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A very steamy afternoon

November 14th, 2007 at 04:17 am

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...

Got a job!

October 31st, 2007 at 03:09 am

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!

So I quit my job 2 months ago

October 19th, 2007 at 03:38 am

Hi all!

*blows dust off blog*

Its been a while since I updated, and a lot has happened since.

In summary,

- 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!

Zodiac

June 20th, 2007 at 09:55 pm

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.

Smile

And purely for the sake of including something money-related - it was the best $10 I've spent in a while.

Waxing lyrical about spring cleaning

June 14th, 2007 at 10:23 am

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.

Yay!

$12.90 Sandwich Maker

June 12th, 2007 at 11:09 pm

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 Smile

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.

Doing better this month

June 10th, 2007 at 12:51 am

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!

Feeling insecure with $60 in the bank

May 19th, 2007 at 12:30 am

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. Smile

Instead I've been spending my money on supplements. Sigh... My life is so exciting, isn't it? Wink

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!

-$432 (ouch.)

April 29th, 2007 at 05:10 am

Aaargh... All of a sudden I'm $432 in the red this month.

The bill for my annual insurance premium came in the mail today and I just paid it online.

I know I need insurance and all that, but still...

It hurts! Frown

Wow!

April 27th, 2007 at 01:19 am

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. Smile

Setting the bar low?

March 24th, 2007 at 10:53 pm

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.




Early pay for Lunar New Year

February 16th, 2007 at 10:19 pm

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. Wink

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 will not nap...

February 10th, 2007 at 10:24 pm

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.

Interesting.

On the other hand, my nose is clear, and today is Sunday which means I can nap at will. Smile

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.

Old friends are gold

February 4th, 2007 at 05:31 am

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 Smile

Happy Sunday

January 28th, 2007 at 02:57 am

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. Smile )

Bonus time. Silliness ensues.

January 26th, 2007 at 06:30 am

Well I got my 13th month bonus this week. That means two months pay at once! Smile

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.