Thursday, May 31, 2007


After a long hard journey.

i have my W-2

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

One little tidbit

I have to admit I am a government conspiracy theorist. I'm like Dale Gribble in King of the hill, tin foil hat and all. My paranoia has only gotten worse after living in DC.

Back to finance related stuff...

I am trying an experiment where i don't touch paper money or coins anymore. We'll see how long this lasts. From now on it's just checks and cards.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Update: It's been a while.

Update on things:

- Still have not gotten W2 from my old job. I have talked to Valencia, Michael, Melissa, Katie, Carol, and Wayne. This has not gotten to me for the last month! C'mon! I just talked to a Mary in Chicago, she says she's mailing it out today. I hope this works.

-I need to get $250 refunded by my building association. They gave me a broken key, then i had to pay $250 for a locksmith.

-I am cancelling my cable. i threatened to cancel once, and they lowered the fee from $50 to $33 bucks. But i just don't watch enough - or at the right times - and there's all these commercials. I don't know. I'm over it. i'm going to get Netflix.

Other money related news?

i am going to blow it all on traveling. I went to thailand after graduating and not having a job for 5 months. i'm pretty sure i can go to europe after working full time for over a year.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

W-2 troubles, family visiting, and my first mortgage payment

Quick update: I called every other day since April 15th my former employer - with whom I had an internship with earlier this year. I requested another copy of my W-2 because I have moved and they did not have my current address. I realized it was kind of hard to do my taxes without this W-2. So i filed an extension for my federal return and state, but am still trying to put some fire under this company to send my W-2. After 10 phone calls, I got connected to a live person.

(this is part of the reason I didn't want a job with this company after my internship, they're a behemouth conglomerate that eats up little firms and produces one cheesy horrible intern mill. intern mill? Think puppy mill - the kind that spits out low quality pedigree puppies who are borderline retarded. Or more like puppy drones that produce crusty drivel that is applauded in corporate america as "creative" and "progressive" work. I had yet to see ONE creative idea there. Seriously - a Senior VP at this public relations firm in a client meeting pitched "all arms round' the planet" as an acronym for AARP's new slogan. YUCK and shoot me in the face.)

Hurricane Sandy came to town, check out this blog post that I enjoyed immensely.

ANYWAYS - I had my grandparents, aunt, and mother staying with me this past week. My family's financial habits are different from mine in some ways because they are rather stingy, ask how much EVERYTHING is, including how much are taxes on gas in Washington DC. They're from So. Cal and apparently California has a new(?) or higher tax on gas now than most other states. They follow Chinese custom however when a bill is presented and all fight to pay it. "I'll get it this time," or "You paid last time," or "You're my guest," etc. etc. Anyways, all week my mother and aunt paid for meals and outings, but on top of that my mother and grandparents left my $2,000 to help with furnishing my apt.

My first mortgage payment is due in 3 business days. I am writing a check out today and mailing it tomorrow. There also has been mail piling up about electricity bills. I haven't gotten anything from tmobile or comcast yet, which is odd.

I should probably make a list of my bills with the monthly due dates: starting with the most expensive

Mortgage - $1,300
Condo Association - $400
Comcast - $75 (cable and internet)
Tmobile - $60
Pepco - $50 (electricity)

What else? If you haven't noticed I really treat this blog as a draft of a compilation of financial lists that I can refer to on any computer in the world with internet access. My different files on excel at home are all updated at different times depending on if I update at work, or while visiting my parents home, or at my apartment.

Automate all the ones that i can:

Tmobile - but this one varies a lot depending on text messages.
Countrywide does: but this payment is big and i don't want returned checks if i mess up.

Then set email alerts to myself to check they were paid:

I'm going to go to Tmobile right now - it's my lunch break - to see if i can get text messages covered or to get less minutes, or something to reduce this bill! I haven't gotten a new cell phone in 1.5 years. I think that's a record for me. I hate my phone, a razor, but cell phones are something i care enough about to get a new "cooler" one.

UPDATE: i just walked my "fannie" down to tmobile. I have 1,000 minutes for $45.99. I use about 600 minutes every month, but get charged on average $10 a month for text messaging. To receive a pic text is 25 cents! it's insane. So - i looked on the website and their text messaging products run like this:

ok - that didn't come out nearly large enough - but the point is, i can get 400 text messages for $4.99. I only send around 75 a month now, so it would cost 1/2 as much, and i would get 325 more text messages! SWEET.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Networth Starting Point

I'm attempting to do a networth post. I think this is how to calculate this stuff...i'm not exactly sure. I am going to just list all my assets, then my liabilities, subtract one from the other done? But - some people list EVERYTHING as assets. For example they put down the dollar amount their furniture is worth. But then I feel like I shouldn't even add my CD because that's not money I could use right away without a penalty. Anyways...let's jump into it.

CD: $10, 107 (I found out it's a 5.26% interest rate, how does that compare?)
401k: $2,549
Savings: $1,687
Checking: $1,945

Total Assets: $16,288

Total Liabilities: $230,000 mortagage

Networth is: -$213, 712

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I am Jonesin'

I would like to say first off that I do not buy into a lot of what I consider ridiculous consumer fads. For example, I don't - and won't - ever spend cash on Coach/Prada/Gucci purses. (Well, let's be clear: If someone wants to send one my way, I'm not adverse to accepting it). I have never bought designer jeans. All my jeans costs less than $40. I have never liked Tiffany's jewelery, I have never had the newest-coolest-cell-phone-gadget. I don't go to concerts all the time, I don't get my nails done regularily, etc, etc.

All this said, I am dying a pair of these for my new place:

Wassily. chairs. in. this. tan. color. Mmm. Mmm.
Speaking of furnishings - here's the breakdown of all the furniture and supplies I have bought in the last 2 weeks for my first condo:
King size tempurpedic mattress - $200 off Craigslist
King size platform bed - $325 from Z furniture
Futon Sofa - $457 from Wal Mart
2 green Knoll chairs - $300
Media cart - $75 off Craigslist
Dining table - $125 off Craigslist
Dresser - $30 from Ikea
Full length mirror - $20 from Ikea
Lap top desk - $35 from Ikea
Light fixture - $35 from Ikea
Wall paint - $75 from Home Depot
Wall art - $80 CB2
cutlery/toilet brush/dish towels/hammer/screw driver - $10 from Ikea
Bed Sheets/pillows/trash cans/kitchen rug - $158 from Bed Bath and Beyond
Mop/toiletries/laundry detergent/dishwashing stuff/candles/etc - $113 Target
6 Plants/6 pots/soil - $55 from Home Depot and Ikea

Because I am not done furnishing my place yet, I don't have a final count on the costs. I think I am in the $1900 - $2000 range. I never in my life imagined I would spend this much on "stuff". But I guess it's nice to know I have a secure place to sleep and comfortable "stuff" to use.
Before I moved into my condo, I had been looking to buy for about a year. During this time, I was subletting this very badly kept apartment for super cheap. The paint was peeling off the ceilings and there were no shower stalls, only clawfoot tubs. The kitchen stove/oven unit was portable, albeit it was plugged into the wall, there were absolutely no counter tops. This place had 2 front doors.

So during this time, I didn't feel any motivation to buy furniture for such a - s.h.i.t.h.o.l.e. I flipped my moving boxes upside-down for tables and used paper bags as trash cans. I threw a sheet over an ironing board, then placed a mirror on the board while leaning it against the wall and voila! I had a make-shift vanity. I slept on an old and used futon for 8 months. I didn't pay for cable or internet service for 8 months.

In my life, I've lived in many different arrangements. Like the time in college, 3 of us lived in a 800 square foot 1 bedroom apartment. Right after I graduated, I shared a room with another girl for $300 in a 3 bedroom apartment with 4 people living there total. It's been insane at times.

My favorite house I ever lived in (besides the one I grew up in) was the one in San Diego that my parents bought to flip. I lived there my last year in college. I found roommates who had furniture and got a taste of what it's like to deal with real estate agents, a construction foreman, homeowner association committees, and awkward neighbors.
The most surreal experience was when that San Diego house needed an AC unit. My parents, who do not live in San Diego, called up Home Depot or Lowes, and they sent a salesman. Mind you, I am 19 at the time. So this old-school, senior citizen, slow-talking, southern accented, VERY old fashioned salesman walks in. He waits for the "head" of the household. Well...surprise! There are no adults in this house and there sure as hell isn't a man in this house. GOD it was excruciating listening to this guy drone on and on. All I needed was a quote.
One last note....On the topic of homeownership and repairs:
I take homeownership and home repairs seriously to show that a single, working, 22 year woman can get the job done. I don't have a car and I live in the city where there are no big box shopping strip malls, but I managed to get stuff done for a reasonable price. Yesterday I found a table and media cart online, negotiated the prices, rented a zipcar, delivered the goods home, unloaded them, moved them into my 7th floor apartment, and now they look gorgeous. I am going to tackle hard-wiring some track lighting tonight and put together an ikea table, all while hopefully getting something to eat and watching some Simpsons episodes. Good luck to me!

Monday, April 9, 2007

You Decide: Milestone or Idiocracy?

I paid off my credit card debt last week. The balance in full was paid, and they cannot charge me anymore ridiculous interest.

This could be a milestone. Some sort of achievement to be proud of, but... I think I should have learned my lesson with credit card debt a LONG time ago.

I first got a credit card when I was 18 years old and was opening a checking account. I had moved to a new city for college and had this wild fantasy of being free of my parents and having freedom to do what I wanted in regards to money... OH RIGHT, what money???

Anyways, it came in the mail. The first month, I charged a dinner and maybe jeans from the mall. I paid the full amount at the end of the month. Fast forward to 6 months later when I got into the habit of charging things on my card and conveniently paying just the minimum balance. My credit limit was $800 and within the first year, it was maxed out.

My parents heard about this, gave me a stern lecture about responsibility, and paid the card off for me. It's embarassing to say, but this parental bail-out happened a couple of more times.

Finally, in December I realized, I've had a full time job for almost a year now. Why have I not paid off this measley amount? I wasn't in a hopeless situation. I knew a few people in their 20s with $15k and even $30k in debt. I just had $1,800 to pay off. The stress and jimmney cricket in my head was certainly flaring up. Maybe it was greed and denial that made me procrastinate?

I made a $800 payment in January after my new year's goal making motivation.
I made another $200 payment in March when I realized I didn't make a February payment.
Then this past week, I had allocated too much for the closing costs on my condo. That extra $1,000 went to paying off the credit card.

I'm not going to lie. That extra $1,000 bucks languished in my account for a few days....just waiting to be spent. it was WHISPERING IN MY EAR..."go get furniture for your new condo, you want buy new furniture, you must get new furniture." That's when I decided, I better suck up the $10 check-by-phone surcharge, and make this payment to the credit card company.

Milestone or Idiocracy?

Jury's out, the verdict is: Idiocracy!

Financial Layout

Background Info
Here are my financial accounts:
(I have probably too many accounts, but...I don't know what else to do. Any suggestions?)

~1 credit card
(I'm SO stereo typical: I applied for this card to get a free pizza and 10% off text books in college. This led to a lesson in credit. That post is coming soon.)

~1 CD
(My mother gave me $10k when I graduated college and we put it in a CD. I don't ever touch this account. To be honest, I forget what the interest rate is. What kind of PF blogger am i?!?)

~1 checking account for "spending cash"
(This account is for my day-to-day expenses, it's the only card I swipe.)

~1 savings account for savings
(This is a joint account with my mother. She can see the balance in here, and that helps motivate me to put extra cash in it.)

~1 checking account for the mortgage payments
(What I'm planning is to get the form from my HR person at work, and put a % automatically)

~a 401K account
(I can't even pretend I know anything about this. I know I put 8% of each paycheck in there and they mail me statements occasionally)

The latest adventure

I got a surprise on Friday when I tried to open a checking account at Wachovia. It was pretty much a personal finance nightmare.

I wanted another account because...
My parents helped me buy a condo in February. They put roughly a 50% downpayment. I am making the mortgage payment. In anticipation for this new monthly payment, I wanted to open an account dedicated for automatic monthly withdrawls. I don't know why, but I can handle my financial responsibilities better if my paychecks are divided into different accounts.

As it turns out...
I am a victim of identity theft. Some guy 3,000 miles away took out a car loan with my ID a year ago. Wachovia was really helpful and called their people to confirm that this guy had a car loan and walked me through the steps that I needed to take to alert the credit bureaus and file a police report.

My scientific diagnosis: THIS BLOWS...HARD.

Friday, March 30, 2007

And so it begins...

There is so much to say about my financial situation right now. I am now treading in a territory I never ever in my life would have imagined I would be in at this age.

So, I guess some basic information about me would be helpful:

~ I am 22 years old
~ I work and live in DC
~ I am a college grad
~ I am not a frugal person, although I try to be
~ I have never regularily updated a blog, but am going to try now.

I look back at the changes in my beliefs and attitudes the last few years and I think I have grown more disciplined, thoughtful, and imaginative with my future. I just feel better in my own skin now. Not that I think I'm complete now, but things are going good. I have been reading personal finance blogs with about a year now and love to keep up with how people are doing with debt, marriage, jobs, etc...

So, I am COMPLETELY IN OVER MY HEAD with financial "stuff" right now. Craziness involves:

! Having my first real full-time job and trying to navigate medical benefits, a 401k, and a crazy boss
! Not having my parents help pay for anything (i know, i know...lame)
! TAXES, I have never filed before
! I just bought a condo, the first mortgage payment in May 1.

My life is just back to back action packed. To be "hollywood" about my life, maybe I'd be like the Lethal Weapon series. I have a regular cast of friends or sidekicks, I go through plot lines that are sometimes humorous, with a sprinkle of cheesy, and everytime I think I've saved the day at last, once and for all... A sequel is released!

Anyways, my bad analogies aside...I will post more with details about all the financial stuff I'm trying to deal with.