Archive | June, 2009

The New Gyms In My Life

24 Jun

A couple months ago, The Kansas City Star outted me when they published an article that said I worked part time at a gym.

Well, I did, anyway.  I worked part time at a gym for a couple years and got really spoiled with a free gym membership.  After I started studying for the CPA, my priorities shifted and I barely had time to get in my regular workouts, let alone actually work at the gym.

So, I quit.  Since working out is a big part of my life, I sort of panicked that I wasn’t going to find a gym on the cheap.

The good news is that I found lots!

I already told you about my apartment gym which is really great for cardio since their weights kinda suck.  I also hit up the gym in my office several days a week over lunch to get in some quick lifting sessions (perfect for us busy folks).  They’re both free so I can’t really complain about either of them!

Since then, I’ve found a gem of a gym. 😉  It’s local and it’s huge and it’s got all the weights and cardio equipment I could ever want.  The best part is the cost.

$11.66 per month

Crazy, right?!  The total cost for the entire year was $140 and there wasn’t even a sign up fee!

However, it’s not all good.  A price that low brings in plenty of crazys!  Note to Spandex Dude at gym: even spandex in black isn’t flattering on anyone.

That’s all right though.  For eleven dollars a month, I can deal with a little crazy.

Do You Pamper?

23 Jun

Last week, I spent a girl’s day with my Mom.  We shopped, ate, drank, gossiped, and pampered ourselves.

Now, in my opinion, pampering one’s self mostly consists of a ice-cold cocktail on a warm summer day.

But, during the extravaganza, my mom and I spent $40 on….a pedicure.

Good Lord, when did those things become so damn expensive?!

To be fair, my mom actually paid for my pedicure (hey, I bought lunch, okay?)…but still – forty bucks?  The personal finance side of my mind cringed.  Yikes.

During the pedi, I actually said out loud “I can’t remember the last time I pampered myself like this.”  And it’s true – I really don’t partake in too many unnecessary luxuries.  I’ve gotten 2 pedicures (counting this one), 2 manicures, and 1 massage in my life.

In my opinion, they’re not really worth it…I can just as easily buy a $4 bottle of toenail polish at Wal-mart and then guilt trip Lloyd into rubbing my back for free (kidding…).

So, I wonder, am I alone?  Do you pamper?  I’m curious…

Do You Have HGTV Envy?

22 Jun

I’m sitting on my couch in my 2-bedroom apartment in Midwestern Missouri and finding myself so envious of these young, rich couples traipsing around the island of St. John looking for the perfect vacation home.

I just realized that I feel this way a lot when I watch HGTV (which by the way, is like crack – I need help).  I want to landscape the yard that I don’t have.  I want to renovate the Income Property below me that is actually an apartment that I don’t own.  I want to find my vacation home in St. John!

However, I’m only 25 and I haven’t achieved all of my goals of home ownership and financial freedom yet.  I plan so much for the future that I sometimes forget to live in the moment.

Guess what, young, rich couple?!  I don’t have to do maintenance on my apartment!  Good luck with that in St. John!

Take that, HGTV!

Where I’m Eating: La Bodega

18 Jun

I give you…the best Spanish food in Kansas City, La Bodega.

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 You are looking at probably the most adorable restaurant in Kansas City.  La Bodega is located right in the heart of Kansas City on Southwest Boulevard.

Check out their happy hour menu! 

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They are famous for their Spanish tapas (small-plates – like appetizers) and the best time to fill up is during happy hour.  Everything on the menu is half off!  Last time Lloyd and I were there, we had 5 tapas for around $20.

Their food is delectable.  In a melt-in-your-mouth, this-blows-everything-I’ve-ever-made-in-my-life-out-of-the-water kind of way.

My next favorite thing is their Sangria….

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 Don’t you love Sangria?  I can’t get enough.  They have a happy hour pitcher – yes pitcher – for $12.50!  Lloyd and I shared a pitcher and we each had about 2 1/2 glasses.  That’s plenty to get this gal feeling pretty tipsy. 😉

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Hands down one of my top picks in Kansas City for a delicious, cheap, swanky happy hour.  Visit www.labodegakc.com for more information.

Cheers!

I Passed & I’m Moving Forward

17 Jun

I took my first CPA test over one month ago and finally got my score on Monday night.  See, the CPA people want everyone to know just how important and difficult their test is (and it is, see below).

Anyways, the good news is that I got my score…and I PASSED!!  Hooray!!  *wipes sweat off brow*

I will say one thing though (just in case the AICPA is in fact reading this – he he) – that test was damn hard.  It was hands down the hardest thing I’ve ever accomplished in my life…and I’ve still got three more tests.

I celebrated with a day of shopping with my Mom on Monday.  (Wanna know what I got?  High-waisted pencil skirt, dressy gray vest, summery tank top, leather flippie floppies, workout tank top, and workout shorts…)  It was well worth it and well-deserved!

Big shout out to my biggest supporter and fan, my amazing boyfriend, Lloyd.  He was so wonderful and caring during the whole process.  Even when I was sitting at my desk with my hair all frizzed out Albert-Einstein-style screaming at the computer, he still seemed to love me.  I couldn’t have done it without ya.

For those of you reading my blog for CPA purposes, I’m posting my study schedule for AUD on a new CPA page.  Be on the lookout for it…

Big inhale, big exhale, moving on to the next section….stay tuned.

My Ode To Summer: The Best Money-Saving Tool

14 Jun
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[Source]

Dear Summer,

In my youth, you showed me that catching fireflies in a mason jar could be more fun than any activity I could ever pay for.

My friends and I relished in your long days and late nights and played Red Rover so many times that we forgot about those board games that Mom bought for us.

When I have been down, your sun’s rays have lifted me up.  S.A.D.?  Not with you.

When I was chilly, you warmed me.  When I was hot, you warmed me even more – a little too much, actually.  But I knew that this was just a sign of your relentless quest to keep me happy.

You lit my home with your natural light well into the evening without any increase to my power bill.

When my immune system was weak, you gave me a dose of Vitamin D – on the house.

When my skin was ghostly pale, you helped her glow at no charge.  The Tannery never showed me such hospitality.

When my hair was dull from the winter gloom, you brightened it without my asking.  And I didn’t even have to make awkward conversation with you like I do my real hairstylist.

You did not ask that I cover myself in head-to-toe wool.  No, you only asked that I wear just a quarter of that clothing.  High-priced, thick, warm clothing is not your style.  You prefer the lesser expensive, but more popular, light and airy camisoles, flowing skirts, and cut-off jean shorts.

When I wanted to bike, run, and walk, you provided me the guiding sunlight that I needed – with no more charge than the physical tax on my leg muscles.

When I wanted berries, grapes, and melons, you produced them at a much cheaper price than winter ever did.  Sure, apples are out of season… But, let’s be honest, apples are boring and berries are like blondes – they have more fun.

When my friend bar-be-qued me a well-done-100%-Angus-beef-burger, he did not expect a tip.  For he knew that I would return the favor at some point during your awesome 4-month reign, Summer.

The cost of that pack of hot dogs that I contributed to the BBQ, paled in comparison to my bar tabs during the winter months.

If I had my choice, you would be 12 months long instead of a measly four!

So, this is my ode to you, oh dear summer, the best money-saving tool I ever did know.

Your #1 Fan,

Carrie

The Future Of This Blog

12 Jun

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting over this blog and the blog world in general over the past couple of weeks…

The original purpose of this blog was to provide frugal tips and to gossip about my friend’s finances.  A blog about frugality, how original!

As I soon discovered, I was not the first to come up with this brilliant idea.  I have sifted through hundreds of personal finance blogs over the past four months, most are amazing and some are…not quite so amazing.

The majority of you are inspirational and beautiful writers and I truly love reading each of your daily triumphs and struggles with finances.  Those that can write about these mini-battles with finesse are bloggers after my own heart.  I find myself cheering for you all from this side of the computer screen.

Although I decided to take a completely opposite career path, I’ve always excelled in English and writing.  If you googled my real name, you might even find that I won a few writing awards back in my schooldays (just a few, it’s pretty obvious that I’m no Shakespeare).

Through this blog, I have rekindled my interest in writing.  It has helped me nurture a passion that I’ve always had, but never really discovered.  I’ve always considered exercise to be my escape from reality, but what a beautiful outlet that writing is, too!

At first, I was hesitant, thinking “What if people don’t like the way I write?”.  But, after seeing many hurtful “Anonymous” comments on even the kindest blogs, I realized that you will never make every person happy.

Plus, I have found confidence in my writing style.  Sometimes I can be crass, sometimes I can be thoughtful, but it all makes me happy.  I look at my first post, and, although it is rusty, it still makes me laugh.  I could never delete it for fear that readers might find my premiere excursion into the blog world as less than perfect.  It is rough, it is me, it is wonderful.

With that, I know now the direction that I want to take my blog.  Don’t they always say “Do what you love, love what you do”?  You’ll find that my blog will turn into more of a financial life diary than the frugal tips I had once planned for.  I’ll also scatter bits and pieces of daily financial decisions here and there (I paid $20 to have someone else wax my eyebrows when I easily could have plucked them for free, that sort of thing).  I also want to include more Kansas City restaurants reviews because it combines two of my favorite pastimes – Kansas City and, well, eating.

I have no reason to hold myself accountable because I’m strangely content with my finances and the direction they are headed.  Lloyd has a smart head on those broad shoulders of his and we have big plans for our finances that are unfolding before our eyes.  Planning and budgeting can do great things for people’s lives.

Although I know that I’ll never be the world’s next big financial writer, I’m excited to refine my writing skills.  Writing is something we’ll all have to deal with at any job (just think of a horribly written e-mail that you’ve seen floating around your office…) and I can’t think of any better way to enhance this skill than through my blog.

So, join me, won’t you?  It’ll be real and it’ll be fun, but I can’t guarantee it’ll be real fun… (Oh boy.)