I’m Back!

HELLO~!!! I can’t believe it has been almost a year since my last post.  There were many changes and happenings during the last year in my personal life.  I just kind of forgot about my blog going through my life basically, but I’ve been really missing it recently.  I felt really badly about abandoning my blog for so long and couldn’t face any of you that are still checking my blog out.  But not getting over this feeling, which is mostly guilt, will definitely end my blog.  So I’m going try to come back to it.  It’ll take some time to get the swing of things and re-connecting with old blog friends as well as making new ones.

Let me give you a brief recap of what happened in my life the past year.

First one that is big enough to be mentioned here is a real biggie.  My hubby got laid off last summer.   I knew in my head that this could happen to anyone including us, but it seemed so unreal when it first happened.  My hubby’s company was a small company and after losing a contract, they couldn’t afford to keep him.  But by grace of God and my hubby being diligent, he found a new job in a month.  Praise the Lord~!!  He’s still with the “new” company and this really hit me in the head about getting the emergency fund ready.    With my tiny salary, little bit of unemployment, only paying the minimum on all our debt, and a little emergency fund, we could’ve lasted 2 months without my hubby working.  But if my hubby didn’t find a new job that quickly, I don’t know how we would’ve survived.  Our emergency is still small, but I am building it faster than my original plan.

Second one is the fact that my hubby finally finished his MBA program.  Whoo whoo~ I was and am still so proud of my hubby having a demanding full time job and putting so much of himself in his studies as well for 2 ½ years.  He didn’t just want to pass, but he wanted to really learn everything he could and get great grades.  And he did.  A cherry on top is the fact that we ended up with around $16k left in his MBA loan.  We tried to save and pay as we went and that really helped a lot.

Third one is that fact that my uncle in Houston passed away out of the blue.  Remember a couple of years ago I mentioned about my cousin’s wedding in Houston?  It’s his dad who passed.  My brother and I went there to support our family there.  It was surreal seeing him lay there.  He was a very healthy and strong person.  I really thought he would outlive us all.  I am glad I got to go there to say goodbye to him and be there for my aunt and other relatives.

Fourth one is the fact that my mom was hospitalized again a little over a week ago.  She is extremely weak and getting more confused.  My brother and I have been alternating days to spend the night at her house.  She doesn’t express her pain or show her suffering, but I can tell she’s having a hard time, because she’s so physically weak.  Please keep her in your prayer.

Finally, that last one I wanted to keep you guys updated is that my car has been paid off and my student loan has less than $4k left.  Since my hubby graduated from his MBA program, we have been less careful with money.  We’ve been eating out more and shopping more.  But I still think we’re making good enough progress.  We can do better and we will, but I want him to enjoy his free time a little longer.

So there you have it.  I hope I didn’t depress you guys with a couple of sad news, but don’t worry.  We’re doing well and I am thankful.

How have you all been?  What’s the one thing you would tell me from last year?

1 Year Blogoversary

I can’t believe it.  It’s been a year since I started my humble blog and it’s been one year since I decided to buckle down and tackle my debt and be an adult about my money.  There were times when I was discouraged due to the lack of commitment I had for my money plan and my blog.  There were times when I wanted to quit writing on my blog since I felt like no one was reading it and cared for it.  But there were also times I felt incredibly grateful for the few readers that encouraged me.  There were times when I felt accomplished and really satisfied looking at the numbers changing in my finances and just an overall change I see in my life.

Now that I’m looking back at the one year life of my blog, I’m glad I stuck to it.  This was my driving force in pushing through with my efforts to clean up my financial life and life in general to achieve that.  I met a few friends through this too.  I’m not sure if they think I’m their friend, but I don’t care.  I feel a sense of belonging.  Granted it’s a small circle, but size doesn’t really matter, right?

So I thought I’d mention top 3 of my most popular posts for those of you who missed them.  Other than the About and Debt Status pages, my most viewed post was Wedding Dress and Cake.  I’m one of those people who is automatically drawn to anything wedding related.  I guess there are others who are like me in that respect.  My fascination with weddings started when I was planning for my own, but it never died.  I still love looking at wedding blogs and reading about people’s wedding planning journey.  I actually want another wedding for myself, but with the same guy of course~^^

Number 2 on my list is How Much Do You Budget For Gifts?  People must have similar problem as me in trying to figure out what and how much to include in gift budget if at all.  I did get better since then, but certain things just come up without a warning and all you can do is to deal with it the best way you can by either saying no or be super frugal.

Number 3 on my list is Do You Have Misc. Category In Your Budget?  Budget category seems to the topic many people liked on my blog.  I think most of the commenters said they don’t have misc. budget.  I got better at anticipating expenses and staying under budget, so this sort of became a non-issue for me.

Well thanks for following me on my journey for the past year and if you’ve just found me, feel free to snoop into my past.  Please continue to follow me and encourage me while I’m trying to get rid of my nasty debt and let’s try to have some fun.  Yay~!!!

What was your favorite post on this blog?

MY Favorite Things – Drug Store Edition

We had another ice storm last night and when I walked out this morning, all the trees were coated in beautiful shiny ice making it look like crystal.  My car was also covered in snow, so I had to break into my car(?), I mean I had to break the ice to get into my car.  It wasn’t too bad though.  It melted quickly once I started the engine and broke easy.  Looking at those pretty ice made me think of glitters and glitters made me think of eye shadows and eye shadows made me think of make-up in general.  So I wanted to list my favorite things for this month concentrating on my make-up favorites.  Since I’m on a budget, I started using drug store brands.  Huh~ The horror!  I’m actually pleasantly surprised by some of the products and here are my surprise drug store finds.

1. Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Concealer by Maybelline – As I complained many times before, I have acne and acne scars that make my face look dirty and spotty.  So I usually focus using concealer for those acne marks to cover them up.  But I realized that my dark under eye circle was contributing quite a lot to my overall uneven tone.  So after reading some reviews online, I headed to buy this at a drugstore.   I’ve used drugstore make-up before, but not anything that’s for the face.  For some reason, I feel like it’s going to damage my skin and make me look cheap or something.  However, I’m glad I got this.  It really brightens my under eyes and that itself brightens my whole face.  You have to turn the tube to get the concealer come out of the spongy part, but the first time you use it you have to turn it many times.  I thought I bought a damaged one, but it eventually oozed out.  It’s easy to use and it doesn’t leave streak marks either.  It feels very smooth and you don’t really need much of it.  I also put a little on top of my nose and the center of my forehead to brighten it up and put a highlighter on top to add some shine.

2. Volume Express The Falsies Washable Mascara by Maybelline – I love mascara.  I think I love it more than black eye liner.  I think you can wear mascara without the eye liner, but I don’t think you can wear eye liner without the mascara.  Maybe it’s just my eyes that make it weird, but that’s just my make-up philosophy.  This particular mascara really gives volume and mass to your lashes and even though the brush is big, it’s still easy to apply.  It didn’t clunk up my lashes surprisingly.  I have oily skin and even oilier eyes, so it did smudge a little, but when I used a make-up setting spray right after I was done putting the make-up, that problem went away.

3. Rapid Clear Oil-Control Foaming Cleanser by Neutrogena – I know this is a cleanser, but cleansing is an important part of make-up routine.  I especially like this one, because it leaves me feeling like all the oil on my face has been sucked out.  It lathers pretty well and it does quite a job of removing make-up.  Though I find that you have to use eye make-up remover for mascara and black eye liner to be completely gone.

4. Daily Facial Cleanser by Cetaphil – I use the oil control foaming cleanser at night to lather it up to remove my make-up, but I use this one in the morning.  It’s gentle and doesn’t break me out.  Good cleanser to wake up a sensitive and very acne prone skin.

5. Super Lustrous Lipstick in Wild Orchid by Revlon – I’m not usually a lipstick wearer.  I feel like I’m channeling a clown when I’m wearing it.  I was always envious of people who can rock a red or hot pink lipstick.  They look so stylish and bold.  So I finally decided to try wearing lipstick in bold color.  But I didn’t want to spend $30.00 on something that I might not like.  So I went to a drug store and picked out a color from the cheapest lipstick brand.  On that day, this brand was on sale, so I picked it up.  I’m satisfied with my choice, because the color’s not too deep and it’s enough to bring nice color without overpowering everything else on my face.  It glides on smoothly and it doesn’t dry my lips out either.  I usually put a light color lip gloss on my lips and put this lipstick mostly toward the inside edge and blend the outside to have a gradual fading effect toward the lip lines, if that makes any sense.

6. Dream Bouncy Blush in Pink Frosting by Maybelline – Hmm.  This is my 3rd Maybelline product on this list.  I guess the price point was good for me to try it and I ended up liking it.  I like the color, which is bright and pops without being too much.  It has a gel/balm texture and I didn’t like it in the beginning, because the top would be pushed out of the container, but once you get passed that point no hassle there.  I like pink tone for my blush, but I think I’m going to try a peach tone next time.

What are your favorite drug store make-up products? 

Snow Storm 101

We just had another snow storm in the east coast and to be honest, I’m so done with Winter this year.  This Winter has been one of the coldest Winter that I’ve experienced and too many snow storms that’s big enough to make many peoples’ lives difficult, but small enough that we have to drag ourselves to work.  But over the years, I’ve learned a few things to do ahead of time or during to make my life a little easier to leave for work the day after the snow storm.  This has to do with your safety, your sanity, and your budget.  If you get into an accident, your physical and mental health will suffer as well as your bank account.  One thing to keep in mind though is that I’m in Northern Virginia.  So it doesn’t get as cold or crazy as some other northern states, so my preps wouldn’t be as hard core as those people up there.

1. Make sure all the fluids are full in your car.  From my experience, you need to be sure to check that you have enough windshield wiping fluid.  One time, I cleaned all the snow and ice off my car and I was driving to work and there was a small ice patch that I didn’t get off on the far right corner.  I should’ve left it alone, but I turned on the windshield wiper and the fluid.  There was no fluid and the windshield wiper made the whole windshield dirty and it was hard to see.  It’s really unsettling to drive with a dirty windshield when the roads are covered in ice.  It can get very dangerous.  So don’t be a dummy like me.

2. Don’t wait until the morning or the evening to clean the snow off your car.  This depends on when the snow storm hits, but try to get your car cleaned before it freezes overnight.  It’s easier to clean when the snow is still fluffy and you can just swipe it off the car.  When it freezes over, you have to really put some strength in it.  Even if the snow storm doesn’t stop for hour and hours, try to go out when it slows down before the whole foot of snow freezes around your car.  It’ll make it easier for you later.

3. Be sure to clean the top of your car.  This is one of my pet peeves when people drive with a thick snow or ice on top of their cars.  Because they don’t just stay there forever or wait for you to be parked to melt.  They fly off when you’re driving and it can cause accidents.  It’s very dangerous, but people only clean what they see in their eye level.  I’ve witnessed some crazy stuff with people trying to dodge a flying sheet of thick ice and I’ve experienced it myself and it’s not fun at all.  Most of the times though, the people who are the cause of it don’t even know what kind of dangerous chaos they’re creating behind them.  So please remember to clean the top of your cars!!!

4. Check your tires before Winter starts.  Long time ago, I had cheap, tiny, and old tires on my small car that didn’t have much power.  During a snow storm, I was almost stuck on the highway.  I mean, I wasn’t stuck, but every time I was trying to go over 30 mph my car would skid and I was scared.  Everyone was honking at me and I desperately wanted to get out of there fast alive.  That was the only time, I would get stuck everywhere that I just a tiny slope.  Now I make sure I don’t get the cheapest tires and before Winter I make sure my tires are okay to go.  I just replaced all my tires last October, so I’m good to go.

5. Snow scraper does scratch your car.  I don’t know about other people, but once I start scraping ice and snow off my car, I go nuts on it.  For some dumb reason, I decided that it won’t ever scratch  my car.  My husband did the same thing and scratched his car with his as I did to my car.  Be sure to not use the scraper if there’s any crack or chip on it.  Those surfaces that touch the car will do some damage.  And go easy on it.  Don’t be like a scraping maniac like I was at times.

6. Save “looking cute” for later.  You can pack your nice pair of pumps to change into at work and wear something less warm underneath to show later, but you better be prepared to face the cold wind and icy parking lot before you get to your work building.  Aside from being embarrassed when caught by someone when you fall on your butt, falling on icy sidewalk, stairs, or parking lot is a very dangerous situation.  You can crack, break, bruise, twist, bleed, scratch, or scrape any part of your body.  What if you hurt yourself bad enough you can’t even move and there’s no one to help you until hours later.  You might even have to add hypothermia or frostbite to your injury at that point.  So please, wear your snow boots, gloves, layers of clothes, scarves, ear muffs and other clothes to keep yourself warm and not fall on your butt.

I know these sound like common sense, but you’d be surprise how many people don’t take these simple steps in consideration.  I didn’t until I found myself in an annoying or dangerous situation.  Just to add one more, don’t walk on the icy road with your hands in the pocket.  It makes me very nervous seeing people do that.  I hope everyone stay safe and warm.

Do you have any tip to add to preparing for the snow storm?  If you’re in the area that don’t have snow storm, what natural disaster do you have to prepare for?     

 

Tying Lose Ends

From many of the posts I wrote last year that I ended with “I’ll keep you guys updated.”, I haven’t really kept you guys in the loop of my final decisions. Since it’s the new year, I thought I’d tie up the loose ends from last year and start fresh with a new keep-you-updated list. It’s been in the back of my head nagging at me and I think it’s a good time to just round everything up in one post.

I talked about a little money I had left over after buying and selling single stocks for a couple of years. I started with $800.00 and ended up with a little over $1,700.00. I decided that I’m going to focus on paying down debt and not play with investments. Half of it went to hubby’s tuition, quarter of it went to student loan payment, and the last quarter was squandered. Well, some of it was squandered and some of it was used to treat my mom.

I started buying Christmas presents pretty early and I was all happy that I was under budget. However, the bottom line is actually in red. We ended up going out a little more than we anticipated and we spent way more money for my brother in law’s present than planned since he’s birthday is Christmas. But that’s ok. We can recover quickly unlike last year when it took us months to recover from Christmas.

My final decision on LASIK is that I’m not going through with it. It’s too much risk for my condition and as much as I hate wearing contacts and glasses, I’m going to just suck it up and deal with it. I’d rather have bad sight than no sight.

I mentioned about Clarisonic MIA 2 in my favorite things post before I even received it in the mail. Now I can officially say that it is one of my favorite things. Since I started using this, I haven’t had to take a single anti-biotic pill. I do still get pimples here and there, but they go away faster and it doesn’t spread like rash like it used to. I’m so glad I spent the money and my only regret is not buying this earlier.

I asked people to give me some tips on making new friends in my 30’s. Not a single new friend or an acquaintance since the post. I haven’t really tried either, but it’s still on my mind.

When my niece was here for her internship, I was contemplating how best I could talk to her about personal finance. After I wrote that post, she stayed with us for 5 days before leaving DC. But I didn’t have any time alone with her since we had other family members staying with us too. So I ended up just giving her the book with a letter I wrote on the way to the airport. I don’t know if she read it or not. But I hope she doesn’t follow my path of waiting until the 30’s to get my financial act together.

I think this is most of it. I’ll try to be better at “keeping you updated” and not wait a year to do a roundup of it. I guess that’s another new year’s resolution. The list keeps growing~^^

Did you make decisions to all your maybe’s from 2013?

MY Favorite Things

Happy New Year everyone!! I’m writing my first post for 2014 and I can’t believe I stuck with blogging for 11 months. It’s not a hugely successful blog, but it’s my baby and I’m proud of it. I wanted to start with my favorite things post for 2014 to ease my way in instead of being a hardcore budget Nazi. I already posted my goals for 2014 and did the 2013 recap, so let’s start with something happy and fun.

Here we go with the list:

Michael Kors rose gold watch – My brother in law was my secret Santa and he got me this watch. I’ve wanted this for a while, but my budget wouldn’t allow this splurge. I’m so in love with it. It goes well with everything and adds a little shine to my look. Not too flashy and definitely not boring.

Michael Kors Rose Gold Watch

Michael Kors Rose Gold Watch

Vegan leather pants – My hubby and I decided not to give gifts for each other since we’re doing secret Santa with the whole family. But he surprised me with this by saving his weekly allowance. I’ve casually mentioned that I wanted this while browsing through Pinterest without thinking about it too much. But he remembered what I said and bought me this nice pair of pants that costs more than most of my pants I already owned. He said he didn’t want to buy something that looked too cheap since he couldn’t afford real leather. He tried to find a great quality fake leather. Aside from the present, I’m just so touched that he remembered what I said and saved up his allowance to buy this for me. Thanks hon~

SAS shoes – I was my mom’s secret Santa and I bought her a pair of SAS shoes. She has a couple of pairs already, but this just reassured me how great those shoes are for my mom. My mom’s feet are swollen most of the times and since she has no movement in her left ankle and foot, it’s hard to put shoes on her. But SAS shoes come in wide and double wide, so feet don’t have to be squeezed and shoved in. The bottom of the shoes have cushions, so she feels very comfortable in them. Luckily they have a physical store near my house, so I can go buy it anytime easily. I personally don’t like their design, but for my mom super comfortable shoes with simple design are perfect.

Matching eye brow and hair color – I recently got my hair colored to lighter brown than my usual naturally dark, dark brown hair. I wanted to brighten my image a little and my hair stylist suggested to color my eye brows too so it won’t stand out so distinctly. I think it would’ve been fine left alone, but I definitely see the impact of my new hair color magnified by the lighter brow color as well. I quite like it. It’s not like he charged more or anything, just a swipe on each side while he’s doing my hair. It makes my hair look more natural and the color itself turned out nice. I felt like a model getting my eye brow colored since I’ve never even thought about doing it. Another favorite thing discovered!

Do you guys like any of my favorite things? What are yours?

2014 Goals

There were many changes, accomplishments, and hardships in 2013 in my family. My hubby finished his first year as a MBA student and he switched to a new job after working for his previous employer for 7 years. My mom had a couple of strokes and even though she’s significantly weaker and lost some physical and mental abilities, she’s still with us happy and spiritually strong . I somehow got introduced to personal finance blog world and became one of them. We tried hard to live within a budget, pay down our debt, and met all the financial goals we set for this year. Even though I’m over 30, I feel like I didn’t start to really mature as an adult until I got married. I think I used being unmarried as an excuse to delay growing up and owning up as an adult. Thank God I didn’t get married later~^^ Otherwise I might have missed out on all the blessings, knowledge, and support I received this year.

To continue living an adult life, I have new 2014 goals that I want to achieve.

First, here are the financial goals:
1. Pay off my car. I’m not doing anything other than paying regular payments. The last payment is supposed to be in October 2014. I just wanted to put this here to cross it off my debt list when the time comes.
2. Pay off 2 out of 4 of my student loans on top of regular payments. Basically I want to pay around $8,000 total towards my student loans.
3. Cash flow around $12,000.00 for hubby’s tuition on top of making payments to existing MBA loan.
4. Save at least $1000 to do tunes ups for my car and my hubby’s car.
5. Save around $500 for a new lap top for myself. I don’t need nothing fancy.

Second, my personal goals:
1. Read one book a month and try to get to 2 books a month towards the end of the year. 2013 was a very bad year for reading. I read many blogs and articles, but didn’t keep up with books and I want to pick back up on that.
2. Compile a recipe book. I wanted to do that this year, but I completely forgot. I’m not a naturally great cook and I haven’t been cooking for that long, so I wanted to put together a recipe book that I can easily reference proven recipes instead of searching for it online every time to choose from hundreds of different recipes.
3. Go to the gym 4 times a month or once a week. I’m still struggling with this and hopefully I can make this a habit and increase the number later on.
4. Take better care of my family. This sounds generic, but I really mean this. I need to be better at calling them, meeting up with them, being more sweet when I’m talking to them, and trying to be more understanding when we’re in disagreement. I don’t want to be regretting about not being close to my family until it’s too late. We are pretty close, but I want to be closer and not take them for granted.
5. Pray and read at least one Bible verse a day. I’ve been really neglecting in this part of my life. I need to feed my soul not just my physical body.
6. Keep up with my blog. I’ve been really spotty with my blog this year. There’s no set posting schedule and I haven’t put that much effort into it like other bloggers. I’m still keeping this as a hobby, but I do want to be more committed to it.

I have more smaller goals, but I didn’t think they’re important enough to make this list longer. I’m also sure other goals might come up and some goals here might change, but this is what I’m planning for now. Hopefully, I will exceed my expectations on various things and be able to proudly brag in here~^^

Are you setting 2014 goals? Do you think setting yearly goals help you?

Making New Christmas Tradition

It really feels and looks like Christmas where I am right now. We had a snow/ice storm yesterday, so all the trees are covered in ice and from my cubicle at work, the view is breathtaking. I feel like I’m in Narnia or something. We had a delay opening at work and even though my hubby cleaned my car last night, it still took me 30 minutes this morning breaking ice off my car. No complain though since all the roads were nice and clean.

I’ve been reading a lot about peoples’ Christmas traditions lately and our family only has tradition of going to church for Christmas service and actually celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and having dinner together. This is extremely important of course, but I wanted to start a few other Christmas traditions to bring our family closer together. The first one is secret Santa gift exchange. My side of the family consists of my mom and my brother. My hubby’s side has his brother and his mom. Both sides don’t have anybody else in the east coast and me trying to buy everybody something ends up costing a lot of money without each family member receiving a nice gift. So I wanted all 6 of us to draw one name each and buy something that’s around $150 for the person you picked. I think $150 could get you a nice gift and this eliminates my hubby and I trying to come up with presents for everyone. This could also bring both families closer together. You have to think about the other person while coming up with what to buy and this also guarantees all of us spending Christmas together. We already drew names on Thanksgiving. I have to help my mom with gift giving since she can’t go out or see well. She got my hubby’s name and I got mom’s gift for my hubby during Black Friday shopping. I drew mom’s name and I think I’m going to get a pair of SAS shoes for her. She needs a comfortable and easy to slip on shoes.

Next tradition is Christmas tree. I know this is a given for many of you, but we didn’t have Christmas tree every year as tradition. I want to start this year though and keep this up. Just like everyone gathered at our house for Thanksgiving, we’re all gathering again at our house on Christmas. That gives me another reason to make sure to put the tree up before Christmas. My hubby and I put it up last night while we had snow falling outside. It felt perfect actually. My former boss was throwing out her Christmas tree (the fake one), so I asked her to give it to me. We have a very few ornaments on the tree, so it’s not looking complete, but my brother’s bringing his ornaments since he’s not using them this year. So it’s costing us zero dollars for this.

Eat s’more or chocolate fondue after Christmas dinner. I’m not a baker and as much as I want to be one of those cupcake bakers with cute and colorful aprons whipping up some delicious creations, I don’t like the actual baking part. So I think I’ll stick with something simple like making s’more or chocolate fondue. We usually end up feeling awkward after dinner since we’re not all that comfortable and close yet (we as in my hubby’s and my family). I think having dessert that makes you use your hands will give you something to do and be less awkward. Plus it’s yummy and chocolate goes well with Christmas and any other holiday.

Speaking of feeling awkward, I think we should start playing board games together. It can be anything from Uno, Monopoly, or traditional Korean game called Yut nori. This game is typically played on New Year’s day, but since we’re not getting together on New Year’s day, I think it’ll be really great to play together on Christmas. This will help us interact with each other rather than just staring at the TV. I think I might get little gifts to give to the winning team to add some incentive.

Do you guys have any other fun and easy suggestions for us? What are your Christmas traditions?

November Goal Recap

It seems like time started flying faster since I started to post monthly goals. I can’t believe it’s December 6th already. I thought I had more time, but it’s been a week since the new month started. I’m not going to be too harsh on myself though. It’s no use being mad at myself. It’ll only discourage me and that’s not what I’m trying to do with this goal setting thing.

As always, I’ll get right into it.
1. Read one book. Choose any book that I started and never finished from last year and just finish it. PASS. I didn’t read the book I couldn’t finish last year and ended up buying a new book. But that’s ok. The point was to read a book. I read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? By Mindy Kaling. I thought it was a little too disorganized in the beginning, but as I got into it, I had more fun reading it and was ok with the way it was laid out. I was always envious of people who can write or say the perfect things at the right moment, but after reading this book, I so wanted to be a comedy writer and a comedic actress. I know I can’t be either of these now since I’m not that funny and I can’t write that well. Plus I have a severe stage fright. I sweat like crazy when I talk to almost anybody at work. So there you go.

2. Work out at the gym at least once a week. SORT OF. Strictly speaking, I failed. But since I went 3 times, I’m going give myself credit for working out at all. Another excuse is that during the last week of November, I had some family member staying at my house. As a good host, you can’t leave them and do your own selfish things~^^

3. Write a letter to my hubby. FAIL. I thought about it and I should’ve just grabbed a pen when I was thinking about it. Next thing I knew, December came already.

4. Go to sleep between midnight and 1am. SORT OF. Most of the nights, I did go to sleep between midnight and 1am. There were few days I ended up going to sleep later, but that’s when my family was at my house.

5. Pack lunch at least 3 times a week. PASS. It was super hard to pack lunch 3 times a week, but I managed it. I basically had to cook almost every day. Sometimes I cheated and packed ramen noodle, but I packed it so it counts.

6. Try to use up most of pantry items before buying more. PASS. I do need to buy a few things, but cooked and ate most of the stuff in the pantry.

7. Sell some items. FAIL. I just dropped the ball on this one. No excuse.

I did better than last month, so I’m happy about that. Number 1-5 and 7 will be same for December goals. I don’t want to add new things in December since it’ll be a pretty busy month. I don’t want to set myself up for a failure. Oh one more thing to mention is that I didn’t go over my Black Friday shopping budget. I took out cash at an ATM and gave my hubby his portion and kept my portion, which was $150 each before heading to the mall. I spent $149.64~^^ I think I spent my money wisely without buying useless things. Yay for budgeting and sticking to it.

How did you do in November in terms of your personal goals and financial goals? Getting better?

Thankful Heart

Thanksgiving weekend is starting in couple of days and after that Christmas season is in full swing. I wanted to take a moment before the whole holiday madness starts to think about what I’m thankful for. I know I will not be blogging at all over the Thanksgiving weekend since for the first time, my niece and nephew will be here from California. Yay~ to family bonding time!!!

1.As you know I’m Christian, so I wanted to thank God for the salvation and his endless love for me as His daughter. Thanks you Lord~^^

2.The biggest thing that sticks out that I’m thankful for this year that is different than any other year is this journey to debt freedom. I feel like I’m finally settling in and becoming a real adult. I’m not just willy nilly whipping out my credit card and I feel like I’m putting more thought into not just my finances, but every other aspect of life. I’m still trying to find my way, but I feel like I am more mindful and more deliberate in what I do.

3.I am thankful for this blog. The few people that actually read my random thoughts in here and who are interested in my success are truly dear to my heart. I never thought I’d actually find friendship here. Even if I’ll never get to meet these people in real life, their friendship is real to me.

4.I’m thankful that my mom’s still here with me with her sense of humor and special brightness. No matter how sick she gets, her spirit is never down and she’s the cutest lady you’ll ever meet. I’m always comforted by her presence in any shape she’s in.

5.I’m thankful that we have around $11k in my hubby’s MBA loan at the half way point. We thought we would end up with way more, but with his previous employer’s tuition assistance, cash flowing on our own, and severance pay, this is what we have so far. I know it’s still a lot of money, but I’m thankful still.

6.I’m thankful that my brother and I are hanging out more. We were never close enough to talk to each other or hang out a lot, but we’ve been having Sunday dinners together more and watching Netflix at our house more. I’m really glad that he’s opening up more and we’re spending more time.

7.I’m thankful that my hubby and I have full time jobs. Even when he switched jobs in August, he didn’t have any time off, so our finances didn’t have to take a hit at all. Both of us survived company layoffs and I’m super thankful about that.

8.I’m thankful for every little thing that I have. I don’t think about it and I take for granted most of the times, but if you really think about everything, it’s really something.

9.I’m thankful for all my friends. I told you before that I don’t have many friends and I have hard time making friends. But the few that I have even if they’re just acquaintances have listened to me, hung out with me, and ate with me at different times. I appreciate those memories.

I kind of lumped everything under 8 and 9 without being specific, but you get what I’m trying to say. I just need to remember to live a thankful life every day of the year, not just during Thanksgiving. My mom’s the best example of a person who prays, thankful, and happy all the time.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone~!!

What are you guys thankful for? Any fun Thanksgiving tradition in your family?