Thursday, January 16, 2014

How I Put Money Aside for Savings

Man, it's been a while. I guess I got kinda bored with nothing to write about so I gave up for a bit.

First, Happy New Year 2014 readers. I hope you're having a wonderful start to the new year.

I came across an article on Yahoo about people who earn six figures yet don't have much saved. In a way I understand their situation, the more money you bring in the more expenses you'll incur. But unlike them who make $100k+/year, I make less than half. And my expenses may not be as large as theirs but nonetheless I have bills to pay and have to put food on the table just like any other grown up.

The purpose of this post is to share my savings plan. Keep in mind that this works for me, for now. It may not work for everyone but I hope this at least helps your cause a little.

First a little background: like any other young adult, in my teens and early 20's I didn't "know" how to manage my money. I still don't, but now that I have priorities I've improved significantly. So back then I would spend money mindlessly and rack up my credit cards and pay the bare minimum. I also went years without paying on a student loan until just recently when my paychecks began to be garnished. Part of that is the reason why what I've put aside has also increased.

Now, if you take anything from what I write here it's this: make a plan and stick to it.

So here goes....

First I need to let you guys know that I have three accounts: One regular checking which I use for EVERYTHING,  one "cushion" checking (in case expenses are too much I start using this account),  and a savings. I don't touch my savings unless it is absolutely necessary,  but then I try to put the money back. Also, the savings is at a credit union a couple of miles away, and I don't have an ATM card, so if I need money I have to "work" to get it.  The night before I get paid I transfer what little I have left in my regular checking to my "cushion".

I get paid bi-weekly, so every other Friday I set $200 aside (it used to be 10% but that garnishment helped). So let's say my check comes to $850. 10% goes to my "cushion" and the difference goes to savings (or vice versa, whichever is greater goes to savings). So in this case $85 goes to "cushion" checking and $115 to savings. That's it.

Now a few days ago I got a part time job.  The purpose of this is to save for our wedding,  a newer car and to move elsewhere closer to our families. So now in order to not spend that part time income that money is going straight to savings. I'm not touching it. The way I see it,  once I reach my financial goal and I go back to one income it'll be as if it was just that: one income.

As I stated before, this may not work for everyone.  Each person's income and financial situation is different.  But if anything,  plan something and stick to it.

Best of luck.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mr. Blue Fish and Mr. Red Fish

This past Tuesday, we lost our little friend, Eli (or as he was previously known, Levi).  I was really hoping he would be around for at least a year, but he did surprise us, making it past March of this year.  Now that we know Frances' sister and niece are coming to visit us, I was really hoping her niece, Ceci, would see him again.  After all, she was the one who helped me choose our little blue betta.

R.I.P. Eli, or as Ceci called you, "Mr. Blue Fish"
So today I headed to our local pet store for a new fish buddy.We wanted to avoid a blue one since it was too early.  So now, I present to you...

Sheldon
We wanted to name him before Ceci arrives.  I don't think she's very imaginative with names just yet.  I was afraid that she would name him something similar to the previous betta fish, something like "Mr. Red Fish".

Welcome Home little Sheldon and Rest in Peace little Eli.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Weight Milestone... and what I thought of Man of Steel. Also, what I want from DC.

First order of business:

Last post I had mentioned that I have to go to the dentist due to a bad molar.  Now, I'm waiting for a call back, and fortunately my tooth has not bothering me.  However I've had to watch what i eat to cause as little pain as possible. 

That being said, I've been weighing myself here and there, and this morning I hit a major milestone....
I'm at less than 200 lbs.  New weight:  199.6 lbs.

So, Congratulations to me!

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Man of Steel review (Caution If you've not seen it yet !!!)
This morning Frances and I saw MoS and I've got to say:   I really liked it!!!

Unlike the previous film, which was of a dialogue film versus this was more action packed.  Now, I didn't hate the former, but did find it a bit boring, lacking punch, which is what I want in a Superman film.  That's the reason why Superman Returns was like more by critics versus the audience and vice versa with this film.

Now, there's two type of people for these type of films:  the comic book community and the movie community, and I belong more to the latter than the former.  Reason being that, even though I've always been fascinated by superheroes and mythology and the sort, growing up I didn't get much of a chance of reading comic books so growing up I relied more on watching shows, cartoons and movies.  It wasn't until after high school that I would go to Borders bookstores and read graphic novels and comic book stories.  I'm the type of guy that knows a lot more than the average non-comic book reader but less than a comic book reader.  So when I watch a comic book movie I look more at what the film consists of versus what was pulled from their sources.  Same goes for movies based on novels or anything else for that matter.

First, I was very happy to see Chris Nolan's touch in this.  I think having him be part of bringing Supes back was great.  I really like his films especially the Dark Knight trilogy.

I was happy too when I found out Michael Shannon was cast as Gen. Zod.  As I watched the film, however, I think my joy for his portrayal went down a few points.  I liked his portrayal of Zod but did not love him.  However, I was pleasantly surprised by Faora, Zod's right hand.  I really liked her. 

One thing I really wanted to see:  Zod's famous line from Superman II, "Kneel before Zod!"

Now, because Nolan came on board, I wonder if they tried to copy some of what worked in Batman Begins.  One things were the flashback scenes.  They felt a bit misplaced. 
One last thing was that the movie was a bit slow moving at first.  Yet also felt that some of the scenes were rushed or suddenly cut and then... the action began and the movie's pace was much faster.

In the end, as I mentioned before, I really liked the movie.  I do think it's a wonderful way to bring Superman back to the big screen and start that new DC cinematic universe that we've been waiting for.

So what would I like now?  For one, I was glad to hear that they may work on MoS2 before finally bringing a Justice League movie.  I think DC shouldn't rush into it to be at par with Marvel.  Rushing it may just crumble what they are trying to achieve for us fans.

Second, I hear that Supergirl and Lex Luthor are coming on board for MoS2.  Supergirl as a supporting character would be better than an attempt at a solo film any time soon or later.  Also, as for Lex, I hope they reinterpret him more as a real threat versus what has been interpreted by Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey.  And for a third film (in case it's a trilogy) I'd like to see Doomsday.  Give us the Death of Superman!!!  After all, we all know Superman comes back.

Lastly, eventually I'd like to see comic book movie crossover, so DC and Marvel, get to working at it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dentist?!.. Well you know the drill

I don't even know when was the last time I went to the dentist.  I'd say 15-20 years ago.  Now I HAVE to go... and I'm super scared.

Over 3 years ago, Frances and I were at a theater when I chew on something and that chipped some of a molar which now is a "dead" molar.  It didn't bother me until one day two years ago I was driving to work and was chewing gum to clean some of the food from the breakfast I had just had when the piece of gum hit the inside of the molar and caused an extreme amount of pain which I didn't make much of afterwards and learned to chew on the other side of my mouth.  However I knew I would have to go to the dentist eventually.

And so here we are.  I was hoping to postpone going until November of this year when I would be able to get dental insurance, especially because Frances and I are planning our wedding and it's been getting hard to save (especially after some auto issues and last month's events).  If not til November, at least until I start my new part-time job to have a little extra.

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If you notice, I've added my Day Zero list.  I have a few still to add so if you have suggestions so if you have any suggestions I'm all ears (eyes).

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Party time is (almost) over

Frances and I took most of the week of 4/30/13 to have time to see our families and friends before the wedding and quinceañera.  Unfortunately we were so busy running from one place to another that time flew by.  Nonetheless, everything came out very well and we had an absolutely great time.

That being said, congratulations...


...to the newlyweds
 
... and to the Quinceañera.

By the way, my Facebook profile pic was taken at the wedding.  ("That's one sharp couple", I hear)

Now that those two are over, time to get on with our week 'til Saturday when we're off to one more wedding.  Ha Ha!
 
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In my last blog post I mentioned that I needed a new laptop.  I finally gave up on my messed up laptop a day ago (from writing this post) and so decided to go to my local Best Buy for a new computer.  I decided on a Toshiba fairly similar to mine, same components.  The previous two laptops I've had have been Toshibas so I decided to stick with what I know.
 
To be honest, I'm not very fond of this new Windows 8 program.  I've been told to give it some time and that I'll get used to it, which is fine, but for now that I'm still getting used to the changes I'm certainly hoping that technology is not getting the best of me... Why, technology, why?  I'm only 31.  Wish me luck!!!
 
 


Friday, April 26, 2013

High School Class of What????

Wow, what a slow month it's been.  I think it primarily has been slow for us because we're just so excited for our family events in a just over a week.  I don't know if I've mentioned this before (I'm sure Frances has in her blog) that from 4/30/13-5/5/13 we'll be back home in the southern part of the Chicagoland area due to a wedding and a Quinceañera that weekend.

Come to think of it, I have started something new this month and am planning a few other things...

1.  I've started doing the 100 Snapshots challenge.  You can see the list here and view the pics on my Flickr page here.  I don't think they have to be in order but I choose to do it that way so as to not overwhelm myself.  Anyway, feel free to browse my other photos as well.

2. I want to start playing tennis.  I used to play when I was in high school, but since 1999 (my senior year), I haven't set foot on a tennis court.  I miss it and may start looking for others to play with after the week of May 5th, so if you're from Cincinnati and don't mind playing with a rookie, let me know.

Yours truly, top row, 4th from the left
3.  I want to vlog again.  I started vlogging over a year ago but I think I lost interest because I found myself too boring.  I've started re-watching a few vloggers and am now watching some new ones too (The ShaytardsArturo TrejoIt's Judy's Life and Jenna Marbles).  They're inspiring me to start again.  I just don't know how to go about it; I don't know whether to only post videos here or also on YouTube.

4.  Work part-time.  I recently applied for a Spanish language interpreter position here in Cincinnati to work part-time.  One reason for the part-time is to make sure that I'm a good fit for the company, not just from my point of view, but also from theirs.  Plus while keeping my current full-time position and obtaining this new part-time one, I'll be able to save up for a new laptop, a new camera, a new car, and most importantly, for our wedding.

...and did I mention a new laptop


By the way, I passed my written and oral tests for the interpreter position, so next comes orientation.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Pre Mid-Life Crisis part 2... and my (non) Facebook update

We went home this Easter weekend.  Our original plan was to go last month at the end of February due to one of my niece's turning 15 but due to a couple things here and there we had to push it a month.  Now, even though we went home for "vacation" purposes, it turned out a bit different for one of us (let's leave it at that for now).

This weekend back home I noticed something:  I was a little saddened with the changes people are going through as time goes on. I understand my nieces and nephews are growing up, but then I really took notice of my brother-in-law, of how much older he's getting even though he's only 11 years older than me.  And I can understand why:  the construction industry is not so great right now; 4 kids to provide for, 1 of them celebrating her "Quince" in a month, the other in a year and a half, as well as other things.  I also noticed how my brother is suddenly had a gray-hair growth spurt.

Easter Sunday we went to Easter Mass early in the morning.  This church we went to, I used to be a part of and hadn't set foot in it for approximately 10 years.  I saw old friends who are now older and kids who became teenagers and teens who are now married with a kid or two.

That being said, it brought back the Pre Mid-Life Crisis feeling I had a few months ago (see post).  As happy as I was to see people I grew up with, it made me think of my mortality.  I'm only 31 years young but nonetheless it makes me wonder about my future.  I can only hope for the best.

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A little update on my "no facebook" month (see post).  I was successful in not incorporating Facebook in my life, not for a week or for a month, but for the whole 40 days of Lent.  It's not much of a sacrifice but I was sucessful.  I finally logged back on yesterday and posted a pic...





...and updated my banner to what I also have here, but to be honest, I don't miss it.  I realized I can do without it.