Saturday, August 25, 2007

Minimal Posting

When I started blogging again, I was hoping that I would be able to post on a consistent basis. Unfortunately this past month has been extremely busy with work obligations, weddings, and a small 4 day vacation.

I will try to post something more substantial tomorrow or Sunday.

I hope everyone has a good weekend!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sustainability and Frguality

I love it when I find ways to combine my interest is sustainability with my desire to be more frugal. I saw a great article in the Chicago Tribune about a recent law school grad who finds her clothes on the street.

I will admit that this might be a bit extreme for me, but I am a big proponent of doing similar things such as finding housewares on the street. My husband would kill me if I took home street finds now since he's has a cleanliness complex (he doesn't even want me to buy things from thrift shops). I have tried explaining how new clothes have been tried on, but he is unwilling to buy that line of thinking.

When I was living in NYC, I did find a pair of Calvin Klein jeans in a paper bag next to the garbage in my apartment building. I took them home, washed them (even though they already seemed clean) and tried them on. They fit, but unfortunately the previous owner was skinnier than me. I think I still have them around somewhere since I was planning on selling them on eBay.

I think New York in the mecca for street finds. There are a lot of busy, wealthy individuals who are unwilling to find a place to donate their perfectly usable, but undesirable to them items.

Walking around my old neighborhood, I found a really cute wooden table with stars painted on it, a dish rack (which I used since my store bought one broke), books and many other things.

There are many things that I want to do, but have not yet incorporated into my life. Decreasing my consumer consumption is one of my goals. This is pretty difficult for me since I love to shop, but I'm hoping that it will get easier with time.

Friday, August 10, 2007

One Area Where I Splurge

One area in my life where I always splurge is when hosting parties, especially parties in honor of others. I come up with a list of food items that I like (or I think the guests would like) and head over to Costco, Trader Joe's, and/or Safeway to get all the necessary sustenance.

I never budget for the parties and I also end up spending more than I think I will. The bill at Costco itself is always at least $100, sometimes closer to $200. I love taking the time to plan out the food, go shopping, and prepare everything!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

My Experience With Family Loans

When I graduated from college with stars in my eyes (I was on my way to NYC!) I knew that I was in the most precarious financial position of my life since my parental financial support was about to be reduced from full support to minimal, if any, support. Fortunately for me, many members of my family are in a better financial position than I am. I asked my older sister, with her well paying Silicon Valley tech job, if she would be willing to provide me with a loan for my graduate studies. She thought about it and graciously agreed to loan me up to the annual gift tax amount ($10K at that time) interest free.

At that time, I never thought about how the loan might alter our relationship or put a strain on my finances. I was only in grad school for one year and I assumed that I would easily find a job post-graduation that would allow me to pay off all my debts (family and education). I did not realize how difficult it would be to find a job or what my living expenses really added up to be. I was lucky that I had some money saved up, so when that educational loan became due (when my sister needed the cash to finance her home purchase), I was able to return the money to her. Had I not been able to pony up the cash, it could have caused a serious strain in our relationship. From this, I realized that in borrowing money from someone close to you, it's important to think about how it might alter the dynamics your relationship, when you will need to return the loan, and whether it's worth the potential pitfalls.

Wearing Out Clothes

It's unfortunate that I have worn out two of my favorite sweaters this summer. I know it's summer and I shouldn't need to wear sweaters, but I'm one of those people who always gets cold at work. The first time I wore out a sweater, I was lucky since my sister had the same exact sweater and she didn't wear it since it didn't fit her correctly.

This time I'm not so lucky. It so happens that I have three duplicates of the same sweater from Ann Taylor. I happened to purchase all of them on sale, in prices ranging from $75 - $40 for 2 ply cashmere sweaters. I would wear one of these sweaters at least once a week to work for 3 or 4 years. Now I only have one left!

Due to this recent turn of events, I feel the need to purchase some more sweaters. I really loved those sweaters. I didn't really like the styles available last winter at Ann Taylor so I didn't purchase any. I'm thinking about using eBay to fulfill my need. No one is selling sweaters (except the light weight ones) this time of the year yet. Even in a month or two when warmer sweaters are available, they'll be full price. Still thinking about how to replenish my work wardrobe.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Wealth is a Matter of Perspective

I was reading Boston Gal's blog and I saw this link to an article in the NY Times about Silicon Valley millionaires that don't feel rich. Wealth is all a matter of perspective. When everyone around you is poor, you feel rich in comparison. For these people, everyone around them is rich, so they feel poor, despite being among the richest people in America.

A while ago I read a study about two types of jobs about two job offers.

Job A pays $90K while all of your other co-workers are paid $80K.
Job B pays $100K while all of your other co-workers are paid $120K.

Which job would you rather have? This assumes that the work for both jobs is completely the same for you and for your co-workers. The study I read about said that most people would be happier with Job A, even though the net pay is less. I would have to agree that I would be happier with Job A. Looking at it from a broad view, Job B would be better for your bottom line. But psychologically, I would be upset at being paid less than my colleagues for doing the same work.

I think this is how the rich Silicon Valley millionaires feel - even though they're not doing exactly the same job. A lot of the wealth is based on timing and luck. Of course the Silicon Valley millionaires also feel the need to keep up with the rich Joneses which does not help their situation.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Am I Obligated to Give a Gift?

I recently received a wedding invitation from an old friend that I see sometimes, but no longer talk to. I had known that they were getting married for some time (we still have a lot of common friends), but I had assumed that we were not invited to the wedding.

I am sure that C, my husband, and I are on the "B list" or maybe the "C list" since we didn't get a save the date (the couple sent out an electronic save the date) and we just got the invitation (most of my friends received invitations much earlier) with a reply request of only one week.

C and I are definitely not going to the wedding since we will be attending another wedding the same weekend in a different geographical location. What I'm struggling with is whether we should get the couple a gift.

I wrote this post a few days ago. Since then, I've decided to buy them a gift.

Drink Tap Water

I saw this editorial on the NYTimes about drinking tap water. I'm really trying to cut down on my consumption of bottled water. Since I started making a concentrated effort (starting about 2 weeks ago), I have only consumed one bottle while on a bike ride. I need to get some of those free water bottles that I can bring with me