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Archive for December, 2006

Almost ready!

December 20th, 2006 at 01:57 pm

Well, much time has passed since my last post. I only have 2 more people to buy for! I still have yet to wrap my presents, but that will all be done tomorrow before I LEAVE FOR OHIO! WOO! I'm a bit excited...

At any rate, a friend of mine and I went shopping the other day. I bought all ingredients needed, then made cookies, biscotti, chocolate covered pretzels, homemade chocolates, and hot chocolate jars. Whew! It totalled 7 hours all together. I took some of my bounty into work yesterday, everyone was pleased. I put together a tin to go to BF's grandparents, but am also making one to go to my parent's house and my grandparent's house. I need to make more biscotti! It turned out awesome and consequently I ate too much of it. Yet another task to complete tomorrow before I leave.

We got the car. I finally saw it when BF came back home. 2001 honda civic, pretty cool. He just has to teach me to drive it now... manuals... ugh. So things are all well and today is my last day of work until right before new years eve. Exciting! I haven't had a vacation like this since I started, so it'll be nice. Spend some quality time with my family and friends...

At any rate, I hope everyone has a great holiday! It sure creeped up on us quick! hope it didn't catch anyone with thier pants down Wink I know it did me! (heh. I'm not quite sure what that means, but it sounded appropriate. haha). Later everyone!

Christmas Shopping Tomorrow

December 17th, 2006 at 05:54 am

Well, this is it. The finals are over, and now it's time to... SHOP! erg. Not so frugal this time... I found my Christmas dress. Not at the most frugal of stores and certainly not the most frugal of prices. But as BF's Gram said to him today, "every girl has to do that every once in a while. She has to make herself beautiful." And boy, is that what I intend to do! The only things left to get are earrings. I need some pretty pink ones... and pink nail polish too, all I have is reds and purples for some reason. My dress is BEAUTIFUL. I love it, and it is one of those dressy but not so much that I have to wear it to a formal event. Actually, I put a suitjacket over it and wore it to host at work the other night. Glamorous. And I got the shoes-- rampage-- for only $23.

And now that the crisis over what to wear has commenced... I need to buy presents. Erg. Now here's the update: I'm crafting gifts. Which is awesome. I love home made gifts. I'm doing hot chocolate jars and cookie tins. The problem: BF. We had decided to not get each other gifts this year, and just go shopping after Christmas for stuff for the apartment, but nooooo. He had to go shopping with his buddy today and got me something... well, he got me 2 things.

He wouldn't tell me what he *bought*, but he let me know that one of my presents was that I didn't have to pay for ANYTHING on the car. WHAT?! He said he's giving me back the $1000 I gave him to put toward the car and that I wouldn't have to pay anything on it, unless I wanted to claim it as my car when it comes time to get a second, and we'll figure it out then. That's a pretty cool deal in my book. He said I'm financially stressed enough, and I work too hard. I'll take it!

Now you're probably wondering what the problem is with all of this, and well.. I dont know what to get him!!! I thought I was in the clear! But nooo. Erg.

The upside is that he said Gram might be getting me all-clad pans!! *Shriek*! I guess they would match the all-clad measuring cups and spoons she got me last year... I always love her gifts Smile I suppose that's the upside to dating a boy that comes from a wealthy family, but sometimes I feel a little akward. This whole foray about what to wear on Christmas drove me up a wall until I broke down and went to the most expensive store I could think of. (I wont even utter the name on this site, I think God would strike me down instantly) The good news is that it honestly wasn't too expensive for what I got, especially considering the prices for most items not on sale there... and I did pay full price. The crappy thing I noticed, though, was that even though I shopped online for about a month before I set out to buy dresses, the selection was entirely different in the store than it was online. This had an up and a down. Up for the dress, and quite down for the shoes. I cut a great deal, but they weren't necesarily shoes that I liked too much. Eh, you win some, you lose some.

But we have a car!!! And I have a beautiful new dress. Life is good right now... ah, must not forget, NO SCHOOL FOR A MONTH!! Woo hoo! Night, all!

One more, then I'm all done...

December 14th, 2006 at 09:43 pm

One more final to go in about an hour or so. Then I'm *home free*!!! I bought a new book today to celebrate: The Devil Wears Prada... much looking forward to drinking a nice cup of hot tea and curling up tonight. The house is all mine. BF went back to visit friends and family in Ohio, and though I'm pretty jealous, I'm looking forward to time away from eachother. We're always cooped up in our tiny apartment together. No wonder we drive eachother nuts! hehe. Tomorrow I'm going to look for shoes and a dress to wear on Christmas. Saturday I think I'm getting together with a keyboardist to work on some music, and then Sunday me and a friend are going to do some christmas shopping and crafting together. Yay! I feel like I have a life... and the best part is that I have NOTHING to study for. I've just got a list of books I want to read. Happiness... I just have to make it through this french test. Eh. We'll see...

Not so great day...

December 14th, 2006 at 04:14 am

...but the good news is that it was a no-spend day! Just a long double at work. And a bunch of bad mishaps. A friend is jealous because I'm friends with her boyfriend. Both of these people happen to work with me. Let's just say it was an akward-type day when she came in. We usually do things together... her, me, BF. But if my boss (her boyfriend of sorts) takes me out to lunch, then I get disowned. What??? She didn't really talk to me, which was fine because I was already stewing over a bad phone call I got earlier... words of wisdom: stay away from the low-budget movie-making crowd... there are some real low lives and things can get pretty ugly.

Aside from all that, I've got my last 2 finals tomorrow. Everyone wish me luck! I really cant study right now... too much on my mind, and I feel like I'm gonna cry. I only have 2 FRIENDS in Pittsburgh, and for some reason they're arguing over ME. I dont get females and jealousy at all.

I'm just lucky my boss let me take a shot of Captain right after I clocked out... it relaxed me a bit :/

2007 Goals

December 13th, 2006 at 02:02 pm

Alright, so I've been thinking about these for a few days now. I'm going to make some changes with how I do my finances once the new year rolls around-- or next month!

I've put together a tentative monthly budget. Of course, it will vary from month to month slightly depending on certain variable expenses (needing new work shoes, medical expenses, etc.) The good news is that my budget is based on an expected income, and I usually make more than I budget for. I just try and plan for the worst-case scenario.

So here are my goals based on that tentative budget/income:

1. Pay myself first. I've heard other people say this, and I didn't quite get it until now. At any rate, I've subtracted my monthly budget from my estimated income, and it comes out to $173 per month, or $2076 per year saved. I think once I hit the $1000 mark I may look into getting a 6 month CD or researching investments, something to that effect. $2076 isn't a lot, but I'm *hoping* it ends up more than that.

2. My vacation money. I purposefully did not incorporate vacation savings into my budget. I'm going to take extra money-- after paying myself, and my bills, and my expenses-- and put it into its own account, or maybe even my piggy. And speaking of my piggy, my change will be a part of that savings. Basically, it gives me more incentive to save money on my variable expenses because that money will be used toward my vacation.

3. Extra little things I want will fall into the vacation expense as well... There's nothing I would hate worse than taking money from my vacation expense. I really need a vacation Smile I budget a great deal of entertainment and clothing into my expenses, so this shouldn't be TOO hard to do...

4. I want to pick up a second job over the summer, or get into a tutoring program of sorts. When I'm not in school, there's no reason not to pick up another job. Extra income goes toward that vacation expense, or savings, depending on my mood that day Smile

5. Keep up with my blog. I dont imagine adsense as a prime source of revenue in the world of Tara, but hey, every little penny counts.

6. Continue finding frugal alternatives. Every day I read a little tip or trick that saves me money. If I continue incorporating these little tricks, I'll be saving a bunch in no time.

7. Hire someone to do my taxes in april. This could be counter productive in the cost sense, but I think there are plenty of places out there that do taxes at a reasonable rate. I'm going to look into it this year, because not only am I in a tax bracket that does have to pay, but considering my change of residence, and pennsylvania vs ohio taxes, it would probably be less confusing.

8. Sell every possible thing I own that I can stand to part with. This includes CD's, DVD's, books, etc. BF has a DVD burner on his new comp, so we're in the process of burning all of our movies, and then selling them. Same with the CD's and iTunes. Books are listed on amazon... waiting for the fishies to bite.

9. Spend more time on savingadvice. Haha. Well, not too much time... I'm here pretty often and sometimes I dont get other things done, but ya know. I've learned so much from people on here, and I've never (met) such a fun and interesting bunch of people! I really enjoy the site and the blogs... It's much appreciated.

So here's to a new year, guys! Cheers!

2 more tests to go!

December 12th, 2006 at 10:07 pm

... and I have an incredible lack of motivation. Translation: studying, not so easy. Grr. At any rate, I'm almost done. Other good news: I had a no-spend day. The first in a while... once I get started spending, it's really hard to stop. BF talked me out of going out for lunch. Thank goodness! Erg. I went into my bank account today and updated my spreadsheets... turns out I missed a few things, but the good news is that I had more in there than I thought I did. I forgot to record a deposit for some reason :/ Either way, I'm all up to date, and I'm going to start cracking down on myself again.

Same with my eating habits. I had quite the breakdown last week, and things started getting pretty messy in the eating area. It doesn't help that I haven't gone to the gym in a week. It's finals this week, though, so I'm waiting until all is said and done to get my butt back in gear! Still working on my goals for 2007. There's so much to think about! At any rate, I think it's going to be a wonderful year. 2006 was full of changes and excitement. 2007 is going to be about getting things under control.

I'm pretty sure we're getting a car this weekend. BF is on a mission to find a cheap Honda back home... so lets cross our fingers. I just signed $1000 over to him today to put towards the cost, but I'm trusting him... he's quite the car expert, so I have no doubts. At any rate, it's a very exciting time for the 2 of us!

I still need to finish my xmas shopping. A friend of mine mentioned wanting to come and visit me from back home, and she brought up going shopping together, which I thought was a wonderful idea. We go shopping for our boys every major holiday that we possibly can. Of course, she's single now... it'll be fun either way, though. I love and miss her so much! She and I are incredibly close and dont get nearly enough time together. So let's hope she may come up this weekend. Well then, better get off to work!

Hello Finals!

December 11th, 2006 at 02:34 am

Well, this is it. Finals week. I've got one more paper to write tonight, one final tomorrow, and 3 more up until thursday night. Busy times indeed.

I've been doing waaaaaay too much spending lately, but the good news is it's the time to sell my books back (thank goodness), and I'll have more time to work over the break. woo! I'm so ready for the break to begin. I'm at that point where I'm just done with classes. I dont really have the motivation to do anything at this point... I just have to make it through the week. The good news is I could fail every one of my finals and my grades wouldn't suffer a bit. heh. I guess that's the upside to working my tush all semester... less pressure at the end.

So I really need to refrain from spending any unneccesary money for the rest of the month. I went to the mall with BF yesterday because I REALLY needed jeans. I also really need a new dress to wear on christmas. BF's family holiday gatherings are formal, and I've exhausted everything I own over the last year. I need new heels too. argh. At any rate, the trip to the mall was dangerous. I ended up buying a pair of jeans that I love, as well as a sweater that I love- no guilt there, as I need more winter clothes. But I really didn't NEED that eyeshadow I bought, or the goodies from victoria secret. BF was with me, he kinda *persuaded* me to get a couple things, but paid for one of 'em (as he should!) and the perfume I got was relatively low-cost. $15 aint bad for Heavenly. It was a small bottle, but it came with a little bottle of the lotion too, which is nice. If I bought the little bottle of the perfume separately I would have paid the same amount, so I made out like a bandit.

As for now, I'm avoiding spending too much on groceries. I'm completely out of fruit. That's a problem. And I need to buy more tea. I've been drinking so much of it. It's nice though, because if I want to stop at starbucks to get something I spend SO much less on tea than I would on a specialty drink. And starbucks is just so convenient from work. And my boss has me make coffee-runs all the time. eh.

Alright... enough of the rambling... I need to get working on this paper. Have a good night, guys!

Last day of classes!

December 8th, 2006 at 04:41 am

All I have left is finals now... not to say that's not enough. I sold one of my books back today because I know I wont even use it to study. I have plenty of other material. I'm still musing at how inexpensive books are going to be next semester. It's pretty crazy. I'm used to paying over $300, and it's closer to the tune of $100 this semester. woo!

So I started a new blog. And I used adsense, so we'll see if I generate any revenue. I'm not expecting to have some huge boom, but I figure I'm on the computer enough and write well enough (when I can be snide and use plenty of profanity) to generate at least a few dedicated readers, and that's enough for me. I've always wanted to be a writer, and though it's not a novel (that'll come later on), it's a start.

At any rate, I'm working tomorrow... an extra night this week. I can definitely use the $. I think I may go do some xmas shopping on saturday if I'm feeling up to it. I know BF wants to go see the new 007 movie. I'd like to see it too!

As for spending today, I did buy one of my books for next semester after selling an old one back. I also went and got lunch at Bucca di Beppo. Mmm. Apple gorganzola salad... so good. A bit pricey, but it was well deserved. I've had a rough week and me and BF have both been super-cranky lately. A few arguments have gotten pretty out of hand due to a great lack of sleep on both of our parts. I'm looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.

Well then, I'll end this with a bit of self-promotion... check out my links listed if you could and read my intro post to "The Modern Day Woman's Guide to the Existential Diet." Leave some comments to let me know what you think! I love input! Goodnight guys!

Continuing to downscale...

December 7th, 2006 at 11:35 am

So the fight for this so-called vehicle that me and BF are trying to acquire continues. As it turns out, we both forgot how RIDICULOUSLY expensive insurance is, hence we will not be getting the Mazda, sadly. We're opting for something a bit cheaper, more to the tune of 7k. Most likely a Japanese something or other. We like those. So we are downscaling yet again (thankfully)!

I saw someone else post about thier credit score... I looked at mine the other day. Well, it was really a case of "all the other kids were doing it." Well, not so much kids... BF looked at his in lieu of this whole car purchase to see if he could get a loan. Turns out he is in poor standing because of a huge ordeal that went down last year. He went to the hospital, and had to pay emergency room fees. The hospital looked at his insurance card and the woman TOLD HIM that the particular hospital we were at accepted it. Well, that just wasn't the case. Not to mention, he moved from his previous residence in the student housing, so when the hospital started sending him the bills that were thought to be taken care of, he didn't get them. Nor did his old roomate call and tell him he had mail waiting there, nor did the hospital call him to inform him of anything. Eventually, collections were called upon by the hospital and they eventually found him (they have a knack for that). Needless to say, his score suffered.

He was talking to his Gramps about all this, and amidst the conversation, his grandfather asked him to look up HIS. Gramps is a bit computer illiterate, so BF got all his information. He's 2 points lacking of a perfect score. Turns out Gram has too many charge cards at dept stores Smile At the same token, they have accounts that are still open and in good standing that date back to the 60's.

So after all this, I sucked it up and got mine. I'm in fine standing. My accounts are relatively new, and I have no credit cards. I've also had quite a few inquiries, though I noticed that most come from silly credit card companies and JCPenny for some reason. But I have a "fair" score. I'm okay with that for the time being. All my credit is student loans anyway.

At any rate, I'm still trying to put together my financial goals for 2007, but with this car thing still looming and not quite over-with, I'm gonna put it off just a while longer. For now, I'm just going with the flow and making sure I can get the rest of my xmas shopping in before the holiday actually arrives! I'll talk to y'all later!

Been so busy!

December 4th, 2006 at 06:43 pm

Ugh. So I haven't written too much in the last few weeks. A lot of that has to do with the considerable shortage of time I've had between work, school, and working out. Not too mention, things have been much more negative in the financial area. So me and BF have been considering getting a car. It's not a necessity. We could live life without one, and both of us have looked at eachother and said, "what are we DOING??" But still I believe we are getting a car. Splitting the cost will make it a bit more financially "easy," and BF is also graduating in about a year and a half.

That said, we are NOT getting a BMW. I know I had mentioned leasing one in a previous post, but that is not happening. We talked about it, we test drove one, we talked about it a bunch more, but it's not happening. But we are getting a new, or newer car. And we're financing. I think leasing is pretty stupid, personally, so that is A-OK by me. We're getting a mazda 3. This is perfectly cool by me, though I'd be happy with a crappy old honda. We've been looking at older models and doing the research, but we did put a deposit down for one to be held. We get to be the first to testdrive, and if we decide not to buy the car, well then we get our deposit back in full.

We're doing a LOT of research. Insurance is a big mess, but thankfully both my mom and BF's gramps work (or worked) in the field, so we're getting a lot of our questions answered. The problem is, the whole process is rather frustrating and stressful. But we're so optomistic and really looking forward to having a car. Merry Christmas to us!

Speaking of Christmas, I'm not quite done shopping, and dont plan to be for a while... between this car coming up and my expensive healthy groceries, I'm quite short on funds. The good news is that I've been exercising a substantial amount more, and my eating habits have most definitely improved.

Finals week is next week. Ahh! Where did the semester go?? It's incredibly relieving. I'm ready for some time off to work a little more. I'm actually working an extra day this week, and though I'm going to miss my friend's b-day party, which she will not be very happy about it, it was quite unexpected. The good news is that I will save money on both liquor and booze. Not to mention, I'll have some extra funds.

Well, I better get going here. I really do have things that I should be doing. Later!

Christmas traditions

December 3rd, 2006 at 03:25 pm

This is relatively short... hehe.

1. Me and my mom, and many times the other women in my family get together and bake a half-million christmas cookies.

2. Then we do chocolates Smile

3. My sister is the official christmas countdown woman (she's 12 now and still loves to do it).

4. We always put up the tree the day after thanksgiving.

5. We always go to the parade and tree festival downtown.

6. We also go and see the nutcracker every year (though I've missed this year because I'm a couple hours away. Actually, my mom and sister's girlscout troop will be at the theatre to see it in a few hours here... grr).

7. We always do christmas eve at my grandparents'.

8. Me and mom always end up eating massive amounts of cookies.

9. Us kids decorate the cutout cookies... even at the ages of 20 and 18...

I'm sure me and BF will come up with our own as the years go on and we start having little beebees of our own (*someday*) I'm looking forward to it!