I count myself as one of the lucky ones who was able to find a career that I love being in! I picked the right major that helped me get to where I am. I honestly can’t even figure out exactly why I majored in Digital Design because I barely had any skill with computers. I had an art background, but there was so much I had to learn to even catch up to my peers. Fortunately, I did catch up and I’m still in the career that made the most sense for my major. I’ve been through different jobs and taken risks, but it’s all paid off and I’m pretty darn happy!

It amazes me when I hear about someone who changes careers entirely and risks everything! A friend of mine that I met at my very first job is doing exactly that right now. She’s always loved photography and she’s been doing it through the years. She decided to finally strike out on her own to try to make it her career. It’s only been a few months since it’s happened and it’s slow going for now. Hopefully it will start taking off soon! Los Angeles is a hard place to make it in when you’re starting out in any career. A big city can have more opportunities, but there is also more competition too.

Definitely check out her photography!
Howl and Rose

Jacky’s pretty darn amazing I would say, and she definitely has that special touch that brings out the best in her subjects. I count her as my favorite photographer actually. She took our engagement photos and as soon as I start a family, I’m booking her for sessions!

Taking risks
The biggest risk I’ve ever taken is to try freelancing with a small (but reputable) company. There was the possibility of full-time, but it never came to fruition, and I ended up with a few months of not having any work. It did pay off in the end though since it was a very good experience. For my friend though, she is starting over from the beginning. That means not a lot of money coming in and she has to work her butt off even more. I don’t love the times when I was starting out and money was tight and it took creative methods to make sure bills were paid. In the end though, she’ll be doing something she loves and getting paid for it! The perfect career right?

Starting a career
Knowledge and experience are the two biggest things to be able to start a career. Many people I know who have started over have gone back to school or taken special crash courses. For Jacky, she’s been working on her photography for years and has a small portfolio put together. In her desired choice of career that’s pretty darn essential. My four years in college taught me a lot about design and the internships I had gave me experience even before I graduated.

Making it happen
Not everyone can make it in their career unfortunately. Some people aren’t cut out for it and others aren’t right for it. The mindset now is to do something you love and get paid for it. Not so according to the older generation. Having a stable job was the most important, and loving your job was a very small priority. For me, I want to work in a career I love and get paid for it! It’s taken awhile to find a company and job that fits me well that I look forward to going to work. I’ve worked long hours and nights to get to where I am, and I still work really hard to keep at the top of my game. No matter what, it always takes hard work and patience! I still have a far way to go, but I hope that I’ll make it.

 

What’s the riskiest thing you’ve ever done when it comes to your career?

 


Photo Credit: _christine via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: _christine via Compfight cc

It’s halfway through January and a good portion of the my year has already been booked in terms of large events! Mostly that’s in terms of vacations and weddings. All the big stuff that I need to really plan for in a year to make sure I’m covered in terms of travel, gifts, lodging, and of course any little side parties that come along with those big events! It’s pretty crazy how weddings and travel can really determine what your year will look like in terms of where you should be putting money towards.

I’ve got a lot to consider and plan for and I have to make sure I have enough mula set aside for all of these. So far I’ve got a possible mini vacation and three weddings for this year. All three weddings are with family or good friends so I’m definitely going to all of them. The first one I happen to be the matron of honor in and will be planning a bridal shower and bacholorette also. Luckily it’s at least in town but my house will be taken over by family for sure. The other two are out of town so I’ll need to account for travel, lodging, and any possible extra travel for the bacholorettes. The mini vacation isn’t as big as it’s within driving distance.

Time for me to set aside a budget for this and see what I can afford (or what I would like to afford!). It’ll be good times to look forward to and being able to know about this ahead of time will lessen the impact.

Book travel early
Such a must when it comes to flying. I’ve always booked at least 2.5 months early to make sure I get the best possible rates. Of course it’s always a gamble and prices could drop (and they have) after I buy a ticket, but it’ll always be lower than getting it right before a trip. You’ll always pay the price if you wait too long to buy plane tickets.

Budgeting for gifts, spending money, and surprises
It’s going to be a pricey year in terms of gifts, bridal showers, and bacholorette parties! After getting married I know how much weddings cost and I certainly spent a good amount on mine. With weddings of family and good friends I’ll need to account for a higher budget too. I might as well have a good time too so throw in some spending money to pad the budget a bit and there I go.

Know when to say no
It’s important for me to be there when people important to me are getting married but I don’t have to say yes if it’s not possible. I’ve definitely declined many times before when I didn’t think I could financially make it even for family or other good friends. Just being I get an invite doesn’t mean I have to say yes. If I’m able I’ll send a small gift but otherwise travel and lodging can cost too much.

Making it a mini-vacation
Anytime there’s an opportunity for travel then it’s also possible to create a mini-vacation. Work trips are great because you can stay a few extra days after or before possibly. Weddings are a great opportunity to stay longer in one place. If it’s a destination wedding then it’s already a vacation! Have to pay for the travel anyway so why not stay longer?

 

It’s going to be a great 2015 and I’m really looking forward to everything. There will surely be a lot more events added to my calendar (I would hope) but this is a pretty good start.

What big events are you planning ahead for in 2015?


Photo Credit: KLeopatra ~ via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: KLeopatra ~ via Compfight cc

Happy 2015!!!!! It’s pretty crazy to think of how fast the last year went and now it’s the first day of 2015!!!! I was able to accomplish a good amount last year and I’m looking forward to seeing how much I can do this year. Today is of course a great time to look at past accomplishments, pat myself on the back, and then see what else I want to add to my list. Aka new year’s resolutions.

A 2014 Recap of Goals

Started investing with Betterment
This was a goal I tried to get to in 2013 but wasn’t able to with a wedding and buying a house in that year. I bit the bullet early on last year to start this up. The market hasn’t been very fun with highs and lows and I haven’t earned much unfortunately. I’ve been steadily investing every single month though and this is a long term goal for mula before my retirement age. Hopefully by continuing to contribute each month the stock market will do it’s thing and this will start growing on its own.

Almost maxed out my 401k
I was able to start my 401k halfway through last year and I full intended to max it out. By November I recalculated my contribution rate to make sure I hit that. Unfortunately my 401k company never processed that through! I don’t know why it didn’t work but for a month my rate hasn’t changed. Hopefully in 2015 I can reach this goal!

Budget friendly Honeymoon
I had a delayed honeymoon because we wanted to be practical and buy the house first and then go on a honeymoon. Weddings cost way too much money and having a honeymoon soon after just isn’t realistic. Spacing it out months later gave us more time to find a good deal and to plan appropriately (without all the wedding stress which I’m sure would’ve made us make hasty and pricey decisions).

Started a mini garden
I’m no green thumb but growing my own food is definitely something I’ve always wanted to do! Luckily for me my house came with a lot of fruit trees and edible plants. I’ve been taking advantage of that and making sure that I take care of the plants as well as I can. I’ve had very little success with growing my own herbs but I’m going to keep trying! I have green onions growing pretty well (very very very easy) but I’ve only had one parsley seed sprout.

2015 Goals

Actually have things growing in my edible garden
This is a work in progress for sure. If I can at least have a few more seeds sprout that would be wonderful! If that doesn’t work then I’m going to have to just buy fully grown plants and see if I can keep them alive!

Simplify my beauty routine
For a woman I don’t think I have that much in terms of beauty supplies, but over time new products come out that I add to my morning/night routine and then it takes forever to get ready. I’m all for simplifying to find products that save me money (no more $60 eye cream!) and do double duty.

Max out my 401k
Yep going for it for sure this year!

Get life insurance
Haven’t done this yet and I really need to just go ahead and do it! I’ve done a lot of research and it’s getting clearer but it’s hard to estimate how much to get.

Further cut down my footprint
I recycle basically everything I can but my trash pile can still be cut down. Composting is the next step but it’s not something I would really like to do. Either I have a compost pile in the corner of my not so large yard, a big plastic bin, or I have to figure something else out. My gardener grandfather says he just buries vegetable scraps in his yard to add nutrients. I’ll try that for now! He has tons of fruit trees and vegetables so if it works for him I’m sure it can work for me.

 

What were your accomplishments last year? What are your goals for 2015?


Photo Credit: cara zimmerman via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: cara zimmerman via Compfight cc

I’m super spoiled living in Southern California where it’s sunny year round and the average temperature is 70 degrees. Even in the winter time during the day it gets to be in the high 60′s and the lowest is about 45 degrees. Not enough for snow unless you live in the mountains!

It’s harsh right? Still though it can be pretty cold inside since my comfort level usually is around the mid 70′s. To save money I try not to turn on the heat as much as possible! Inside it needs to get down to 60 before I even touch my heater and I usually try not to use the entire house one. At work it’s pretty cold because the building is all brick and has no insulation and at home it’s still cold because I’m trying to save money! My heating bill won’t be as high as someone who lives in the midwest but it still makes a difference the more I can withstand the cold and keep myself warm by other methods.

SPACE HEATERS
Since it’s only the two of us we try not to use the house heater at all and just use a space heater in the bedroom only. It’s not fun when we’re showering and all but a side effect of this is that we shower faster and end up using less water. Our house is pretty small at 1100 square feet but a space heater is pretty cost effective for one room only. No use heating the kitchen over night when no one is using it! Other people I know do a combo of both. They use the overall heater to bring the house up to a certain temperature then add space heaters to the colder rooms people are in.

LAYERING
My general house attire includes my big fluffy sweatshirts and flannel pj’s. Maybe some long knee socks thrown in there too. It’s comfy and I don’t need to worry about how I look. Then I throw on a blanket and I’m pretty good for the evening.

MOVING MORE QUICKLY
Nothing like moving around a lot to stay warm! It’s kind of funny when I have some cleaning to do because I tend to move around more quickly when its cold so that I can warm up. Reverse effect in the summertime when it’s hot and I am trying to conserve energy instead.

 

The fun part about this year is that I get to spend the holidays in 30 degree weather in the midwest! There we have no choice but to heat the entire home or freeze our butts off. The inside temperature tends to be a nice 68 degrees compared to the low 60′s we keep it here. Since my nieces will be staying in the same house it’ll be even toastier since they need a warmer temperature. The only cold times will be whenever I’m outside. Which really will only be when I’m going to and from the car. Hopefully when I get back my cold tolerance will have raised up a little bit.

What do you do to save a bit of money when heating your home?

 


Photo Credit: VossenWheels via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: VossenWheels via Compfight cc

Gotta test drive your next potential new vehicle before you buy it right? So I guess that means heading out to your favorite dealership and talking to a nice (or sleazy) salesperson and then taking a drive while they talk your ear off about all the positives about the car. This is the normal way to do it for sure but I’ve done plenty of test drives for different cars! All without the intention of even buying the car but for research or for fun.

A typical test drive might not be very fun car companies have little known events where you can test drive a number of their cars! Usually it’s centered around a new model that just came out that they’re trying to promote it. They’re trying to show off the new features of the car and hooking in potential buyers that are shopping around. These events are free and you just have to know about them and sign up. I’ve been to a good number of them and it’s a much better way to test drive without any buying pressure and have a better experience.

In one event I test drove an Audi Q5 and they encouraged drivers to try to tip the car over. The Q5 is engineered to never tip over unlike other suvs. In the same event we were allowed to stomp on the gas to see how well their cars go from 0-60mph. Lincoln has been doing a lot of events lately where they combine it with a free nice dinner or allow you to take the car for an entire day! On another I drove around a Lincoln around the city and stopped at certain points to sample foods and see the sights. It’s a real test drive where you can really see what their cars can do and there’s a bunch of free stuff that goes along with it!

Look at a local news site with events around your area to see what’s happening. My husband was the one who found out about these events and got me into them when we first started dating. He actually found them on slickdeals.com. I’ve been able to test drive a lot of nice cars that I normally wouldn’t drive on a normal day.

Have you ever been to a test drive event?