning to live together! The mother & father seemed super healthy and young?!?!

Moving expenses: Be prepared to have some extra cash for those pesky expenses. The u-haul expense was around $200. $100 to move from old apartment to storage, $200 to move from storage to new apartment. When moving into a new place, you will want/need new things. For example, I needed cleaning supplies, trash bags, food, etc (Cost: $150). We also need a washer/dryer, which will be a new expense. Thankfully, my parents found our washer/dryer at a garage sale, and we are going to pay them the gas/transportation expense to bring it up to us (Cost: $250). 

Signing the lease: We signed a 18 month lease, the longest lease available. We decided that we did not want to move again for a while. Plus, unless my job changes, we won’t need to move. We, also, locked in our monthly rent. We received a discount on our rent because they needed the apartment to be filled asap. We are paying $876 instead of $925.

Choosing location over cheaper rent: We rented an apartment near my office and restaurants/shops. Last night we went for a walk and experience the city life! We walked out into the hustle and guzzle of restaurants, bars, shops. It definitely lifted my mood, and I am so excited to be living in this area.  It was the right move for us, and I am extremely happy.

Relaxing over working: I had the option to go baby sitting last night. I would have earned close to $50 for taking care of kids, which I don’t find hard at all. I like them, they like me. But I chose to stay in and relax with my hubby. Sometimes it’s a tough choice, but I am glad I made it last night. I have to remember to enjoy life every once in a while. It’s really hard to relax when you have so many goals you want to accomplish.

I hope I can give you some insight into what life is like for a post graduate student. Everyone has different experiences, and it’s great to learn from everybody.

SavvyFinancialLatina

Reflections on Moving

I can’t believe it’s Monday again! Time is flying by really quickly. We are already a third of the way through July! I hope everybody had a great weekend. I spent my weekend moving. On Friday, we got the keys to our new apartment, I moved all our clothes to the closet, and Saturday morning we rented a U-Haul to move all our stuff. Thankfully, my SIL’s boyfriend and a friend helped us move. We had an entire production line. We would load boxes in my MIL’s SUV, drive up to the apartment (parking garage), and move heavier things on the elevator. I spent the rest of Saturday unpacking and arranging the apartment. So now, it’s perfect! We love our apartment and the return of our very own personal space. I feel as if a 100 pound weight was lifted off my shoulders.

When googling for images, I found this crazy cool album cover. Really redefines the word “Reflections.” Reflections is Jerry Garcia‘s third solo album, released in 1976. It includes five songs that were performed by the Grateful Dead. All of the then-members of the Grateful Dead contribute to the music on this album.”

Here are some thoughts on……..

Living with family: The idea in theory to save a little money while transitioning to a new phase of life sounded great. The idea in real life….meh not so great. Living with family is stressful. I think relationships with family are better when money nor space are shared. Honestly, I am not sure if we saved that much money, since we ate out a lot more. Comments or actions that are usually forgotten in normal life, easily resurrect when living with family. I am hoping familial relationships improve since we are out of their house. I saw a House Hunters episode where a mother & father were looking for a house with their son & daughter-in-law, as in planning to live together! The mother & father seemed super healthy and young?!?!

Moving expenses: Be prepared to have some extra cash for those pesky expenses. The u-haul expense was around $200. $100 to move from old apartment to storage, $200 to move from storage to new apartment. When moving into a new place, you will want/need new things. For example, I needed cleaning supplies, trash bags, food, etc (Cost: $150). We also need a washer/dryer, which will be a new expense. Thankfully, my parents found our washer/dryer at a garage sale, and we are going to pay them the gas/transportation expense to bring it up to us (Cost: $250). 

Signing the lease: We signed a 18 month lease, the longest lease available. We decided that we did not want to move again for a while. Plus, unless my job changes, we won’t need to move. We, also, locked in our monthly rent. We received a discount on our rent because they needed the apartment to be filled asap. We are paying $876 instead of $925.

Choosing location over cheaper rent: We rented an apartment near my office and restaurants/shops. Last night we went for a walk and experience the city life! We walked out into the hustle and guzzle of restaurants, bars, shops. It definitely lifted my mood, and I am so excited to be living in this area.  It was the right move for us, and I am extremely happy.

Relaxing over working: I had the option to go baby sitting last night. I would have earned close to $50 for taking care of kids, which I don’t find hard at all. I like them, they like me. But I chose to stay in and relax with my hubby. Sometimes it’s a tough choice, but I am glad I made it last night. I have to remember to enjoy life every once in a while. It’s really hard to relax when you have so many goals you want to accomplish.

I hope I can give you some insight into what life is like for a post graduate student. Everyone has different experiences, and it’s great to learn from everybody.

SavvyFinancialLatina

Gianni Bini Shoe Relapse

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There is a reason I avoid malls. I am a shopaholic! I love shoes, dresses, jewelry, anything pretty that calls my attention. My wardrobe is pretty crazy. I am only 21 and have accumulated so many business clothes preparing for the day I start working in the real world. I have suits, skirts, slacks, blouses, dresses, shoes. May I say more?

Due to my school schedule and the fact that I don’t have a car, I usually have no transportation to get to the mall. But today class was cancelled due to severe thunderstorms, and my hubby picked me up. His gym is right across a mall, so I kept him company on the way there!

I bought some Adidas shorts because the ones that I currently have are pretty holy. I have had my shorts since eight grade, so I’m pretty sure I got my return on investment! Look at the shorts I bought:

They are super nice! They are my incentive to keep losing weight!

I failed at saving money today. The shorts were $40, the pumps $64, and the wedges $64. I think I am going to return the pumps though. I am not convinced by them. With shoes I either love them or not. The pumps are also suede…which can be a bad thing, especially in Texas. I still have to decide. Any input?

April is already a big spend month…we had to pay for car maintenance (post to come soon), and need to buy graduation stuff. My robe for graduation will be about $100, and my hubby’s $50. I really need to watch our spending more.

So, please don’t do as I do, do as I say! LOL Don’t buy shoes! Don’t go to the mall!!! It’s a death trap for your bank account!

Any purchases that where not must haves?

SavvyFinancialLatina