31 December 2014

2014 Highlights

This year was filled with adventures & memories that I will never forget. I would not change it for the world & can only hope to create new once next year :) As I have mentioned before, the reason for my long absence from blogging was due to a very much needed vacation that turned into a two month getaway. I don't regret it one bit & would do it all over again. Most of which, I returned to the happiest place on earth, meeting new friends, revisiting The Bay, going on my first road trip, driving over 100 mph (I know, against the law but come on now haha), living, & being 20 something! I have not seen my best friends for 2-3 years & my sister & her kids for 5 long years so 2014 was exactly what I needed.

Thank you again 2014 for being such an incredible roller coaster ride. I can say, it was one of the best year of my life & I am forever thankful for pulling myself away from my comfort zone. I learned to rely on myself & enjoy the company of being alone. I learned to go beyond what I was used to, be open to new experiences, clear my mind, welcome new obstacle, & that it is okay to make mistakes. I finally realized that life does not wait for anyone & we will never be able to relive the same memories again, so it is perfectly okay to get lost in the moment. You can never love anything or anyone else until you learn to fully love yourself first. 2014, you taught me self-worth above all things & I will cherish you forever. 




26 December 2014

Financial Focus

We're nearing the end of 2014 and I cannot be anymore excited about 2015. I actually have this feeling of treating my life like a book & when it's a new year, I always look at it as a new book, not a chapter, but an entire book. Am I the only one who feels like this? I have learned a lot of personal things in 2014, but not so much about financial matters. So 2015, I am focus a lot of my energy this coming year to getting on the right path financially. You know that American dream? Financial freedom, that's totally on top of my priority list at the moment. Second, working hard to start up my dream job :) Oh, I didn't mention? I dream of starting my own jewelry brand, but we'll talk about that later on in this blog.

Back to it, here are my 2015 goals to achieve. I am going to try to be as realistic as possible, I don't like disappointment.

  1. Pay off #3 debt: $6,000
Seriously, it is within reach to erase one pesky debt. It's so close that I can almost feel it, taste it, & close to doing a happy dance. The goal here is to pay off this debt in 6 months or less.

  1. Pay #4 debt: $2,500
Debt numero cuatro! I know it feels like it is never ending, but we are closer than we were seven years ago.
In less than a year, 1/4th of the total loan has been paid for. Once debt #3 is paid for, the main focus will
all be on #4. The joy of thinking about debts that you accumulate in your 20's huh? Goal for 2015 is to
pay a total of $2,500, which will bring down the last loan to $9,500.

  1. Emergency fund: $2,000
I just found the importance of starting an emergency fund. We found ourselves stuck in a runt a few
years ago when my dog, Patron had to be rushed to the vet because of a threatening boil on his behind.
I wasn't balancing my money, too well & I had to smash every ounce of ideas I had to come up with the
the money.

  1. Raise & maintain credit score: 850
I never knew how important a credit score was until I researched how to get a business loan, a house, &
almost everything else. America likes to base a lot on your financial credibility, right? Haha. But with all
the savings & paying off debts goals, we need to make sure we raise & maintain that score. The way I
see it, a well kept score will help me start a brick-and-mortar business, pre-approve on a home loan, & a
Range Rover one day.

  1. Moving day
If paying off loans wasn't enough of a stress factor, I really want to aim for a new place this coming year.
I think it's time for a change, right? What better way than to up & leave. I just want to feel more brave,
I guess or just adventurous. Probably just wanting a way out. Who knows?

  1. Budgeting
Refer to #1-5, this is how it will make them possible. Learn to budget every month to achieve every single goal that's been set-up. I cannot stress enough how important it is to budget everything from groceries to random expenses.

Who else is making separate 2015 Goals? I'm making about 2-3 just to point it out. There's Financial, Business, & Personal. Everyone's different, so what's yours? Let me know because I always could use some new ideas to add to my long list of goals. You see how I call it goals rather than dreams? It just sounds more realistic to me to just call every single one of my dreams as goals, hmm.



20 December 2014

How I built my credit score

Just to point it out, I never owned any credit cards, any types of loans, or signed up for any bills. I used to pay everything with cash or debit card (by everything, I mean E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G! From groceries to my school tuition that I paid under my parents' name,  long story.) I was always the type of person afraid of the IRS coming after me & pretty much the entire C.I.A. looking for me, haha. Can you call me paranoid? Nah, maybe just being "too safe."

Fast forward, I have come to the conclusion that I want to open up a brick-and-mortar boutique shop within the next 2-3 years. After researching how to save at least $20k, I realized that was not going to happen anytime soon so another option was to get a loan. Thing is the lender will look at your credit score, etc. the entire 9 yards.

So that's basically the story behind the reason why I started focusing on building my credit. This post are for those who has NO CREDIT SCORE whatsoever. I'll lay it out the same way my lazy mind would understand it, step-by-step.

  1.  No credit? No problem. Got a checking & savings account from your bank? Perfect! If not? Sign up for one. 
  2. Ask a bank teller from your bank if they offer secured credit card. If so, ask if you could sign up for one. (Not all banks offer them.)
    • Secured Credit Card: A type of credit card that is backed by a savings account used as collateral on the credit available with the card. Money is deposited and held in the account backing the card.
  3. The credit limit will depend on how much you deposit to your account. But again, it varies ranging from $300-$500. (Refer to the definition above)
  4. Use only half of your limit & pay it off at least 2 weeks prior to due date (apparently a lot of lenders like that haha.)
  5. Repeat step 4 every month & you can start building credit in no time. Please spend & pay wisely.  Always Budget & Manage! 
For extra information such as credit limit & annual free, this is the link I referred to prior to talking with a bank teller : 10 Questions about getting a secured credit card

I slowly began building my credit & within 6 months, I got me 806 :)! It could be different for everyone & it really depends how your lifestyle is like (pst! if you're a total shopper like me, or just a wild spender haha.) The secure credit card I signed up for comes with an iPhone App & Free FICO score. After I figured out how to work the App & finding out about the FICO score (which you will have to wait at least 2 months or your second statement to view it), I decided to apply for a Discover card.

*TIP: Discover card has no annual fee!

As of today, six months since I started building my credit, I finally feel like somewhat of an adult? We'll see how that goes in another six months. :)



12 December 2014

Ca$h in your closet

We all have a closet full of unused or forgotten clothes (some with tags & other's pushed to the back of your closet or drawers.) I am pretty guilty of this, but I also have a problem with shopping for "just because" type of moment. I don't recommend it by the way.

I started using the iPhone app "Threadflip". Here is the overview of some of the things I have recently "flipped" or sold in 2014:

There are a lot of sites much like Threadflip & I have tried them all such as Posh Market, Yardsellr (which is no longer available), & Depop (UK base & harder to sell to U.S. base customers).

If you are looking to clear our your closet, Threadflip would be an awesome selling platform for you to check out. In a year, it is not much, but I was able to rake in $200 from a few of my clothes that were still in great condition.

How it works:

  1. Download app "Threadflip" on iPad or iPhone. You may also post thru their website on your computer. So three possible ways to post! 
  2. Sign up. If you're interested click thru here to sign up: Threadflip make me money
  3. Use the app camera to upload right now.
  4. Set your price & you have to choice to either have Threadflip send you a mailing package, free shipping, or buyer pays shipping. 
  5. Buyers can place an offer & sellers can counter or accept. 
  6. When item is sold, provide tracking number, Threadflip takes 20% cut so be mindful when setting your price that offers free shipping. 
  7. Once buyer receive their product, you get the best email: Cha-ching!
It's not a get rich outlet but hey it helps clear out your closet. It's a bonus getting a few money back to you, right?! The way I look at it, it's a side savings account for me :) Win-win.

Have fun ladies :) Do follow me on my Threadflip if you sign up. 



31 October 2014

I'm still ALIVE!

I can't believe I haven't posted a thing since April. I have an explanation (right? haha). I did mention that I was going for a vacation at the end of April. Yes, it went well except a three weeks planned vacation turned to six weeks. So much happened since then, many doubts & living like most young adults would. There after, I took a quick two weeks vacation to San Diego because I needed to escape again. Stress, stress, stress!!! Now I am starting to get back on track because I finally made REAL goals to reach. I have a dream, too you know. I want to start a jewelry business, but that can be discussed later on. What have you been up to lately?

03 April 2014

Debt Free: March 2014 Breakdown

(Debt # & Outstanding Balance)

Debt #3: $1,100 = $8,973.66
Debt #4: $250  = $11,661.29

March was not the best month financially because well a lot of things were jumbled around. I'll be straight forward & say, it's because we both were shopping & were not really thinking about the prices. Just grabbing, trying on things, & swiping our cards. Idiots. I hope May will be better since April will be a vacation for myself. So we shall see. 

20 February 2014

Debt Free: February 2014 Breakdown

(Debt # & Outstanding Balance)

Debt #2: $1,500 =  PAID OFF!
Debt #3: $1,005 = $9,930.79
Debt #4: $250  = $11,857.73

Another debt has been paid off and the next debt is down by $2k. This month was a good month to see another debt out of the list of four. Two debt down within two months since ringing in the New Year. Although shopping was a little bit over budget again (we'll get to that to a different post.) It was pretty hectic this financially just to make sure we were able to pay off Debt #2 so I was having a hard time trying to balance out the money coming in, going out, and being saved. I am hoping to get rid of Debt #3 as early as August 2014 so we are crossing all fingers & toes. 

How is everyone going with their debt free journey?

05 February 2014

The struggle is real

I made the decision to make part of this blog as a journal, but of course financially. If you have any suggestions or opinions, please feel free to send them my way. 

I have been shopping online like a mad man last month & it took a little chunk of our home budget. I mean life happens & so does sales. Ever since we started this journey to becoming debt free, I was a little more careful about where I shop, what I buy, & what for.

H & M had a huge clearance sales plus an extra 50% all sales item. I was high on all these clothes left & right. After two hours of being glued to the screen, I was able to click "Checkout" with $400 worth of products & only paid $95 (shipping already included). I know that's $100 I could have put elsewhere but I had a good reason (most shoppaholics says this haha). I noticed that I was spending countless money on clothes that looks "nice" only to end up not using them because my tops don't match with my bottoms or that my shoes don't go well with anything. So I took advantage of the huge discount prices & a lot of the plain, neutral colors. So I stocked up on lots of no printed black, white, & nude clothes. You see my good reason there? Yeah I know, I was awesome and in control, haha. Just go with it, okay?

So what are you all struggling with while trying to reach a debt free life?

16 January 2014

Blog Tip Friday: All-purpose coconut oil (organic)

I have always loved the smell & taste of coconut juice. It was like a drug to me, haha. Yes, that addicted to coconut. I went through the phase (still an on-going journey) of trying to find natural remedies. My two favorite things are Dr. Bonner castile soap & organic coconut milk. We all love our beauty regimes because I know I focus so much on mines. Save money & still see results. Here are list of how far my coconut milk jar goes in our household.

Coat & massage in 1-2 tablespoon (depending on the length & thickness of your hair) of coconut oil through my hair & concentrating where it dries up the most. Cover with a plastic bag & leave in for at least 30 minutes. I like to leave mines in 60-90 minutes three times a week, which usually are the days when I wash my hair. Wash out with your shampoo as usual, maybe twice just to get the rest of the oil out. Conditioner is optional, this is my cheap & easy conditioner now a days.

It has been my go-to & inexpensive face moisturizer for the past 12 months. Proceed with your usual face routine but substitute your current moisturizer with organic coconut oil. A little goes a long way and a 1 oz. can last me about 3 months using it twice a day.

Coconut oil also contains SPF 4 so it is perfect to use for hanging around the house. It also works as my eye cream & helps my dark circles (trust me, I sleep late often.)

It is also a natural antibacterial product so it will not cause you to breakout. Yes, it is oil but the molecules are, too big to clog your pores. Like many who switch products, you might experience some breakout for the first few days. But this product has help to keep my acne less red, big, & sore.

I practice oil pulling and have been for the last 6 months. You may search up the benefits of oil pulling. Do it once a day either morning or before bed. Follow with flossing & brushing your teeth. I use a tablespoon each night as my substitute for a mouth wash. I have very sensitive teeth & this method has slowly made my teeth less sensitive & brighter.

It's obvious you use it for cooking. You can replace all your cooking oil (the best with curries) with just this. I even use it to spread on my toast instead of butter.

I purchase all my organic coconut oil from Vitacost website. Sign up for free here & you can receive a $10 off your first purchase.

Did I mention they have a bunch of BOGO Free on their Vitacost brand coconut oil? ENJOY :D

Debt Free: January 2014 Breakdown

(Debt # & Outstanding Balance)

Debt #2: $1,000  =  $1, 500
Debt #3: $900  = $10, 839.31
Debt #4: $250  = $12, 107.73

I just want to flat out say, I did not do very well with the "shopping budget/allowance" I had set up for January :( But I did under spent on other things. Well, lets move away from the personal spendings shall we, haha. We were able to bring down total debts this month once again. I look forward each month to post the drop in our debt total. This month, we were able to keep aside bits of money from last month's incomes so we were able to pay each bill ahead of time so here you go fellow debt free lovers :D

12 January 2014

Blog Tip Friday: Little things that counts

I'm sorry that it is two days, late. I thought I clicked published but it was "Saved" -__-.
Okay before you think this is wedding related let me burst your bubble, IT'S NOT! Haha. I just want to share the little switches you can do to save money or get some free things. I have practiced these tips for awhile now & sometimes I am still trying to make slight adjustments to maximize the benefits. These are all the little changes I have added into my life slowly to help us financially & always considering the  environment in the process.

  1. Unsubscribe to shopping site to avoid the temptation to hurry on over to their sales. 
  2. Adapt a minimalist wardrobe (if not possible), take a trip to the thrift stores. 
  3. Donate at least once a year for your tax season. 
  4. Castile soap as an all-purpose at home product (will post a separate one on this)
  5. Buy quality beauty products
  6. Buy a water pitcher
  7. Love magazines? Google free magazine subscriptions & you can sign up to as much as you'd like & in many different categories. 
  8. Learn to DIY 
  9. Youtube your workout 
  10. Learn to love running 
  11. Eat clean 
  12. Make Google your friend. Search free movies online rather than netflix or movie theaters. 
  13. Create a budget planner
  14. Shop with cash, once it is gone, it's gone. 
  15. Limit credit card use to bills, once paid, tuck it away. 
  16. Cut your hair at home (Thank you Youtube. Im not a hairstylist for the past three years to myself)
  17. Got indoor dogs? Using pee pads? Purchase reusable medical pads from eBay. 
  18. Make home cooked dog food (will post recipes)
  19. Empty out your wallet everyday & dump out coins into a coin jar. Don't exchange to coinstar as they take out $0.11 each $1.00. Roll them up & deposit it to your bank instead. No shame in rolled coins people!
  20. Coffee drinker? Buy a reusable cup (preferably a starbuck look alike, it helps!), a small 4 cups coffee maker, & buy your coffee of choice. That saves you $10 a day, if you're an avid drinker like me.
  21. Bring home lunch to work. 
  22. Don't buy Christmas gifts on Black Friday (that's an excuse to buy too much), slowly buy gives throughout the year. Start buying non-clothing & non-food related gifts. Or consider DIY. 
  23. Buy necessary daily things in bulk such as cleaning products, rice, shampoo, etc.

03 January 2014

Blog Tip Friday: Credit Card Devils

Raise your hand if you have ever been eaten alive (almost swallowed) by credit cards? My boyfriend has been eaten, chewed on, and spat back out by credit cards & I have taken it upon myself to learn from it. I made the decision to NOT apply for any credit cards until I finish college & pay off my tuition. I was fortunate enough to be able to pay my tuition off as soon as each one comes since I decided to take the gruesome option to pay by cash. This means that I was paying my tuition every two months before my next classes started. It was hard but well worth it now.

Now that I am done with school, I can start focusing on making the decision to start building my own credit, which if you refer to my previous "Life" post you will know I added it to my 2014 Goals.

So why is everyone so afraid of credit cards? I mean it is money that you can spend without having to work hard for it, right? WRONG! It gives you a certain amount that you are able to spend but when that bill comes the next month, BAM everyone struggles. The thing is, credit cards allows you to easily spend money you do not have. I like to call it "culprit that allows you to live beyond your means."

I have taken a few tips from my boyfriend as well as my mother (she's very frugal.)

  1. Don't apply for mail-offered credit cards. 
  2. Never go for Capital One. It says "No Fees" but they do have hidden fees up to $42 a month (for not spending anything.)
  3. Spend only half or less of your credit card limit.
  4. Spend only what you can pay back monthly without being behind your other bills.
  5. Use it wisely. Choose a small monthly bill that you can repay easily such as a phone bill.
  6. Or use it to pay a small debt (at the most $1,000) monthly. 
  7. Once you pay off your credit card debt, cancel your card, & cut it. 
  8. Trying to bump up your credit? Continue with Tip #5 or #6. 
  9. Do not look at a credit card as free money for your "wants", but rather as for your "needs." Needs that you can pay back. 
It does not have to be a hassle dealing with a credit card, you just need to use it wisely & look at it as an emergency purpose or as an extra boost on a monthly bill. It is easy to get carried away with credit cards so the best way to avoid that is to avoid "living beyond your means."

After we paid off our credit card debt, we have paid off the full balance of $500, called the company the same day, & cancelled it. We also felt relieved when I cut the plastic demon up that same day. I went to bed fully satisfied knowing that it is one less thing that's eating up money. We are planning to apply for our own credit cards through his bank after we open a joint account (to use as our joint account (savings), but we'll still have our own personal savings) & use it just to pay for our phone bill & groceries. We are still debating on wether we want credit cards now or if we should pay off at least one more debt before doing so. I am sure we will keep you updated :)

In the meantime, if you are planning to apply for a credit card, please do your research & evaluate your lifestyle and your needs versus wants. 
Holidays are finally over!

I love the holidays especially Christmas, I mean who doesn't right? I just finished my monthly add-ups in our budget planner & now we have extra $500 to spend on the debts. I am guilty after totaling up all the shopping spending from the Black Friday, Cyber Monday, & Boxing Day sales, oh boy who knew I racked up $500 on all of it. So now that I look at it, we have an extra $1,000 to spend. This is exactly what I meant about trial & errors, most of the errors coming from me haha.

Remember that in the journey of going debt-free, you will encounter many mistakes & regrets along the way but don't beat your self up, just tell yourself that you will do better next time & get a tighter grip on "self control" or you can just stay away from websites that offers sale and/or unsubscribe to sites that reminds you about their sales. Being young & seeing all these clothes go on sale makes you go crazy! This gave me the idea to start a yearly goal rather than New Year, New Me resolutions that I know will eventually be broken. This year, I am using my bucket list as a reference for what I want to accomplish. I have handpicked a few GOALS that I would like to try this year (majority of the goals are to benefit us financially & emotionally.)

  1. Get my driver's license
  2. Pay off Debt #2 
  3. Pay off Debt #3
  4. Apply for my first credit card
  5. Become a minimalist 
  6. Be happy :)
  7. Stay Strong!
  8. Make $500 in clothes sale (ThreadFlip App)
  9. Start making jewelry sales
  10. Start being extra frugal 
GOAL: Complete at least 4 things. (By aiming to complete a minimum number, you are more likely to feel less stress & to actually feel accomplished without feeling down.) Try this method out! 

I plan to add a new category to my blog called "Tips". It is pretty much weekly tips on what you can do to save money, where to go, how to do it, etc. The whole What, When, Where, Why, & How shabang. I will do a weekly post on it, monthly post on "Debt Free", & maybe a slight tour of my journey to becoming a "Minimalist" :D. 

What are you all looking forward to accomplish this year? It's a new 365 pages book so make each day count.