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Farewell Gruntina!

January 22nd, 2009 at 05:33 pm

When I joined this site, I went through a divorce and had 60k worth of debts. I worked three jobs to expedite the debt payments and pretty much had major set-backs in life which I still feel some sort of resentments. I paid off my debts early of last year but it was not a victory dance for me but rather a bittersweet moment of moving on.

What does this have to do with Gruntina? I was given Runt as a nick name growing up. I was the baby of the family with a disability from being borne three months too early. But the name was not in insult but a joke since I did really well and was the only one who went to a university and so on. So basically I was everything opposite of a runt. When I left home I became Grunt, G for grown-up hence Grunt.

I called myself Gruntina (There is no resemblance of Tina in my real name as I only added that to Grunt to make the name more feminine). Gruntina was very fitting for someone who rolled up her sleeves to pay back every penny of the debts the hard way. This journey of paying off debts was completely filled with grunting!

Now that I am happily married to a gentleman and on stable grounds in life where I can slowly begin to dream again, Gruntina does not fit me anymore nor do I wish care to carry the negative stigma this name now has.

So farewell to Gruntina!
Going forward, you can find me under my new name Phenomenal Woman!

Company Stock

January 5th, 2009 at 04:07 pm

It is well known that it is not a good idea to invest in stock of the company you work for.

What if your company's stock is #1 in it's type of category globally? Would this make a difference when purchasing stocks?

Need Help with Retirement Allocations

October 7th, 2008 at 09:50 am

About 5 years ago I started my 401k (Fidelity through my employer with company match of .40) I used a chart to select my allocation that is semi-aggressive. I chose this as I was younger than 30 at that time and had some time on my side before retirement. Since then, I have not touched my allocations.

To be honest, I do not fully understand my 401k and plan to change that. I need your input to better my understanding. I cannot help but to think I am not doing the best for myself.

This is what I have in my 401k now (Please note that it is a combo of a traditional 401k and Roth 401k)
Assets: 70% Domestic Equities, 10.5% Foreign Equities, 13.5% Bonds, 5% Short Term, and 1% ‘Others”.
To be more specific: 30% FID Equity income, 23% FID CAP Appreciation, 18% Alger midcap, 16% TRP SM CAP Stock, and 13.5 % VANG TOT BD MKT INST.

Any help is appreciated and I do have other choices available.

Update - DH and Roth IRA

September 21st, 2008 at 10:39 am

DH officially now has a Roth IRA account! Since I am more technical savvy one, I went online to enroll him.

Wow! It was so easy to do. It took me 20 minutes max. Fidelity site was very clear and straightforward. Since my husband does not deal with losing money very well, I had him set up with the conservative package for now.

I think we will have a good balance. I am semi-aggressive with my 401k accounts (both Roth and Trad).

I was also thinking why our marriage and our finance relationship are working out so great. We love each other and want the best. I also notice we often do not compromise, but rather find the win-win solution so we both each can feel good on an individual basis and combined basis. It also helps that we do not fight. If I ever raise a voice at my DH, I am sure he would pass out. If he ever raises his voice, I am sure he will pass out as well! Hee Hee! This does not mean we never disagree with each other. We can talk things out. We do not need a formal sit together time/place to talk things out because we are like best friends who talks all the time.

I did talk him into the Roth IRA but not to force him to do so. By listening, I know he had fears that he wanted to overcome and I was giving him a jump start. Listening is the key to understanding the other persons and what their needs are. I showed him different retirement options that he was not aware of and in a language he could understand. Slowly he opened up to them. He feels good now that he has an official retirement vehicle and not be left out. He has hope for financial security in the future. I do not know what he would do without me! Lol!

Made a deal with the DH - Roth IRA!!!

September 19th, 2008 at 10:06 am

After a lot of convincing, fluttering eyelashes and "I love you" notes, my husband is letting me open a Roth IRA for him. This was something he was against for some time.

I never opened an IRA account and need some help in this area.

Right now I have both Roth 401(k) and Traditional 401(k) under Fidelity through my employer.

This might be a silly question here -Does it matter where I open an account for my husband? I was thinking under Fidelity IRA since that is where I already have my funds to keep everything streamed lined when it comes to personal finance organization? Or should I do it through our Credit Union or Vanguard?

Any tips on what to look for? Thanks

School: I got my work cut out for me!

September 7th, 2008 at 08:55 am

After last week of my first days on two courses, I realize that my work is cut out for me.

While I am still very excited to have the opportunity to pursue a Business degree, a part of me is worried about the challenges that I will have.

I love the English professor. She actually retired 5 years ago and now teaches 3 courses a semester purely out of the passion to teach and passion on the subject. The SF Bay Area is very rich with culture, history, minority writers who are now are in the spotlight as they speak for all that has happened in the last 20 years that made the Bay Area the way it is now... Even though this is an advance English course and we should know our grammar by now, she has a TA who wants to become an English Professor. He is going to be tough on our grammar. (I need all the help I can get!!! as the last English course I took was several years ago). I am excited as this is perfect for me to improve on my documents and business emails at work. It also means I am going to have a lot of growing pains as well because grammar is my weakness. The instructor made it clear that she going to be tough on our grammar and will be writing plenty of I love you notes on our papers because this is the last chance ever to get an opportunity to get help and improve our writing skills to set us for life!

The first day for the Intro to American Business course put me in a tizzy! Full three hours to the last minute of several group activities, going over tons of subject in a fast pace and writing assignments with no slow going breaks. I was hoping that since I work for a top business that I would know a lot but to my finding... I am knowledgeable on Global Business and not American Business. I realize I have so much to learn. The hardest part is that I have projects, meetings, discussion group and reporting all day at work and to do it again for 3 straight hours after work is well tiring! I feel like my brain just does not want to function and I am wormed out.

My "older" aged body is clearly telling me that I do not have the energy of my youth. I work from 8am to 5pm then have a two hour break until my classes that starts from 7pm to 10pm (Wed and Thurs). I live an hour away from work so it does not make sense for me to come home in the two hour breaks. During that time, I can stay longer at my desk at work to study or take advantage of the work gym.

But man! Getting home around 11ish at night and try to wake up at 5:30am?!?! I am not even human when I wake up! Long gone are those the days I used to sleep a couple of hours per night and still have energy to last me through the day!

While I do have a "kitchen" minus the stove/oven at work, I am finding its a challenge to come up with both lunch and dinner on the nights I have classes. Lunch was easy as I would cook for 4 the night before and bring left over for lunch. Its hard for me to come up with a dinner plan for 10! For wed and Thurs each, 4 meals for 2(lunch and dinner) and then 2 meals for 2 (lunch) on Fridays.

So what I can make before Tuesday that will satisfy all of our meals? Please do not tell me to eat the same thing for 6 meals in a row! I can handle 2 maybe 3 dinners of the same thing in a row... but 6? Yikes.

Now my husband is very supportive and does take turns with the cooking (he is a wonderful cook). However I do not want him to think I expect him to stay home and cook for me while I am in school. He should have time to do his own thing and sometimes have dinner with our neighbors (he cuts down their dead trees in his spare time for our firewood).

Any ideas?

Stepping into the next level of my career/dreams

August 30th, 2008 at 08:27 am

(This is incredibly long, sorry!)

Next week I start school with the goal of getting my MBA in Business! (Specialty is pending)

I am so excited as it is one of my personal dream to get a degree. However it was my life's journey that chosen my major.

Some of you might remember or not but I have wanted to become an Occupational Therapist for many years and was accepted by a University for the program 3 times. I still get chills when I walk by the OT department in the hospitals or on campus and the like. This is my dream job!

So how did I get from having a goal to become an OT into one who is pursuing a Business degree?

To make a long story short, I have been in and out of school for 9 years and completing all the general courses, got an AS in natural science, almost completed an art major in graphic designs (yes, changes of field switching is one of my quirks) the only thing to take to get my degree is a specific field.

I never knew about OT until I moved to California 9 years ago. That field is the perfect match of my combination of past education in art, science, and working experiences with people who have variety of disabilities.

I was on a roll into this program and due to my unfortunate situation of entering into a marriage that was doomed for 5 years of domestic violence, depressions which resulted in a divorce I was happily to take but ended up with 65K debts. I had no job and needed to make money to survive and pay off the debts.

I landed a job through a high tech company as entry level data processor via network of a friend and got a position through an Agency that services the adults with disabilities. I worked roughly 80 hours a week to make ends meet and school was out of the picture.

It took me a good 4ish years after hard work and dedication to paying off the debts, empowering myself to building myself to be confident in myself and being able to smell the roses again. I also married prince charming.

Now things are settled and I owe a lot of my stability through those years to my job in HR for a high tech company that I am forever grateful. They believed in me and were flexible with me. I had highs and lows and severe depressions from those years which often would not be tolerated by many employers.

I grew up believing that I could never work in an "office" and here I am moving up and doing many challenging things in HR! I no longer do the data entry work but now doing reporting and programs related work. I learned that I am good at this and do want to give back to my employer. I now have 7 years of experiences and going to school in business will solidify my career, provide growth on the job and help land me another job in the case of lay-offs.

I will be moving up from my current position and not having to start over from square one! If you listen, life can give you good surprises.

Now I did apply for the OT program and got accepted. It is a rigorous program where I would need to quit my day job and pay for tuition out of pocket. It would take me 2 years to get my masters if I had gone in this path. I couldn't take myself to do this. One, I am finally earning money where not every cents goes to debts and now have a retirement fund and savings that I contribute to. I do not want to stop this and go through a tough time financially. I am also age 32 and have the possibility that I want to try for children sometimes soon. I had to go through a process of grieving to let go of this dream.

A big bonus: this company offers the tuition and book reimbursement program. So I pay for tuitions and books at the beginning of each semester and when I turn in my passing grade, I get reimbursed as an incentive. The major must correlate with my current position.

My first day of the intro to American Business and advance English is on Wednesday of next week! Yay! Wish me luck into completing this program and to finally land either a BA or MBA degree.

My retirement planning confession

July 25th, 2008 at 06:45 pm

I have a confession!

While my husband is happy that I manage the finance for our family and pretty open to all of the ideas and methods that I have learned on this site. There is one thing he has asked me not to do.

Retirement vehicle! He wishes his income not to be in one. Ever since he started retirement vehicles, he pretty much loses his money in the 10 year span he was contributing. He is socking away money in a high yield savings account and the like now. He is pretty firm on his stand there and in some ways he might be right because he will always gain whether it is little or not.

In the meantime, I want to be able to max as much as I can each year to make sure we have enough to retire on together. Its not a fun thought with the way the economy is going and my 401k rate of return is in the negatives. I have matching contribution while he has none. I am sure glad it is not the other way around.

To do or not to do?

July 22nd, 2008 at 09:41 am

Frustration had been festering in my mind and emotions lately.

I either blame it on the stress at my job (more like not enjoying what I do like I used to rather than can not keep up), having migraines, or living so far away from everything.

I took a few days off from work on FTO hours to rest and calm down so nothing gets vented in the wrong way.

The truth to the above 3 things are:
1. I have a wonderful job and healthy environment with my boss and co-workers. I do have the ability to request for an update or be more creative on how I do my work.
2. Migraines are going to be a part of my life no matter what I do. Adapting to better eating, exercising and sleep habit may help and need to work on these things.
3. I live in Paradise so the long commute is worth it. Sometimes it is hard to leave Paradise to into the city to work but work enables me to have Paradise.

I found out the true reasons for my frustrations. For many years now I have to work really hard to get my head out of the water. For almost 5 years I had at least two jobs (often 3) to pay off a 60k debts. I didn't make much money at any of these jobs!!!

Even before that I had to find a way to pay for my college education to finish school and living expenses on my own.

Now I am back in school to get a Business Degree for my current job. (my company reimburse tuition and books fees)

I am now 32 years old and have lived states away from my family for about 15 years now. I now have a wonderful prince charming as my husband.

The thing is that I want to have children but also be a stay at home mom. I do not have a lot of savings because I have only begun to save after I paid off my large debts almost a year ago. It will be super tight to live on my husband's income. I am about to give in to that change of lifestyle because I fought so hard to get out of debts by working so much. I missed out on friendships and family for so long its now what I am craving. Sometimes I just want to throw in the towel of trying to be financially successful with savings and retirements and so on but I feel so empty in that area because it is taking me a long time with so much effort. I am not happy staying that way. It almost actually makes more sense for me to be a SAHM because I do have to commute far and that would not allow me much time to see my future babies.

Sorry for the long vent. Sometimes I just want to make things happen instead of letting my circumstances dictate how I do things.

Summer Updates

July 17th, 2008 at 09:22 pm

I do not blog often enough since I do not want to get caught blogging at work and by the time I get home, I am computered out! But I do sneak and peek on here often enough to read other's blogs.

Last time I blogged it was about taking a new challenge to take the bus halfway to work since I live up in the mountains and there is no city bus. This was a failed attempt to cut back on gas allowances. I remember there was a blog by BA(internet service)in the way of trying so hard to save more money and only to find out it cost more in the end or not worth the effort.

I signed up for commuters check at work and the result of the bus was only saving 60 dollars per month but commute became 4 and half hours a day instead of 2. So not worth it! Now I have some unspent commuter checks that I am stuck with to the tune of 150 dollars!!

My husband did take the bus to work along with a bike because the stops are not near his work. About 3 weeks ago, a truck crashed into the city bus my husband was on and it totally crushed his bike that was on the rack!!! I am so glad it was that way instead of my hubby on the bike getting crushed. So much bus drama! lol!

On the other hand, we have been frugal and really living on the bare necessity out of choice and managed to add to savings but we did end up spending some of our savings as well. Our biggest purchase this summer was a high power log splitter that cost us 1500. We get our wood free so we think this is a good deal. Chopping away the wood by hand all summer is time consuming and hard. I also rather have my husband and I spend more time doing other things. We depend on firewood to heat up our home.

My husband did mention that he might do a little small side business of either selling split woods or split wood for others. We live in the mountains so log cabins are common. Maybe this will be a good thing?

Got a Raise!

May 8th, 2008 at 08:22 pm

I received a raise today and will see the increase in my next's paycheck. We do not get Cost of Living raises because it is based on performance and skills.

I am trying to come up with ways to save this money and not to see this as a cost of living raise with the recent groceries and gas price increase.

Frugular Craze: Now Catching my Breath!

May 4th, 2008 at 09:10 am

Lately with "frugal' on my mindset and trying to change more way to may my living expenses even lower, it rubbed off to my husband from my behavior! What a bonus.

Recent updates:
1. Painted guest bedroom with left over paints from a year ago that I found. Did not have go out to buy paint and it kept me busy from going out to spend something or spend doing something.

2. Goodwill shopping and clearance. I got an amazing deal on a shirt that I adore at Sears. I did not see a clearance sticker on the tag which had 28 dollars as the price tag. These clearance are supposed to be 75 percent off additional to the already clearance marked price. I liked the shirt so much when I tried it on and was really going back and forth on the price as I almost was willing to pay for it. Had the shirt checked out at the register, the price ranged up to be $3.45!!!!! Oh boy I was trying so hard not to look like a fool by jumping up and down in excitement. A brand new shirt that was dressy enough for business apparel at work and/or with nice pants or good jeans on a Saturday night out and cheaper than the used clothes at Goodwill! (I still like Goodwill regardless)

3. Major one still in process: Using public transportation to commute to work. Those who are familiar with my area of living and how far from the city will know this is something major and a big sacrifice on time and vulnerability. We each now pay about $500 each on commute to work commute alone each month with the gas prices going up.

My husband will take the bus from the summit of the mountain to a major city down the side of his hill. He will need a bike from the last bus drop to make it to work. Since there are only two bikes per bus policy we decided to invest in a motor to add on his bike to use on those occasion where he can not put the bike on the bus. He did not want to add the motor on his beloved mountain bike that was his baby for many years and was planning to get a third bike with motor (2nd bike is our tandem bike). Without me saying anything, he came to me and said he would put motor on his beloved bike out to be frugal and since now married, he does not use the mountain bike as much now that we use the tandem bike. He will mourn a little but it time to grow and adjust to new way of living. So we bought a new motor on sale for 200 dollars including the CA high sales taxes and shipping price and he will install it himself on the bike. (He is an auto mechanic after all). One hour and half one way for him. Driving takes 45 min normally. His bus monthly bus pass will cost $50 dollars and plus little gas for the motor on the bike. Maybe some occasionally drives to work as a treat.

Me - It is one hour drive to my work in the city that is down the opposite side of the hill of hubby. There are no bus routes or public transportation from my house up in the summit down to the hill on my side. It is famous for the very curvy winding road and quite dangerous. It takes me almost 30 minutes to get down the hill. Then I take the freeway to work which take another 30 minutes with the rush hour. 17 miles down the hill and then 15 miles to work.

I am not sure if it is really worth it but I am going to try it out to see if I can make significant savings on my gas and see if that is worth the extra daily time or not. I will drive down to the bottom of the hill (no choice here), then park my vehicle and take the bus to a train station that is near my work and walk to work from there. I am hoping this makes a good dent. It will unfortunately make my commute longer to 1 hour and 45 minutes.

We have a S.T.A.R program at work where we can buy our public transportation with pretax dollars from out paycheck (similar like a 401k method) and have the security of knowing we are always guaranteed a ride home if something happens or a ride to the doctor if needed for free) I can even use my commuter checks on my husband's pass.

I will be starting my commute via a bus in two weeks and boy am I nervous!

One year and one week ago....

April 11th, 2008 at 08:02 pm

was the last time I blogged!!!

2 main reasons why I kept putting off blogging:

1. Really Silly one - Around the time I stopped blogging was the new formatting where we can customize our blog format colors. I made a mess of colors (I do not have good color coordination) so I was embarrassed to use it. Ha-ha! Told you it was silly.

2. So much as happened in one year that it is too overwhelming as where to begin sharing news such as getting married, moving, family issues and so on.... I just felt like I couldn't catch and finally realize I don't need to catch up in one post.

So now that I am back to blogging I will share current news that is money related.

My contract finally ended with a phone plan that I had. I had wanted something that was cheaper and it became quite the challenge as I need a high tech phone. I am deaf so I cannot use the cell phone with a calling plan. I use it to depend on text messaging and using the relay to type on which needs internet. So a Phone with a full QWERTY keyboard with internet and unlimited text messaging are the primary reason why I need a phone. I had been paying 65 dollars a month which was not bad as I hear in comparison from others but still wanted to challenge myself for a cheaper phone.

There is a special plan with t-mobile and their sidekicks they offer for the deaf customers with a cheap plan of 30 dollars a month. I was bummed that this phone did not have coverage at all with where I live (up in the summit of a mountain).

I almost called my phone plan and remove the internet so it would be 45 dollars a month instead of 65 to save money but was worried. I would not be able to call the police or hospital since that is used on the relay service on the internet. It was also nice in the case if I get lost in the city, I map my way out instead of relying on total strangers who get taken surprise sometime that a deaf person walks up to them. I rather be independent!!!

Just recently there is a different company other than tmobile offers phone and phone plan that is unlimited text and internet(Please note that no basic calling minutes are on these phones so it is a fair deal)that would work in my area. I decided to go for it which means purchasing a new phone under that company and was hoping not to pay too much for that.

It turned better than I thought as it was Double Rebate special promotion period from two different companies promoting the phone products!!!

I end up getting the Palm Centro phone and after getting the rebates, I will end up with 50 dollars profit!!! That is better than a free phone. So perfect timing, a brand new sparkling phone to go along with a new chapter to my budget now that I will be paying cheaper monthly plan. I am really excited about this!!!

Yay! Honeymoon Update!

March 29th, 2007 at 06:17 pm

My mother offered to get our plane tickets to Peurto Vallarta for our honeymoon. This took me by surprise and it is a nice offer as we can have memories to cherish for a long time.

If you read my earlier post, the resort for 5 nights was paid for by a friend who is using her timeshare as a wedding gift.

I am also happy because it means I stay closer to my lower budget for the Wedding.

Why is life soo good lately? I am so not used to this.

Modular Homes - Just venting

March 26th, 2007 at 04:38 pm

I have no idea why I need to vent about modular homes. I think it is because of the stigma I get about them from my co-workers and friends. I can not shoot my mouth off at them so I guess I will vent it here. This is not intended to shoot off of anyone's remark on the forum. There has been no one saying anything insulting or offensive at all. I guess just for me to release some pent up thoughts.

I have been pondering on this over the last few years.... In some areas like the SF Bay Area, it can be ridiculously expensive to live here. Why I stay? Many reason including the deaf culture and many wonderful opportunities here. Fortunately my fianc has a house so I am no longer in a "rent" situation to worry about this. But have many times thought of buying modular homes as I have seen some really nice ones. I have a friend who turned down an offer of buying a modular home because someone convinced her it was bad investment. She is a single mom of 3 and been renting only 1 or 2 bedrooms apartments. This 3 year old modular home had 4 bedrooms and was cheaper than her bad area of the city run down apartments. Since then she has gave up finding a better home and work two jobs just to make ends meet.

I know the value of the modular home usually does not go up in most cases and can go down. They are built better than some of the traditional houses.

We do strive for the best investment and value for our money but I have come to the conclusion that I dont think it really matters for some families. I see this as a happening thing in our future where populations are overgrowing (especially in cities) and the division among the rich and poor is even more visible. Even there are families who does own a very expensive home and can not sleep well at night because of the risk they might loose their house due to debts.

Stability for us and children is really important to a more abunditful lifestyle. If it means having a strong home where you can raise your family, who cares if it increase value later on or not if you are in a situation where housing is just not affordable. It is too bad that modular homes and double wide trailers has the stigma and stereotype as it does now days where affordable housing is just crazy. I can still see it as a happy home and a good investment in health, emotional, and mental health. It can even leave room to save for retirement and savings vehicle.

But that is just me!


March 23rd, 2007 at 11:28 am

Okay Okay Okay I confess! I am going to splurge here.

Original plan was no honeymoon but to hide at our house for a week so we can save money for house renovation.

A good friend who is one of my bridesmaid offer a week at a resort in Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) for 5 nights as a wedding gift. All I would have to come up with is the plane tickets, soon to be hubby passport (I got mine already from past trips) and the all inclusive meals for $40 dollars per day per person.

I do not believe I will get this great offer again so I should take advantage of it.

Yes it would mean spending more money on the whole wedding thing than planned but I want to do this. It will be paid in cash but it would put some house projects on hold. That is okay... I am afraid soon to be hubby will want to start working on the house if we stay home for our honeymoon.

Is it my attitude or is it reality?

March 1st, 2007 at 11:18 am

Lately I have been preoccupied with work. It is a compliment that I am given new responsibilities on the job as it shows I can handle growth and fast pace. However, I am finding that I am given too much because I am still hanging onto the old responsibilities since I am the only one at work that knows the inside and outside of some programs.

Even though I slave away some days working really hard to complete things on my daily workload, there are times I feel burnt out and just do not have the energy keeping up with everything. This leads to a vicious cycle of off days and catch-up days which is very exhausting. Sometimes I work extra unpaid hours so I can get it done by deadline. For the past several months, I have an extremely tough time waking up in the mornings...mostly because I am not ready or afraid to face the well know busy and stressful job heading up.

What is going on in my mind? Working extra hours hurts me since it is a one hour commute time from work to home, it would mean I dont get to see my sweetie as much and house get unattended.

I am worried I just wont find another job that nearly pays as well and have the wonderful benefits.

Also its just so much stress at the job but why am I still there? The managers and co-workers are amazingly supportive and encouragers, they find ways to allow me to do my work the best I can by providing technologies and sign language interpreters and so on. The pay is good and benefits, health insurance and 401k matching is outstanding.

I am battling with quitting since I am feeling way more stress I out to feel but I am not sure if its because I need an attitude adjustment (often) or it just mean that I am ready to move on and find a job that suits my new lifestyle with my soon to be fianc.

As a woman, I dont want to ever fall in the trap that I am taken care of just because I will marry someone. I want to be financially, emotionally stable whether I am on my own or not. However, the career driven life is just not always for me although I have behaved like that in the pasts due to determination to pay off my debts. Life is too short and its amazing how green the trees can be.

I dont want to be one of those who slave away at work just to buy a fancy house, car, and materialistic things and never be remembered for anything I do but what I had.

I go back and forth with being over concern about taking care of myself in a materialistic worldly ways of financials and shelters and so on while taking care of myself spiritually and emotionally. Finding a balance would be the goal but where that balance is hard. Partly because any direction from my home is at least 45 minutes to get off the hill and reach the closet town. sighh......

Silent Joy

February 21st, 2007 at 10:33 am

Yesterday my bridal dress was picked out and I took it home. I was very happy with the price and thus it was being a store sample, I got it for much cheaper than a discount rate. I am allthough a little nervous to wear the dress as it's a romantic theme but again, its only that day I can pull off a dress like that. I could be happy in jeans and a t-shirt! Smile.

My ring came yesterday as my fianc surprised me with it. It was my dream ring. Its an eternity band with a channel setting so it is smooth and easy to wear without it catching on to anything, very thin and it sparkles beautifully. I only plan to wear the band and nothing else with it. He got it for a great price and I am proud of him.

I came to work today with my ring. I have it on for one day to make sure it's not too big and that might need to be resized, then my fianc will hide it until the ceremony.

My co-workers are nice but until now, they looked at me like "Is that ring the best you can do?" and "What solitaire ring am I planning to wear with that?" I work for a high tech engineering worldwide company where engineers are paid very well. I did not choose an excessively rich man to marry and "more money, bigger things the better" is not in my mind of thoughts. The co-workers compete for the biggest rock... I am not joking; everyone around me has at least 3 carats or bigger diamond on their engagement ring alone.

Personally I would just be as happy without the ring because I am in love with a good man. My life is good with his influences and his very warm and compassionate side.

Now I am having second thoughts about inviting a couple co-workers to my wedding as I feel judge or criticized by them. Funny how the one who criticized me the most is the one that had to demand a ring from her bf of 4 years or she would leave.

I am happy on the inside and it seems to irritate the heck out of my co-workers that I am content with the little things I have. (Actually Huge things to me personally) Honestly, I feel spoiled with the things I have and the opportunity to have a nice wedding on a low budget.

I have to be thick-skinned at work but it's so hard not to be able to share my Joy.

Merging takes baby steps

January 23rd, 2007 at 11:59 am

When I was living alone independently, I had set up the 40/60 plan (10-Tithe, 10-Retirment, 10-EF, 10-Savings, 60-Living cost) for myself and it took awhile to get on that path regularly.

Most of you already know I am to be married in May of this year and trying to merge finance goals with my fianc. We decided to keep our own accounts and will have a joint account for living things to take things slowly and see how it can work for us.

I am finding that my fianc is eager to share but fianc's habits are not matching the mental goals. Learning from my experience, it takes time for habits to form.

I am doing my best to not nag to him and try to quiet fully encourage him rather expect things to go my way. He has not done research and really never thought much about money. He is very simple and buys what he needs only which is not much except he pays as he goes to fix his much needed help on his house.

I am giving him much credit for being open minded to some of my suggestions and he has been writing down everything he buys every day so I can get an idea where he stand. There is no budget set up or anything and I informed this is only just to see on paper what he does and then after a few months, we can set up a budget that would fit both of our needs.

I want so badly to set up a budget and everything but I am sitting tight on my hands. I don't want to overwhelm things and be pushy. I just keep reminding myself "baby steps".

He is really open to opening a Roth IRA but will need my help to get started which I am gladly to. Funny he says he can not even afford to pay the max... (I personally know he can but "again baby steps" and informed him he can send as little as he can each month.

I keep smiling because I want our home life to be enjoyable and not stressed out. I also want him to feel free to talk to me about anything he wants without hesitating how I will react.

On a side note: We successfully saved more than enough for our wedding already. We are three months advance with all cash payments. I recently nixed the photographer so the original plan of $7000 of the entirity of wedding costs including our rings is going to be lower. I figure with the days of digital cameras, I am sure we are bound to find some good pictures from our guests and family members. I really do not want so many pictures and certainly not of me getting dressed in my dress. Actually, our wedding budget will be much lower because both of our family spontaneously surprised us with a gift of $2500 to contribute for the wedding. So its starting to look more like $4000 on our end more or less on our part instead of $7k.

Maybe I can convince him to put the extra money from the wedding expense towards his Roth IRA?!?!?!

New tradition for celebrating New Year Day

January 7th, 2007 at 01:29 am

We had a great kick off to the New Year. I was not really in the mood to go out late at night and party on New Year eve. My fianc had an awesome idea and it was so much fun that I hope we can do this every year.

Instead of celebrating at night, we got up at 6am New Years day made some coffee to go and brought coffee cake to take with us to a mountain overlook which is a couple of miles from our home and watch the first sunrise of the year. It was breathtaking and beautiful weather. After the sunrise, we even took a walk down the trail from the overview. I never felt so alive then.

I am finally settled in a new place after quitting my second job which was a live in attendant for an autistic man. Some of you may remember I was working averagely 120 hours per week with two full time jobs. Now I am down to just one job and only 40 hours! Quite a change for me and I have been absolutely refreshed and energized lately. I couldn't help but be happily busy on a massive back-flow at work when my co-workers were all grumpy (work had a one week shut-down, thus backflow of work)

The whole week off I had, I just thawed out at home vegging and relaxing after slaving away working two full time jobs for the last 4 years to pay off my debts.

My firebird is not working out on the mountains and the rain is washing away our driveway and the car can't make it on there with it being so low and the nose so long. It has been scary going up the hill on the very curvy and dark road in that car. The lights are so bad and the window is way too sloped to avoid reflections on the windshield. The coil broke this time and car couldnt make it up the highway to get home. My car has had so many problems and this took the cake.

My fianc being a Ford auto technician, we decided to get two Ford Escapes. His is a 2001 older and mine is a Used 2006 we purchase below the Kelly blue book for private sales. I was not a Ford fan in the past but its nice knowing my fianc can work on any problems and just take it to work with him as he will have all the necessary tools in the future.

This is the year I am getting married. The wedding is set for May 19th but truth is I just can't wait to marry my sweetie.

I am still in shock and often have to pinch myself with how good life is going for me now. It's like a dream feeling unnatural as usually tough times comes up and always have to work hard to make ends meet. Things are gliding smoothly and major thank to everyone on this site for giving advice on money. It really turned my life around. Thank you, Thank you, and Thank you.

Happy New Year!

28 but could be more if I was not working lol!

November 16th, 2006 at 07:08 pm

1. I was born in Calgary, Alberta Canada and was born three months too early weighing only 2 pounds. My mom tells me that the doctor wanted her to abort me three times and she said no each time.
2. I am almost profound Deaf with tiny helps from hearing devices and have been that way since birth. After I was born, the medical care kept insisting I tend an institute and not general school. My family moved to the US so I can go to normal school. After all I am only deaf and nothing else.
3. Doctor thought I was mental handicap when I was little. Every time they clap behind my head, I responded so they thought I could hear. Little did they know that I felt the wind from the clapping?
4. I know 3 different sign language in ASL, SEE, and PSE. I can speak and write English.
5. I have a rare gift of being able to speak clearly with the degree of my deafness.
6. At age 3, I heard my very first sound! A famous Opera Singer was on Television and my Grandma turned it all the way up!
7. I have moved more than 40 times by age 30.
8. Age of 3 a kitten has found me and followed me home, she was my cat for 20 years and passed away one month before I got married.
9. I have a new little guy who is 2 years old name Dexter. But the cat only goes by Sweetie.
10. At age 9, I had lunch with President Reagan and performed for him with a group of other deaf students signing the song Over the Rainbow in Washington D.C.
11. The following year, my homemade card was one of the 4 chosen to be sent to the President for Valentines Day (Girl Scout Project). It was made of felt cut in the shape of my hand and I turned it into an I Love You sign language image.
12. In High school I was incredibly shy but yet was involved in clubs, Art shows, poetry reading and was on the dance team.
13. Another high school moment, despite my deafness I joined the Choir. Someone mentioned to a teacher that I wanted to sing so he had me sing the ranges and said I matched every pitch perfect. At the end of the year, I won the award for the most improved. Never did sing after that.
14. My mom is one of my soul mates despite that we were very poor growing up.
15. I attended a University in Montana for 4 years majoring Graphic Design. My biggest regret is that I never finished so degree.
16. Out of a spontaneous moment, I decided to move to California without any real planning. I was nave and had absolutely no idea I chose one of the most expensive place to live. I got rid of my car and things and flew to California with only two suitcases and only $600. I had no job and know no one! After 9 years I am still here with a great job, great boyfriend, and cute cat enjoying the weather. But it was nothing but culture shock and daily challenges.
17. I married a deaf man at age 22. I jumped into the marriage with unsure feelings. I left 5 years later for my safety.
18. I attended College in California but with a new major in Dental Hygienist. I completed my AS degree in Science first. However after completing my science degree before going into the dental hygienist program, I decided I fell in love with the Occupational Therapist program. Hey its Science and Art together after all.
19. I never stop dreaming about going back to school to finish a degree in Occupational Therapist. I dont know if that will ever happen.
20. I sold a new full size pick-up truck for a firebird. I wanted to break free from the Montana girl and change into the California city girl.
21. I finally accepted that I can move out of Montana but I can never take the Montana out of me.
22. I love drinking hot coffee and eat cold ice cream at the same time.
23. Technology keeps getting better and better every year for me. I am a computer geek and my life changed forever with text messaging. I am now almost equal when it comes to communicating with the general public since I can not hear the phone. Internet is amazing, when I am on it, I am no longer deaf.
24. I enjoy getting flowers and often buy myself flowers
25. Cooking Light is a magazine I prescribe to (70 cents per magazine) and actually try to cook dishes from their menus.
26. After proclaiming that I never thought I would want to get married again after a bad marriage, I meet someone special and just cant wait to be with him everyday. I even desire children with him.
27. Question I hate to hear people asking me: Can you drive? How I respond: I do drive better without the blindfolds on.
28. I should be working right now!

Update regarding my Grandmother's service

November 13th, 2006 at 07:17 pm

I bought my plane ticket on Sunday! I dipped it from my savings and it was taken from the extra principle money I was planning to pay my debts on top of my regular monthly payments. This way I did not have to dip in my emergency fund and would just mean a month or two longer than anticipated to be finally debt free. I am okay with this as family is important and my mother needs to know I am there for her.

The ticket was significantly cheaper this time around, only 505 dollars! That is more than $200 saving compared with my last two last minute flight to Montana. This surprised me as the last two tickets, I received bereavement discount and this time I did not. Also surprised it's not so high since it's so close to Thanksgiving holiday.

I am feeling better now but I am realizing now that I am not going to see my Grandma again in reality. I have procrastinated on some letters to send to her so for those who are reading this, send a letter to your loved one that are far away ASAP!

family, guilt trips, finances, the whole thing

November 10th, 2006 at 08:35 pm

I couldn't come up with a title so I just put it as is. Too many things tugging my mind today.

Just found out that my Grandmothers services are on Sunday, November 19th.

On that day I was supposed to work and set up a 30th birthday party for my Autistic roommate. Very loveable guy. He has a vocabulary of about 10 words and says "Party! Me!" all day long for the last few days. He is soo looking fwd to his party. He does not quite understand that I am moving out. Every time a Staff leaves or quit. He thinks they died and can not stop talking about them for at least 6 months. I plan to visit him from time to time but I can promise anything but its enough to feel bad for leaving such a loveable guy.

Talked to mom on the phone, definite can tell that she misses me too much! She wants me there at the service but also to hang out together as she feels she lost me when I moved to California. We were super close growing up as it was just the two of us going through many years of extreme hardship and pain but gave each other reasons to keep going. Again did I mention, she really wants to see me soon? She also mentions I gotten to become my client's family (Autism guy) as if I was picking him over her! Sigh...

I am having been working two full time jobs for the past years. Its tough and finally taken it's toll on me. I gave my resignation notice to my job with the Autistic man. I love him but its taken all my time away from my BF whom I really want to be with and very ready to move on. It was tough decision because I am used to having to survive on my own, hence the two jobs.

I had a goal to be totally debt frees this December but it kind of gotten prolong because of the expensive ticket to my Grandfather's funeral not too long ago and some car repairs. Now again for my Grandmother's funeral. I may sound selfish here and I probably am but after working my butts off and giving more than 150% of myself to pay the dang thing off, I am getting even more determined each day I am closure to getting it paid off... Its like I become a stingy animal...

A couple of months ago I requested to have the whole week of the thanksgiving week off. It was a secret from friends because I intended that time to thaw out and rest, move out of the house into my bf house preparing for a new chapter in my life.

My BF mentioned to me many times and I mean many! That he was so excited to share our first Thanksgiving together.

Grandma! Well its hard... I dont cry or feel like I need to talk about her to a life person so much and I am still going through the days like its normal. But yeah! I miss her a lot! But I have missed her long before she died. We were super close when I was little. Often took a month vacation to stay with her in the summers and we always loved to talk, talk and talk. She was healthy the last time I saw her (2-3 months ago) but I am assuming the heartbreak got to her... Just found out she had 10 heart attacks in the last three weeks alone! I don't blame her for wanting to die. At least all her children were there with her till the very end.

First my brother, then my Grandfather, and now my Grandmother... It keeps getting harder and harder to go back home to Montana. It just never the same but I am sure I changed so much and in my family's eye's I am never the same either.

I do value my family. It just keeps getting harder and harder with responsibilities every year I get older.

I dont know if I am going to Montana or if I should stay? All I can do now is pray about it and see where it leads me. I hope I know this weekend.

If you read it this long... wow! but thanks for letting me vent.

Died from a Broken Heart

November 9th, 2006 at 10:12 am

In August of this year, My Grandfather passed away.

I just got a call that my Grandmother died yesterday. They said she wanted to as she could no longer deal with the pain anymore. They have been married over 60+ years.

Its bittersweet, sweet that they found real love and had a lifetime of it together. Sad that one had to suffer from being apart while on Earth.

*********** This is going to seem really shallow of me. It was quite expensive to get a flight to my Grandfather's memorial. ($+600! and that is with the discount) I used up all 5 days of bereavement leave that was provided by my work.

I was informed that the airline will not give out anymore bereavement leaf discounts because of security cost. I am not sure if that is totally true. This will prolong my debt free deadline. Family is important and Thanksgiving I was planning to be with my BF. So now I need think when the shock wears off on how I can be supportive and know what I should do.

Car Blessed!

October 5th, 2006 at 10:14 am

This month past few weeks was filled with blessings. My SO and I both had vehicle troubles. He lives in the Mountain and about 18 miles of very windy road out of town to get there. He happened to come to town for a college course in American Sign Language. Afterwards, on the way to see me (Clients home in town) the brakes went completely out on his late 50's pick-up truck. Thank goodness he was on flat ground and nothing bad happened. He had to call the tow truck to take it to his home up in the mountains. Funny the Tow truck overheated on the way up the mountain and asked my SO if he can drive his truck on the windy road to his house!!!! With no brakes on windy road? Crazy!

Then it was my turn!!! I drove late one night after a late shift up the mountain to stay with him for the weekend. Everything was fine and dandy, the following morning my SO kissed me bye as I was ready to take off for work that day. Funny the car didn't start at first and then the weirdest noise and "Stuck" noise. We both had a look and I was praying hard inside Please dont let it be my Sweetie (Cat)" under the hood... I was scared. I looked away as my SO opens the trunk.... he was pulling out strings of plastic/rubber.... Whew! It was not the cat.... the belt shredded up to fine strings and the Tensioner that controls the belt and the steering was in bad shape. After my SO checked the car, he came to me and admitted that at first he thought it was my cat too! How funny we were thinking the same things quietly. Had that belt totally burst while driving up the Mountains prior night or just mere minutes later going down the hill and losing steering...? Bad thoughts but felt that was timing God put us in and I am so thankful we did not get hurt. I am very fortunate that my SO is a mechanic so I just had to buy the parts and a 3 day car rental while he fixed my car. That is still way cheaper than to hire someone else to fix it and pay labor.

This is the time to count our blessing and not worry about the finances taking a hit. Fortunately from being on this site, I had a Fund saved up for my car repairs so no loans or credit card had to be used. Yay!

The waiting Game

September 29th, 2006 at 02:27 pm

I am running off pretty fast as I found a rare time to have access to use the blog with internet so not much time. Forgive me if my grammar and English is really bad but I just felt I had to get some thoughts off of my chest so I can breathe better.

I am sure most of you know by now that I have received official notice from my employer that my position is being reevaluated during the next few/several months and it may be outsourced, 3rd party vendor/contract, delaminated or possibly reorganize and I will have a new job title.

Current status is they still do not know or do not know when they will know by. I do know for sure some areas (multi department work in my position) are not going to be reevaluated but that is only a portion of my work. So simply put... just do not know yet.

In the meantime, I have been socking away 1500/per month to my debts which is unbelievably at 7500.00 left! (Amazing to me because it started with over 60,000. This is a heavy factor with making decisions regarding my current employment status. I am not sure if I should just keep the extra payment toward the EF but again would much rather not have to have any debt payments to make in the near future.

What does this mean for me? Blessing to have so many choices but yet so indecisive!!!!

They are:

1. Go back to school full time with paid tuition and get my master degree in about 2 years in the field of Occupational Therapist. It would mean not making income that time to qualify for the free tuition and the program requires I do several hours of internship and 80 hours of volunteer work under a registered OT. (Would have to put high amount of debts at normal payment of 370 per month using EF. 370 was my real month to month payments. I am allowed to keep my night job only which is live in attendant. I only get about 500 a month but my rent is free and public transportation is free as it comes as a benefit with that type of job.

2. Find another full time job without waiting for layoff or changes. This way, no daily wondering or waiting on the Company's time to define my future work. This would enable to keep paying my retirement, pay off my debts soon, save for a wedding.

3. Get married now and have a party later so I can use my current insurance and possibly go on Cobra if laid off. My fianc and I have discussed many times about having babies. This could be a good time since He and I discussed one parent would stay home to take care of our own child. The home is way out in the forest so almost does not make sense to commute one hour just to work and add more commute to day care or something. We would barely be at home. (Fianc work does not provide insurance) so would have to purchase a family one but since my current insurance is only under 30 dollars per month and only 10 dollar co-payment, birth would be $100 co-payment if smooth. Prefer to use my current insurance for the labor and pregnancy process if I can. I am not getting any younger and even though I commend many women have babies in their early 40s, my desire is to be a young mom but only that I am not that young anymore and would like to do this sometime soon.

Not sure which way to go at this time and just trying not to jump at anything. I am praying that the Lord willing that I proceed to a good direction as I spent most of my life fixing up bad decisions .lol!

Choices, choices and choices a blessing and a curse in one!

P.S. Boy does this feel like I just gave off my life story. I hope I dont regret putting this info on this later.

Whoo Hoo! savings on auto insurance

September 15th, 2006 at 07:51 pm

After several months getting quotes from several auto insurance companies, nothing was lower rate than the current rate of my insurance policy.

This week finally, finally an insurance quote that was significantly lower with the same coverage except new insurance policy will include roadside service. The monthly payments have been reduced by $40.00! I can't believe it! I am happy... that is a savintg of almost $240 every 6 months!

Credit is given to this site as I looked up info on how to save on auto insurance. Thanks so much all!!!!

Another saving has popped up in my mind... I just realize that this is usually the time of the year I renew my online security system. Well since I disconnected my internet service not too long ago, this is something I would not have to pay for at this time.

Roller coaster ADJUSTMENT to life now!

September 6th, 2006 at 07:57 pm

Rare opportunity to find internet and the time to enter a new bog!

Many things have happened since my trip to Montana to attend my Grandfather's memorial services.

There was a huge lay off and work force cut at my work when I returned. Very hard as most of the people who are laid off, I work closely with. They wanted a budget cut in the HR dept to save the company in the millions almost to a billion! This is just for a small large company. They did not lay me off yet but I did get notice that my job position is being reevaluated and very possible it will be delimited, outsourced or moved out of the country. They do not know which way they are going with it yet and no timeline hint as well.

With my deafness, I strongly feel it will be difficult to find another HR related field. I decided to go back to school in January and start changing my life to the way I would like for it to be. I will study Occupational Therapist and have more or less 2 years left to get my degree. I will be so broke!!!! I am really hoping my job hangs in there until the end of December otherwise I have a huge debts and would force me to find another job ( I already have a night job) which will rob me of my school time. If I go to school part time, it will take me a good 5 or 6 years to finish so not an option for my age.

Truth is I am so scared; I already moved out of a comfy apartment and now rent a room which is hard to get used to, Will loose 85% of my income, will not be able to contribute to a retirement plan for awhile and will have to depend heavenly on the buses for transport. Can be challenging with the Bay Area people and raining winters.

A lot of me want to back out of the school dream and find another job who knows where with my limited skills and so on.... Just for money security... but truth is I am not happy working my butts off to make a rich company become more greedy. I want to directly help the people and the community and be proud of the work I do.

I am just so thankful I have more than a two weeks notice!!!!! More time to think and make adjustment. its hard to be like a college student when I have always had my own place since I was 17, I was married and now divorce and have a cat and now to rent out a room and have only a third of the fridge to store food.

I hope I make it!

A time to grieve

August 15th, 2006 at 01:30 pm

I feel like it has been awhile since I visited this site. I used to have the luxury of using the internet all the time when I arrive home from work. Well I can say I have been definitely sleeping better.

My grandfather passed away. He was a jolly good man and I really enjoyed the time I had with him. They think he had a heart attack because he fell from the bed. It was also his time to be called to go home as he was in his late 80's.

I am flying to Montana this Wednesday. With the discount, still the cost of my tickets is crazy! Almost 700 dollars for a round trip from the Bay Area to Montana!! Montana does not have heavy traffic and the mountains are in the way. It has always been cheaper for me to fly to Hawaii or Florida or NY. This is going to be a financial setback for me but happy was able to purchase the ticket from my savings rather than use of credit card. I just wont be able to apply a large amount of additional payments to my debts this month. Family is first for me and I will do anything to be there for them.

It's strange to go back home. My brother passed away a few years and that was hard as he was the first member in our intermediate family to go home. For my mom's generation, it will be the first time someone in their intermediate family to go home. Its strange for my brother and sister to watch them as we had that taste already. I am worried about my grandma... she married my grandpa at age 20 and they are only two weeks apart in age. He has fought in WWII and was a walking history book.

When I think of my Grandfather, he was always waving his hand and in sign language saying "I Love You He never forgot his signs and often had to remind others how to do it.

I will miss him.

If anyone is interested.. here is the link of my granfather and a funny short story.


Accepting my Priorities

August 12th, 2006 at 11:21 am

Good news: I found my phone!!! It was on the floor hidden. When I drop things, I don't often notice because of my deafness, I do not hear things fall and hit the ground so I don't look. Must be more careful now!

Anyways, my internet at home is officially turned off. I did this to save the cost until my debts are paid off. I am adamant about getting it paid off by Dec or Jan. But its harder than I thought to go without.

I miss going on this site and I usually do when I am at work or at lunch break. But I also made a recommitment not to spend too much time on the internet other than my work because there is a chance that I can get a promotional raise and do the extra work. I don't want to blow that opportunity up by abusing company's time.

I am going to miss going to this site and the people. People on this site are a comfort to me when I am feeling stress with finances and also I get the best laughs and that always make my day go good.

I am going to try to find ways to get onto the internet so I can go in more often.


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