So I spent part of this afternoon steaming all of my wrinkly work clothes in preparation for starting my new job next week (oh what did you think I meant with that title? heh.)
There's something awfully therapeutic and satisfying about seeing those wrinkles being steamed away. Of course, using my good old garment steamer also meant sweating at least half a cup of water! Still, this is so much better than ironing - which I hate more than I can say.
Money-wise, its been two straight no-spend days for me since I made my own brunches and dinners. This is also my penance for ordering in pizza* two nights in a row last week.
*it wasn't even particularly good pizza either! I don't know why I do that to myself. oh well...
So I spent part of this afternoon steaming all of my wrinkly work clothes in preparation for starting my new job next week (oh what did you think I meant with that title? heh.)
I'm still somewhat in shock in having gotten a job, but... Yay!!!
The shock is because a part of my brain is firmly in the "why would anyone want to hire me?" camp. Despite my education and some years of experience I still feel like a little kid a lot of the time.
I had the same exact reaction when I got my last job a few years ago. Its happy shock coupled with a big healthy dose of sheer incredulity. Needless to say I am supremely thankful to the big guy upstairs .
The company I signed on with is small but growing, and their office was really cheerful and airy. It also had a good vibe and passed my Gut Reaction Test immediately - i.e. nothing in my gut screamed "you do not want to be working here!" while I was walking around their office. (Despite being a logical and sane woman, I'm a big believer in my instincts.)
To top it off, its more than what my old job had paid, which I am predictably ecstatic about (although I would still have taken it if they offered me less! shhhh...)
Its sort of a new industry for me, although the job scope is something I have had experience with. Most importantly, the work looks to be a lot less stressful - a point that was really important for me since I want to avoid getting into the same situation as my old job.
I will start officially in about a fortnight so I still have some break left.
I'm excited and happy and thankful and humbled all at once.
And oh yeah, I can't wait to start earning so I can start saving again!
*blows dust off blog*
Its been a while since I updated, and a lot has happened since.
- I was burning out at work and was tail-spinning... Towards the end I was regularly having nightmares and would randomly start crying at odd times. I worried all the time about work.
- I had to do something so I talked to my bosses to see what could be done
- They agreed that things were bad for me but told me to "hang in there for one more year" and we'll hire someone to help you
- The next day, I quit my job. The one months notice I served felt sooo looong! I was actually hoping they'd tell me to clear my desk in 24 hours because I really just wanted to leave it all behind that day.
So that's basically the condensed version.
Between then and now I've been taking it easy at home and regaining my former self.
Its been really great and I feel very happy these last two months. I'm relaxed and a huge burden feels like its been lifted from my shoulders.
Since I've been on a break I've been doing all sorts of things I used to love but never did anymore. Like going to the library more often, reading, and dancing. I even did some work around the house and some arts and crafts. Oh and I also started to learn how to drive (believe or not I don't have a license)!
At the same time I've also been slowly looking for another job.
It took me a long time just to figure out what sort of job I want to do next.
At first, I was mindlessly looking out for vacancies that were similar to my last job. I applied and even got a few callbacks. But I felt really awful because I keep thinking abt how horrible it was for me before, and why would I want to do it all over again???
So recently I've been looking at other career options - jobs that might pay me less money, but also come with less stress and more happiness.
I just want to be happy and working.
Wish me luck!
Okay so I'm a bit late but I watched Zodiac last night and it was just brilliant.
I have to say it was The. Best. Movie I have seen in a *looooonng* time and I'm a huge movie buff so I don't say that sort of thing lightly. Totally blew all the other summer blockbusters away.
Spidy 3, Pirates 3, Shrek 3 = blown away
The movie was scary, intense, had very good flow (no dull moments), was very well-thought out, great acting/directing, and was really suspenseful (it was extremely suspenseful for me because I walked into the theatre without knowing anything abt the story or background whatsoever.)
If you haven't seen it yet, I urge you to go catch it asap
My only word of caution: its extremely long (close to 3 hours???) so get a seat close to the loo.
And purely for the sake of including something money-related - it was the best $10 I've spent in a while.
For some unknown reason the mood to do some spring-cleaning struck me just now.
In just about two hours, I cleared out two drawers full of junk, odds and ends, and all manner of old papers and receipts (the oldest receipt was from 1997!)
Among my assortment of junk were a lot of relics from my high school days. Notes from friends, photos, cards, etc.
I also found my old school bus passes. Man, I looked like such a dork on them! sigh... But going through those things brought me back though. Sometimes I miss those old teenage days... but then I remember that puberty = hell and I feel grateful to be an adult.
Anyway, back on topic.
It feels really good to clean out those couple of drawers. Over time, I've grown resigned to the fact that they were disaster areas that can never be recovered short of some kind of natural disaster.
And I also just kept cramming more stuff in there, making it worse. Like some kind of massive car pile-up that just keeps on building.
So finally clearing them out was a psychological battle won. I feel like I slayed a really messy, disorganized, and sometimes sticky (I had left some old candy in there and a couple of ancient batteries had leaked) dragon.
I went grocery shopping yesterday. While I was there I also bought a new sandwich maker which was going for only $12.90. It was an impulse buy (cheap though!) because I've never thought of buying one before until I saw it, but I'm really happy with it
I love sandwiches, and having them toasted now is great. I'm hoping this will encourage me to cut down on ordering in even more.
I'm doing much better budget-wise this month.
Part of it is that I just got reimbursed about $1200 worth of claims and yearly benefits (woo hoo!).
I also made my very first online order of supplements a couple of weeks ago and the whole transaction went very smoothly. The prices are not only 50% cheaper, but the guy actually delivered it to me for free. Love it.
My largest expense after the supplements was a new formal jacket for work. My old one was very ill fitting because I had apparently dropped some weight since I bought it. Sad though, because its in perfect condition. I'm not sure what to do with it.
Anyway, I saw a very nice jacket for $70 at a dept store and it was the very last piece. But I agonised over it and finally decided not to buy it (I always do this when I think something is too expensive). Then of course, a week later I made up my mind and stopped by to get it. And big surprise - it was already gone.
But on the same rack were a bunch of other new jackets under the same collection. The clincher was that they were abt the same price as the one I saw first but at 20% off. I bought it then and was so glad I waited!
I haven't been doing so good at being frugal these past few weeks. The effect has been that I now find myself with only sixty dollars in my spending account.
The good thing is I get paid on the 21st/22nd or so, so its not too bad. I also have some cash in my purse still. I just feel really insecure because I'm used to having a buffer of >$100 at any given time in that account. Its not a good feeling.
The problem is there's been a lot of things I've been wanting lately, but before you think I'm out shopping for shoes or something, let me just say I'm so not.
Instead I've been spending my money on supplements. Sigh... My life is so exciting, isn't it?
Anyway, the good news is that after some searching I managed to find a couple of local online stores that have much lower prices. Its like half of what I pay for at the health food stores!
I haven't popped by the site for a while, and I just saw that the layout has changed so much!
Very, very cool...
When I have time, I think I'll play around with all those lovely colour options.
It's been a while since I've updated this blog.
I'm a lot busier at work now because its the unlikely situation where both my managers are away on holidays at the same time, leaving me to handle a lot more than I normally do.
Although its stressful, its a good exercise in a way, I'm learning some new things, and at the very least our VP is around when something comes up that I'm unfamiliar with. Eventhough he's in Hong Kong, he's quite accessible still.
Budget-wise, I'm on track and I've learnt some lessons as well.
I made up an excel spreadsheet last year to track how much I can save each month. I started in August 2006.
I've found that on average, I socked away $1,400 per month in 2006, not counting my bonuses. I had set a 2006 target of $1,000 per month, so I'm happy I exceeded it.
To be perfectly frank, I actually cheated in a way, I knew I'd make the target easily. But since its my first time tracking my savings so closely, I wanted to get that positive reinforcement thing going when I exceeded my own expectations.
(Yes, I know this sounds somewhat silly...But I wonder if other people do this too? Set a purposely low bar so that they will succeed?)
Anyway before I meander, because I did "so well" last year, I got a little overly ambitious this year.
I socked away $1,800 in February, which didn't leave me with much to spend. I barely made it to the next month.
Anyway by March I've had to lower it to $1,500. This has left me with abt $700 for all my monthly expenses. Still very do-able.
I'm quite pleased overall, but I've learnt that I shouldn't overdo the saving bit either.
I didn't shop at all for fun stuff in February. (By fun stuff I mean clothes, bags, and shoes.)
But I let myself buy a pair of really lovely pants and a gorgeous necklace this month. I felt I deserved it. Plus after not shopping for so long, it felt sweeter somehow.
I got my pay in earlier this month because of the Lunar New Year. Which was cool, but it doesn't make much of a difference to me personally. And not just because I don't celebrate it.
Most companies in Asia would give their employees their pay before the New Year starts since families would be spending more on food, decorations, the reunion dinner, and money packets for their family members.
Me? I just really love the two days off from work.
Budget-wise, today is a no-spend day for me. I made my own breakfast and lunch. And I plan to do the same tomorrow as well.
I woke up with a runny and stuffed nose this morning.
No big deal, but I didn't want to be wiping my nose every five minutes, so I popped two of these non-drowsy cold pills that my dad just bought.
Then I had some breakfast.
I've found out now that the non-drowsy claim is totally misleading, because I'm almost nodding off as I'm typing this.
Hmm... I just read the back of the box, and noticed they've mis-spelled "non-drowsy" as "non-drowse" on the top. Its also made in Bogor, Indonesia.
On the other hand, my nose is clear, and today is Sunday which means I can nap at will.
I'm not gonna nap though.
Today is Sunday and I must wind down.
I've made a cup of piping hot, black coffee with a ton of sugar, just the way I like it.
And I will not sleep.
Because today is Sunday.
Not much to report for this week. I guess overall its less than successful because I did order in my lunch yesterday... sigh.
I felt quite guilty because I spent $9.60 on food, when I could've just spent just a couple of dollars instead.
I would've made my own lunch, except that on Friday night I had met up my best friend for dinner and I got home too late to buy any groceries - which is my usual routine.
Next time I should probably think ahead a bit more. Well, live and learn.
The good part is that it was awesome to see her again. We've been friends for 13 years and she's one of my oldest and dearest friends. We went to high school and college together and were rarely apart those years. Once we got out of school and started working different jobs we saw each other a lot less but when we do meet up, its like nothing's changed.
After dinner we walked outside, found a place to sit and had a nice long talk about everything under the sky. It was just like the old days.
Plus she treated me to dinner, which was really sweet. Next time its my turn
I'm enjoying my Sunday in today.
I've already done what I needed to do - did my laundry, and cleaned up a bit, so I'm feeling quite relaxed. Usually I left things at the last minute, but I've been pretty good this weekend.
And I've got half a library book to finish. Its not great, but it doesn't suck either. Its about a hairdresser in the city and its funny and sad at the same time. I don't know how else to describe it. Hopefully it ends well.
I'm also a little bit more excited about work now, because I recently got quoted in an article. I work as an analyst, and its par for the course that reporters call us for information from time to time. But as I'm quite junior and not as well-connected as the other analysts or my bosses (who are quite well-known in the industry), I've never been quoted before. I'm also a bit insecure of the fact.
So it was quite exciting and a huge relief to see my name in print. I did a happy little dance inside when I saw it. *twirls around*
(Hehe, and of course I immediately pdfed the article, and will add it to my resume. )
Well I got my 13th month bonus this week. That means two months pay at once!
Except for next month's spending, I've moved it all to my savings account.
The side effect of the bonuses is that my colleagues keep asking each other how they're going to spend it. And I got the distinct feeling that if I were to say that I wasn't going to spend it on anything, they'll look at me like I'm some kind of a weirdo.
It was the same thing late last year when we all got our company and performance bonuses.
Once I even won this small cash award of less than $100 at my office (they had a contest for naming our next event and my suggestion was picked), two girls emailed me immediately after the announcement, asking what I'm going to spend it on. And when I said I didn't know/it wasn't that much, they kept giving me suggestions. Goodness!
Anyway, I can't help but feel a bit disgusted by how some people think.
Just because you get a windfall of some kind, the first thing you ask yourself is 'how do I get rid of it?'
Now I can imagine that if you have a real need/want that exists, it makes sense to spend it on that.
But... not having anything you need/want to spend on, and *brainstorming* for ideas on how to blow all that cash?
Its just so silly.
I thought it might be a good idea to follow my last post with a couple of the things I did to save a bit of money this month.
1) Bought groceries for the last 2 weekends so I didn't have to order in. Well, actually the groceries waren't as cheap as I thought they would be, but they were cheaper than what I would have spent on ordering in otherwise. Money-wise , I saved about $10-16.
BONUS: I feel less fat eating the stuff that I make instead of junk food.
2) Tried a new brand of conditioner. I know this sounds silly, but I've been using this salon-bought conditioner for the longest time. They cost $14 a tube, and they're really good. I have really long, dry hair. But this month, when my tube ran out, I bought a store brand for $8 - and found that it was equally as good! So I'm going to stick with that from now on.
BONUS: The store-brand one is also less of a hassle for me to buy.
Yay! I just checked my spending account balance and I have $54 left. My next paycheck will come in a couple of days, so I think I did pretty well with the budget.
I would have done a lot better too, except that I had to pay for a lot of cab rides these past couple of weeks. (Its all for work though, so I'll get reimbursed, eventually... I haven't totalled up my cab receipts yet, but they'll easily top $80.)
On a separate note, I also got an extra $212 last week from my Nov/Dec claims at work. I didn't add it to my spending budget of cos... that would defeat the purpose.
But it helped just now when my dad asked for a $150 advance. He's a little short this month because he had to get his cellphone fixed. The screen crapped out. (Just as a background, I give him a few hundred each month when my pay comes in, and so does my sister. )
Anyway, it was cool that I had the extra $$$ on hand and I didn't have to tap my separate savings account.
I got home from work early today because I'm getting sick and was sneezing all morning. The AC in my office is also set to a ridiculously low temp (why???), which made me feel even worse. My boss was also sick today, and I bumped into him at the doctor's office during lunch... haha, that was a little weird/surreal.
So I made my way home after getting my meds, and its raining the whole way. I stopped by to grocery shop a little for the weekend, come out of the supermarket, and its raining even harder.
I actually enjoy rainy or stormy weather. Seeing lightning course through the sky is really quite breathtaking... but this time, I could use a break. Its been raining cats and dogs nearly every day for two months now. I miss sunshine!
*sniffles* and shuffles off to bed.
Its a bit of a lazy Sunday for me. I'm just watching Season 2 of the Office (UK) and checking my e-mail. I've spent nothing this weekend, which is really great and I must do more often
I also came across some interesting articles in NYmag's special Money edition. There's no actual budget or saving advice, but its an interesting read, nonetheless.
Whatís a Little Money Between Friends?
Class envy between a group of friends.
A Hard-Earned Life
A fatherís paycheck reads $676. It has to last two weeks. Start the clock.
main page for access to all the articles.
So I've finished my first week back at work.
I'm at odds with the timestamp - for me its nearly midnight, Friday in Singapore (which is where I am by the way).
All in all, after I got over my initial depression of being back, it was a good few days at the office. It was great to see my colleagues again.
I also received a plaque for an award last year. I've never gotten anything like that before, so it was nice to receive. Its made of glass and cut to look like an iceberg but with really sharp points. I figure with the right amount of force, I could kill someone with it.
But for now, its just sitting on my desk.
Work-wise, I was too zombie-fied to get anything done the first couple of days, due to my severe lack of sleep (my out-of-whack body clock hurt me bad).
But today was better, and suffice it to say that some work got done.
I've been keeping tabs on my spending too.
This week's spending:
- One dinner out ($12)
- Bought one top ($34)
- Topped up my bus card ($30)
- Lunch at work ($15)
- Toiletries ($9)
I also went grocery shopping today to buy food for the weekend. This will stop me from ordering food in, which is a really bad and lazy habit that I need to cut down.
- Food ($10)
Rats. Now that I've added it up, it looks like too much.
Hopefully, my spending will lessen next week.
Some of the stuff, like my bus card and toiletries I don't have to spend on again so soon.
(I should feel guilty for buying the top but I don't. I like it a lot!!!)
Since I'm starting a new work month tomorrow, I thought I'd also start tracking my spending properly on this blog.
Before this, I would budget by "ballpark figures".
My fixed expenses are low, and I'm able to save about 50% of my take-home pay each month.
After locking that into a separate savings account (to keep it safe from my own grubby hands), what's left is about $600-$700 which is my spending money for the month until the next paycheck.
I am officially starting out with $567.22 in my pocket. Which is good because it's also the amount of money in my spending account!
(Its also a little less than what I'm used to working with, but fair since this month is shorter with the holidays.)
Writing this down, I suddenly feel challenged (which is good) and more accountable (which feels scary/bad to be perfectly honest, but ultimately will be good, I hope!).
In other news, I'm returning to work tomorrow, after a looooong and yet too-short of an absence. This truly sucks.
I just hope I can wake up in the morning!
p.s: Note to myself - find out how to fix blog timestamps. Its nearly midnight here where I am!
I've been on vacation the last two and a half weeks (I had a lot of annual leave piled up since I joined my company!).
And tomorrow is going to be my last day of freedom before I go back to the office.
It's been a great two and half weeks. Really great.
And I am absolutely dreading the idea of going back to work.
Start of rant.
During my vacation, I've already checked my work e-mail a few times. I even spent one Sunday working on an urgent thing for a client (I'm a bit of a nut) and read all the stuff my boss wants me to do once I return from vacation.
Which is how I got to know that I'll have a new project on my plate. And that's got me very anxious.
The last project I worked on took me six months to complete and was. a. nightmare.
I'm not afraid of stuff like hard work or late nights at the office, but the project had involved many, many people (mostly higher-ups) from other companies. They made my life very unpleasant and the project near-impossible to complete.
Oh, and I also had to do all this on top of my regular assignments, because it was an ad-hoc thing and we "didn't have enough resources" (i.e. director was too cheap to hire one more person and wanted to make himself look good by cutting costs).
As a result, I was extremely stressed out for half a year. Oftentimes, I felt like a hamster in one of those wheel thingies - never able to stop or catch my breath. This really doesn't help someone who's already naturally high-strung (I am a total Virgo).
It was so bad that I applied for a few jobs and even went to a couple of interviews (in my mind, I was planning my wonderful escape from it all). And the only reason I stayed on was because my direct boss is a really great guy. Most of my colleagues are also nice and I've formed close friendships with some.
But the idea of this new project has got me very anxious now. The bad memories are just flooding back.
p.s: thanks for reading, I really needed to vent.
End of rant.
p.p.s: happy new year to all!
Just wanted to share some fun links in this post:
Practical Money Skills for Life
If you've got some time to burn, this is a pretty fun site about learning how to manage money. (Warning: Some of the games are a little kiddish, but I highly recommend "Count Down to Retirement". Its pretty funny.)
I played this several years ago, but I remember it as being incredibly fun to play and quite addictive. Best of all its free and no registration required. (The company makes several free games available but Happyland is by far the best.)
Okay, I'm a bit of a kid and I like mysteries. Eventhough I can't solve any, its still fun to try and see the answer at the end. I recommend the "see-n-solve".
Ok I'll stop now.
My phone bill has been annoying me for quite some time and I'm eagerly awaiting the day when my contract expires, so that I can get a cheaper plan.
But until that day comes I'm stuck with it.
I get bills sent to me by snail mail and by e-mail. I always get the email first - and its just a one liner stating what I owe and my account number, with no other details.
Once I get it, I pay it off online pretty quickly. As a result, I've gotten into the habit of not even opening the paper bills when it comes because I don't have to. (And I also secretly hate them.)
But this morning, out of curiosity, I tore open the envelope and learnt that I was being charged $5 for the voicemail service. And I can't even remember the last time I had to use it. (When I miss calls, my friends just send me an text!)
So it was a no-brainer for me to call them up and cancel it pronto. And the lady on the phone told me the reduced charge will be reflected on my next bill.
I know this sounds weird, but now I can't wait for my next bill.
I think the first post should start from the beginning. I'm starting this journal after reading the great pf blogs here and I guess I felt inspired enough to start my own.
I don't have any debt and my savings are quite healthy right now. I'm working and I don't have much fixed expenses (live with my dad and stepmom) so I'm able to save each month.
I'm a pretty thrifty person, probably because I grew up poor. We had enough food, but we couldn't afford any luxuries. I had a very loving childhood and I'm very close to my family (dad and older sis - our mom passed on when I was five. I have a younger sis but she was adopted by another family because she was just a baby when we lost our mom. I don't know her, my younger sis.)
I'm single and I'm at that point where its not inconceivable that I'll never find a guy to settle down with. It sucks but I can dream or I can be practical about it.
Being on my own is scary and money is more of a security blanket than anything else. I'm not looking to be rich or live rich, just to live happily and not be worried about money when I'm much older and not able to work.
So I guess that sums up my motivation!