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Netbooks, Underarm Hair, and Office Supplies

6 Aug

Recap of what’s been going down in my life since we last spoke:

  • Operation New Blog : Remember how I told you that I was planning on creating some new, grand Website to take over this little blog?  Well, good news folks – Operation New Blog is officially underway!  And hear this: website creating is no joke.  It’s confusing, it’s time-consuming, and it’s hella-addicting.  I’m pretty sure my brain has exploded 2-3 times over the past couple days.  There is good news though:  I love love LOVE the new bloggy and I am SO excited to share it with you!  Hopefully I can get this thing all wrapped up and ready to go in the next month or so.  Good things to come, peeps!
  • Post-Vacation Depression: Going on vacation is like getting a new family pet.  You’re so so SO excited when it first arrives that you can hardly contain yourself.  But when it’s gone … it’s extremely depressing.  Okay, so maybe not as depressing as losing your family pet (that’s way worse, I’ve been there), but it’s still really depressing.  That first day back at work is the worst.  Especially when you realize that at this exact time two days ago, you were splashing around in clear, blue, ocean waves and now you’ve got 500 stressful, over-dramatic work e-mails staring you in the face that you must reply to in a pleasant tone.  It was about that time that I started wondering whether I could make a living as one of those cute cocktail waitresses that peddled drinks at the resort we stayed at in Boca. 
  • Netbook + Me = It’s Happening: I will have a bit of freelance income this year.  Woot!  Now that I’m somewhat self-employed, I need to offset that income with some business expenses.  Since I’m not studying for the CPA over lunch at work anymore, it’s time to start writing.  Exciting life I lead, I know.  Anyways, that’s where the netbook comes in.  So I can write in all sorts of places.
  • Desk + Chair = Also Happening: The desk and chair set that I have at home is embarrassing to say the least.  My friends gave me the desk for free because I needed something to get me through the CPA exam.  It’s pretty clear why they wanted to unload it (read: it’s a piece of sh!t), but it served it’s purpose for the last year or so.  Oh, yeah, and my desk chair?  It’s forest green, rock hard plastic, and came from my parent’s groovy ’70s furniture collection.  Okay, after reading that description, I will admit, it sounds pretty awesome.  But, trust me, it’s definitely not.  In fact, it looks exactly the one below, only disgusting green.  Not exactly easy on the toosh after a couple of minutes, let alone a couple of hours.  Now I’m in the  market for a swiveling, squishy, sophisticated executive chair to go with my new, fancy desk.  Hey, I’m running a business here, okay?
  • Groupon and my underarms:  Do you guys get Groupon?  I totally get Groupon.  Not because I use it or anything, but because, with it, I know I’ll get at least one e-mail everyday.  Plus, it’s just fun reading about the daily deals.  Today is an epic day, because Groupon is offering up an epic deal.  For a mere $125, I can get my underarm hair lasered away in just 6 quick treatments!  YES, PLEASE!  I’ve always wanted to get my legs and underarms lasered.  I absolutely despise shaving (and don’t tell me to try Nair or waxing because I’ve taken detours into both methods and I’m not a fan of either).  So, I think I’m gonna go for it.  If any of you readers have any experience with laser hair removal, let me know!  I’d love to know if it really works before I pull the trigger and give in to Groupon.

That’s about all I have for today.  Have a great weekend!

(source)

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Ridiculously Pink

22 May

Come check out my new ridiculously pink blog.  I’m in love with it, so I think it’s staying. 😉

I tried to down grade the pink to a deep magenta to be easier on the eyes.

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Get ’em while they’re hot:  my personal financial information on this blog is going to be slowly but surely taken down over the next few months.  I’ve already removed my sidebars.  Make sure to memorize my net worth before  I make it private as well.

It’s be a fun ride, sharing all my deep dark personal finance stats with you all.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride.  I’ll still be here, just less exposed. 😉

Life, Goals, Study Plan, and Q&As

7 Mar

Hey guys!

I just wanted to do a quick update on how my exam went on Friday.  The good news?  I’m pretty sure I passed!  The bad news?  Wow, that exam was KILLER!  I was so tense for the three hours of the exam, that I left and my leg muscles were sore!

That was by far the hardest CPA test I’ve taken out of the 3.  We were only allotted three hours and we really should have been given closer to 4 hours.  There are 5 “testlets” or sections in the exam.  The first three are multiple choice and the last two are “simulations”.  The simulations are killer and involve 5-6 tabs of writing memos, filling out tax forms, complex calculations & analysis, and researching professional literature.  I OWNED the multiple choice sections, but my simulations were TORTURE!  My first simulation was pretty straightforward, but the calculations killed me.  My second simulation was beyond hard and just ridiculous.  I laughed out loud and almost cried when I saw what they were asking of me.  Luckily, I finished with 45 seconds left, but I don’t think I did very well on the last section!

Hopefully that test is behind me…for GOOD.  That night, Lloyd and I went out for fondue to celebrate.  Yum!

If I passed that test, that will mean that the NEXT test I take will be my LAST test!!!  *happy dance!*  Please keep your fingers crossed for me!  I should get the results in mid to late March!

Moving on…

So, here’s the new study schedule for my next test:

Disclaimer: this is an INTENSE study schedule.  I’ve taken 2-3 months to prepare for the last two tests and they encompassed half of the information on this upcoming test.  However, I am SUPER  motivated since it’s my last test.  I want my life back!  With this study schedule, I will be studying everyday over lunch (~45 minutes), 2-4 hours per night (OMG, *cries*), and 4-5 hours on Saturday and Sunday.  There is a chance that I might start this study plan and not be able to keep up and have to extend my test into July (since we can’t test in June).  Fingers crossed I can stay super focused over the next two months (which means less posting…)!

FAR Study Schedule

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Ask Me Anything!

Keep those questions coming over on my formspring account.  I love answering them!  I think there is a question sitting in my inbox right now, but I’m trying to figure out how to respond, so sorry for the delay!

Here are some fun questions:

Do you invest in the stock market (outside of retirement accounts)? Do you have an IRA (Roth or Traditional?)

Heh. I suck at investing. I don’t understand it and actually don’t care to. Isn’t that sad? It is the one area of personal finance that I could care LESS about. I just started a Roth IRA this year and have no idea how to invest it. I’m gonna have to do some research. LOL.

You’re so lucky that you can save so much money each month! What do you have in mind for your savings goals after your current ones are met?

Hmmm, well after we buy our house, we want to build a home gym and buy a doggie ASAP. So I’ll start saving for those things after I have the down payment for the house.  After that, we will throw every extra penny towards our house. Savings goals after that? Probably kids and retirement for the most part. As you can see, I think of more of the “big picture”. I guess I could say I’m going to save for a new computer, but that just doesn’t work for me. (That is TOTALLY how Lloyd saves though…so we’ll have to mesh at some point.)
LOL, I’m very blessed at this point in my life to make good money and not have any dependents. I say if you want to make a lot of money, go into accounting or medicine or architecture, or something like that. Or pro-sports. Now, those guys can probably save a lot of money. 😛

Do you have any other savings accounts aside from the ones posted on your blog? (Like for travel)

Nope. If I end up booking a trip to Mexico over the next several months, I’ll just use my paycheck to fund it and I won’t save any money that month. I know that lots of bloggers have various funds, but it doesn’t work for me. It’s all one big pot of money and I don’t really want to separate it out unless it’s a huge goal (like 20,000).

That is a lot of personal information you have put out on the net, do you ever worry about it?

The only information I have on my blog that I wouldn’t tell my friends or family is some stats about my net worth and my savings accounts. I don’t think I’ve ever even listed where I save my money at….so, no, I’m not worried. I have written a couple posts about friends that I ended up taking down because I wouldn’t want to ruin friendships over my blog.

How often do you get your hair cut?

Hmmm…truthfully, only when it starts to get split-ends, feel unhealthy, or look bad. My last hair cut was 3 months ago. I normally have really long hair and got it cut above my shoulders in December and I’m enjoying not having to get it cut as much. 🙂 I also used to highlight my hair a lot, but sort of stopped because it’s hard to maintain and expensive. But that doesn’t mean I’ll stop forever… 🙂

I’ve been hearing about a lot of accountants who have terrible debt and awful personal finance habits. As somebody who chooses a profession related to finance, doesn’t this seed odd? But, you had some debt of your own. Any insight?

Hmm, that’s sort of like seeing a doctor who’s overweight or a smoker, huh? Yeah, I never got that.
To be honest, true accounting has nothing to do with finances. So I think those regular old accountants (and there are a lot and I’m one of them right now) really get a “bye”. Those types of accountants don’t have clients that are looking at their finances and wondering if they want this guy doing their taxes. However…if you’re a CPA or other financial expert, in my humble opinion, you better have your finances together – especially if you want to keep your clients.
As far as my situation, I came out of college as a staff accountant at a big company and I didn’t have clients (still don’t). “Personal Finance” is not in the college curriculum for accounting, so I had to teach myself the ways of PF after college. But, I think having knowledge of business and accounting does make PF that much easier for me to understand.
Success in personal finance is more about self-control than it is about knowledge.

What will passing all the CPA exams mean for your career? A promotion, raise, or finding a new job?

I decided to take the CPA Exam for a jazillion reasons (it’s a word, ha):
– I truly love my current FT job. However, my brain has been stagnant at work for several years. I haven’t learned anything new. At first, this was great. My job was on cruise control. But then, I started to get worried. An idle mind is never a good thing. I want to stimulate my brain so I didn’t become, well, an idiot and I wanted to obtain more skills to set me apart from others.
– With an accounting degree, there are many options for you in your career. With a CPA + an accounting degree, the options are truly ENDLESS. I wanted more options in case I needed them.
– Job security.
– To be better than those entry level accountants around me.
– Possible promotions.
– Possibility of being my own boss.
– Personal challenge.
I wanted to get this done before I was married and had kids, too. I am SO happy I am doing this. I am ALREADY seeing doors open for me and I’m only halfway through the tests. I highly recommend getting your CPA right out of college if you’re an accounting major.

Go HERE to ask me anything!

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Don’t forget – I’m still posting weekly over at Money Under 30.  Make sure to check out those posts and consider adding Money Under 30 to your feed reader!  I’ll be posting weekly until it gets close to my next test and will probably take another two weeks off during that time.

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Have a great week, guys!

Finances On Cruise Control

7 Oct

Many of my posts have been more short stories than updates on my finances lately.  Allow me to apologize.  Though, I have a really good reason!

I’m not in debt.  I paid off my last debt (my car) in December 2008.

I spend significantly less than I make every month.

My 401K is rising consistently.  I’m right on track to max out this year.  Is it hard? Yeah!  That’s a huge chunk of change every MONTH that I’m not getting (albeit my taxes are much lower).  Do I want to go blow all that on clothes and dining out every month?  Yes!   But I don’t.  Gotta keep your eyes on the prize…

Another nifty thing I do is caculate my federal & state taxes down to within a couple dollars for the year so my tax returns (or payments) are very small.  I try to keep the amount I will owe or pay to less than $30.  Yes, I’m one of those people that does not believe you shouldn’t give free loans to the government (which is what you’re doing when your tax returns are outrageous).

There you  have it!  I’m not struggling too much with anything.  I’m just at a very peaceful, calm state with my finances.

It feels great. 🙂

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.)

I Gave In To Twitter

5 Jun

It just looks so damn fun. 

Follow me here!

I’ve Got Sidebars!

29 Apr

Check ’em out! ———>

(Thanks to Stacking Pennies on how to get the sidebars on wordpress.com!)

I apologize for my MIA status lately.  I finally moved this weekend so now all I have to focus on it studying for the big test which is officially 2 weeks away!

Also noteworthy is the fact that I’m having an internet connection installed at our new place this weekend! YAY!  Lloyd and I got a fairly good deal for about $79 per month for internet and cable.  I haven’t had internet/cable since I lived with roommates in college (about 4 years ago), so I’m not sure if that’s a good deal or not!  I’m really just happy to be able to surf the web whenever my little heart desires!

Coming soon after my test:

  • New apartment deets and expense comparisons
  • Guest post by LLOYD! 
  • More Kansas City events on the cheap
  • My summer weekend trip
  • Vegas trip!
  • About Carrie post
  • Life financial goals
  • Past financial accomplisments

Stay tuned!

P.S. Is anyone else freaking out about the Swine Flu?  I am super nervous to get on a plane in about a month!