Archive for February, 2007

No new car smell

After graduation, I’ll inherit my parents’ 10-year-old Honda. Originally, Mom was going to buy me a new car as a graduation present, but after discussing it with her, we’ve decided that I’ll get Dad’s old Accord. I don’t really mind. True, it would be nice to be driving a shiny new whatever, but the lower car insurance alone on an old car will make it worth it to me.

According to this calculator, a $20,000 car, with a $2,000 down payment, $4,000 resale value, 9% interest rate, and 48-months financing will cost $348.39 per month. Since I am a recent college graduate with a short credit history, I won’t qualify for the best rates.

During the 6 months after graduation I am trying to save aggressively for my emergency fund because I won’t have student loan payments (yay for the grace period). Getting a new car, or even a “new” used car, would get in the way of that goal and have some not-so-short-term ramifications.

I don’t have enough money to save as much as I want to for retirement and emergencies, AND pay for a car loan, (and, you know, live). A new car would be nice, but I guess at the end of the day I’d rather have more savings and nicer meals out.


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Giving on the street

Giving to panhandlers on the street makes me feel better. That’s probably why I do it. I mean, it’s instant cash in their hands, and instant gratification for me. I stop feeling bad seeing someone living on the street because I have just handed him or her a couple of dollars. (Debt Hater’s post made me think about this issue).

But really, that dollar wouldn’t do much. In the long run, better infrastructure, more education, etc (in other words, insitutional change) can help the mentally-ill or the homeless more than a dollar here or there will.

So, does this mean that I should give to non-profit organizations, and not to the homeless on the street? I should give because it helps someone, not because it makes me feel better… right?

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Yesterday I snuck into a local bookstore and found two books in a clearance bin for $6.99 each and bought them both.

potterybarnliving.jpg pb-bed.jpg

I know some people dislike the Pottery Barn “style”, it can get too matchy-matchy and look as if, well, that you got it from a set. But I really like the furniture and the decor – when I was little I’d flip through Pottery Barn catalogues and imagine that’s what a “grown-up” apartment would look like. (Rich from Queercents like PB too!)

Unfortunately Pottery Barn furniture is WAY outside of my budget right now, but I figured I can look for inspiration within the pages.

By the way, I have set up an “Apartment” fund to take care of my moving-in costs later this summer. Currently I have $250 in it. I’ll be bringing several large pieces of furniture from my home (bed, desk, sofa set, chairs, maybe a table), so I won’t need to buy furniture (but, um, of course I’ll want to). I anticipate spending $250 for my bedding alone (duvet set, down comforter, pillows, sheets, maybe a featherbed?), so I’ll have to add some more money to the fund (I also want to get some soft lighting).

My goal is to get to $400 and not spend a. penny. more. I don’t even know how much face time I’ll get with my apartment once I start working, so I am going to create a comfortable bedroom (hence the down bedding and ambient lighting) and forget everything else! 🙂

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New site look – yay or nay?

Your vote counts! 🙂

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A question of motivation

Cash is burning a hole in my pocket. As you may have been able to tell, (alot of) money is trickling through my fingers (alarmingly) rapidly. I think I lost my saving mojo discipline.

It probably doesn’t help that my love of online browsing has deepened- a couple days ago I spent 4 hours in the middle of the night looking at bedding from Target. (Is that a cry for help?) At least I was looking at Target, not Neiman Marcus. Still, I know sooner or later I will succumb to the style and comfort promised by a new duvet set, and then $90 will go bye-bye.

How, HOW do you all stay motivated?

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I do too have a social life!

This blog is the first entry on the third page of the google searchtwenty-something with no social life.”

I also have the honor of being the FIRST entry on google search for “I got hair everywhere.”

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One of my biggest pet peeves in shopping online is the temptation to buy things that are just “I guess it’s okay” as opposed to “I love it!” because I want in on the free shipping deal or 20% off $100 deal or free samples with a $35 purchase deal.

Ann Taylor Loft is running a promotion where for every $50 you spend, you get $25 off coupon for a future purchase (with another minimum of $50 to redeem it). I really thought about getting $50 worth of stuff so I can “save” $25… but then I realized it just wasn’t worth it. The sales section was looking a little sparse and I didn’t see anything I wanted badly enough to pay full price. So I got a turtleneck ($14.88), paid my $5 standard shipping and $3 tax dutifully, and called it a day.

That’s one of the reasons why I really like Zappos and Shoebuy – I know they must make up for the “free” shipping somewhere, but to be honest, I’d rather pay a bit more on every pair of shoes than to face the temptation.

This is me putting conscious spending into action. 😉 And um, I just consciously purchased a red leather tote. With some codes and discounts it came out to $68. But it’s so much better to spend $90 on things I like than $75 on things I’m lukewarm about? Right?

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A taste of golf

I had my first golf lesson a couple days ago… and might I say, it’s fun! I’m an extreme beginner, but it’s so gratifying to hit that ball and watch it sail (or in my case, skid) across the greens. The trouble is that the clubs at the range are too long and heavy for me, so I bought a used ladies’ 9-iron to practice (it only cost $10)… it’s STILL a bit too heavy. I thought about getting a starter set of graphite clubs (I heard it costs around $300), but decided against it for now. Hopefully as I improve (golf-wise and finance-wise), I’ll be able to get something nice.

Due to an arrangement between the school and the driving range, I was able to get range time and instruction for a minimal fee (under $50 for a four-month class). This is the last time in my life that I’ll be able to play golf for such a low price, so I might as well take advantage of it!

Any personal finance bloggers who are also golfers? How did you pick up such an expensive hobby anyway? ;)

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Now now now, I am not actually deluded to think that I SAVED $50. I SPENT $28.76 on this pair of suede Mary Jane’s from Aerosoles (named Spuntaneous). During winter break I tried them on in an Aerosoles store – they are comfortable (which is important when I am running around campus). The 1.5 inch heel gives me a boost – if you know how petite I am, you’ll know that heels (even on casual footwear) are a MUST for me.
Unfortunately, the shoes cost $79 in store. I didn’t want to pay more than $50, and sadly let them go. After I got my signing bonus, I got to thinking… I can spend a couple hundred to treat myself, so why not see if Spuntaneous went on sale? The shoes were still listed at full price on Aerosoles.com, and Zappos.com didn’t offer them. But as I was checking FatWallet, I noticed that Shoebuy.com offers a 10% cashback – so I went on the site. And VOILA! Spuntaneous was on sale for $39.95. But wait! There’s more!

After a quick google, I found a 20% off code (VDAY07, expires 2/25). I also registered for Shoebuy, which gave me another 10% off. Like all things that are MEANT TO BE, Spuntaneous and I united at last, for a less-than-princely sum of $28.76.

So, in summary (because at the end of it, I am proud of “saving” $50 😉 ):

Original Aerosoles price: $79
Shoebuy.com sales price: $39.95
20% off code: – $7.99
10% off for registration: – $3.20
Price I paid: = $28.76

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