Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 = propserity

December net worth is updated. Down by a few thousand because I updated car's worth based on and because I didnt pay off any debt.

My 2008 net worth increased by 40k. Not too bad, considering it was a year devoted to debt reduction :)

Ive decided 2009 is going to be themed prosperity!

Short term goals are the same, and I will add more when a few earnings details fall into place.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Goals update!

November was absolutely insane in almost all ways, including financially!

Core goals are the same, a few tactical shifts were made:

- I got paid my quarterly bonus, woohoo!
- I spent under $1k on my trip to Florida. It was money well spent and Im very thankful I had it in cash to spend!
- I decided to throw $2k into an EF.
- I paid $2k towards my 0% interest cc debt

Goal updates:
- Finish paying off 0% interest cc debt by Feb
- Finish funding EF by Feb

Ill think more about possibly paying down car, investing in 401k, investing outside of 401k after those 2 major goals are met.

happy thanksgiving!

I had the realization while in Florida, that while life certainly isnt easy - it is good. And for that, I am so very thankful.

Life has been crazy, as usual...

Two weeks ago my 75 yo Mom (well actually my surrogate Mom, but still) called from Florida. She has been going through some challenges this year: a major neck surgery, home foreclosure, bankruptcy, and a second major surgery on the near term radar.

She procured senior subsidized housing and had been trying to move in for about 6 weeks. The rest of the fam and friends had been working hard to get her moved in and settled, but it just hadnt quite come together. No one was dedicated to getting the job done, though many people had provided quite a bit of assistance. Mom was hurting herself physically trying to do so much, and it became clear I needed to step in.

I decided to fly from CA to FL on 3 days notice to project manage the situation. The main goals were to get everything out of the old house she wanted and everything at the new house as settled as possible.

I was exhausted before I departed from moving the BF and myself into our new home in Oct + work + 2nd work. But I was also excited. A big reason for wanting to pay off that 43k in bad cc debt over the last year, was to be able to help Mom if/when she needed it.

I was able to pay for my flight ($240 roundtrip CA to FL on 3 days notice!!), groceries for her house, new shelving, movers, and leave her with some cash -- with cash (no cc!). That felt very, very good - being able to help without compromising my own situation. :)

I came home last Monday, worked Tues/Wed and then enjoyed a restful and relaxing Thanksgiving weekend with my BF.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

unjaded - the new thankful

Inspired by Mr Budgets are Sexy to think about some of the Ups at my current job situation.

- I met my significant other here (though he has moved on to a new, awesome job)

- The people. I was pulled into this company by friends I worked with at my first startup in SF (about 8 years ago!). A decent sized group of these coworkers have been people I consider great friends for years.

- I believe in the founders. Ive known them for almost 8 years too. One of the founders is my direct boss.

- My direct boss is extremely positive. He recognizes my accomplishments, reminds me often how much he appreciates me, and generally kicks ass.

- My work is fun. It can be intense and frustrating, but I actually enjoy the work I do.

- I am well rewarded for my work. Great base pay, good bonus structure.

- The culture is very fun. Beer pong, bbq in the courtyard, gamerator (video game machine + beer tap!), full bar, mini motorcycle

- I dont have an office or a cube. I have a couch I work from.

- I work on a sweet mac and an iphone boss paid for.

- The company could make me a bunch of cash eventually. Having options in a company I think could hit it big feels good.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Out of personal loan debt, back in cc debt

Good news: I made the 2nd and final payment on my personal loan on time. Goal achieved! And it feels good to be rid of that $4k in debt :)

Not as good news: I decided to utilize a 0% interest cash advance option on one of my credit cards. $7k was used for: deposit + 1.5 months of rent on my *awesome* new home + movers + new bed + new snow tires on the Cayenne.

I had expected to spend that money this calendar year, but decided I shouldnt wait until I had the cash. The reasons are personal, but I think it was definitely the right thing to do. My partner and I are driving safely, sleeping soundly and commuting peacefully!

It does make for a couple revised goals this year:
1) repay $7k + 99 fee by Dec 15 ($1000 Nov 1, $5000 Nov 15, $1099 Dec 15)
2) pay for xmas in cash
3) save. anything?

Id really, really like to have some savings! Its not currently realistic until Jan, but there is the possibility some extra income over the next couple months could change that. I will commit to saving at least 50% of any extra income.

Getting in debt and getting out!

A couple people have asked how I managed to get rid of 43k of cc debt in under a year, so here it is.

How did I accumulate so much debt?
Simply put - I lived beyond my means from ages 19-29. I deluded myself into thinking I was entitled to a lifestyle beyond which I could afford.
- Living in HCOL (SF, LA, Philly) added to my self-delusion.
- Being in relationships with people who had wealthier lifestyles warped by sense of reality and added to my self-delusion.
- Being friends with other self-delusional people allowed me to continue my own lie (LA is full of people with inflated lifestyles and around 2000 SF was full of people with inflated lifestyles, I knew dozens of 'millionaires on paper').

If you are wondering what exactly I spent $43k on? Travel, shopping (I seriously bought 10k in handbags), eating out, moving across the country 3 times and within cities every year, gifts, medical expenses and day to day living expenses. I spent so much money, and felt broke the entire time. Living paycheck to paycheck! By October of 2007 I was paying $1100/month to service my debt. I had a close call over a few months and knew I was one emergency away from being in serious trouble. Also, I felt frustrated with myself that I made a good living, but couldnt help older family members that could use help.

breakdown of debt in October 2007
boa1 $4149.39 @ 32.24
boa2 $12659.56 @ 18.24 (952 @ 24.24)
chase1 $5510.45 @ 29.99
chase2 $10485.15 @ 29.99
chase3 $9582.95 @ 28.74
capone $833.74 @ 14.4

How did I pay it off?
I decided I wanted to start my 30s on a path toward wealth. So, I started. I thought it would take years! I live in SF, made just over 90k/yr when I started.
- I took personal responsibility, and stopped feeling entitled or making excuses.
- I focused mentally on feeling wealthy, and creating wealth in my life
- I went on a cash diet.
- I made a budget.
- I created monthly goals that were hard, but achievable.
- I stopped buying anything and everything (no more handbags, shoes, etc).
- Started eating in.
- Switched to a new job and negotiated 25% pay increase
- Took zero time off in between jobs, took the 80 hours of accrued vacation time paid out in cash and paid off debt.
- I made about 3k from startup options on company I left.
- Negotiated for new work to buy me a cell and pay the montly bill.
- No cable, no home internet.
- Utilized medical savings for pre-tax savings on expenses I knew Id have to pay.
- Worked really hard at the job and 6 months later negotiated a quarterly bonus plan.
- Reduced rent by 30%.
- Sold anything I could (Louis Vuitton bag, I dont need you!).
- I stopped all travel, except for 2 family emergencies (death and surgery).
- Paid off highest interest ccs first (about half were at 30%!!).
- Immersed myself in the world of pfblogs, this msg board, economics and finance books to stay motivated and focused.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Abundance and Gratitude - Day 19

*deep breath*

Its been a hard week. And this week, really especially this week, I need to find my way to abundance and gratitude.

Day 19 of participating in an exercise that is a great idea from Millionaire Mommy Next Door to re-focus on manifesting abundance thankfulness.

Day 19: $26,214,400 spending spree:
- Start a foundation for 'Chances into the double digits'.

I am grateful for:
- being cc debt free
- goodness. unseen, seen, known and unknown.
- friendship, compassion, understanding, caring.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I paid off $43,221 in cc debt in less than a year! I DID IT!!

I made my final payment yesterday. I now have *zero* credit card debt!

Less than one year ago in October 2007, my credit card debt looked like this:
boa1 $4149.39 @ 32.24
boa2 $12659.56 @ 18.24 (952 @ 24.24)
chase1 $5510.45 @ 29.99
chase2 $10485.15 @ 29.99
chase3 $9582.95 @ 28.74
capone $833.74 @ 14.4

I would guess that I actually paid about $48-50k in the last year to eliminate the debt, due to the high interest rates on many of the cards.

I also paid $700 towards my personal loan repayment! It is on schedule to be paid back by Oct 15 :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I am sorry. I forgive you. I love you. Thank you.

The last week has been mind-blowing! I am so very thankful.

A few recaps on the wonderful world of wealth manifesting!
- A co-worker handed me a $100 Amazon gift certificate (for something I 'won' months ago, I couldnt really remember but ok!)
- The BF received a stunning offer for employment. It is not only lucrative, but sets him up for success in an amazing organization with a group of people that respect him and I believe will make him happy.
- Im now 5 days away from being cc debt free!
- A beautiful new baby cousin was born last Friday! 4 weeks early, but mom and daughter are incredibly healthy and at home.
- The last is very is the full story.

Last Friday a beautiful soul of a friend invited me to her church of Religious Science to a free session with Dr Hew Len (co author of Zero Limits). A gift itself, since his paid sessions are $400+! Although I had heard of Ho'oponopono, I had not read any books or attended any sessions. Dr Hew Len had a very powerful message -- you are the universe, to fix the universe, fix yourself. Fix yourself by returning to purity of heart, that blank canvas -- quiet the inner memories playing over and over that hold you back from having purity of heart in the now. He suggests using simple phrases to help you clean (said to yourself, to anything, to anyone, to everything, because everything is everything). I am sorry. I forgive you. I love you. Thank you.

I couldnt sleep last night. My mind suddenly settled upon thoughts of my dear Grandpa. I started to cry, but tried to 'clean'. Chanting to myself - I am sorry. I forgive you. I love you. Thank you.

Grandpa passed unexpectedly last November just before Thanksgiving. I arrived at his bedside (after a cross country flight booked on an hours notice) about 30 minutes after he had passed. His two children, my Mom and her brother, didnt speak to each other or to Grandpa, and upon notifying each of his passing mayhem ensued. In fact, Mom still isnt speaking to my sister and I because I notified her brother of Grandpa's death.

But despite the tragedy, there was much to be thankful for that Thanksgiving. Id made a real effort in the last 5 years to write Grandpa weekly, to remind him constantly that I loved him unconditionally, and that he had been an amazing example of how to love -- he felt it, it changed his last few years, Im sure. And I had managed to reconnect with my only cousins the day I left to see him on his deathbed, thanks to the internet. They are beautiful, sweet, intelligent girls - and one of them just brought my new little cousin into the world! I also was able to see several close family members when I flew back the next week for the funeral. Grandpa's brother (whom Id never met and now keep in contact with), Great Aunts and Uncles I hadnt seen in years, etc. Amazing.

One thing had lingered in my mind. About 2 years before Grandpa passed, I gave him a gift for his birthday. It was an odd idea for a gift that came to me in an inspired manner. Id received a beautiful watch for Christmas the year before, a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso. In researching the watch, I found and bought an original ad for the Reverso from a French magazine from 1939. The ad only showed a hand and lower arm, but it was a serviceman's arm. I did some investigation and found out that JLC manufactured pocket watches for servicemen during WW2. Since my Grandpa served in WW2, I thought he might like it. I set my watch and his to be precisely synced and sent him the gift with a card reminding him that in all the hours of all the days, Id be right there with him if he just looked at that watch.

He loved it. Took it down to the VA the day he received it to show all his war buddies. In my visits to him after that day the watch was always sitting right next to him.

Last night, when I cried, I wondered what had become of that watch. Id thought of it a few times in the last 10 months. Because of the turmoil in the family and over his affairs, I thought it best to not say anything. I decided the watch would find me one day if it was meant to me. I thought of the watch lovingly. And I 'cleaned'. I am sorry. I forgive you. I love you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I love you. I love you. As I fell back asleep I felt a light touch on the crown of my head and smiled.

I awoke this morning and checked my email. One new message, sent moments after I fell asleep:

Hi - I'm sorry for the long delay but if you will e-mail me your current address, I will mail Mr. xxxx' watch to you.

My eyes welled up with tears of joy. I am sorry. I forgive you. I love you. Thank you.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Abundance and Gratitude - Day 18

The day has made me just a little weary. Thought I would try to infuse a little optimism!

Day 18 of participating in an exercise that is a great idea from Millionaire Mommy Next Door to re-focus on manifesting abundance thankfulness.

Day 18: $13,107,200 spending spree:
LA compound purchase, decoration, tax and maint fund ($13 mil)
Trip to Hawaii for a month ($100,000)
Dinner tonight at Slanted Door with many boozy concoctions ($300)
Hotel for the long weekend, starting tonight - forget about the very bad smoke blocking my commute home! ($4,000)
Clothes and toiletries, since I wouldnt be going home ($500)
Food and entertainment for the long weekend ($2400)

I am grateful for:
- being 18 days about from being out of cc debt!
- skill, hard work, opportunity and the options that creates
- B having new housing even sooner than thought for a very, very affordable rate + improved health and healing

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Abundance and Gratitude - Day 17

Day 17 of participating in an exercise that is a great idea from Millionaire Mommy Next Door to re-focus on manifesting abundance thankfulness.

Day 17: $6,553,600 spending spree:
Make a bionic woman! (seriously, think they can engineer a new back for me with $6mil?)
OK, probably about a team of people that can help: 3x week acupuncturist, 1xweek massage therapy, 3xweek personal yoga instruction, personal chef (all for the next 60 years) = $6,006,000
Donation to my favorite back doctor, to further her research ($547,600)

I am grateful for:
- a wonderful, caring, supportive doctor that has helped me heal for 8 years!
- intuitive friends that support me in my quest to manifest abundance
- technology that keeps me near all the things and people I care about

Friday, August 15, 2008

New Goals

Im 93% of the way to having PAID OFF 43k+ in cc debt in under 1 year. Pretty decent job manifesting abundance, if I do say so myself. It feels good and Im excited about the wealth building possibilities moving forward :)

After much thought, here are my goals for the remainder of 2008:
- pay off remaining cc debt ($3181) by 1 month from today (9/15)
- pay off personal loan ($4000) by 2 months from today (10/15)
- save $5000 for emergency fund by end of year
- focus on *feeling* gratitude for the abundance of wealth I already have

I have 2009 goals on my radar, but will hold off on posting them.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Abundance and Gratitude - Day 16

Day 16 of participating in an exercise that is a great idea from Millionaire Mommy Next Door to re-focus on manifesting abundance thankfulness.

Day 16: $3,276,800 spending spree:
With my new freedom from work fund, use my time to establish a non-profit organization that funds Bay Area programs to bring music and arts to a broader audience. Record label, publishing house, mentoring and after school programs. ($2mil)
Fully fund and grow a project a friend is now running that brings inner city kids to go snowboarding in the winter ($1,000,000)
Gift 10 friends/acquaintances that make under $50k/year $27,600 each.

I am grateful for:
- be in a place where I can receive what I am asking for...people that have deeply influenced by life...instances of endless joy....actions of giving...
- hope
- coffee

Monday, August 11, 2008

Abundance and Gratitude - Day 15

Day 15 of participating in an exercise that is a great idea from Millionaire Mommy Next Door to re-focus on manifesting abundance thankfulness.

Day 15: $1,638,400 spending spree:
Existing downpayment fund of $766,700 + $250,000 for 2/2+den 1600 sqft awesome loft in Jack London Square! (includes HOA fund, maint fund, taxes fun, etc. apt cost = $750,000)
911 Turbo for the BF $138k
Time off slush fund! ($1,250,400)

I am grateful for:
- sleep, especially when uninterrupted 2 nights in a row
- positivity and the knowledge that there are tons of opportunities at my fingertips to BE positive
- good friends that love and support who I am

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Courage to become Fearless

Ive had the phrase "Gradually and then suddenly" floating around in my head lately.

Not because Ive been reading Hemingway, or thinking about going broke, or watching/reading Prozac Nation, or losing my mind.

I stand at the precipice of Financial Freedom. And in thinking about how Ive become free, the answer strikes me as: Gradually and then suddenly.

Almost Frugal posted about her Biggest Financial Fear today. Upon reading it, I had the realization that I feel relatively fearless financially. Its taken courage and hope to walk in the face of the terrible fears I faced over the last 10 months.

Just last year I was terrified. Despite making almost six figures and being single, I was treading on a slippery slope. 43k in cc debt. I lost my grip for a little while. There were a couple months where I couldnt pay my cc payments. The crushing reality settled in: what would happen to me if anything else went wrong? A real emergency could have probably ended with me living on the streets or in some similarly dire situation. In addition, family and friends who make far less were facing financial hardships I really wanted to be able to help with - but I was helpless.

I gradually turned it all around. I went on a cash diet. I committed myself to debt reduction. In 10 months Ive reduced that debt to about 3k, increased my income by 35%, lowered my cost of rent by 30%.

It is an ongoing effort to save, invest, and wisely enjoy my earnings. But I suddenly feel so much more fearless. I feel capable of ensuring my own health and security. I feel like I can help friends and family.

I feel courageous and free.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Abundance and Gratitude - Day 14

Day 14 of participating in an exercise that is a great idea from Millionaire Mommy Next Door to re-focus on manifesting abundance thankfulness.

Day 14: $819,200 spending spree:
Downpayment fund ($400,000)
Retirement Investments ($419,200)

I am grateful for:
- coffee
- pain management
- actually having to think about investments, instead of just how to survive.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Abundance and Gratitude - Day 13

Day 13 of participating in an exercise that is a great idea from Millionaire Mommy Next Door to re-focus on manifesting abundance thankfulness.

Day 13: $409,600 spending spree:
Trainer + Gym Membership ($10k)
3 month sabbatical for both BF and I, replace income ($50,000)
All expenses paid for trips to NYC, Philly, Chicago, Denver, Florida, France, Italy, Africa, Australia, HK during those 3 months ($100,000)
Downpayment fund ($249,600)

I am grateful for:
- a truly wonderful 30th birthday
- my amazing BF making that day, and every day, feel like such a gift
- open lines of communication (and my ongoing devotion to improving my own ability to communicate effectively)

Extended Warranty

Ive decided Im going to buy an extended warranty for the new car. It needs to be purchased by the first week of August. That means I wont have enough cash, and will have to put it on a cc. FAIL. Total cost is $2k.

This will delay my cc debt payoff by 1 month, which deeply saddens me. But the delayed cc debt payoff seems worth not having to deal with the risk of something catastrophic going wrong with the vehicle. Even the average cost of repairs, according to the calcs I looked at, seem to indicate the warranty (on avg) will pay for itself. Plus, its a form of insurance. Porsche's arent exactly cheap to fix, and having the warranty will give me some added piece of mind.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Update: I bought a car! Goal status. Im turning 30 :)

Whew - a few things.

1) My original goal set in October was to reduce by cc debt by 30k before my 30th bday. I revised that goal down (thinking it was too ambitious) to say Id pay 30k towards my debt by my 30th bday, with interest that wouldnt be a 30k reduction in debt. I HAVE DONE BOTH! My cc debt was at 43k in Oct and now is about 6k.

2) I bought a car!!! Ive moved in with the BF, and the loft is not in SF proper. I didnt *need* a vehicle, but I did want one. Id been wanting something I could take on my dozen+ days to Tahoe in the winter too. I bought a 2004 Porsche Cayenne S with 33k miles for 10k under BlueBook. Amazing deal :)

Im still coming to terms with the reduced amount of cash I have each month to save/pay towards debt every month, but I think this was a great choice.

3) I need to formalize my new goals. Ill do this in another post. Roughly they look like:
* finish all cc debt payoff ASAP. Sept 1 seems about right.
* create at least a 10k emergency fund
* payoff car sooner than later, Im not sure if this is just doubling my month payment or throwing a few thousand a month at it.
* by Jan 1 enroll in 401k and max out for 2009
* figure out post tax % of income to save, is 20% too aggressive?
* figure out student loan repayment plan. Because its at 3.9%, I may not worry about trying too hard there.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Abundance and Gratitude - Day 12

Day 12 of participating in an exercise that is a great idea from Millionaire Mommy Next Door to re-focus on manifesting abundance thankfulness.

Day 12: $204,800 spending spree:
Payoff new car ($27,700)
Fund for parking, gas, snow tires, maint ($20,000)
Road trips to LA, San Diego, Tahoe + hotel + food and fun ($10,000)
Family trip to Jax, Miami, Keys, Atl ($10,000)
Housing fund downpayment ($137,100)

I am grateful for:
- new car awesomeness
- cc debt is under 10k!
- love

Friday, June 27, 2008

Abundance and Gratitude - Day 11

Day 11 of participating in an exercise that is a great idea from Millionaire Mommy Next Door to re-focus on manifesting abundance thankfulness.

Day 11: $102,400 spending spree:
Condo for B in Clearwater in retirement community 1/1 ($60k)
Fund for upkeep, maint, taxes, etc ($42,400)

I am grateful for:
- being completely, 100% moved out!
- finding $593 today, woo manifesting
- B can speak after surgery :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Abundance and Gratitude - Day 10

Day 10 of participating in an exercise that is a great idea from Millionaire Mommy Next Door to re-focus on manifesting abundance thankfulness.

Day 10: $51,200 spending spree:
Veneers ($15000)
Birthday vacation for bf and I to LA to see bff then on to summer boarding in South America! ($17000)
New gear for bff, new boots from Cosmo ($2000)
Pink Pasha ($4000)
Cleaner, organizer, storage space rental ($3000)
Honda VFR 2000 Yellow + shipping ($5200)
Chanel shopping spree ($5000)

I am grateful for:
- The yummy dinner I cooked for myself (chili lime tilapia, brussel sprouts, tomato and mozzarella salad)
- being a little more unpacked
- my job

ps - Looks like my manifesting is working! Placed several items for sale on ebay today, the most expensive sold in 2 hours for $699!!! Boss and I worked out a new bonus plan today also!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Abundance and Gratitude - Day 9

Day 9 of participating in an exercise that is a great idea from Millionaire Mommy Next Door to re-focus on manifesting abundance thankfulness.

Day 9: $25600 spending spree:
Alaskan Cruise with B + flights, excursions booked for Sept ($15000)
Used Car downpayment ($10,600)

I am grateful for:
- B survived her corpectomy this am. No complications! So relieved.
- Having someone to lean on.
- Found photos of great grandma as a little girl

Monday, June 23, 2008

Abundance and Gratitude - Day 8

Day 8 of participating in an exercise that is a great idea from Millionaire Mommy Next Door to re-focus on manifesting abundance thankfulness.

Day 8: $12800 spending spree:
Payoff all debt cc debt! ($11669)
Weekend getaway to Calistoga, including 2 nights hotel, food, and mud bath/massage ($1131)

I am grateful for:
- Being 95% moved! Only 2 trips in the car left
- Summertime fruit from Trader Joes
- Shoes! Dunk collection, Christian Lacriox, St John...oh how I am grateful for my shoes. :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Abundance and Gratitude - Day 7

Day 7 of participating in an exercise that is a great idea from Millionaire Mommy Next Door to re-focus on manifesting abundance thankfulness.

Day 7: $6400 spending spree:
Car service and home care assistance for B, 4 weeks.

I am grateful for:
- sleep
- end of the work week
- release nearing an end

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Abundance and Gratitude - Day 6

Day 6 of participating in an exercise that is a great idea from Millionaire Mommy Next Door to re-focus on manifesting abundance thankfulness.

Day 6: $3200 spending spree
Louis Vuitton Richard Prince Weekender Pulp Jaune Ltd + shipping +ins ($3200)

I am grateful for:
- pictures of ebaying stuff taken beautifully by bf
- email from my cousin with good news
- new opportunities arising today x 3

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Abundance and Gratitude - Day 5

Day 5 of participating in an exercise that is a great idea from Millionaire Mommy Next Door to re-focus on manifesting abundance thankfulness.

Day 5: $1600 spending spree
2 tix to Marc Bamuthi Joseph's break/s performance Saturday + parking + dinner at Salt House ($300)
Donation to Youth Speaks and the Living Word Project ($1300)

I am grateful for:
- Lifted spirits of a loved one
- Her positive outlook on manifesting her own good health
- A heart as healthy as it was last year and hence cleared for surgery

**edit** - Turns out I received a promo code to get 2for1 tix for break/s! Woo for manifesting ;)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Abundance and Gratitude - Day 4

Day 4 of participating in an exercise that is a great idea from Millionaire Mommy Next Door to re-focus on manifesting abundance thankfulness.

Day 4: $800 spending spree
Hauling, packing and moving of remaining stuff ($500)
Massage for 2 instead of hauling, packing, moving ($300)

I am grateful for:
- epic fail not really being so epic at all
- 73% cc debt paid off as of today!
- snores and snorts, oh the love

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Abundance and Gratitude - Day 3

Day 3 of participating in an exercise that is a great idea from Millionaire Mommy Next Door to re-focus on manifesting abundance thankfulness.

Day 3: $400 spending spree
Ben and Jerry's Vanilla Ice Cream ($4)
Malo Cashmere slippers ($300)
2 tix to unannounced Mos Def show tomorrow + drinks + parking ($96)

I am grateful for:
- successfully cooking salmon and brussel sprouts for myself tonight
- a safe trip on two wheels
- bf back in town

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I want a car.

I havent had a car in several years. Sold my last one when I moved back to San Francisco, as there was no need (or desire) to keep it.

Well, Ive moved to the East Bay and I find myself greatly dissatisfied with public transportation. M-F I spend about $10 a day on 3 modes of public transport round trip. The journey takes about an hour and I have to stand for most of it, which aggravates a health issue. Weekends are much worse, it can take up to 1.5 hours to get to the city. Driving it would take about 20 mins.

I cant actually make the to buy or not to buy decision until mid-Sept. Lease is up here Oct 1 and maybe Ill end up back in SF? Also, I must pay off all cc debt, and also save a decent down payment.

Id like to buy something with under 36k miles, that is sporty and fun to drive, and can take me up to the mountain in winter. And Id like to spend $18-$25k, with maybe $10k of that a down payment.

This leaves a pretty short list for my taste.
- Audi A4 quattro: I did a test drive in 04 before buying my last car and was thoroughly unimpressed. Maybe I drove a wimpy model and need a bigger engine?
- BMW X3: Also drove a model of this in 03/04. I similarly thought it didnt have enough power, but dont recollect what model I drove.
- Mercedes ML350: The styling seems a bit soccer mom, but Ive not driven it. They seem like an awesome bargain though. Great reviews and cheap, likely because of the gas mileage (and soccer mom styling!)

I thought about Subarus, the WRX specifically, but Im pretty meh on them. Id love an X5, S4 or Cayenne, but they are all too expensive...would be closer to 50k miles on it to bring it to my price range.

Abundance and Gratitude - Day 2

Day 2 of participating in an exercise that is a great idea from Millionaire Mommy Next Door to re-focus on manifesting abundance thankfulness.

Day 2: $200 spending spree
Platinum earring back from Tiffany - been missing for months and I really miss wearing those earrings! ($50)
Superfishal hoodie ($60)
Massage appt for my sister - she loves them but never books for herself! ($90)

I am grateful for:
- victorious trip to Trader Joe's and back! (first time driving the manual alone)
- a call from my sister
- 4 month celebration

Friday, June 13, 2008

Abundance and Gratitude - Day 1

Im going to participate in an exercise that is a great idea from Millionaire Mommy Next Door to re-focus on manifesting abundance thankfulness.

I strongly believe that we create our own reality and that we are responsible for manifesting the life we want, including the financial life. The idea of the exercise is two part.
1) Every day for the next 30 days, blog about how I would spend an ever doubling amount of money, with no duplication! $100 today, $200 tomorrow, etc
2) Be grateful, and record what I am feeling thankful about

Her post reminded me of a beautiful book I read called Ask and It Is Given. This book taught me a valuable lesson. Not only do I have t ask the universe for what I want, I have to be on the right frequency to receive it! In the book they have a great financial example: if you are feeling poor and focusing on the lack of wealth in your life, simply asking for wealth isnt enough. You are essentially manifesting a continued lack of wealth by focusing on the lack of wealth you feel. You need to pivot towards the direction of abundance and wealth to manifest abundance and wealth.

Day One: $100 spending spree
Flowers - an orchid for my desk and some gerber daisies for the house ($70)
Magazines - Utne, Blackbook, Tokion, Mass Appeal, Elle ($30)

I am grateful for:
- sunshine, the weather in SF is beautiful and warm
- music, listened to Graduation on the way to work this morning and it made my morning
- a lightened spirit, today I feel much better than I have in a couple load feels lighter

Thanks again for the idea Millionaire Mommy!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Personal Finance Tipping Point

Free From Broke inspired me to write about my Personal Finance Tipping Point, thanks for the inspiration!

It was May 2005. At the time, I was suffocating under ~40k in cc debt. In an attempt to save money I had moved into a wretched, dirty, crowded four bedroom house with 6 people living in it (and 7 more in the illegal in-law!). I had been deluding myself for years and living beyond my means. It was only a matter of time before circumstances caused a disaster. I reached the point where I couldnt make the payments on 2 of my credit cards and both went to just beyond 30 days late.

I felt like I was falling into an abyss. I was fortunate to rebound from those missed card payments and catch up. I remember hiding in a conference room at work to make the phone payment on my late cards. I was so relieved, but also terrified at the thought 'what if this mess just snowballed?'

From that point I made the simple vow to stop using credit cards - a cash diet. Of course, I had a few slip ups in the next couple months, but I was on the right track. Its been an uphill battle since then, but I feel an ever increasing sense of freedom as each dollar is repaid.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

utilizing myfico free trial

Ive been pretty scared to take a look at my fico score! I was hoping the 68% payoff of cc debt would really help, but was afraid a couple late payments in 2005 and other issues would make for a poor score and totally break my motivation.

Being in financial denial for all these years, I had not paid great attention to my score. I knew that in 2004 it was at or slightly above 700, as I qualified for a good rate on my car lease that required >700. And I knew that in early 2006 it had dropped to the low 600s, ouch!, when I leased a new apartment.

Decided that I would utilize the free trial on myfico and wasnt too upset by what I saw, whew! 678. I am hoping to get it above 720 in the next couple months.


A recent trip to Florida that was fraught with anguish and quasi-disaster has me thinking about a few things:

- responsibility. In financial endeavors, as in all parts of life, I realize (but need the constant reminder) that in order to make the most of each day *I must take responsibility for what I bring into my life and how I deal with it*.

- preparing for retirement. Im about to turn 30 and have no savings for the future, much less retirement. At our next 401k signup, I will definitely be opting in for the max.

- money spent on valuable experiences is always worth it. Seeing loved ones and other travel is one of the things I enjoy spending money on.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Goal #1: cc debt destruction!

As of Oct 07 by debt looked pretty freaking horrible:
boa1 4149.39 @ 32.24%
boa2 12659.56 @ 18.24% (952 @ 24.24%)
chase1 5510.45 @ 29.99%
chase2 10485.15 @ 29.99%
chase3 9582.95 @ 28.74%
capone 833.74 @ 14.4%
total: 43221.24

My goal back in Oct 07 was to pay 30k toward by debt by the time I turn 30 in July 08. I figured that wouldn't really be equal to reducing my debt by 30k, because of the high interest rates, but it seemed achievable.

I am VERY happy to report that Ive already accomplished that goal!

As of today by debt looks not so bad:
boa1 3558.31 @ 1.99%
boa2 10092.53 @ 15.24% (952 @ 21.24%)
chase1 0 @ 29.99%
chase2 0 @ 29.99%
chase3 0 @ 28.74%
capone 0 @ 14.4%
total: 13650.84

New goal here is to pay off all cc debt by Sept 15 08. Freedom! I can taste it.

Goal #2: emergency fund

I'm not sure if 25k is really the right amount. The cost of living is pretty high here in SF, so more than 10k seems wise. Not sure of the timeframe for this either. I have zero savings right now (decided I could tolerate the risk to get rid of high interest debt first).

Rough goal here is to save 10k by end of year.

Goal #3: pay off school loans

I'm not really in a huge rush here. Loans are at 4% and are all consolidated govt loans. After emergency fund is accomplished I will likely ramp up my payments on the school loan.

Goal #?: travel fund? fashion fund?

TBD when priorities are sorted :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Beautiful disasterpiece

It is a beautiful disaster I have created over the last 10 years. Wouldn't change a thing, as it brought me to this very moment. But I feel empowered to change it!

How I got into this mess:
I come from a lower middle class, single parent family, but was spoiled to the extent I thought we were upper middle class my entire childhood (ha!). I left home at 17 and put myself through state school with far too much school loan debt as the result. After college, I moved cross country 3 times in 5 years and created a ton of cc debt in the process.

In the last 5 years, my financial situation worsened as I lost touch with the reality of what I could actually afford. While I take full responsibility for the reality I created, I know I allowed two factors to strongly influence me:
1) being in a relationship for 2 years with a very giving, generous man that came from a wealthy family. It distorted my idea of what 'normal' spending was and also caused lots of incidental costs to be encountered (if Im being flown to Paris, even if the flight, dinner and hotel are paid for, Im still going to buy *something*),
2) living in Los Angeles (Hollywood) - oh, the reality distortion field that city can create!

What I'm doing about it:
For almost a decade I'd been living slightly beyond my means, until I had a revelation last year that I needed to find financial freedom. I weaned myself off of CC use and on to a 'cash diet' for a couple months and in October 07 I set a goal of paying $30k toward my $43k of CC debt before I turned 30 in July 08. I hit that goal in May, and am now excited to eliminate ALL my debt.

Hello Blogosphere!

Ive been on my financial freedom mission for about 8 months now, and a consumer of PF blogs for a bit longer than that. In an attempt to self-motivate, I thought Id try to contribute the community of PF bloggers with my own contemplations, struggles and victories. Please feel free to drop me a line. I would love to hear from you :)

A bit about me:
Im in my late twenties, 29 actually! I'm 'single' in the financial/budgeting sense, but have an amazing boyfriend. We live in the San Francisco Bay Area and absolutely love it here, though it does have one of the highest costs of living in the US.