GI Jane Finances

February 27, 2008

I’m baaack!

Filed under: Sowing seeds — gijanefinances @ 12:49 pm

Wow…what a busy 10 days it has been. The dust has now settled and it is back to the grind. I had the big boss’s retirement dinner, his change of command ceremony, Japanese 112 mid-term and a co-worker farewell luncheon to boot! I cannot wait to decompress this weekend with Zumba, mani/pedi and karoke (Japan’s national pastime) on Saturday.

I made a really good investment in purchasing $200 worth of Japanese language material. Also, last I night I refreshed my hair product supply for about $175. Both purchases contribute to my whole-person concept–being well-groomed and learned:

I have this lofty goal of becoming fluent in Japanese. If I score well on my language test, not only will it increase my pay, but also make me more competitive for Lt Col. I anxiously await to see how this last board fared. The results will be released 4 Mar–I know a couple of people who have been passed over. But actually, I am more curious about the statistics…it should be around 70%. My board will not meet until 2010. And I am all about hedging my bets.

The hair products save me $70 a week in salon treatments. My Pibbs hair dryer was the purchase of the year in 2007. I have relaxed hair that requires plenty of TLC and more importantly, moisture/protein. I am so in love with the Salerm’s Balancing Shampoo, Wheat Germ treatment and B5 Leave-in. I lost two hairs from the last treatment–one was from shedding. I usually lose a lot more than that with more broken than shedding hairs. The line is made in Barcelona, Spain. It is definitely a keeper.

GI Jane

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February 18, 2008

Rant

Filed under: Piss poor service — gijanefinances @ 3:01 am

Today, I decided to check out the Dooney and Burke sale at the BX. I really do not care for them, but my mother does. She has a rather decent selection of handbags and still adds to the collection. My fear is that I buy something she already has. She was disappointed that the small D & B pocketbook I gave her did not come with a change purse. Actually QVC pretty much spoiled her in thinking every D & B comes with a little change purse. *shrug*

So, I head to the BX at 1000 hrs and picked up a D & B pocketbook for $78 (regular price $195) and $29 Calvin Klein sunglasses (regular price $120). I finished my shopping at 1030 hrs and went home, so I could return at 1100 hrs for a Subway sandwich. Previously, I had banned Subway because they always put in too much mayo and would run out of stuff. I actually started to like Quiznos toasted sandwiches better. Nevertheless, I discovered on Saturday that Subway expanded their bread selection and had an option of having your sandwich toasted. It was so delicious that I decided to have it again today.

I show up at 1110 hrs and there was a line. I waited for about 15 minutes, only to be told that they only had wheat bread. The other breads will take 30-45 minutes to bake. WTH! One would think that at 1015-1030 hrs, that they would bake the bread needed in time by 1100 hrs.
I left and headed over to the other Subway shop, where they had plenty of different types of bread. And no wait. Jeez louise.

GI Jane

February 17, 2008

Living life like it is golden

Filed under: Partying like a rock star — gijanefinances @ 8:40 am

Here’s the chef cooking up my lobster and beef tenderloin at a Japanese restaurant in downtown Tokyo on Valentine’s Day. We decided to have a nice meal before the Police concert. I went all out and had a glass of white Zinfandel, sushi, salad, miso soup and grilled surf and turf. I finished it off with a lovely sorbet. Yummy. The bill with tip ended up being $55.00. We ended up a half and hour late to the Police concert.

My friends did not enjoy the performance as much as I did. As long as I heard, “Roxanne,” I was fine. They wanted a strict rendition with no change or improvisation. I can’t imagine playing a song the same way for decades. Nevertheless, Sting looked fabulous and everyone played well. It was worth the $130. If I am going to spend that much money, I will make sure to enjoy the experience.

GI Jane

February 12, 2008

Getting a handle

Filed under: 1st quarter — gijanefinances @ 11:54 am

Boy, I wish my new AMEX balance was the bank account balance. I am still waiting on my rent check for Feb to slash whittle it down before using savings. Despite the recent spending surge, I am still on track for paying off my Salliemae by the fall. Currently, it is being tackled with $1,000 monthly payments. The only other big expense will be the property taxes due in May and September for a total of $3,200. I decided to hold off selling my 2nd property until next year. Hopefully, the tenants will not move in the summer and stay until 2009.

Recurring expenses
Monthly Bills:
$20 Sanitary
$8.99 Netflix
$151 Auto/house insurance
$39.99 Vonage
$25 cell phone
$15 club dues
$1,000 Salliemae
Total: $1260

$940 mortgage (on first house)
$850 mortgage (on second house)
*both covered by rent
Total: $1790

Savings
$1000 Thrift Savings Plans
$416 Roth IRA
$250 I Bond
Total: $1666

Ready, set, go…

GI Jane

February 9, 2008

Grins and giggles

Filed under: Bucket list — gijanefinances @ 11:27 pm

I went to see Sinbad last night and loved him. Sinbad still is as funny as he was in the 90’s when he did “A Different World.” It was clean and not rowdy, but he did a lot of audience interaction–too much. I wanted to see a lot more of his material versus improvising with audience’s responses. Seemed very “old school,” but I did laugh out loud most of the night. And the best part, it was free.

My not so free plans this week is the Police concert in Tokyo that cost me $150. I am so excited, especially since it is on Valentine’s day. It is a lovely gift I gave to myself. Like Sinbad said last night, “If you want to receive something you like, buy it yourself.” Can the crowd say, “Amen?”

On a completely different tangent, I spoke to my dear Father last night and he was wondering if I mailed his birthday gift. My parents birthdays are three days apart at the end of Feb. They both turn 63 this year, two years away from social security. He said that he wanted a camera phone, so he can take pictures if ever in a car accident. My dad can’t even retrieve his voicemail messages. I told him it was too late, I already mailed it a couple of weeks ago by surface mail which will take 3-4 weeks. Also, the phones here would not work with his provider because the phone companies only take certain phones (which is bulls%^it). Unlike in Japan, where you can use any phone with any provider.

So, I did not get him what he wanted. He then went on to say that his job wants him to retire and how upsetting it was. My father has been at this company for 36 years, but does not have a pension. The company had profit sharing and transitioned into 401K about 10 years ago. Unfortunately, he does not have enough saved to live comfortably and apparently planned on working there until he drops dead. I wish I was independently wealthy and support him in manner he is accustomed to. But for now, he has to settle on the sweat suit I sent him for his B-day.

GI Jane

February 6, 2008

Fabulousity

Filed under: Fits and starts — gijanefinances @ 12:43 pm

Cost of being hip…

My friend was sporting a beautiful Louis Vuitton bag today that she paid $700 for a couple of years ago. I thought it was a Dooney and Burke. That is how much I know about high-end bags. She is definitely responsible for my recent surge in spending, just kidding. I would have never found out about Bluefly if it was not for her. I suspected that I was being influenced. Nevertheless, I go through fits and starts with my monthly budgeting. There is usually a period of feast, and then famine.

The spending has been curbed by turning off the email alerts and removing my AMEX out of my wallet, which has helped greatly. The next months will be used to plump up the emergency fund and purchase unbreakable savings bonds (at least for a year). I usually forget about the purchased I-Bonds and when I do remember them–it cannot be cashed.

Sometimes, I am my worst enemy.

GI Jane

February 5, 2008

Tax man cometh

Filed under: Death and taxes — gijanefinances @ 1:42 am

I finally filed my taxes for 2007. I secretly hoped for a refund, however, my W-4 was adjusted to prevent that from happening. In the past two years, I received refunds ranging from $2,400-$4,000. It is very disgusting that single people have to pay a higher tax rate than married people. With the divorce rates as they are, you think the government would reward people who did not make bad choices instead of punishing them. If I did not own a house, even though I contributed about $11,000 in my TSP, I would owe the feds a couple thousand of dollars. According to the tax table, for a single person in my tax bracket, I am suppose to pay almost $10,000 in taxes. Since adjusting my W-4 with 10 allowances, I paid $8161 in 2007 to the government. Ridiculous.

The only good news is that my basic allowance for housing and subsistence are tax-free. My allowances were also eligible for the sales tax deduction. Not sure how I will cope when I eventually start working in the civilian sector and have my whole check taxed. The free health care in the military also alleviates me from paying for health insurance which can cost hundreds of dollars a month.

I also opted not to pay an accountant $170 to prepare my tax forms. I was nervous in the past due to owning rental properties. This time, I used Turbotax premium through USAA for $35. So, the grand total of what I ended up owing the government is $194. Woohoo!

Look forward to depositing $406 from the tax stimulus check.

GI Jane

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