Thursday, April 27, 2006

Reminder: Primerica

Whoo, I got my $100 Target Gift card in the mail! How? Check this out. :-D

Also... for the deaf people living in KC metro, do not forget as tonite is the Primerica presentation taking place..

Thursday, April 27
7:00 pm
Olathe Club for the Deaf
221 South Chestnut Street

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Fusewireless SUCKS

I am writing to inform every reader not to buy anything from Fuse Wireless. They sux. Royally. Big time.

I was comparing prices for Sidekick II last May of 2005 and I would have gone with if not for FuseWireless' offer for "free Sidekick II after rebates". They did not show me the rebates - a warning sign. After I purchased the Sidekick II, they showed me the rebates. And they expired like few days before.

After thousands of emails to Fuse, I got sucky customer support with repetitive explanations from my side that I got ripped off. They told me to send out those two rebates anyway. And they got rejected. DUH. Then the latest - they told me the rebate company went bankrupt and they would pay my rebate to me. I even threatened to contact BBB. Fuse has NO phone number, NO mailing address, or anything. Only BBBonline has that information. It is a year ago. And guess what I got in the email today? An ad from FuseWireless. WHAT A JOKE.

"Remember…. You can always count on Fuse Wireless for the lowest prices on the hottest pagers. And don’t forget… you can shop with confidence on our 100% secure website.

You must Hurry! We only have a very few Sidekick II’s left at this low price. Don’t miss your chance!

P.S. Don’t be tricked by other companies that charge you a high upfront cost and make you mail in two or three confusing rebates. We have the lowest upfront cost around. Log onto today and get yours!"

Wow. What BS. "Dont be tricked by other companies..." I am already tricked by FuseWireless with three rebates and I never got anything in return at all (except for one but it was thru T-Mobile, very reputable company).

Monday, April 24, 2006

2006 New Venture competition at UMKC

Last Saturday morning at 8 am, I showed up at Kaufmann Conference Center in a business suit. It is located in the heart of Kansas City, a very beautiful place. It is near the Plaza, and homes to rich owners. UMKC (University of Missouri- Kansas City) is doing this annual competition for its MBA students - working with new ventures and trying to convince the judges to invest into them.

sComm, the company that created UbiDuo, applied, and its product UbiDuo was chosen by one MBA team. I was asked by sComm to go to the competition and help out with their booth by using UbiDuo with the interested parties.

It was a very interesting experience. I felt like I was in "The Apprentice" where the teams try to compete against each other. I saw other new ventures - like Hallmark's song cards, non-invasive diabetic analysis (not sure how to spell that one correct; meaning you do not use needle to check your sugar level), and a substance that replaces transfat.

I felt like a salesperson, talking to numerous judges one by one thru the UbiDuo, answering, and convincing them to choose us. Another deaf man was there also, on one side. I was on the other side.

The whole point of this is networking. I got to meet more people, who are well-known in the community - investors, business owners, and millionaires. This reminds me of Erin Casler's article in latest NADmag, which was about networking. She spoke about networking through the "Smithies". She graduated from Smith College, and she still networks with Smithies all over, even if they do not know each other. It was like the 'old boys network', but for women.

Networking is very important thing to advance from where you are today, either career-wise or personally. In order to climb the ladder, you get to meet more people who might help you to climb. Same thing for advocating. If you know the people "on the inside", you might be able to get your support for a bill to be passed (or to fail).

Friday, April 21, 2006

April: Bad Budgetting Month for Food

*gulp* I checked my MoneyClip 2.0 for my budget so far for the month of April on food. 95% has been spent on restaurants since April 1 :( and only mere 5% on groceries.

What is happening to me??

In the several previous months, I have successfully suppressed the restaurants by 65% (65% groceries, 35% restaurants, with $200 limit monthly). And now April, out of blue, restaurant spending is 95%.

I suspect it is because of spring in the air. Being out all the time, eating out. And not in mood to shop for food. I am also having my tiles installed on Tuesday, and my refrigerator will be disconnected (I think) for 2 days, so I am trying to get my refrigerator as empty as possible. Is that an excuse for myself? Maybe.

And, if you are interested - Wild Oats is having 25% off organic produce sale, ending April 23. That's going to be the same price as regular food that non-organic people buy at food stores such as Hen House, Dillards, or Price Chopper, but more healthy!

Shop away ...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

At-Home Consulting

Yesterday a representative from Primerica contacted me to schedule a meeting. Yay! I am going to get my finances reviewed and a free consultation. He will come over my home this Friday at 7 pm. Also I am hoping to get involved with their presentation being taken place at Olathe Deaf Club next Thursday, as it is my desire to help the deaf community.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Primerica coming to YOU at Olathe Deaf Club

Thursday, April 27
7:00 pm
Olathe Club for the Deaf
221 South Chestnut Street

Primerica ( is presenting about financial management. Come and learn what it can do for you. Their consultation service is free and they are very motivated to talk to deaf people! Do not miss!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Shoes Galore!

You can disown me as the Queen of Frugality. ::whimpers::

In 2 weekends span... I have bought seven pairs of shoes.... SEVEN.

And after 8 hours of shopping for shoes last Saturday with my chaperone Angela, I have became disconnected with the reality of buying shoes. And this newfound addiction grew on me - buy buy more shoes more shoes. Wow.

Of course there is a justification :) those shoes are for the NAD pageant this summer. Angela and I will be in California for 12 days, under scrunity and the spotlight. And I only had those umm sneakers, college style pairs.. "teenager"-style shoes. So I guess I was due for a long haul though.

Those shoes are for cocktail wear, evening dress wear, sun dress wear, and et cetera, with summer in mind (translation: sandals). And I know most of them I will wear again (except for the formal evening dress wear - when will I wear an evening dress again?)

Shoes shoes. I am trying to avoid being Carrie from Sex and the City which she would buy $300+ for a pair. Out of those 7 shoes, the lowest price was $20 and the highest was $50. The average was $30, so my frugality did come into play :). I think $30 for a pair is very reasonable.

Friday, April 14, 2006

26 issues of Forbes for $3. No Kidding.

I just purchased a subscription for 26 issues of Forbes for $3!!! It is a good financial magazine and well known.

I found this information thru

Or you can go to and look for cheapest magazines.

No catch. Just make sure you notify them you want to stop the subscription right before it ends or it will automatically renew you. More gems

Cosmopolitan $11.25 for 13 issues
Glamour $5.40 for 12 issues!!!

Im officially in heaven. It is so terribly tempting to buy many subscriptions but I am sticking to Forbes. For now. I think. Although Kiplinger's Personal Finance subscription is tempting... $4 for 36 issues...I have 1 issue and it is pretty good.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Gandhi knows his finances

"As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything, you should keep it. If you were to give it up in a mood of self-sacrifice or out of a stern sense of duty, you would continue to want it back, and that unsatisfied want would make trouble for you. Only give up a thing when you want some other condition so much that the thing no longer has any attraction for you, or when it seems to interfere with that which is more greatly desired."-- Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi has the answer to personal finances.

Points he made:

Don't force yourself to give up things just because you should, because it'll hurt more than it'll help.

Identify your priorities and goals, and use them to make decisions about what's worth spending on.

Figure out what things genuinely bring you "inner help and comfort."

Found this at Gandhi on budgeting check there for the author's insights.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

highway robbery.

This guy has a 21% interest for his car loan?!

My coworker Brian showed me this. First thing I said was whoa.

If he does not have very bad credit, then this is highway robbery.

People, when you are looking for a specific loan, shop around and compare rates and fees. Or you will be robbed.

Anyway, this Q&A article is very good one. There are some loan companies that will secretly add "pre payment penalty" to the loan - if you try to pay the loan off early, you get penalized (paying more). Yes, like credit cards, loans can be evil, my friend.

And, paying a bit more toward your loan always helps alot because it reduces the interest paying in long term.

"In fact, to encourage you, let's take a look at what an additional $100 payment per month would look like: You would save $3,010.37 in interest payments and pay off your loan 17 months earlier. You should send two separate checks to your creditor and mark the extra $50 check as an additional principal payment so there is no confusion as to what you are paying. "

$3,010.37 is indeed alot to save if you only make an extra $100 monthly. Or even extra $50 instead, although the money you save will be lower but nevertheless significant.

And, please, don't get a 21% interest loan. I'm sure there's other ways to get a car loan even if you have incredulously bad credit. I think. Or do not get a car.

Though, getting out a loan on a car is not a good thing, though many Americans, including myself, are doing it. Most of the time, we have no choice but to take out a loan on the car. Why is this a bad thing? All cars are depreciating assets. You are paying interest for something that depreciates in value. That is a total waste of money.

Getting out a loan on a house is fine, because often, the house will increase in value, which the car will not. And you sell the house, and you get all of the money back, plus profit, to offset the loss you were paying in interest (if your house is doing well, that is).

You cannot sell the car and get the money back to cover up for the loss in interest payments. That is why some of people do not consider cars as assets, because they are always losing their values. I don't consider my car as an asset but there is nothing wrong with considering your car as part of your assets.

The best way to buy a car, of course, is to pay full in front. Some people I know are saving so they can buy their cars in full without a loan. That is a smart thing to do, because that way you do not pay extra toward a depreciating asset. I hope I can do that for my next car.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Most expensive "item" in my home

Although I couldnt call Socks an item. He is part of my family. He turns 2 today!

There are some things that are priceless. Having a pet is one of them (you might say a child, but please do not mention it to me, eew).

I got him at Wayside Waifs animal shelter in KC,MO in February of 2005, so it has been a bit more than a year since I owned Socks.

Since I started budgetting in July 2005, so my data is only accurate from 7/1/2005 to now. I have paid a total of $2112.00 on him. That doesn't count February 2005 to June 2005, which included the $100 fee of getting him, leashes, food, vet shots, toys. I estimate $3000.

So - do not get a dog if you think you cannot afford it, or if your job is instable. They are priceless to us, yet expensive, to satisfy them.

Oh how could I forget the tile work. That is around $1900. $1900 + $3000 = ~$5000. Why am I including the tile installation in the pet cost, you ask. It was due to Socks' anxiety in Spring 2005 that destroyed the kitchen and hallway flooring. He also ate numerous of other items (blackberry recharger being one of them).

I hope that is a wake up call for those who are considering a dog. Be prepared for huge financial loss.

Oh who can resist this dog ? Happy birthday, Socks!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Credit cards - good or evil

Wowow look at the stats

$1.7 trillion Total consumer credit.
$8,562 Credit card debt carried by the average American.
$50 billion Total finance charges Americans paid in 2001.
$1.6 billion Market capitalization of AT&T -- the entire corporation.
78% Percent of U.S. households deemed "credit worthy" by the lending industry.
1.3 million Number of credit card holders declaring bankruptcy last year.

As usual.. credit cards are evil. Yet they are good - they let you to borrow free for 30 days.

1. Convenience -- How much cash can your wallet hold?
2. Budgeting Technology -- Lenders track spending for you
3. Reputation Boosting -- Can build credit worthiness
4. The Float -- You can borrow free for 30 days
5. Openness to Negotiations -- Your business is wanted, ask away
6. Corporate Might -- Can get help with retail disputes
7. Cops and Robbers -- Protects your cash from fraud

well, *gasps* when are ever credit cards revered as goodness?

"Despite the lending industry's less-than-centered ways, credit cards can be a tool for good in the hands of a savvy consumer." Yep. They are good only if you are a savvy wolf... I mean customer.

Why they are pure evil:

1. Applying for a Mortgage? We'll Bump Up Your APR.
2. Beware Two-Cycle Billing
3. Prepare to Pay More
4. Overseas Rip-Offs
5. If You Don't Use Our Card, We'll Punish You

Resources above and above are ripped off from Good information on there. Credit cards are so easy to abuse. Please be careful and read the fine lines. They are not free cash. Some companies charge you for NOT using them. Or increasing your APR if your card is inactive for a certain period of time.

Home Depot is the Winner!

Yesterday after work I went to Home Depot. The quote was 2148.10 pre tax (around $34 in taxes), adding up to $2182.10. I picked out the grout color, and I told the guy I wanted to go ahead and purchase the order for tile installation. Home Depot has this 10% off installation sale ending April 19, so the guy took 10% off my quote. I gave him my 10% coupon that I got from online. He said that only could be taken off materials not labor. I said sure thats fine with me. That saved me extra $48.

Final price after ~18.99% discount: $1920.10.

But wait. My Citi Dividend card is doing this special ending May 31 - giving me 5% off any home improvement purchases. So I charged the amount of the quote on my CitiDividend card.

$1920.10 x .95 = $1824.10

Final price: $1824.10
Saved: $324.00

Hooray! Well yes it is cheaper ($350) to do the tiling myself. If I am going to have a professional installing, at least I will go for the best deal possible.

For those who are interested in my tile pick, it is the Niagara Terra ceramic tile. I think it looks close to this, if not identical.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

state the obvious would ya...

Local contractor: $3093.47 (without tiles and grout)

Lowes: $2589.66 ( without trim moulding, grout, tiles)

Home Depot: ~$2300 (without removal of tiles for foyer)

I decided not to do the tiling for the foyer (front door entry) as my dad said he could do it. The reason for this is that Home Depot refused to remove the tiles because they are mud based (??). So the price should go down by around $300 or so.

Which store/contractor am I going with for my tiling project? Ain't it so obvious....

Saturday, April 01, 2006

My patio is pwetty

I was browsing thru the Bed Bath Beyond ad that came in mail a while ago and saw this patio set that I liked. The ad came with $5 coupon (do not throw them away - give them to me hehe). I also have bunch of 20% off coupons.

What I did:
Buy 2 chairs ($30 each, $60 total)
Buy 2 chair pads ($10 each, $20 total)
Buy 1 table ($20)
Total: $100

I used $5 on one chair pad. ($100 - $5 = $95)
I used one 20% coupon on each chair. ($95 - $12 = $83)
I got $5 off the table cuz it was opened and it was last one in stock ($83 - $5 = $78)
I used $5 off $15 purchare or more from CitiBank ad ($78 - $5 = $73)
I used my Citi Dividend card which gives 5% return on home purchases ($73 - $3.65 = $69.35)
Original total: $100.00
Total actual paid: $69.35
I saved: $30.65

And what did I get? A pwetty patio :)