Thursday, May 30, 2013

Clutter Contraction

My biggest peeve is holding on to junk and "stuff"

I even don't like having a ton of pins on my Pinterest boards, especially on my boards for recipes and crafts.  When I have a few minutes to spare, I would delete some pins here and there so I don't get depressed about not trying out a recipe or a craft item to make.

I live in a small space and I absolutely hate paper clutter.  I can't believe how much paper can pile up.

Since I'm now home for some time, I spent a good six hours shredding and sorting out some paper documents today.

My husband is a clean person! Thank goodness for that!!!!

But when I need to clean, I like for him to be out of the house and out of my way :)

I also look at our apartment, and feel that our apartment is "bigger" than the others in our complex because we try to avoid bringing in things to our home that will take up space and feel crowded.

Before my mission I would hold on to everything because I "may need it for the future" or for posterity's sake.  But then I see the news of how people lose everything in wildfires, floods, tornados and the like.  

As a missionary, I could only have everything I owned fit in two suitcases.  It was common to get a phone call the night before to pack my things and be ready to arrive to a new area the next day.

The mission experience helped me when I moved around a lot during college and after.

I also notice I am happier and less stressed when my home isn't filled with so much stuff.

I dream of one day owning a home that is 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms.  I really don't want a McMansion and wasting space, utilities, and air for empty rooms.  And buying more stuff just to fill up the space.

I don't own a ton of clothes, and still plan to give more away.  Less clothes mean less laundry to do.

Less things to want, means less stuff to buy, and more money saved.

Less things mean less stuff to pick up from the floor.  (If you can't pass a vacuum on the floor, it's a mess.  Pick whatever is on the floor and put it or throw it away.)

I notice that when I give something or throw it away, I don't regret it.  Or remember it.  It's done and gone.

Less stuff is less problems and less work.

I am so glad that the majority of the paper clutter is GONE.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Picking the perfect china pattern

One of the things you might do during your wedding planning or planning your registry is picking out a china pattern

It is beautiful, timeless, and keeping up with tradition.

But it can make you shell out a bundle of cash.  Hence the invention of the wedding registry; guests would divy up buying a place setting so that the bridal couple could have a china pattern ready for their first dinner party.  Also a marketing strategy for department stores to secure brides as customers for life.

Some thoughts if you are dead set on getting your own china pattern and refuse to use your grandma's china pattern.

1. Pick something simple

Your taste and style can change twenty years down the road.  A careful research on china patterns show that a few patterns remain in open stock since the '70s, like the Lenox Solitaire pattern.






If you register for an expensive and/or trendy china pattern, there is a good chance that:

  • you won't receive a lot of place settings as gifts
  • the pattern gets discontinued after finally saving enough money to afford a set for a dinner party
  • later down the road you'll realize that the color of your plates don't match with anything in the house.  
  • you may use it only three times in 20 years. 

2. Gold or silver band?

Pick the dishes with the silver/platinum band. If your pattern is gold-plated, most tableware is silver in color and will not match with gold plating.

3. The food should be the star of the show, not the dishes

Food matters!

4. Shop and compare wholesale prices.  
Sometimes the department store charges a premium for these pretty plates and teacups.  Look online and have an idea of how much to spend.

5. You should buy place settings depending on what you usually eat/cook, and how many people you plan to serve.

For us, it was pointless to buy a 4 piece place setting.  For one, we don't have teatime or even drink tea.
Since we covered most of the wedding expenses ourselves, we skipped this tradition and decided to worry about it later.

After the wedding, we got a coupon in the mail from Burlington Coat Factory for buying an item at $10 or more and receive $10 off.  We paid a visit to the store close to us.

Burlington is a ghetto mess at times, but we walked out with eight white dinner plates marked at $9.99  The box was a bit dented but the plates were in perfect condition.

Got this for FREE and couldn't be happier.

Two of the eight free dinner plates

I couldn't left Burlington without buying something so I picked this flower for $4.99 along with our free plate purchase.  

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Money Habits

If you want to save money and avoid credit card debt there are two rules I learned in a personal finance class in college

1. Collect interest.

2. Never pay interest.

That's it!!  

Saving money is a discipline hard to put into practice but having savings gives us a huge piece of mind whenever we're faced with a big decision, and gives us more freedom.  More on that later on another day.

Other updates: Dave's grandma of nearly 98 passed away and had a nice funeral service for her this Thursday.  And a great friend came to visit us for the long weekend.

On a final note, aside from the day off and the shopping sales tomorrow....

There are no goodbyes for us.  Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart.
Mohandas Gandhi
1869 -  1948

Remember our fallen men and women, and their families this Monday, Memorial Day.  

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Corrective Vision Surgery

I wasn't born with perfect vision but decided to fix that with a medical intervention  I'll blog briefly about my experience, but mostly on costs.

This is my eye.  During surgery, I could only see the eerie "Ring" thing

If you're thinking about having it done, you should do it!

If you are hesitant about the cost of surgery just know that...  

If your vision is lousy, it is worth every. single. cent. going through with this surgery

I've lived with extremely poor vision as a kid and wore glasses and contacts.  

Around 2010, I came to the realization that I was completely USELESS and couldn't do ANYTHING if I didn't have my glasses or contacts on.

That was it!!!! 

It was scary not being able to see. 

How to curb some of the costs for your surgery.

Get your eye exam and be cleared for surgery before your employer's open enrollment.

Why? You'll know first whether you need the surgery.  Second you can determine how much money you can put in a flex-savings-account (if offered) before open enrollment to cover the surgery and other costs like eye drops.  Not to mention the tax savings there.  

The surgery cost about $4800, but my employer had a $1100 discount incentive (I worked at the U, and had my surgery at the Moran Eye Center).

The FSA gave me the money upfront to pay for the surgery, and then during the year, I had small amounts deducted from each paycheck to make up for the thousands of dollars I put into the FSA that year. That was manageable instead of losing a whole chunk of cash, just take a small portion each pay period. 

Ready, aim, fire!

The FSA was good in another way.  I freaked out before surgery ("OMG my eyes are going to be burned off?!?!?!?!?!") but didn't back out because I would lose all the money I put in the FSA if I didn't go through with the surgery.  So greedy and stingy. 

There are always affordable options to pay for eye surgery, but I think the FSA was the best option for me.  

I was legally blind without corrective lenses, about 20/800.  I'm seeing 20/20 and couldn't be happier.  

Last time wearing glasses and looking at a camera with blurry vision!

LASIK/PRK is honestly one of the best things to spend a lot of money on, and you'll enjoy great vision for the rest of your life.