May 30, 2009

No Clothes June

I have been doing so much clothes shopping lately, and honestly, I'm kind of tired of it. As far as I can tell, I have everything I need and then some, so I need to STOP. Ergo... my goal for June? Not to buy any item of clothing (including shoes, jewelry and underwear). My credit card bill is uber high this month and I definitely cannot have a repeat next month. I can think of a million and one different things that my money can be used for other than buying a bunch of clothes that I'll just give away in a few years anyway. I'm not gonna lie, this is going to be a hard one to stick to. I need a kick in the butt though, and I'm not going to let myself mess up this goal.

May 29, 2009


So I found out from Budgets are Sexy that ABC is doing a new special tonight called UN-BROKE: What You Need to Know About Money. It looks really cool-- they have these funny previews on their website. I think they're all hilarious, but my favorites are the speed-dating with Antonio Banderas (yum!) and the Cribs spoof with Seth Green! I'm definitely going to have to check it out. Unfortunately, it's on at the same time as What not to Wear (9pm), but I suppose I'll have to make an exception, just this once (*sigh*). I hope it's good... so many people out there need to learn what to do with their money!

Meet my new Love…

Mint! I may be behind the times or something, but I only just tried Mint today. But seriously, now I’m hooked. I get it now- it’s so much easier just to sign into one account that organizes all your finances for you. And this way I won't develop carpal tunnel typing passwords into 492,376 different bank account pages! Everything you could possibly need is listed right there on your front page, plus you get your net worth, awesome little pie charts to see where your money’s going, comparisons and other cool stuff. I’m a big nerd, so I think it’s so much fun-- I’ve been playing around with it all morning. If you guys haven’t checked this out yet, I’d suggest it. It’s really just too cool not to check out, and it's definitely going to make my life easier.

May 28, 2009

Not as bad as it could have been?

Welllll, das Auto needed some new brakes, not that I didn't see it coming or anything. The mechanic actually said I'd let it go so long that the back brakes weren't even good for anything anymore, which is sorta scary (sorta doesn't come up as a misspelled word??). So the good news is that the inspection, tire rotation and new brakes only cost me $375. But the bad news is that the inspection, tire rotation and new brakes cost $375. I still have one more paycheck coming my way (a wonderful perk about working at Penn State-- getting paid for months you don't work), so I suppose that's how I'm going to pay for it. For now it's on the credit card to earn some reward points, though (there's the silver lining)!

May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

Hey everybody, I hope you had a great memorial day weekend! Mine was really good-- I went to visit some friends in Lanc, so we could all hang out before one of my best friends left for marine bootcamp. I spent probably more money than I should have, as I always tend to do when going out to visit friends in Lancaster, but it was so worth it! We went to the baseball game ($11), out for dinner ($10), out for ice cream ($3), and out for drinks ($8). It made me miss the city so much though-- there are so many cool new restaurants and bars open since the last time I visited, and I want to check them all out. Ugh sometimes I get soooo antsy spending my life in small towns!

In other news, my car is going in for inspection tomorrow... eeeek! Hopefully it's not a disaster!

May 20, 2009

A perfect June wedding...

... no, not for me, silly! My friend is getting married in a few weeks, and I am so flipping excited. Let me describe for you some of the awesomeness about her wedding, so you may better understand why I can't wait.

a) All the girls from college will be together again
b) We are road-tripping to Punxsutawney, PA
c) We are staying in the same hotel where Bill Murray stayed when shooting Groundhog Day! (Maybe that’s pretty lame, but I think it’s neat)
d) My mom is letting me borrow a really pretty dress to wear

Needless to say, it's gonna be a rockin' good time. And to make it better, I think my personal expenses for the wedding will be pretty minimal. We each only have to pay $50 for the hotel and about $25 for gas. And yesterday I used my financial smarts and used my JCPenney gift card to buy them few things from their registry. So in theory, I only paid $2 to buy them something that they wanted!

May 17, 2009

The Summer of Travel Begins

Considering I don’t have a job this summer (first summer I haven’t worked in about 8 years—so weird!), I am overloaded with free time. So I have determined that this is going to be the summer of travel. I mean, I will probably never have a free summer with no job and no classes to take again, and I have a fairly good amount of money stashed away for travel plans, so I’m all set! Here are my big trips for this summer:

1. Williamsburg, VA (1 weekend in June)
2. Newport, RI (1 weekend in July)
3. Memphis & Nashville, TN (1 week roadtrip in July)
4. Montreal & Quebec City (1 week in August)

I would pick one trip that I'm most excited to go on, but truthfully, I'm excited for all of them!! I've been wanting to see these places for a really long time, and now I actually have the chance to do it! I just have to remember to balance having TONS of fun with not spending like crazy. I'm not too worried though—investigating good deals and reading reviews on tripadvisor are actually fun for me, so I should be able to find some awesome deals.

May 15, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Hey, today is my one year anniversary of having this blog!! I feel like I've learned a lot in one year, and I've made a lot of progress, even if things don't always go the way I'd like them to with regard to my finances. Thanks for a good year everybody! :-)

May 14, 2009

This could have been dangerous...

Today I got an email from VS, saying that they are having a special pre-sale for the semi-annual sale (danger danger!). I was worried that I would be tempted to spend too much, considering the only thing I love more than the pretty things from VS are those pretty things on sale! So, needless to say, the semi-annual sale is my best friend. But don't worry, I only bought four things, and I'm pretty proud of myself! To make it all even better, everything was half the price of the original, AND I used a coupon to save more. The damage was under $40 including shipping... not too shabby! Thank you, semi-annual sale!

May 12, 2009 picking up

Since I joined last summer, I was almost never chosen for any surveys. It took me about a year to get up enough points for a $10 check, and I thought it was pretty much a waste of time. But lately I've been getting 2 surveys a week or so! I'm already halfway to another $10 check after only a few months. Pretty sweet, if you ask me! I am no longer a disgruntled customer.

May 9, 2009

Tackling my Debt

Well, I am finally finished the semester!! I turned in all my papers, computed my students' grades, packed up and left my apartment, and moved home for the summer. Now that the semester is over and I don't have to stress about school for awhile, I thought I'd come up with a new financial goal.

When I graduated from undergrad, I had about $17,000 debt in student loans. By now that’s down to closer to $16,000 (in two years… oy), but by the end of the next school year I want to pay my student loan down to $14,500. This means I have about $1,500 to go in one year, which is basically what I’ve done with the previous two year’s work. It might be a bit difficult, but this doesn't seem like an impossible goal.

How will I do it? Right now I send in $150 each month, and about half of each payment goes to the principal and half to the interest. So, if I multiply $75 by 12, that’s $900 in one year. Then I only need to scrape up an extra $600 over the course of a whole year! Considering I have a large summer stipend coming my way soon, I think this is completely do-able. Maybe I'll even be able to pay off a little more!!

May 6, 2009

Bangin’ Credit Score

So I’m pretty sure I forgot to tell you guys about my credit score (don’t know how that happened)!!! I bought it the other day from Fico, just out of curiosity, not necessarily because I thought it was bad. Well, I am now soooo proud of myself, because my credit score is over 770!!! This means that I am definitely doing something right! I can't wait until the day when I apply for a loan for a house or something and can whip out that bad boy. :-)

May 3, 2009

First Craigslist Purchase (and 100th Post)

Today I made my first ever Craigslist purchase (and I didn't get murdered or anything). I bought a nightstand for my apartment next fall, for only $10! It's nice and solid with real wood and two drawers for my stuff. The lady said it was from the 60's, which you can only really tell because some of the stain is coming off. But I'm sure I'll be able to either paint or stain it for a fun summer project. Also this week I'm going to pick up a desk with a hutch for $25. I just have to find someone with a truck who can move it for me, and I'll be set. After I buy the desk, and find a chair to go with it, I'll have all the furniture I'll need for my new room!

May 1, 2009

Kiva Loan

This morning I got an email telling me that the Kiva loan I lent out last summer has been paid back in full! So this morning I got to pick a new person to help with my $25. Last time I picked a group of three women living in Africa who wanted to expand their store, and today I helped a woman living in Peru who has a dairy farm.

Kiva is a really admirable program, in my opinion. Ever since I learned about microloans in my international studies class in undergrad (an excellent book to read about the subject- Banker to the Poor by Mohammad Yunus), I’ve been a big fan. It’s amazing how an amount that seems so small can be a big help to someone. These microloans are great because the people get to use the money to improve their lives in whichever way best suits them, and they don't get taken advantage of by larger financial companies. It's really a wonderful idea, in my opinion, and I love being able to help out individual people instead of just sending money to an organization. It's awesome to pick out someone who you feel connected to or who you think your loan would best help.