Thursday, September 30, 2010

Portland Bound!

We're heading out this afternoon to spend a long weekend in Portland, Oregon.

The occasion?

The Mr's 10 year High School reunion!

We'll also get spend time with his family and friends, as well as go wine tasting out in Dundee and eat dinner at an amazing steakhouse in Downtown Portland.

Full recap when we return!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dream Jobs

Lately, work has been killing my free time! Sorry for being so MIA.

Although I love my job and it would take a lot to get me to leave it, I sometimes think about what I would do if I could have any job in the world.

I came up with five dream jobs that I'd love to have...

1. Professional Organizer


I live for organizing. The Container Store is pretty much my heaven. When I was young I'd help my friends clean out their closets.

I'd love to help people organize their homes and lives for a living.

2. Winemaker

It's no secret that I love wine -- tasting it, buying it, drinking it. I love visiting vineyards -- seeing the grapes, the barrel rooms, the tasting rooms. I just think it would be so fun to own a vineyard and make our own wine.

3. Restaurateur

I'm also a foodie. I'd love to come up with fun restaurant idea, pick the menus, and entertain patrons. I know owning a restaurant is a tough and risky business but if I could make it work, I'd love it. Plus this is something that I think the Mr. and I would love doing together.

4. Party Planner


I had SO much fun planning my wedding. I make inspiration boards and help people come up with party and wedding ideas. There are just endless amazing ideas out there for parties.

5. CEO/Leader/Owner of a Small Business

I know, this one is vague. But I think it would be amazing to start some kind of small business with friends or associates. I'm not talking about starting the next Facebook or something, but owning some kind of small business where we can make a living, have fun, and do something meaningful.

Now tell me, what are YOUR dream jobs?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's Game Day Baby! Trojans!

Today is the University of Southern California's first home game.

The Mr. and I are huge USC fans. We met there. We go to every home game. We pretty much bleed Cardinal and Gold.

2009 was definitely not the best football season in USC history, but we still had a blast at all the games -- tailgating, cheering, and lovin' our alma mater.

{Best-of 2009 USC games montage}

But the 2010 off-season was downright awful, with Pete Carroll leaving and the insanely harsh NCAA sanctions against USC (note: I don't know who I loathe more, the greedy jerk Reggie Bush, or the NCAA for making an example out of USC). I know lots of people are happy to see USC fall from grace and that a lot of fair weather fans have abandoned the Trojans. But you know what....

I'm just happy that I can once again put my USC gear on and loudly declare that IT'S GAME DAY BABY!

Heck, even Judah's ready for the game!

(Maybe we'll leave the game on TV for him at home so he can watch. Just kidding.)

Seriously, for me there is almost no greater feeling in the world than walking through USC's campus as it's teeming with tailgaters, and then stepping into a jam-packed Coliseum to watch USC take the field.

I love the fall. I love USC. Sanctions be damned. IT'S GAME DAY BABY!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

More on Money

Work has been crazy, so I don't have too much to blog about. So, I thought I'd talk more about one of my favorite topics that I know everyone loves... money and savings.

First of all, thank you so much for all of your awesome comments on our "Year of Money Tracking and Budgeting" post. And thank you to the fantastic money-saving blog, "Lean with Green" for the praise as well! You guys all rock.

Many of you asked about the spreadsheet I use to track our money. So I "scrubbed" our money tracking and budgeting spreadsheet of all of the real numbers and made every number equal $100 and posted it to google documents here.

Note: You must have basic knowledge of MS Excel and Excel formulas to use this multi-tabbed spreadsheet. But if you do know how to use Excel, you'll see that the formulas are already in there for you. You just need to download the document and plug in your own numbers. You'll need to add more tabs for each month of the year.

Our big financial goal this year is to do steps 1-4 of Dave Ramsey's Seven Baby Steps. We've already completed step 1! And step 2 shouldn't be that hard because we don't have any credit card debt.

Have any of you done Dave Ramsey?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A Year of Money Tracking and Budgeting

Today is September 1st, which means it's the first day of our "fiscal year." That's right, the Mr. and I, as a "family", have a fiscal year. Yup, we're crazy like that.

This all started on our first wedding anniversary where we decided that every year we'd set goals for the following year. One of our goals for last year was to start tracking our money spent and start managing to a budget.

So for the last year I've been tracking all of the money that come in, goes out, and is saved in a giant excel spreadsheet with formulas. Every. Single. Dollar. Yes, it was tough, but so worth it!

Now today marks one year of finance tracking and budget management! To celebrate I ran some "analytics" of our year of spending to share with the Mr.

I always think it's interesting and helpful to understand how people spend their money, so I wanted to share some "fun facts" from my personal financial analysis with you all:

  • We spent 45% of our take home income* on our mortgage, HOA dues, insurance, property tax, utilities such as lights, internet, etc. (Yup, home ownership in California is expensive!)
  • We spent 12% of our take home income on food and drinks (including eating out and groceries/wine)
  • We spent 10% of take home income on traveling (much of that was the Europe Trip)
  • We only saved 5% of our take home income this year (one of this year's goals is to improve that next year!)
  • The biggest single purchases of the year were plane tickets to Europe, the kitchen backsplash, the new Stearns and Foster mattress, the Mr's snowboard, USC Football Season Tickets, the iPad, and the new kitchen lighting.
  • In a year we made 13 trips to Costco, averaging $217.52 per trip.
  • In a year we made 35 trips to Fresh & Easy, averaging $20.63 per trip.
  • The restaurant that I most frequented this year was Speciality's. I went 20 times this year! That's because it's right by my client's office in Northern California.
  • Other restaurants that we frequent are Subway, Starbucks, Pinkberry, and Buonos (a little pizza place near our home).
  • The clothing stores I shop at the most at are DSW (all of my work shoes!) and Nordstrom.

The best part about tracking spending for a whole year is that now I have great data to plan this year's budget. I'll drink to that. Cheers!

Another item is crossed off the Baby Bucket List!

*Take home income = money after taxes, 401Ks, medical insurance, and tithing
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