Archive for July, 2008

Wanting to get away…

I’ve been getting the itch to go travel lately.

It doesn’t even have to be somewhere out of the state – a weekend get-away would be really nice.

And I know this is an oxymoron, but does anyone have recommendations for not-terribly-expensive bed-and-breakfast places in San Diego or Santa Barbara region?

I’m thinking of under $150 a night, double occupancy.

One place I’ve read about is the Franciscan Inn in Santa Barbara – does anyone have had good (or bad) experiences there?


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Reason #692314 I am a PF nerd

Tonight I went to Barnes & Noble to study.

During breaks between problem sets, I…

did NOT read Marie Claire or Real Simple or House Beautiful (all magazines I love)

did NOT flip through cook books with pages and pages of photos of delicious foods

did NOT dream about the latest in-style outfits in InStyle

did NOT catch up on Britney Spears’ latest news in US Weekly

did NOT follow the school rankings in US News

What did I do?

I browsed through personal finance and investing books.


Do I need help?

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Friday night guilty pleasure

Watching P.S. I love you in bits and pieces and crying shamelessly at all the sad parts.

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There she goes

I saw this sun dress, and it’s lovely.

Lovely. Perfect to wear for a brunch or a party.

It’s been discounted to from $297 to $103, which is not an unreasonable price for a silk dress.

Did I mention it’s lovely?

But you know, $103 will pay for a lot of things:
– almost all of monthly car insurance premium (my rate got lowered!)
– one bout of car repair (depending, of course)
– 23 gallons of gasoline
– 62% of my monthly loan repayment
– 1/9 of a new computer next year
– 3-5 credits at a community college

All of the above are MUCH more important to my short- and long-term well-being than a lovely silk tiered sun dress.

Much more.

Do I sound convincing yet?

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Weird but true

Could it be… that I actually LIKE studying for the GMAT?

Well, “like” is a strong word, but it’s interesting to learn (and apply -correctly, I hope!-) all the rules that exist in GMAT-land.

I’m starting to see the tricks and trap answers that GMAT writers build in to the questions, and why I have to re-adjust my thinking from “normal-everyday-life” to “only-in-GMAT-world”.

I really should be spending more time studying every day (right now I top out at 2 hours a day), but at least I’m seeing some progress. Even though it’s slower than I would’ve liked, I just have to keep going.

It’s weird, because now studying has become a measure of how good my day goes… usually I figure I had a good day if I got off work by 6:30 or 7, CB and I had a nice conversation, I had some yummy food, AND I did well on my problem sets. If I got a lot of problems wrong or I didn’t have enough time to study, I would just feel blah the whole day.

Who here is studying for the GMAT (or LSAT, or MCAT, or GRE)? Stand up and be counted, because I want to recognize my compatriots in the standarized testing battle grounds!

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Hello, future

I just had the most amazing training session today, where I got a taste on how to work through a problem with different strategic frameworks and think about the issue from those perspectives.

The session taught me a lot, but more importantly it showed me what I want to learn more of.

I left the meeting feeling energized and excited about the area where I want to develop a career, I’m more certain than ever that I want to go business school, and I feel confident that I am at a good place for developing analytical skills at my current job, and that moving forward, I’ll be pursuing graduate education (next 3+ years) and doing more more strategic / marketing work down the road (post-MBA).

Feeling excited about a possible career? That’s wonderful.

Edit: If any of my readers are in marketing / brand management and would be willing to talk to me about your career path, please let me know. I’d really like to hear about your experiences.

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Even though it’s only Monday, I’m already thinking about the weekend…

I usually spend around $30-$35 for a brunch for two a couple Sundays a month. It doesn’t break the bank, but I was wondering if I can’t recreate a brunch at home. I have a tiny little balcony that would fit our small dining room table and two chairs, and I figured that I can try my hand at making brunch and staying in instead of going out.

So, I figured that for a meal of toast, omelet and fruit, here is what I need:
1. Eggs – $3 per dozen
2. Diced roasted chicken breast for omelet – already have it
3. Whole wheat bread for toast ($3 per loaf)
4. Fruit – any kind will do ($5)
5. Mushrooms – omelet ($2 per pack)
6. Butter – already have it… FREE!
7. Scallions – for omelet ($2?)

So here’s the total: around $15. For two. Which is about half to what I usually spend for brunch for two at a restaurant.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Sign #103523 I’m getting old

Feeling sleepy before it’s 11 PM…

Time to hit the sack.

I made the bed this morning so now I have the pleasure of turning back the covers and scooting into my wonderful bed.

Why am I so tired….?

Oh right. Today I:
-Studied for 2 hours
-Read romantic novella in a foreign language
MAXED out 2008 Roth IRA

Wow, no wonder I’m exhausted! Goodnight! 🙂

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2008 Roth = SO done

Roth IRA

I remembered that I have around $300 stashed in some ING accounts… I’ve tried the separate sub-account for everything under the sun method, but it just was’t for me. Originally I decided to consolidate those funds into my Freedom Fund, but then I saw that I was this close to maxing out the Roth, and I just said screw it.

I put the $300 into the Roth IRA, added another $50 from my paycheck (in addition to the $750 automatically transfered to the Freedom Fund…things are getting reeeealy tight here), and maxed out the Roth.

2008 Roth, you are SO done.

This marks the THIRD year in a row that I’ve contributed the maximum to my IRA ($4,000 in ’06, $4,000 in ’07, $5,000 in ’08). This is the only retirement savings I’ll be putting in for this year, as I won’t have access to a 401(k) through work until next year ($5,000 is a little less than 10% of my gross), and I’ve decided to priortize cash savings over taxable stock investing.

<10% isn’t super, especially by pf blogger standards. But I calculated that from 2007 to 2008, I saved around 28% of my gross income toward retirement. I’ve also put away (more aggressively this year than last) for the Freedom Fund.

Overall, I think I’m on the right track.

Freedom Fund

So now, Freedom Fund = $13,000.

Which is enough for… almost 8 months of no-income living. By the end of August, I’ll have 9 months. I think when I get to a year’s worth ($20,000), I’ll celebrate.

It’s not as if I’m in danger of being out on the streets (Mom & Dad = ultimate safety net), but it just makes me feel better that I have money in the bank. It makes me feel like I have a PLAN of action. So that if anything happens with the job, I can take a deep breath, peek at my fairly ample fund, and re-group. I wouldn’t panic.

I’d also plan on getting a retail job at night to supplement my fund, but given this shaky economy, it’s probably best to not even count on retail jobs (although I have seen numerous help-wanted signs around my neighborhood…). Also, I assume I’d be drawing on unemployment benefits.

But ideally, the Freedom Fund money is earmarked for the very expensive grad school test-taking / school-visiting / application process, and any left over will function as a mini-cash cushion. (Because by the time I get into a school… the Freedom Fund will be shrunken down to size).

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Is bad. Very BAD. B-A-D.



-Wake up tomorrow, at 5:30 AM, and study

-Really, really study

I will NOT:

-Hit the snooze button until it’s time to get out of bed at 7:45 AM

-Say to myself “just 10 more minutes…”

-Succumb to the urge to watch youtube

Who’s with me?!

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