Happy be a millionaire day!

Photo Credit: Lost Star via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Lost Star via Compfight cc

It’s been quite a busy year for me with two major weddings I’m in. Let’s say money has been flying out the door pretty much and my time has been pretty limited. Whoosh. Gone in less than a second! It’s about time I got back to blogging and what better day than today?

Happy be a millionaire day!

I’m not a millionaire but it’s one of my goals to be one some day! Each day I slowly and steadily work towards that goal and I get a tiny bit closer as time passes. About two years ago I made a few goals for myself to get to my bigger goal. Time to check in and see how I’ve been doing!

Contribute to my retirement accounts
I was aiming for 15% but I have surpassed that for sure!!! This year I’m definitely going to hit the maximum for my 401k. I’m not sure I can hit any other retirement accounts but that’s already a much better retirement rate than before!

Buy a house
When I first wrote this I was saving up intensely for the downpayment for a house. A few months after this my husband and I found the right place and luckily our bid was accepted! We paid down a 20% down payment and since then have been steadily chipping away at our principal with extra payments every single month. If we keep going at the rate we’re at currently we would be able to pay off this house in about 22 years! That is if we don’t have children but since we plan to that will put a kink into our plans for sure. Either way we’re building up our equity slowly and that contributes a lot to our net worth.

Invest
I finally opened up an account with Betterment and have contributed 10% of our income to it every single month. It’s adding up pretty quickly and the time invested return is at 12% right now! It’ll be a while til it’s viable passive income but I finally started it up!

Save like crazy
We have a pretty nicely padded emergency fund especially since owning a house brings on more emergencies than renting. Our savings rate is higher than our aimed goal of 10% also!!!! Yes, we could be saving more, but we also are trying to live life well now rather than just later.

And so…on my way to becoming a millionaire!!!!

What about you? Do you have dreams of becoming a millionaire?

Floating as a Method to Relieve Stress

Photo Credit: Man & Machine via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Man & Machine via Compfight cc

It’s almost the end of February and I already feel like my year has been packed with so much! All aspects of my life are pretty busy and every single day I’m trying to get as much done as possible. Work has been crazy busy since last year even and it hasn’t slowed down but sped up! My cousin’s wedding is fast approaching and her bridal shower and bachelorette are coming up next month. Then of course I’m also really trying to work out three days a week for my health.

There’s a lot going on and I’m doing my best to balance it all out. Treating my mind and body well is also something I’m doing so that I can handle everything. Usually I workout as a physical way to relieve stress and go for massages to help ease tension. The hardest part is slowing down my brain when it’s in overdrive!

Last week I heard about sensory deprivation. This is where you enter an enclosed tank and cut yourself off from as many of your senses as possible to relax and rejuvenate your mind. I floated in warm salty water in total darkness for an hour and a half. It was a very strange experience, but it kind of worked actually!

What’s the point?
Cutting yourself off from all your senses and freeing myself of distractions is supposed to let me mind and body be free to just relax. With everything going on in daily life and the pressure everyone is under, it was pretty nice to just do nothing and not have to worry about anything. I was floating in very warm water that is supposed to allow you to not even realize you are floating. Some people say it’s like getting a massage, or therapy, or like sleeping a very good night’s sleep. It’s not something I thought I would ever try honestly. It’s supposed to clear your mind of thoughts and allow you to be in a state like meditation. It worked for me somewhat as it cleared my mind and then I was drifting in and out of sleep and relaxation.

How’s it work?
The temperature of the water is set to be the same as your skin temperature so when you relax you aren’t supposed to even notice it. The water is extremely salty so that you float without effort. Sound and light are cut off and then you just float away and let time pass. The session itself is about an hour and a half but it takes more time to really get through the before and after. Before you shower off in a nice area to prepare yourself. After you can shower again to rinse the salt and get ready to go out into the noisy hectic world again.

Costs
The place I went to was $45 for the hour and a half session. It was set up like a spa though where as soon as you walk into the lobby it starts feeling calm already. Toiletries are provided for your shower and the session doesn’t start until you enter the tank. Then there’s plenty of time after the session to shower off again and get ready. No rushing! I’d say I was there for more than 2 hours and all of it was a relaxing experience. That’s technically cheaper than a massage and definitely cheaper than a therapy session for sure!

It was a pretty interesting experience that I liked enough to try again before passing judgement. It was definitely a bit scary since I don’t know how to swim but the water was salty enough that it was extremely easy to float. I didn’t relax completely but hopefully next time I will!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever tried for relaxation?

Airline Travel in Winter Weather

 Photo Credit: howuch via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: howuch via Compfight cc

Flying during wintertime isn’t always the most ideal time as weather delays are pretty likely to happen. When it comes to visiting family though sometimes there really isn’t a choice since I have family all over the US! Usually I can snag a non-stop flight and not have to worry about making a connection. Just this past December though flights were pretty pricey and I decided to make one way a one-stop flight to save a bit of mula. I wish I hadn’t done that but I also could’ve prepared myself better for a possible overnight stay in a city not of my choice.

Non-stop flights are definitely going to be my choice to save on hassle and time. It’ll cost more for sure, but after a bad experience then sometimes it’s worth it! After a nice holiday vacation spent with family I was flying back to LA with one stop. There was some lovely storm weather that made us miss our connection.

Instead of waiting in the customer service line for an hour we booked a hotel and got out of the airport for a bit. Luckily before our first flight had left we had the foresight to see if customer service could save us a spot on the first flight out in the morning just in case we missed the connection. We froze our butts off outside, got ripped off by a cabbie, 4 hours of sleep, and were back at the airport early the next day! I ended up taking the day off from work since I could barely function.

It was not the best experience ever but we didn’t just let it sit there. We contacted the airline’s customer support to see what they could do. Luckily we got vouchers for $200 each at least! Takes the sting out of losing all the mula when we were trying to save mula! Next time we’ll hopefully play it smarter!

Plan ahead for the worst
I’m really glad we have the savings to cover the amount of money we ended up spending. It was stressful enough to be stranded! One thing is to have enough cash on hand in case its needed for times like this. Another is to make sure we pack all our essentials into the carry on bags. We were lucky enough to have jackets on us, but we still weren’t dressed for the 0 degree weather in Denver!

Always ask if there’s anything the airline can do
Many airlines don’t do anything for customers if weather causes problems. In our case the weather was the primary issue, but also because our first flight was delayed because it had been held for other passengers. We also technically were able to make the flight, if all the roller bags on our flight hadn’t been gate-checked because the plane was too small. I did make it to the gate, but they closed the door in front of me and wouldn’t hold the plane for my husband who was waiting for our bag. Always ask to see if there’s anything that can be done because if you don’t ask then you definitely don’t get anything.

Spring for non-stop
I was trying to save money but after everything I lost money! It’s hard to predict when flights will be delayed but I’m going to budget in the extra money for a non-stop flight to save me from getting white hairs.

 

Did you ever try to save money on something and ended up paying more?

 

Going for Your Dreams

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?

 

Planning for the rest of this year

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?