Friday, January 30, 2009

Yesterday Was a Wonderful Day

I just say this post up at the White House Blog. This is great news for everyone!

Lilly Ledbetter did not set out to be a trailblazer or a household name. She was just a good hard worker who did her job -- and she did it well -- for nearly two decades before discovering that for years, she was paid less than her male colleagues for doing the very same work. Over the course of her career, she lost more than $200,000 in salary, and even more in pension and Social Security benefits -- losses that she still feels today.

Basically, Lily found out she was underpaid after working at Goodyear for about 20 years. She sued under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but she lost since the court said that the act of discrimination occurred during her first promotion, not in each subsequent paycheck. Since she didn't find out until after she had been working there for about 20 years, the statue of limitation had passed. I'm really happy that Obama and Pelosi are doing something about this!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daily Spending Report Thursday 1/29

I've been thinking a lot about creating a daily spending report on this blog. I end up with a lot of "no spend days" when I'm working from home, excluding than rent, utility bills, etc. which are automatically paid.

So for today:
Lunch out: $8.63
2 sodas: $0.75
Dinner: Paid for by colleague
Public Transit: $1.50

Total $10.88

I don't normally eat out this much, but I've been working from home a lot, so it was a nice change to eat food not prepared by me.

I will be going out of town for the weekend. I'm going to try and post about all of my spending in the month of Feb. I might not get to post on Sunday, depending on what time I get back from my trip.

Still Figuring Out Goals for 2009

Ok, so I know that it's almost February, but I'm still thinking about my goals for 2009.

For 2008, I pretty much failed all of my goals.

I'm trying to decide if I should have a bunch of small goals or one or two larger ones. I'm thinking that a bunch of small goals might be easier.

Here are some smaller goals that I'm thinking about:

-Read 12 books
-Earn $100K in annual salary income (I'm pretty close)
-Earn $10K in bonus/other source income
-Exercise 15 minutes each day
-Sell at least $500 worth of stuff on craigslist/Amazon (does not include airline vouchers)
-Post at least 3 times per week
-Track expenses for at least 2 whole months
-Try to really live on a budget. What I mean by this is to pay all of my bill out of one checking account and actually manage to that amount. Right now I pay bills out of my ING checking account and I don't manage it that closely since we have a lot of cash savings in there to take advantage of the checking account rates that are higher than the savings account rates (when you have a higher balance)

I've given myself until Feb 1 to finalize my goals. Any thoughts or comments on other things that I should be thinking about?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Woman Quit $80K Job for Law School

I read this article on CNN about a woman who quit her $80K job to go to law school. After a year, she realized that it wasn't working out and now can't find a job making more than $20K a year.

This is why I think it's really important for high earners to really think and question about whether they should return to school.

A lot of my friends ask me if I'm going to go to business school. At this point, it doesn't make financial sense. I'm in at the level at my company that people leaving business school start at. Plus there's the huge opportunity cost of attending school.

Now if I were with a company that offered to pay for further education, I would take it, as long as it doesn't restrict me too much in my career. The benefits needs to be fair to both the employee and employer.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Finally Took Down My Christmas Tree

I love Christmas, so I wanted to keep the tree up for as long as possible. But I finally decided that it was time to take it down.

I have this huge clear box that I use to store all of my Christmas related stuff. I hope we don't ever get more stuff that doesn't fit into the box! I like to put our ornaments back into the original boxes they came in. It takes up a lot more room, but it just seems nicer that way.

Of course, we have a lot of ornaments without boxes. Those all just go into one miscellaneous small box or ornaments. Most of those are not breakable, but a couple are. I try to put the soft ones around the fragile ones.

One thing that C and I have decided to do is to try and get one Christmas ornament from each foreign country we visit. If we can't find a Christmas ornament, a key chain is a good substitute; that's often pretty cheap. C laughs at my key chain Christmas ornaments, but I love them! We might start getting Christmas ornaments/key chains for each new place we visit too.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Don't Forget to List Your Textbooks for Sale Now

There are two times which I seem to sell the most books - in January and in August/September. I missed the last good book selling time, but I'm hoping to see more this time. The problem is most of the books we have that others would be interested in belong to my husband. Since he still looks at his textbooks, I can't sell any of those. He likes to keep on "learning" despite the fact that he's not in school. Can you believe the guy!?!

Well I'm also trying to post some miscellaneous stuff on craigslist, like some no longer used kitchen items.

I have a big problem with decluttering in that I hate throwing stuff away. Yes, I don't need my teddy bear from when I was 7 and no one else probably wants that ratty old thing, but can't I at least donate it? Of course I know that I can donate my stuff that's in good condition, but some of the other stuff I just don't know what to do with.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'm Thinking About Giving Up Blogging

I still love to read blogs, but it's hard for me to find the time, passion, and desire to post consistently. For the rest of this month, I should have more free time. I'm going to try to post more frequent, short posts and see if that helps me get back into blogging.

Friday, January 09, 2009

How Do You Decide When Something is a Need?

Recently I have been struggling with how to determine whether something is a need or not. One thing that I've recently been browsing is new furniture. When C and I got married, we grabbed some extraneous furniture from our parents' homes (we both lived at home before getting married). We bought very minimal new furniture, such as a microwave and microwave cart. We do have pretty nice towels, sheets, and other kitchen stuff since we received those as wedding gifts. Along the way, we picked up a few items from friends and a item or two from craigslist.

For the past 2 years, we have been using as plastic folding table as our dining table. Is it time to go and get a new one? We already have a pretty nice wooden dining table, but it's too small for C and I. We both like to spread out our stuff while we work at the dining room table.

I can't really seem to find anything on craigslist that I like. And I'm not sure it's worth the hassle since we would probably need to rent a truck to bring the table home. I've been looking at Pottery Barn (BTW, I don't think I have ever purchased anything there), Ikea, and Crate and Barrel. I want to get a rectangular table that easily seats 6 (or maybe 8) with a built in leaf. In the future C and I plan to have some kids running around and I want to be able to seat guests as well as family for small dinner gatherings.

So is this a need? Should I go ahead and try to buy a table that I think will last us for the next 10-20 years? Or should I just try to find something on Craigslist?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Watch Your Change!

Over the weekend, I was out with some friends in what I would term a “ghetto” neighborhood outside of San Francisco. My definition of a ghetto neighborhood is one where there are Bail Bonds businesses around. We stopped at a convenience store where we purchased a small item. One of my friends handed the cashier a $10 bill for the $3 goods. The cashier tried to shortchange him by only giving him $2 back. My friend immediately told him that he had given him a $10. I was nearby, not paying too much attention. My friend said the cashier purposely tried to shortchange him since the cashier immediately provided the correct amount, without even thinking about what bill he had received.

Afterward, my friends and I were talking. The cashier probably often has people stop by who are picking up alcohol on their way home. I bet he tries this trick with a lot of people, especially those who are not sober.

So the lesson is be aware when paying with cash (and credit)!