Thursday, October 27, 2011

the price of beauty

I took a look at the average beauty routine that most women have and noted some of the expenses that comes with "looking good".  There are 2 categories I consider: basic is what you can get a drug stores or low end salons, premium is boutiques, dept. stores, or nicer salons.

Here are the basics that everyone will need, and let's say you replace these once every 2 months:
Soap/shower gel - $2-4 basic, $10-25 premium
shampoo - $2-6 basic,  $10-25 premium
conditioner - $2-6 basic,, $10-25 premium
face lotion - $4-20 basic,,  $15-50 premium
body lotion - $4-10 basic,, $15-30 premium
shaving needs - $5-10 basic, $20-30 premium

Total per year - $114- 336 basic, $480- 1110 premium

Here are some of the extra, but some might say necessary, and you get these once every 3 months, except for waxing:
face make up - $4-10 basic, $10-25 premium
eye make up - $4-10 basic,  $10-25 premium
lipstick/gloss - $4-10 basic,  $10-25 premium
hair styling products- $3-10 basic, $10-25 premium
hair dye/ treatments - $4-20 basic at home, $50 -150 premium/salon service
hair cuts $20-75
nail products/service - $4-10 basic, $15-50 premium
waxing $10-50, monthly

Total per year - $292- 480 basic, $1320- 2300 premium

So the cost of beauty can range from $300 a year if you are getting 2 hair cuts and not wearing a lot of make up, to close to $3000+ a year for premium brands and services.  From what I have read over at, the ingredients in the premium products are much like the basic stuff.  So I get the basic stuff that works for me an forget the rest.

Shelling out 3k+ seems like a a lot of money every year for looking.  Is it worth the price?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

my strategies at the grocers

There are some many ways to spend or save at the grocers.  Not all of them work for everyone.  Here is a few ways that do and do not work for me.

1) plan out what I want to eat for a week, because things change during the week, and if I have to buy stuff for just one meal it gets more expensive that way
2)only look at on sale items.  sometimes they are not cheaper than store brand that is not on sale.  If the store brand is the same or better.
3)clip coupon for things you don't normally eat.  just because there is a coupon doesn't mean you have to buy it.
4) stock up on prepackaged foods, we have a few on hand, but too many will run up the cost and take up room in the freezer

1) look at what is on sale before I think about a few possible meals for the week
2) stock up on things that can be frozen, or have a longer shelf life, like pasta sauce.  They are handy for when you are in a hurry.  We like to get a pack of salmon and freeze individual portions for later.  Also bags of cut corn when they are on sale, a good quick side veggie.
3) eat with the seasons, the fresh produce are cheaper when they are in season
4) run to different stores for sales, but only if they are near each other.
5) ask for rain checks of they are out of the sale items.
6) eat simple meals, they are easier to cook and better for you

Thursday, October 13, 2011


A while ago I mention that I was going to refinance my home.  We had a 4.675%  fixed for 30 yrs.  Good rate.  A month ago the rates dropped again and we decided to refi.  Why?  Because it was a no cost refi, meaning we don't pay a dime.  So now our rate is 4.125% fixed for 30yrs.  It's only a .5% drop, but it's still worth it.  $100 a month in the bank is better than 0.

Now we are looking to refinance our investment property.  We get some money back from loans we loaned out, so we paid down the investment until it was 70% of the assessment.  Now we can look at lowering the 6.5% to maybe under 4.5%.  Hopefully, we'll have a net 0 from that property instead of negative cash flow.  In time, it'll be positive, but for now net 0 is good.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

confession time

OK I have to make a confession.  I posted previously about the cost of having extra things.  I just bought one of those: a smartphone.  Yes I have succumb to the temptation after holding out for so long. 

I have wanted a smartphone for a long time.  The reasons that stop me from getting one so far  has been
1- my previous job did not allow me to have my phone with me during work hours
2- the cost of the phones and plans were pretty expensive
3- the phones were lacking some of the  features that I would want to pay for - front facing camera for video chat, good picture taking response time, solidly develop apps were few.

However, in the recent few months, the technology seemed to have caught up what I have imagined in a personal communication device and plans are starting to come down a little in price.  I had wanted to get the next gen iPhone.  However, seeing that it's not 4G, I opted for the Galaxy S2 4G instead.  I know that the technology is still new, but that's where the networks are headed.  I don't always get the latest and the greatest, but in this case, I want my phone to be able to last me a good while before I upgrade.  It's all about stretching the few bucks that I do spend.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October Check up

There is huge gain this month, again.  I had "loaned" some money to family and now some of the money is being returned.  Yay for returns!

Here we go:

Liabilities: $719,804
loan from mom - $20,000 (nothing has changed, I know I really should pay that off  and soon)
House Mortgage - $335,732 (mortgage has not come out of account as of yet)
Rental #1 Mortgage - $138,328
Rental #2 Mortgage - $225,744 (mortgage has not come out of account as of yet)

Assets: $1,245,100
Liquid assets - $36,500
House value - $590,000
Rental 1 value - $250,000
Rental 2 value - $315,000
Investment - $53,600

Net worth: $525296 +5.77%

Monday, October 3, 2011

5 important HR things when you start your career

I am so happy and excited for my sister.  She's starting her first teaching job next Monday.  It's been a nervous summer beginning of school year.  Now, she's got a job and all the benefits to go with it.  She asked me to sit with her to go over hrr benefits(actually, I asked to sit with her first when I hear she got an offer). 

Here are a few HR things that I think are very important when you start your first job:
  1. health insurance - this includes all the prescription drugs, vision, dental, and medical health insurance that are provided.  Get at least the basic ones.  It's a no brainer, I just had to explain the difference between HMO and POS  Al of that only cost her about $700 a year.
  2. retirement plan - for this, she is offer 2 employer sponsered.  I asked her to put close to the max for each(15k each, max is 16.5k each).  I know she only makes a small amount right now($46k), but since she live at home and has no loans to pay off (good girl, sort of, because my 'rents paid for her school).  I also told her this is only for the first year, and she can change that any time she wants.  Also, I wanted her to not have too much money on hand all of a sudden so she'll learn to manage her money and think about what she wants to do with it. (I wish I had $30k to put away).
  3. life insurance - she as a little confuse about life insurnace.  Since my parents had bought a policy for her, she wanted to know if she can still get one.  Even though, she doesn't have a lot of asset or debt to cover, the basic is soooooooo cheap, that I made her get it.  CHEAP meaning it is $0.02 per thousand of her income per paycheck and the paid out is 2x her income.
  4. budgetting - so I went over with her how much money she can put away for retirement by looking at her spending:  I asked her what she spend her money on and so far it's only food and cell phone bill and she paid off her credit card bill every month which is around $250.  Let's double that which comes to $500 x12 months = $6k(this is mostly just spending money).  She wants to get new clothes for work, and she thinks it's $1000 (either that's some expensive stuff, or it's a lot of stuff, but ok whatevs).  Also, she wants to help my parents out by giving them $300 every month (good, since she lives with them).  So her expected expenses are $6k + $1k + $3.6k = $10300, plus the benefits she pays for $11000.  I said if she put $30k of her salary($46k) in the retirement accounts, she'll be paying taxes on $16k.  Her taxes will be $3110 (15% fed, $90 + 4.75% of anything over $3000).  So she'll have $12890 left, minus her expected expenses, she'll have $1890.  Which I suggested a Roth IRA, but we'll discuss that later.
  5. spending tracking - I asked her to make a speardsheet on her spendings to see what she spend her money on.  I didn't ask her to do much of trimming or budgetting because she has an good idea what she want to buy.  However, I wanted her to see for herself of her spending is good or not.
Things we have not dicussed yet but will discuss in the future: emgerency fund(I know she should have one ASAP, but since she lives with my 'rents I can delay this a little tiny bit, plus I built in a padding into her spending money), Roth IRA, investments - both real estate and stocks, and the bank of little sister (just kdding), and large item money, i.e. vacations, computer, car.

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