GI Jane Finances

December 30, 2007

My biggest vice

Filed under: Living the good life — gijanefinances @ 3:11 pm

Just conquered my bad habit of smoking which I had for the past 10-11 years. It does help that my brand of Benson and Hedges is not available in this country. So, whilst chewing 2mg of Nicorette gum, I decided to reveal my biggest vice…dining out. Even as a broke college student, I was always able to cobble enough money to pick-up some take-out or dine-out. Do not get me wrong, I love to cook. I recently received my prep bowls (w/lids), egg yolk separator and a hand held chopper from Pampered Chef. Unfortunately, the commissary here does not have the requisite ingredients for my Giada De Laurentiis, Paula Deen and sometimes Rachel Ray recipes. I could not even find a decent red onion for Ray’s hot dog salad recipe. Plus, my kitchen is the size of a closet. So, I have fallen back on my expensive habits of eating out. I also fancy myself as being a foodie. I simply cannot imagine torturing myself by going on any sort of diet…ever.

Thankfully, the meal pictured here (Japanese beef w/Miso sauce & scallop and asparagus fried rice) is a post-birthday meal sponsored by my fabulous friend at the Mandarin hotel in downtown Tokyo. The hotel was featured in Travel & Leisure and it totally lived up to the hype. The view from the 37th floor was stunning; it also had a three-tiered fireplace.

I do need to be more creative in finding interesting, tasty and cheap ways of feeding myself. After spending about $60 today on lunch and dinner, it really does not make any sense. I realize the money drain even more by using cash instead of credit. As I start to back off using my AMEX, even though I pay it off completely every months, it causes me to reevaluate my bad habits. The result is a $147 balance instead of double the amount I usually have. And that is a step in the right direction.
Bon appetit.
GI Jane

December 29, 2007

Post birthday reflections

Filed under: 36 is the new 20 — gijanefinances @ 6:16 am

Good day yesterday, officially turned the big 3-6. Tonight my friend is taking me out to dinner in downtown Tokyo. She has been raving about this restaurant for the past couple of months. I am sure it will live up to the hype. On another note, yesterday, I won $10 by going to the gym. If that isn’t a sign of good times ahead…I do not know what is. So, I treated myself to a nice birthday lunch consisting of spaghetti with mushroom and bacon. Yumm…

I made some tax moves earlier in the week. As a single person, I nearly collasped at the amount of taxes I have to pay. At first blush, I have to pay around $10,000 before deductions and paid about $8,000 ytd. I wanted to hedge my bets and made a house payment prior to 1 Jan. I also discovered that my Roth was $182 short from my max. Corrected that. However, the frustrating thing was that Vanguard did not allow me to make an automatic schedule for 2008 yet. :shrug:

Wells sent me a voucher for a free airline trip to Mexico, Hawaii or London, since my HELOC remained at 80%. I’ll take it, but would prefer to have eradicate it completely by selling my house. Hopefully, next year–even though the housing market is getting worse–I will be unload my albatross of a house. On the flip side, I am sooo glad I got rid of my REIT fund that was treating very nicely at the time. At the end of the year, that fund went to -11%. I know I’m investing for long term, but that does not need you are not supposed to be vigilant.

GI Jane

December 27, 2007

Welcome world!

Filed under: In the beginning — gijanefinances @ 2:22 am

Today is the day that I decided to share my debt-free journey through this journal. I usually post in various financial boards like MSN’s Your Money…but I need to do more.

* Every week I listen to Dave Ramsey through his online radio
* I’ve read Automatic Millionaire and Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach
* Listened to Suze Orman
And yet, I am not debt-free. There is not a one-size fit all solution. I still want to enjoy my life and not be financially limited. I am also a single/mid- now approaching late thirties woman, who needs to navigate through this dog-eat dog world (cry me a river, right).

*raises right hand*
I,GI Jane, vow to:
1. Stay the course = knock Salliemae out of my life…forever
2. Sell my dang house (now a rental until this summer)
3. Build up a $12K emergency fund
4. Max my Roth IRA and Thrift Savings Plan (when Sallie is out of my life)
5. Save for a down-payment on my dream house
I think that is enough for now.

BTW, my brother found this cool bird in front of our house…a very auspicious sign!

Happy Holidays!

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