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2018 Planning

November 1st, 2017 at 08:57 am

I've been crazily busy. The pay for the side gig is pitiful, but I'm learning a whole lot and I can use down time during regular work day to work on it with full support of the boss, so it's like I'm getting a bonus for a bit more work load.

Anyway, I don't keep track of monthly finance anymore, only an annual estimate of my expenses. So here's an estimate for 2018, with zero bonus and a 2% raise.

Ask and ye shall get

July 31st, 2017 at 08:07 pm

Or in my case, do nothing...? Today, I managed to land a side gig in the oddest situation, have my boss offered it to me.

Turned out owner's daughter is starting a business and since daddy already has a fully staffed business with all the necessary departments, she thought to make use of it. There are just a few problems. First, we follow a different set of rules where all expenses are heavily scrutinized regardless of how immaterial they are. So no help there.

Second, after consulting with our VP and a couple of managers she threw up her hands and do not want to talk to them any longer because the subject just went right over her head.

The owner ended up recommending me to set up her books for her, on the side, with pay, and left it up to the VP to persuade me to do it by pushing the idea of how it would be a great jump start to having my own business someday.

So yeah, a very, very odd day.

A 401k adventure

July 24th, 2017 at 03:29 pm

For the financial voyeurs out there Stick Out Tongue I was comparing year to year returns and thought this looks interesting.

2012 - Salary was 34k at the time and contribution was about 10%. I bought my house around July, so it was a stretch to save this much. For all that effort, the return was pathetic.

2013 - Getting a little better

2014 - Ouch

2015 - OMG WTF.....

2016 - Recovery, whewww!

2017 - So far so good

And that's that. Nothing really exciting, but the final numbers are nice to look at.

Long break

July 23rd, 2017 at 12:56 pm

It'd been a while. I'm surprise there are still page views on here Smile

Let see, a bit of update on finance. Still hanging on at my job. Since the last job scare, I was promoted to a senior position, lol, with an increase in salary to 54k and flex work hours. I've moved from the lowest paid to the second lowest paid, while being among the most valuable. Ah well, good thing money isn't everything to me.

The downturn is real and if there is no turnaround in the next 6 months to a year, there will definitely be cuts in my department. I'm in a pretty good position, staying or going, so this doesn't really faze me.

Networth is a bit higher expected due to skyhigh stock market and real estate appreciation.

Home equity - 115
Investments - 170

Not bad at 35, no? I did have to move my retirement marker from 46 with 600k and a paid off home, to 50 with anywhere from 600k to 1M and a paid off home.

Also managed to increase my 401k contribution to 30%. Add in the bonus I got a couple months ago, I should be able to max my 401k this year. Yay!

June Review

July 27th, 2015 at 05:47 pm

Gah! This pic is awful.

1. Cut 401k contribution from the second half of the month. If everything goes well, I could always fund the Traditional IRA next year.

2. ISP didn't charge until next month

Data Leak & Gone Mobile

July 27th, 2015 at 06:31 am

I had to close a number of CC recently due to fraudulent charges. I still haven't been able to pinpoint the source of the data leak and luckily, they were caught the moment they occurred. But this is worrisome enough that I went and close off some of the unused CC lying around. This also meant that my plan to transfer my balance to the Slate card was scrapped.

On the technology front, I finally decided to be one of those late adopter and got myself a tablet. My dad has been nagging at me for months to upgrade my laptop, so he could give my old one to a poor relative, and I finally had enough and gave in. One of the reasons that prevented me from getting a tablet before was the productivity factor. But with a robust app market, why I don't go with Amazon or Microsoft, a tablet is a lot more convenient than a laptop. The only down side so far is the software that I used to keep track of my income/expense. In the app market, it didn't have the features I wanted.

Edit: I need to write more often. My english is deteriorating at an alarming rate.

May Review

June 13th, 2015 at 09:11 am

This has been an ugly month with lots of expenses and problems.


I'm still eating one meal a day and while that has resulted in less inflammation, better skin, steady energy and weight loss, it has also increased my clothes expenditure. Most of my clothes are now too baggy to wear. Also, WO wash is not only time and labor intensive, it's also expensive.


First, my car got rear ended and after I generously let the other party go, they turned around and file against me. Then the battery died on me. On top of this, I couldn't even take public transportation due to the various appointments, many of which were canceled, to resolve the issue. Also, I couldn't believe that the police would go to the commuter parking lots to inspect cars and issue tickets.

Trickier than expected

June 11th, 2015 at 02:06 pm

So this networking thing is a lot trickier than I expected. In order to not burn some very important bridges as well as secure good references, I'm going to have to stay put until the axe falls. So for now, I'm focusing on more volunteer work, sprucing up my resume and possibly getting a second part time job.

April Review

May 3rd, 2015 at 11:12 am

Found out that FSA transit is not a use it or lose it type and it'll continue to rollover until termination. That means I have an extra $650 for public transportation that I thought was lost from a couple years ago. I'm going to try and see if I could skip refilling gas this month.


April 26th, 2015 at 09:54 am

I overhead HR talking the other day and while no name was mentioned, there was plenty of work description as well as she's untouchable thrown in. The work description happened to match what I'm doing. Business has been going down and it doesn't look like it'll improve so I've been thinking about looking around. This is certainly an incentive. Btw, I'm supposed to be the most vulnerable being a Junior with only 3 years of experience. However, I've made myself indispensable by not only doing the work of the Senior, but also exceeded the work of my Supervisor as well as taking over crucial areas of other departments. Still, if the cuts are coming, it's bound to happen sooner or later.

Full bloom

April 13th, 2015 at 07:18 pm

Went flower viewing.

It was an extremely long walk.

March Recap

April 10th, 2015 at 04:31 am

New recurring expense category, but I can't call it an expense.

Fell into OMAD

March 10th, 2015 at 08:27 pm

I recently attempted a 3 days fast in order to reset my immune system. Sadly, my stomach protested a bit too loudly and I ended up giving in to it by the end of the day. This process repeated several more times, so I decided to shelve the fast for the moment. The one meal a day schedule I've inadvertently been on felt wonderful though, and saved me a ton of time. I think I'll continue this for now and see where it goes.

Was it always this gross?

March 2nd, 2015 at 08:17 pm

Picked up some KFC chicken today because I was hungry, lazy, ran out of food, etc... and now I'm consider dumping the entire bucket. I don't ever remember it tasted this bad. Granted, it has been more than a decade since I last ate anything other than hot wings from there, but still. Bleh! I don't think it's a matter of my palate being used to whole food. Junk food used to taste good after a long stretch of home cooked meals. I don't think a lot of the junk food now a day could even be called food anymore. It certainly doesn't taste like it.

February Review

February 28th, 2015 at 12:28 pm

My ISP didn't charge this month. Strange.

Recently discovered Cinderella of Boston. While the quality is meh, I'm still ecstatic at finally finding shoes that fit.

A couple of firsts

February 21st, 2015 at 02:10 pm

First Milestone

Solidly in the six digits

First Fraudulent Charge

When I applied for cash back CCs a few months ago, one arrived with flimsy packaging that has a large tear. I thought it was just the USPS mishandling it, but kept a lookout just the same and there it was. You may want to keep an eye out for charges from Spotify, especially if you don't use their service.


February 10th, 2015 at 06:47 pm

No matter how much we prepared for it, it will always be painful to say goodbye. This last month has showed me that regardless of our station in life or how much we have, we are all in the same position at the end. In fact, having money may prolong the suffering due to attempts at keeping the body alive. I hope when it's my time, I will go quickly and painlessly.

No IRA for me

February 4th, 2015 at 07:44 pm

Theoretically I have several options this year for filing taxes, either fully fund a traditional IRA and get back around $1,700, fund half and get back around $750, or do nothing and get back around $100. However, realistically I only have one; the one that keep the most cash on hand. Last year last minute contribution to 2013 Roth IRA seriously depleted my cash reserve. Plus the 3k I'm currently floating on CC with 0% interest means the cash situation is a bit risky. So yeah, bummer.

On another note, I can't believe I wasted half a night of precious sleep to read up on the petty back and forth between Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.

January Review

January 31st, 2015 at 10:06 pm

First month of the year and I'm already in the red.

On the positive side:
1. Last year vacation payout
2. 11.61% raise

On the negative side:
1. Increased 401k contribution by 5%
2. Prepaid HOA for entire year
3. Charity and gift

Rare Species

January 11th, 2015 at 07:28 pm

I finally got around to take a personality test and found out that I belong to the rarest of the rare group, female INTJ. I went to look it up at this site


and had a bit of a laugh at the end. My first reaction was that it was spooky how accurate it was, only to see this "wow, this is so accurate it's a little creepy" on the conclusion page. Haha. I can see why my mom often told other relatives that I'm naturally "unintentional callous."

I actually only edge out INFJ by 1% on the T, but while the woo-woo, touchy, feeling portion came pretty close, the part about reaching out and connect with others is way off.

As I grow older, I feel like I have more compassion for fellow human being, but as a whole and not individually. On day, I hope to be able to care for every single person in this world at the same level I care for my parent. In the mean time though, I'm highly critical of whininess, especially when it came from people who are already so blessed compare to millions and millions who are suffering.

First snow of the season

January 6th, 2015 at 06:46 am

Went out, spent over 30 minutes navigating around 2 stuck school buses, slid right through an intersection, went back in.

It's only 1-2 inches of snow, but on untreated and unprepared roads, this happened.

2014 - Year End Numbers

January 5th, 2015 at 06:37 pm

It's only 11 months since I lost all the old data.

This is a lot less than I expected.

Hair and teeth. The high cost of vanity.

As expected

Cash in only. Next year will probably be more, but the aim is to reduce this number.

Much less than I expected, due to numerous free activities and a whole lot of laziness. Most of the lottery money was due to not reading the instruction on the machine, which stated "No change." Will aim to increase this a lot next year, especially for outdoor activities.

Now I remember why December felt a bit lacking. Forgot about the charities.

Less than expected, but then I'm still experimenting with various silhouettes and only managed to buy 2 good piece of clothing.

The last contribution to ROTH.

Could definitely do without the ticket.

Electricity and water are higher than expected. Then again, I wasn't setting the temp at 72 year round before.

If I take out the optional saving, it's not bad.

December Recap

December 30th, 2014 at 06:47 pm

A surprisingly spartan month. I had to double check to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Also asked payroll to put 100% of any bonuses I might receive toward my 401k. So despite receiving a bigger bonus than last year, I didn't get to see a dime of it.

Technological age

December 22nd, 2014 at 01:54 am

It has been a blast living in this rapidly evolving time and seeing so many disruptive technologies come and go. But even then I still didn't think we would progress this fast. Last time I heard, we were depleting minerals needed to manufacture chips and also starting to reach the limit of how small we could reduce those chips. So it is very exciting to see these new developments:



Transparent car

The beginning of portable hologram (imaging all the ads)


There was also the recent successful Orion launch. Now all we need is molecular transfer and we can turn Star Trek into reality.

Lifestyle Changes

December 11th, 2014 at 03:47 pm

Converted my desk to a standing desk
I’ve been doing this for a while now and what a difference it has made. At the end of the day, I don’t feel mental and physical fatigue any longer. Plus, after dropping 5lbs, I indulged and ate a ton of ice cream during the summer; yet the weight didn’t come back. Still keep my chair for those lazy days.

Gone Veggie
Not quite 100% yet. I recently discovered that adding an extremely full bodied, hearty veggie both as well as incorporating food such as seaweed, soybean paste, coconut water, etc… to veggie dishes make them so delightfully satisfying. Swapping out sugar for coconut water significantly increased the deliciousness. Even when I only ate to 80% full, my body didn’t give me that nagging feeling as if it lacked some nutrients. If this keeps up, I might be able to say good bye to the carnivorous me one day.

Started WO wash
I was prepared for the worst when I started this, but weirdly, people reactions were better than when I used shampoo and conditioner daily. Who would have thought? Still in the transition period though.

Incorporated a 2 miles walk into my daily commute
I’m not a fan of exercising for the sake of exercising. Scenic hikes are ok. Functional fitness is ok. Setting aside time to sweat ……eh……no. So knowing myself, I often try to make my daily activities more physically demanding. Finally managed to convince my boss to shift my work hours so that I could take public transit, which comes with a 1 mile walk, without much increase to commute time. I'm excited.

Going to try oil pulling next.

November Review

December 3rd, 2014 at 08:09 pm

Red, red month.

Cashing out rewards

November 24th, 2014 at 09:48 pm

Discover email about cashing out reward at any amount came at a most opportune time. It reminded me that most CCs have some sort of program with Amazon that allows for purchases with reward points. So in preparation for closing down several cards, that had a few points here and there, I linked them all to Amazon and bought gift cards for the same amount as the rewards. Managed to clear out $16.54 that I would have lost had I closed them as planned.

Citi sucked as usual with an exchange rate of 125 pts for $1.00. So instead of converting an existing card to the double cash back card, I've decided to wait for a sign up bonus to apply. In the mean time, I planned to make use of the quicksilver 0% APR until August 2015. This would actually be a better deal than paying up front and getting 2%.

My third card also came in, no credit score though. The card itself certainly felt more luxurious than the other two, however, it came in a flimsy envelope with the card numbers printed on the front page, right above the delivery address. Any one could simply tilt the envelope and look though the address window to see it. My envelope was torn...I wonder if any post office employee thought there might be stacks of bills in there.

Still Execellent

November 13th, 2014 at 07:27 pm

Two of the cards I applied for came in recently along with my credit scores. They used different type of scores but to see a difference of 86 points as well as a drop from the top to the third group was quite shocking. Especially as they came from the same source.

The card with the lower score offered free credit tracking so I decided to take advantage of it. It pulled data from another source and showed a higher number, right in between the 2 I received and still in the excellent zone.

I'm interested in what score the third card will show.

Mitigation of damages

November 6th, 2014 at 11:29 am

Tring to make use of credit card sign on bonuses to help out with the dental bill, but it’s slim picking out there. Hopefully more deals would show up closer to Black Friday. For now though, I’m limited to Discover, possibly converting a Citi card to Citi Double Cash, and maybe two bank bonuses. I’m not particularly thrill about the Citi card given their reward reduction in recent years, annoying separation between card and reward accounts, and worst no one has reported receiving the second percent on the Double Cash. Maybe I should just close all my Citi cards as initially planned and go for the Quick Silver. Decision, decision…

October Review

November 2nd, 2014 at 07:04 am

Too many costly mistakes this month.

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