Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Adventure Week

Who else watched The Interview the past week? Such a vulgar, typical Franco/Rogan movie to me. Not too sure what the hype was and why this was getting a high rating online. It was also great that it was available online. I usually pay for all my cousins to go out and watch movies on Christmas day.... whoooo for saving $100+ this year!

Is it just me or the holidays went by so quickly. I felt like it was just Thanksgiving - I already miss Christmas. I am currently listening to some more Christmas music and sharing you guys some pictures from the past couple of days. I should start using the camera instead of my iPhone - but some of them came out really good.

I am not really too sure what this area is called, but I am sure most cities around has a neighborhood like this. I am going to call this Christmas Card Lane! Its such a pretty place to walk around with you dog and a coffee in hand (one of the kids were selling hot chocolates the night we were there)

This is such a random and eclectic place - The Sky Village Swap Meet  is located in an old drive-in movie theater. They had rotary phones, creepy dolls and even NEW Pendleton shirts for only $30! 


Pioneer Town is a pretty cute/cool ghost town where you can also camp behind the bank (see picture below). 

Cactus mart had a very good selection of desert plants. The sign brought us in lol we thought we were actually going to dig a bunch of cacti from the ground - turns out it was just a nursery. This is along the 29 Palms Hwy.... check it out here at Yelp!

Hadley Fruit Orchards - A must visit when you are on the way to Palm Springs! Its next to the Cabazon Outlets and the Morongo Casino. You can also check out some cool dinosaurs next to it. 

Then we capped off the weekend with some brewski and ice cream because its the end of the CHARGERS season.... wooomp woomp!

How was your Christmas break? 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Week 30 : Holly Jolly Christmas

I hope you had yourself a great Christmas with family and/or friends. I am sad Christmas is over, but I am so happy that I was able to spend it to everyone close to me.

Adventure time Christmas Week!

Current Debts:
Its payday today and I will be contributing most into my Personal Loan this month. I know it only shows $200, but there will be an additional $396 that will be taken out of this NEXT YEAR - in a week =) The deduction will be reflected on the next update!

Personal Loan
Student Loan
Credit Cards

Starting Debt: $20,709 || Paid/Interest: $360  || Ending Debt: *$20,349

Weekly Spending: 

Sat - $189 Gifts
Sun - $44 Shopping
Mon - $6 Breakfast
Tue - $56 Gifts | $10 Dinner
Wed - $60 Misc
Fri -  $11 Drinks 
Weekly Spending : $376

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

Luke 2: 8-14

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Week 29 : Staycation

Jay and I have made a tradition of going out of town before Christmas. We would exchange presents, have a nice dinner and celebrate Christmas with just the two of us since our Christmas family celebration/traditions would always coincide or overlap.

This year, in order to save money, we opted to just stay in and celebrate. He actually has a plan for us on Friday night - so I am looking forward to that. Plus, there are a couple more gifts that we need to get this weekend... so we will also be doing some shopping. Other than that, I am just excited to have a fun weekend and celebrate our mini-Christmas together!

Current Debts:
No payday today, but I made that payment into the credit card which brings the balance down. Whooo!

Personal Loan
Student Loan
Credit Card

Starting Debt: $20,980 || Paid/Interest: -$264  || Ending Debt: *$20,716

Weekly Spending: 
AH, these Christmas presents keep adding up! I thought my budget will be enough - but I just realized there are more kids in the family/group of friends now. Baaaaaahhhhh....

Gifts Purchased (December) : $371
Sat - $81 Gifts | $6 Drinks
Sun - No Spend Day!
Mon - $24 Commute | $9 Lunch | $38 Gas
Tue - No Spend Day!
Wed - $20 Gifts | $35 Dinner
Thu - $9 Dinner
Fri - $24 Dinner | $24 Pictures | $6 Cold Medicine 
Weekly Spending : $276

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cash Rewards

My credit card keeps rising. I added expenses for my dogs surgery last October and the biggest recent expense were my dental and vision expenses from this month. I should be getting reimbursed for this, but their process is just so tedious - I can probably write another post about this. Anyway, I started digging around because I wanted to be under $20k before the year ends. I was so close but the expenses keeps building up.

So I first looked into balance transfer offers, I even thought about cashing out this old Roth IRA, its so old that I forgot the password but its added on my account, it currently has a total of $597. I just really did not want to get hit with any fees with that one - hey, its been accruing interest. I am sure I left that at $550.

Anyways, I dug and dug and noticed that my Credit Union CC was a rewards card. It never really occurred to me that it was earning points because the points weren't posted on their website whenever I logged in. I searched for their rewards website and registered the card. At this point, I was probably hoping for a $20 reward or something - but when I logged in, it shows that I had about 16k+ points. Not too sure where they all came from, but I immediately looked into cashing out the points... guess how much I was able to redeem? $150. One hunddit fitty!

The 'fees' total for the past year for this card was $76.90, not calculating December yet. So I am technically getting back $73.10 from them. (FYI: I opened this card last Feb 2014)

I also did not think I would be getting this amount so soon, but it was already deposited into my account... soooooo shopping it is! I am kidding! I just made a payment into my CC today $200 in total. It kinda hurts since I am still trying to buy more Christmas presents, but since I already "budgeted" for the Christmas gifts... I will stick to that amount.

Credit Card Total : $9,724
Payment made : -$280
Credit Card Total : $9,444

Have you received any rewards from your credit cards? 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Week 28 : I want to confess...

I DID NOT BUDGET CHRISTMAS GIFTS THIS YEAR - and I don't think I have ever budgeted since I have been giving Christmas presents! However, what I will be doing this year is to readjust the payments I will be making on my past paycheck and spend using cash (debit card) this year!

Current Debts:
Its payday - but I will only be paying $60 to pay the monthly amount due to my Student Loan - I paid the other half the past payday. I wanted to free up some money this for Christmas shopping. Yes, the CC went up because of the medical bills and I am expected to get about $387.46 from the reimbursements. I already got the $86.46 and I am waiting to get the rest - still disputing $120.50 

Personal Loan

Student Loan
Credit Cards


Starting Debt: $21,040 || Paid/Interest: $ 60 || Ending Debt: *$20,980

Weekly Spending: 
I don't really know how I will be separating the Christmas shopping and the weekly spending. I think I will just put them all together for now. I also got invited to a Yelp Elite event this past week which was so great because the whole dinner was covered. This might be one of the goals next year =)

Gifts Purchased (December) : $313.69 I am 13.5 out of 19 people done or @ 71%! Yay!
Sat - $12 Drinks | $34.74 Gifts
Sun - $12.16 Pet Food
Mon - $98.27 Gifts
Tue - $20 Drinks
Wed -  No Spend Day!
Thu - $16 Gifts
Fri - $7 Drinks
Weekly Spending : End $ 200.17

How's your Christmas Shopping coming along? Are you done? Did you budget this year? 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Medical Plans 101 (for me)

The credit cards have risen - again! $383.92 to be exact.

It really pays to know whats going on with my medical and dental/vision plans. I just assumed everything will be paid for with my Dental/Vision plans - but I guess times have changed. Or at least my employers benefits have changed.

The way I understand it now is - We currently have a reimbursable plan through work that pays the first $150 and the rest at 50% for any dental or vision work. I also have funds in my HSA account that can be used for this.

So what happened?
I went to the dentist and got a bill for $241 - I used my HSA card for this. Then went to get my eye exam and glasses and the total came out to $383.92 - I used the credit card for this.

What should have happened was?
For my dental : 
  • Total : $241.00
  • Dental Insurance : $150 
  • Grand Total : $91
  • Dental Insurance pays 50% so... Charge $40.50 into credit card and $40.50 into HSA
For my vision : 
  • Total : $383.92
  • Vision Insurance (since the $150 was used already, I only get the 50% reimbursement) so charge my credit card $191.96 and charged my HSA $191.96


What needs to be done? My mini check list

  • Call my dentist and have them reimburse my HSA account
    • Charge $120.50 into both my HSA card 
    • Charge $120.50 into my credit card 
  • I will get reimbursed for $120.50 from my insurance - which clears out my credit card
  • For my vision insurance - I need to check if they can reimburse me $383.92
    • Charge $116.96 into my HSA card
    • Charge $266.96 into my credit card
  • I will get reimbursed $150 + $116.96 from my insurance

So I should get a TOTAL REIMBURSEMENT of $387.46

Have you made any mistakes or realized any mistakes you have from your Medical Plans? 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Week 27 : It's beginning to look a lot like ....

This is going to be another laid back weekends. We have our dental and vision appointments set up - how exciting! and other than the Charger game that's all we really have planned. Which is OK- I needed a cheap weekend after Black Friday shopping.

I will be setting aside much of my paycheck from last weekend and next weekend for Christmas shopping. That's probably another thing Jay and I will be tackling this weekend.

Current Debts:
No Paycheck this week, but these are the current balances for all my debts. I paid an extra $250 into my credit card this week. There was a fee of $135 b/c of the balance transfer.

It feels so good just having to deal with just 3 creditors!

Personal Loan
Student Loan
Credit Card

 Starting Debt: $20,570 || Paid/Interest: $129  || Ending Debt: *$20,441

Weekly Spending: 
I have been bringing lunch to work, so that's why I haven't really spent as much this week.
Sat -  $25 Gifts
Sun - $28 Dinner | $29 Commute
Mon - No Spend Day!
Tue - No Spend Day!
Wed -  $24 Dinner
Thu - $9 Dinner | $13 Entertainment
Fri - $47 Gas
Weekly Spending : Start $200 || End $175

Have a fun first weekend of December!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

November 2014 Month-End Recap

This was sucky month!  I am a bit disappointed that a little retail therapy went on this month, but I am glad I was still able to chop off $1,276 from my debt even though I added about $2,619 into the credit cards. I was able to pay off all the auto stuff are done : Car Insurance and Registration yay!

Financial Goals
  • Budget $200 per week - FAIL!
    • Week 23 - $155
    • Week 24 - $2819 - $2619 (pet misc) = $200
    • Week 25 - $325
    • Week 26 - $622 - Ouch!!!!
  • Pay $1200 towards debt PASS!
    • I paid off $1276 this month - which is lower than what I have paid the past few months. It's because I had the car registration and paid off my car insurance for the year.

 Personal Loan
 Student Loan

 Credit Card


 Car Stuff

  • Pay off Car Insurance PASS!
    • Paid $248
  • Pay car registration fees PASS!
    • Paid $135 and I also paid for a smog check for $48 - that was unexpected.
  • Get a 0% balance transfer for veterinarian fees PASS!

Personal Goals

  • Run 5k on Thanksgiving PASS-ish
    • Did not run - but we went to the gym and I logged in 2miles. Also, does the 5 hour Black Friday shopping count? There was a lot of walking involved lol
  • Finish a book PASS!
    • I finished Flat out Love by Jessica Park. Check it out! Its a cute easy read
  • Bake/Cook something new Fail!
    • I cooked and baked, but nothing out of the usual that I have done =(

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 2014 Goals

Happy December!! Below are the goals I want to keep track until the end of this year.

Financial Goals
  • Pay the following towards debt this month. I want to set aside the rest for Christmas shopping
    • Personal Loan $396
    • Credit Card $100
    • Student Loan $120
  • No credit card spending
  • TWO no spend days per week
  • Build Emergency Fund
    • Add $200 this month 

Personal Goals
  • Finish a book - I started listening to Serial so hopefully I can finish all the remaining episodes this month
  • Exercise / Gym at least 3 times per week