Sunday, June 2, 2013

End of May 2013 : My 2nd credit card is now ZERO balance!

whoop! whoop!!

As I got paid this Friday, May 31 2013, I also paid off my balance on one of my credit cards!

This means I have paid off 2 credit cards and only 3 more to go!!!

I am super excited for living debt free!!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Style

I was not used to wear stripes - I always thought wearing stripes - especially horizontal stripes - would make you look wider.

So I never had (horizontal) stripes until...........

I started working at this clothing store, then I have learned to love it.

The other day, I went to ROSS and found this $18.99 stripes dress which happens to be one of the hot-for-this-season item. This is actually my 2nd stripes dress, the 1st one is more black with white stripes dress and this one is the other way around.

I combined the dress with flower statement necklace, red big belt and red cardigan.

I was going to wear my red shrug, but could not find it.

I think you can wear what ever color of cardi - match the necklace or contrast it!

My other choice color of cardi would be green or yellow.

Have fun with stripes!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

How expensive is expensive?

In my previous post I wrote about recognizing our weakness when it comes to spending money.

Mine is shopping for clothes. I am still prone to clothes shopping till now I have learned to 'budget' my spending on clothes. Let's just say I have created my own standard of what is expensive and what is not.

So here's what my standard in buying clothes:

1.  Scarf - it goes on your neck, it does not really have any real function except for occasionally keeping your neck warm in cold weather. Therefore
- it can not be over $20 - I am sorry I can not buy $20 and still be 'naked' ;-)

2. Necklace - I make my own necklace with glass beads, semi-precious stone beads. No plastic whatsoever. So whenever I see a piece of jewelry - in my case a necklace and hair pins - I pay attention to
- the material - if they are made of plastic - I will not spend more than $10 for a simple necklace and no more than $20 for more sophisticated necklace.

if they are made of rhinestone or real crystal, then I may fall for maximum $30.
Again, they are accessories, after you buy one, you are still not completely dressed.

3. Dress - this is my biggest weakness. I love dresses!! I have several if this and that for dresses's shopping guide
- if it is branded - my favorite one is Calvin Klein - the maximum I can spend is $60. So if I find $25 for CK dress, most likely I surrender
- if it is not the famous brand , $15 is a great price, maximum will be $25

4. Tights  - I have learned the hard way, it does not really matter whether they are expensive >$20 or less, they will be ripped, caught on something and get bleached from shoes you are wearing.
So $10 is the highest I am willing to spend on tights.

5. Tops - less than $20

6. Skit - less than $20

7. Shoes - I have not found any comfortable shoes for me ever. Not Clarks, not Sofft, not Aerosoles, not Born, not Life Stride, not Merrel, not Naturalizer, not Allegria, not Dansko, not J41.  NOTHING.
So while I am still looking for those good brands, I will not spend more than $50 on shoes - expect for maybe boots, then $150 is maximum.

Set your standard low, and stick to it.

Do not buy anything that won't match with what you already have in your closet.

Do not always fall for bargain, someone once told me ' You can get broke from buying bargain!!"

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Working in retail as your 2nd job?

Personally because I worked in retail before, I chose retail as my 2nd job.

If you are interested in finding a 2nd job in retail here's somethings you need to consider:

1. During holiday seasons, starting October - December, most retailers will require their employees to work extra hours and late. Late can means 11 pm or beyond.

If you do not mind that, then you will not have a problem.

If you feel you can work maximum till 11 pm but not after than, then..................

find a smaller retailers, where the managements usually do their own scheduling (instead of 'automated computer system) which means you are more likely able to negotiate your availability.

2. Most of the time, it will not pay you much. Now if you really want to get extra money from this 2nd job, choose the ones you have interest in but you can not afford or no need to spend on!

Maybe office supplies, electronics, fine jewelry, higher end boutiques, furniture. 

For instance, I worked in a shoes store before, and yeah..I ended up buying extra shoes while I worked there - not good right?

Where I work now, I LOVE the style but I can not afford to buy even with my employee discount!
And when I have the urge to buy, I really wait until it goes on extra extra sale and use my additional coupons on top of it.

Managing my paycheck...........

First of I am lucky to have a decent job with decent pay.

Now I am saying decent here it's not because I am not grateful, but I am merely saying I have had higher pay before and right now I get paid less, yet it's good enough for me to start paying my debt.

Since I work 2 jobs, I get paid pretty much every week, though one is less than the other.
My biggest paycheck is about $300 and my other one is only $50-80. :-)

I split my paycheck into 4 different accounts - therefore I know somehow someway, I am still saving.

It does not matter whether it's only $1 per week, IT IS STILL SAVING. 

I did changed the proportion recently, I had to sacrifice the savings and put more into my paying bills account. But again, I am still saving even though it's bit less than usual.

Every time I get paid, I have scheduled payment on my credit card as well.

I make sure I keep enough 'bumper' for my monthly fixed bills .

How do you manage your paycheck to pay your debt?

Where to save?

Everybody is talking about saving money and getting more money.

In reality, sometimes it's not as easy.

For instance, every time I read an article about saving money, it's always mentioned about 'bring your own lunch', no more coffee, don't go out.

Well, I have done all of those and I still feel I do not have extra money. And there were times in my life I thought "Darn. Does it mean I am out of ways to save money??


I know exactly how you feel, but don't get discourage! I will let you teach you how to see things differently!


First of, those tips are true, they will save you money!

I have done a little math for each of the tip.

Lunch :
These days, for a decent lunch, you need to spend at least $7.00 .

For me who work 3 times a week, that is $21 per week or 10% of my pay for that week is gone.

You may argue..''s only $21 per week, not a big deal, BUT

That $21 you spend on lunch, you could have use to pay your bill.

The way I am thinking is like this :

That $21 per week can be used to pay the utility bill or my car lease bill.

So between buying lunch which many times do not really fit my taste and keeping my car with me, I choose the last one.

Each of us will have a different view, and it's OK, but I found out, if I could 'justify' my savings, more likely I would do it without a grudge!

No-more-debt journey

As today, March 16 2013 
I have a zero balance in one of my 5 credit cards.

4 more to go!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

I am broke therefore............

Where do I start?

Long story short, I have about $20k in debt that I have to tackle.
How did I get in debt?

Well, to be honest, part of it was caused by my shopping addict and part of it was caused by our family situation where my Hub lost his job in recession 2010 and we had to move 4 times across country because of the job.

I have not yet contacting any debt counseling institution, mainly because I am inspired by Anna and her vanishing debt story.

Just to be fair, I think I need to let you all know about source of income we're getting and our situation, so that you can decide whether my way will work for your situation.

1. We are family of 3 - a child in early grades in elementary school

2. My Hub works full time job, pays pretty good - his income is for rents, his bills, and our bills

3. I work 2 jobs, both part time, in financial institution and in a retail. One pay slightly more than the other. I get paid every 2 weeks on both jobs - which ends up getting paid once a week.

4. We have 2 cars, we cable.

5. Our bills (excluding credit card bills) are : utility in our current place, rent, utility in our house which is rented by someone else, cable, car insurances, car leases, daycare

6. My bills are : credit card bills : 3 of them (of total $20k), car lease $105/mth, car insurance $55/mth, gas $50/month - yes you read it right, I have a smart car, the gas tank is only 8.5 gallon, student loan $1750, prepaid phone $15 per month.

So I have to admit, I consider myself lucky because I have a partner which means there are 2 source of income coming in in our household.

So my income pretty much for myself.

This is what I have been doing so far

1. Admit your weakness : is it going out? movies? trips? clothes? shoes? eating out?
Mine is well, for clothes. I can curb my addict on shoes, handbags etc, but most of the time fail on clothes.

2. What is your source of weakness? and how to eliminate your weakness?
I have severals:

When I didn't work, I tend to get bored and when my Husband came home, I demanded to go 'window shopping' which ended up real shopping. So I knew I have to work!

I used to work in a department where I could got AWESOME deal! and it's hard not to buy.
When I started hunting for a 2nd job, I chose a store where I could hardly buy a single thing in the store!

I also have a tendency of getting 'excited' in new place, we lived in a small town before and when we 1st moved to a much bigger town, I got shopping euphoria!

So again, when I looked for a job, I make sure my workplace location is safe from the shopping places.
My current workplace now is actually next to a mall -which is bad, BUT can be good at the same time, as I can go there everyday, and this makes me bored of looking at the same stuffs again and again. be continued

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Neither poor nor rich

I am very grateful that my Son loves tofu.

So tonight I fix this easy cheap meal for all of us

1. Half pack of extra firm tofu $1.59

2. Handful of sugar snap peas (from a bag of $2.99)

3. Handful of bean sprout (a huge bag of $2.99)

4. Handful of carrots cut diagonally (a huge bag from Costco)

5. 2 cloves of garlic, shallots

6. 1 package of Yakisoba Noodle - you can use regular spaghetti noodle ($1.00 a box)


Our meal has 3 color of veggies, protein and grain!

I am neither rich nor poor

I do not have a heart to go to a nail salon and have my nails done.

It's very tempting, but the idea of spending $20-$35 on my nails while I can buy some meat and veggies with same amount of money, I choose groceries.

Maybe I am poor, and even if I am, it's OK. 

My nails can be plain, but our meal must be colorful.

It's my life I am living