Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Relaxing Weekend…

I had a really relaxing weekend. I returned half of the clothes that I bought and my mom will return the other half this week for me. That’s a relief to have that off of me. I bought a really inexpensive patio set this weekend and a grill so I can cook more at home. My Dad came over and helped me with everything. Thank goodness for wonderful parents.

The financial month is over and I have a few trailing issues to resolve. Then I will be posting the results. Since the payout on my CC will not happen until the middle of the month, my May recap won’t look as bad as June which will reflect the payoff of my CC in full. I will have another dip in my net worth because of the payment for my summer class. Overall, it won’t be too bad but June should be a lot better in terms of spending than May.

Friday, May 26, 2006

4 Day Weekend...

I am so excited to have a 4 day weekend. What am I going to do? I am going to take back over $1k in clothes (will explain later), purchase running shoes, and get my butt out on the track. Therefore I can fit the clothes I already have and not need an entire new wardrobe. LOL.

One thing about working full-time and attending class 4 nights a week is the lack of time. Consequently, my health has taken a beating and I have gained about 10 lbs, if not 15 lbs. I refuse to get on the scale. =) Do I need new clothes? Sure. But I could also be just fine by losing the 10 lbs I gained so I can fit into all of my clothes comfortably again. Plus, I really don’t want to spend any large amounts of money on anything until I get my CC paid off from refinancing my HELOC.

I have to do better with my finances and my health. So I am going to kick start a workout program this weekend since I only have summer classes twice a week and more time. I am also going to get back to cooking which will help my finances considerably. I am at $1,100 this month for eating out and groceries all because I chucked cooking and ate out almost every day and on the weekend. Sooo bad and I have nothing to show for it at all. Bummer.

So that is my plan for the weekend. My boyfriend is on a plane to Miami in about an hour and I wish he could have fit me into his suitcase. LOL. Luckily it will be a nice weekend here in Chicago.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Got a Call Back…

Boy do they work fast. I got a call back from Human Resources yesterday to ask me questions about my job application. The call was for the Junior position but that’s okay. The unfortunate part was that the woman asked me for my current salary. Darn. It is not like they don’t already have access to the information since it is my employer. (Sigh!) So I paused and then told her $54k.

I sort of knew that the Senior position was a long shot but it is still attainable especially once I have experience and I complete my degree. In reality I was hoping for somewhere between the midpoint and the maximum salary for the job grade, with the midpoint at $67k and the maximum at $86k. $75k would be lovely for the transition and would afford me sufficient income in the interim to pay down debt, prepare for the arrival of my student loan payments, and try to obtain a higher paying job.

My fingers are still crossed. The woman said she was going to forward my information and application to the hiring manager. That’s good news. I should hear something in the next week.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Link Love…

I added a few blogs to my blog list. I visit them all the time but haven’t updated my blog list in a while. Check them out if you get a chance!!!

  • 2 Million

  • CalGirl Finance

  • College Graduate

  • Consumerism Commentary

  • Debt $ense

  • It’s Just Money

  • Seattle Simplicity
  • Applied for New Job…

    I bit the bullet yesterday and applied for two new jobs with my current employer. The new positions will allow me to gain additional transferable skills in the area of law. I applied for a junior position and a senior position but I am hoping to get the senior position to challenge myself as much as possible. In terms of qualifications, I am in between what they are requesting. Both jobs are a higher job grade (which means more money) but the junior position prefers a bachelor degree and the senior position prefers a law degree. I have my bachelor degree in economics from a Great school and I am one year away from my law degree so I hope they consider me for the senior position.

    I am hoping to get an interview and an opportunity to transfer within the company. This would avoid the need to leave my employer to gain legal experience. Since I want to practice law, I will leave my current job if I have to and seek out clerking opportunities.

    Wish me luck!!!

    Monday, May 22, 2006

    I’m Done...

    My 3rd year of law school is over and summer school starts tomorrow. It’s full stream ahead from here and I am so excited. I think my finals went well but no matter what, I know I worked my butt off and tried my best.

    I looked at my CC balances on Sunday night and got the shock of my life. J Crew really got me and I will be returning a few items before my CC closing date so I can pay the balance in full. No excuses…Paid in Full!

    I really want to go somewhere this weekend but I know that’s not going to happen. The beach has been calling my name but I guess I will have to settle for Lake Michigan. =) I might go out this weekend with my parents to the discount stores to look for some patio furniture. I love sitting outside in the summer and reading. It’s relaxing and I live in a really quiet subdivision. My hope is to one day own a home with a deck so I can sit out and perhaps entertain.

    My BF is heading down to Miami this weekend with the guys so I will be trying to entertain myself. Not sure what I will do for the long weekend but I know relaxing is somewhere on the list as well as returning clothes. LOL.

    Thursday, May 18, 2006


    I’ve been internet shopping. JCrew’s website has been my nemesis this week. I know that buyer’s remorse is sure to kick in and I will be returning quite a few items with the exception of one suit. That I need. Such weakness! (Sigh)

    Thank Goodness...

    This time tomorrow I will be done, done, done!!!

    I just broke the bank and bought tickets to see Alvin Ailey on Sunday. It is my treat for finishing my 3rd year of school. I am so excited!!!

    Tuesday, May 16, 2006

    MBNA Reversed the Balance Transfer Fee…

    I can’t believe it. I looked up my account today and low and behold, my balance transfer fee was reversed!!! I didn’t even call back to speak with another account representative. =)

    Even though I vowed not to let one rude customer service representative tarnish the business relationship I have with MBNA, it is nice to know that they are on top of their game.

    This was a very nice way to begin my morning. BTW…3 Final exams down and just 1 more to go!

    Monday, May 15, 2006

    I'm Alive...Barely

    I am still here...taking law school finals right now that are kicking my butt! I am so tired that I am wired...does that make sense? Sorry I haven’t posted but in a nutshell...Charge, Charge, Charge! All will be repaid at the end of the month but darn not having the time to truly see the damage. =(

    It is about 3:30 in the morning right now and I have my 3rd exam in less than 15 hours. I better get some sleep. Next Friday is my last exam and then I’m finished with my 3rd year of law school. Just one more year to go...Yippee!!!

    Tuesday, May 09, 2006

    Transfer Fee and Poor Customer Service…

    I looked up my CC account this morning and what do you know…a $75 balance transfer fee appears after I was told that it would be WAIVED! So I promptly called my CC company and was placed on hold for a good 5 minutes only to get the most RUDE customer service representative.

    I told the woman that I initiated a balance transfer last week and was told by the account representative that the fee would be waived. She tells me that it wasn’t noted on my account and that I would be responsible for the fee. I told her NO I am not because I was told that the fee would be waived if I transferred the balance that day. Not only did I do this but I had the woman repeat it like 5 times that there would be no fee.

    So once again the woman today tells me that I am responsible for the fee and once again I tell her NO I AM NOT. Then I ask her to let me speak to her supervisor and she promptly tells me…Thank you for calling “cc company and have a great day” without transferring me to a supervisor and then hanging up on me.

    Okay I am at work so I need to take a DEEP BREATH and call the CC company back tonight when 1) I get home, 2) after I’ve calmed down and 3) so no other person can hear how annoyed I am right now.

    Monday, May 08, 2006

    Balance Transfer and Applying for New Job...

    My CC company deposited the money into my account so I will pay off my HELOC on Monday. Yipee!!! I have tuition reimbursement checks coming in the next few months that will help me significantly pay down the CC balance.

    I think that I made up my mind to apply for an open position at my current place of employment. The position could increase my income since the job grade is higher. It will also allow be to use my legal skills and give me the opportunity to develop additional transferable skills for when I try to secure a law job for next year. I know it would be the right move but is kind of scary at the same time. I’ve been an analyst since I graduated from undergrad and I’m comfortable...too comfortable. So I am going to take the plunge and see if I can get the position. If I don’t, I might have to consider leaving so that I can get some legal experience before I graduate.

    Saturday, May 06, 2006

    High Stress = High Spending...

    For some reason I spend a lot more money during times of high stress.

    Right now I am studying for law school finals (First exam is on Wednesday), revising my resume, preparing to apply for a new job, and doing prep work for an August job fair where all info must be submitted by next Friday.

    So what does that mean? A lot of eating out on the fly, no cooking, lots of coffee, and Chitowngirl seriously over budget. I already spent my personal, irregular, and grocery budget for the month and it is on the 6th. I am sooooo in trouble. Thank goodness for savings. =)

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    Initiated CC Balance Transfer to Pay Off HELOC…

    I decided to go ahead with the balance transfer. I called all of my credit card companies to see what offers were available and saved my favorite and most trusty card for the last call. They came through for me again. I got an offer for 1.9% until February 2007 and I got the transfer fee waived. Yipee!!!

    So the current balance of my HELOC at 10.25% will be paid off from the transfer and savings and then I will attack the new balance on the credit card. This should leave me with just over $3,000 in savings, which will be just fine. I certainly plan to have the card paid off by February. If I don’t, the rate on my credit card is still better than my HELOC at the moment and I can always transfer the balance back to the HELOC if necessary. NOT!!! =)

    Tuesday, May 02, 2006

    April 2006 Comparison to the 60% Solution…

    60% Solution Plan: The idea is to keep committed expenses to 60% of your gross income and divide the remaining 40% into Fun Money, Irregular Expenses, Long-term Savings or Debt Repayment, and Retirement.

    Committed Expenses: Basic food and clothing needs, essential household expenses, insurance premiums, charitable contributions, all bills including non-essentials such as cable, and all taxes, dues, and social security.

    Fun Money: Anything you want to spend money on but capped at 10% of gross income.

    Irregular Expenses: Vacation, repairs, appliances, gifts, and other less predictable expenses.

    Long-Term Savings or Debt Repayment: Long-term savings are automatically deducted to buy long-term investments that are less liquid such as stocks. The idea is to make it harder to spend the money but if necessary the assets can be liquidated and the funds wired to your account. Debt repayment is self-explanatory and can include student loans and/or credit card payments.

    Retirement: Retirement contributions to a retirement plan such as a 401k or 403b.

    This plan basically has the pay yourself first feature build in. You automate virtually everything. The 20% savings like 401k contributions and long-term savings are automatically deducted. Then you have 60% for committed expenses and the remaining 20% for fun money and irregular expenses.

    How I stack up: Basically I don’t. My committed expenses are way too high. Also under the 60% solution, I include my monthly hair appointments and groceries in my committed expenses whereas under the Debt Diet plan, I classify those expenses as Personal Expenses. So basically, the 60% solution is more flexible than the Debt Diet plan, which is why in the short-term the Debt Diet plan would be best to curtail my personal expenditure so that I can contribute more towards debt repayment.

    In the long-term, I am hoping to bring my spending more in line with the 60% Solution because it completely takes the thinking out of it. I won’t ever allocate more than 20% towards fun money and irregular expenses so once my student loans are repaid, all of the extra cash flow will go directly into long-term savings and retirement contributions.

    Monday, May 01, 2006

    April 2006 Comparison to the Debt Diet Plan…

    Debt Diet: My actual spending definitely does not conform to the Debt Diet plan.

    Housing: I have little control over this figure for now. Currently, I am focusing on paying off my HELOC which totals approximately $25,700 and hopefully with a salary increase next year I will fall more in line with the recommended 35% ratio.

    Debt: Currently I don’t pay anything on my student loans and the interest is capitalizing to the tune of ~$500/month. Debt repayment will begin 6-9 months following my May 2007 graduation.

    Transportation: Thank goodness one category meets the recommended ratio. I anticipate this figure to improve after my May graduation next year since I will no longer need to drive downtown and park. I can revert back to taking the train.

    Expenses: I need to focus on reducing personal expenses. I have a lot of control over my spending so I definitely need to do better in this area. I am getting better but there is always room for more improvement.

    Savings: No after-tax savings at this time. Right now and I’m focused on paying off debt. I do however contribute 5% of my gross salary to my 401k, which my employer matches. So every month, ~$450 goes into my 401k.