Thursday, July 31, 2008

big money!

It's time to start thinking about investing, I've decided. I have my first salaried job, and given that my expenses are not much more then they were in college, I should feasibly have quite a bit of money to play with, right? Wrong.

Somehow, the money has just disappeared. First, it was buying new things for C & I's apartment. Shelving units for my scrapbook stuff (love the Target stackable units, btw), frames to fill up the walls, pillows to add some color to the room, and lots of lovely kitchen gear. Soon, the apartment stopped looking so barren, and C's constant desire for a bicycle resulted in ~$400 of bicycle gear (yes, darling, I am very happy that we got bicycles and I love you to pieces and obviously I love my bicycle). Unfortunately, this paycheck has disappeared similarly (in that I don't know where it went). What's a girl to do?

Obviously, the only solution has been to divert some of my money before it appears in my bank account. I already have a set amount going into a longterm savings account run by my employer. I do know that I need to set up short term savings, both for emergencies and to begin saving for something a little more important then a new Lilly shift (speaking of which, this new fall line is not my favorite).

Here's a list of the things that are prodding me into financial freedom:
- My parents. With no credit card debt and all of our homes paid off, they are the primary reason I know the value of investing early.
- My co-worker, Katie. Passionate about her Charles Schwab account and well versed in the art of saving money, Katie constantly encourages a third co-worker and myself to invest our money, instead of letting it sit in itty-bitty interest earning savings accounts, letting the big-money banks rape and pillage what could have been our retirement savings. She is the one who introduced me to the following:
- Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach. Easy to read and fast paced, Bach's book is filled with inspiring 'true-life' (allegedly) success stories of women who invested early (or early enough) and turned their financial lives around. It is full of tips and really encouraging. I literally put it down in order to do something it has advised me to do, like print out my bank account statements and realize how many $3 sodas and $4 ATM fees I accrue per month.
- . Free, fast and easy, is an amazing resource for the average young investor. You provide your bank account information (scary, yes, but I checked out their credentials beforehand and they are supposedly quite safe), they provide pie charts of where exactly you spend your money, helping you by providing savings accounts with higher interest rates, credit cards with lower interest rates, and a medley of other money saving options. I haven't been a member long enough to accumulate these cash-saving deals, but I'm still pretty psyched because I love a good pie chart almost as much as I love free services.
- Research. The more research I do, the more excited I get. Companies are all vying for your money, and they have all kinds of ways for you to invest. actually shows you the interest rates offered by banks in your area - I was about to buy a CD with a 2.6% rate of return, and after using, am going to save up $500 more in order to buy a CD with a 5% interest rate!

What do you do to save your money? Have you started saving yet? Do you have any suggestions on where to cut costs? I've started bringing Lean Cuisines for lunch (when you get them for $2/ea., it's a STEAL!) but I think the real reason I spend money is food (even more so then bars)...all of those grocery trips really do add up! I can't wait until I see the first interest payment in my first money market account :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I feel pretty boring! I haven't had any funny stories, so I've stayed away from posting and stuck to reading. I figure I'd better post so my blog doesn't go out of service!

I am actually going to a shooting range tomorrow to be trained as a sharpshooter, which will be interesting, and (hopefully) successful. We had a dry fire today, so I am now capable of shooting an empty gun very quickly, unloading and loading empty magazines, and pulling a useless safety. Tomorrow will be the true test of my skills, as all of the rounds will be LIVE!

On that note, I've decided to start working out again and become a modified vegan. I've been a vegetarian for a while now, but every once in a while I'll go on a vegan kick. The worst thing about being a vegan is everyone and their mother asking you why you are a vegan, and then STARING at your plate! So a modified vegan I feel is not as obvious...I really try to avoid dairy products, but I definitely don't beat myself up if there is some cheese or eggs mixed into my meals.

C and I are realizing that it is pretty difficult to spend time together. What with the cornucopia of guests we've been entertaining since moving into the new apartment, we're going to have to start planning dates in order to get us out of the apartment and away, together. So far, I've been thinking about cooking classes at Great News Cooking School - how good does this one sound? Margaritaville: Recipes: Frozen Mango Margaritas; Blended Margarita with Homemade Sweet-Sour Mix; Hand-Shaken Citrus Gold Margarita; Smoky Black Bean Dip with Bacon; Shrimp Soft Tacos with Chipotle-Cilantro Crema; Rio Grand Grilled Chicken Breasts Topped with Creamy Rajas (Chili Strips); Southwestern Spiced Rice with Black Beans and Corn; Mexican Chocolate Torte with Brown Sugar Glaze and Cinnamon Ice Cream.


Friday, July 4, 2008

my couch was my ex-girlfriend

c had a journal entry due in his communications class. there were twenty-eight 'feeling' words, and you had to use them creatively, or, we took a few creative liberties:

"While this is an extensive list of emotions, I have, at one point in time, felt this way while within my own apartment. You see, prior to my girlfriend becoming my girlfriend, my couch was my girlfriend. Now, sometimes, when we have company over, I feel a range of emotions, beginning at annoyed but quickly escalating to agitated. It doesn’t take long until I am actually exasperated, and that quickly rises to feeling furious, until I am finally enraged. You see, having other people enjoy the pillowy soft sweetness that is my slipcover enrobed couch makes me feel nothing but betrayed.

My couch was once an adoring haven, enveloping me in its heavenly cushions and stain resistant fabric. The compassionate way it affectionately absorbed my tears (and other bodily fluids) was surpassed only by its caring and gentle attention to my amorous advances. Our collegial attitude took a disturbing turn with the introduction of my girlfriend. It seemed like the couch felt almost hostile toward me – powerless to compete with the passionate advances of my sex fiend of a girlfriend. The couch was clearly confused, its tender, cotton-filled core astounded by the speed at which its usefulness had been negated. I, personally, was baffled by her advances, and while I felt amiable toward this addition to my previously lonely sexual practices, I realized that I was not being sensitive to the needs of my former lover.

When I explained the situation to my girlfriend, she was surprisingly quite agreeable. We decided to move our activities out of the bedroom and into the living room, where we were both astonished at how beneficial the introduction of this uniquely shaped piece of furniture could be. Once I had them both in the same room, it was easy to nurture both of their love buttons without being distracted by the needs of the other.

Instead of writing a message about each specific emotion, I decided to read this confession aloud to my two lovers, and unfortunately, due to their reaction, I will be walking very tenderly for the rest of the week."

I think there's an A for effort in his future.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

baby cat, wall-E and grandma E

A few steals I recently picked up:
Florida Shift, $99
Larssen Dress $29!
Prussia Skort, $59

Charlie Short (in Seersucker Green, Yummy Yummy Embroidery, and Havana Good Time, the same pattern as the first dress) $59 ea.

Calliope Tunic, $49
Now that that's over with...

I would just like to begin this post by asking for everyone's prayers for my grandmother - she will not be with us much longer, and I know that her husband (my grandfather) will be waiting for her in heaven.

On a lighter note,

Wall-E! I loved it and would totally recommend it. I saw it on my very punk-ish, rebellious (but not too bad-ass) little sister's recommendation. The sweet 16 coming of age has seen some interesting dye jobs with this one, but she is such a sweetheart underneath that I knew I had to see it. When a couple girls from work invited me to see it this evening, I couldn't resist! I cried twice, but I'm kind of a sap when it comes to animated characters.

So, I got the best gift ever this Saturday...Baby Cat! I came home, and C said he hoped I didn't mind if we got another kitten :)
He is only four weeks old, and he was a starving stray kitten that a friend of a friend found, took to the vet and got cleaned up, and then looked for a home for. It's a little bit difficult because he is so young and was not hand-raised: we don't want to smother him, but we don't want him to grow up afraid of humans. Fortunately, our almost one year old kitten, Mojito, has taken quite a liking to our new baby, and the two are already sleeping next to each other!

And, in order to even further exemplify why we are a great couple, I just had to get up and run into the kitchen in order to save poor C...he pulled a Costco sized jar of jalepeno slices out of the refrigerator, but he hadn't tightened the lid last time, so the jar hit the deck, exploded, and rained a bloody hail of jalepeno juice into his eyes and hair. I spent the next 15 minutes mopping up jalepeno juice, listening to him moan (evidently it's worse then pepper spray, but I'm not willing to find out), and yelling at him to stay off the carpet. What a life :)