Category Archives: PF Confession

Stuff I Bought (July & August 2012)

So, I’ve been spending bleeding money for the past two months and I have a lot to show for it.  This post was inspired by Mochi & Macaron’s monthly post of what she buys 🙂 [check out what she bought in August!].

I previously mentioned that I started a new job in June, and my new work place’s dress code is more business casual than the jeans I wore on a daily basis.  For the first month, I was alternating between 2 pencil skirts, and 1 pair of dress pants*.  I had a pair of white linen cropped pants which I wore on “casual” Fridays, but I felt it was too “casual” to wear between Monday – Thursday.  I needed an updated and more sophisticated wardrobe.

Anyway, there were just so many great deals in July and August for things that were on my “list” that I just went a little bonkers and bought  A LOT.  Keep reading below for an inventory! 🙂

Fashion/Clothes

Clarks Flats – $70 (on sale)

I’ve been searching for the perfect pair of basic, comfortable, black flats, since, well, FOREVER.  I love Clark’s shoes, even though a lot of their styles are a little “cloggish” to me, they also carry sleeker styles, which are really comfortable and quite affordable for amount of wear.  I would have preferred the flats without the bow, but these were just so comfortable, that I couldn’t walk away (no pun intended).

Clarks Brown Sandal – $70 (on sale)

I had a pair of beloved brown wedges from Clarks which I sadly left behind in a hotel last summer.  I called the hotel several times to ask them to send it back to me, but I never did receive it :(.  I don’t have many pairs of sandals (summers are short in Canada), but I prefer a brown strapped sandal over a black strapped sandal.  I stand at a towering 5’3″, and I find the brown sandal helps to lengthen my legs, as opposed to a black sandal which truncates my leg.

Payless Black Pumps – $25

The last time I bought a pair of shoes from Payless was in university, and I remember them not being very comfortable or of good quality, so I’ve stayed away.  Then, I was in Payless with my mom looking for a pair of running shoes (she wanted a specific pair my sister got there), and noticed their “Comfort Plus Basic” line.  These shoes were the exact classic, almond toed, 2.5″ basic black pump that I have been searching for!  I’ve been wearing them all week at work, and can attest that they are indeed a great work shoe at an awesome bargain!

Ann Taylor Patent Leather Skinny Belts $46USD (on sale)

I love leather skinny belts!  I experimented with a cheap H&M neon skinny belt, and I’ve been wearing it so much that it’s all frayed now.  So, when I saw an Ann Taylor patent neon yellow skinny on sale, I couldn’t resist!  Then, I saw the patent black leather on sale, and I couldn’t resist that either…

J Crew Minnie Wool Pants – $118 USD

I’ve been hearing so many rave reviews about the Minnies [thanks, Mochi!] that I had to try them out on my recent trip to the USA.  I walk about 2.5km to and from work every day, and I do it in flats, so I really wanted some nice tapered work pants, that wouldn’t drag on the ground in flats.  There were almost the perfect pair of work pants – they fit me very well, had belt loops (seriously, why make pants without belt loops?), and had a bit of stretch.  My only qualm is that I wish the wool was lined!!

Leopard Print Infinity Scarf $20

I’ve been searching for the perfect leopard print scarf, and I even bought one in Hong Kong, only to be unsatisfied.  So this one is really perfect.  The material is soft, and the print is perfect.

Gap Coral Jeans $30 (on sale)

I am completed in love with Duchess Kate’s wardrobe and I loved her coral jeans.  I had a pair of cobalt blue Gap jean leggings from February (but then I botched them in the washing machine – doh!), so when I came across these coral ones, I knew it was fate :).  These jeans are super comfy and bring some much needed colour in my boring vanilla wardrobe.

Talulu Navy Shorts $35 (on sale)

I don’t usually shop at Aritzia [how teenagers afford it is beyond me], but these shorts caught my eye and my co-worker talked me into it.  I’m glad I got them because these shorts are so comfy and chic.  I’ve worn them almost everyday since I got them!

Ralph Lauren Aviators $120 (on sale)

I’ve been craving a pair of aviators since last summer.  I love the lassez-faire, yet glamorous look to them, and I love that most of them come with polarized lens.  These pair of Ralphs are made for women, so they aren’t as overwhelmingly large as some unisex aviators were on my smaller framed face.

Beauty

Urban Decay Naked Palette – $60

I’ve been eyeing the Naked palette since it first came out, and haven’t been able to bite the bullet.  In fact, I bought several other palettes which were “dupes” (i.e., Sephora moonbaked, QUO smokey eye palettes, NYC, etc) for the Naked, but not quite.  So, I used a $25 gift card and scooped up the original Naked palette.  And as I paid for it, the SA mentioned that she’s seen me in the Shoppers Drugmart before petting looking at the palette…

Cover FX Concealer – $24

I have been having such a hard time with breakouts this summer.  I’ve heard great things about Cover FX, and I wanted to try their concealer.  I love it!  It’s got great coverage and I only use a tiny dot for my blemishes and under eyes.

Cover FX Blotting Powder – $22

I’ve been using the MAC blotting powder religiously for the past 4 years, but lately, I’ve been finding the powder falls apart as soon as I hit pan, and I wasted so much make-up that way.  *sigh*  I gave Cover FX a try, as I have been quite satisfied with their products and their price points are comparable to MAC.   So far, I really like this powder – I use it with the concealer and it’s awesome.

Home

IKEA Statement Full Length Mirror – $80

I haven’t had a (non-warped) full-length mirror, and I think that I will need one in order to work on my style.  I also think that large statement mirrors not only add a perception of more space in a room, but also just looks so elegant.

Used Wooden Dresser – $25

I haven’t owned a real dresser, ever.  I really needed a dresser  (my closet is pretty small), and I wanted to put my “vanity area” on the top surface of my dresser.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, I decided to use a used dresser as my project – I will need to sand down the dresser and paint it.  The dresser above is a similar dresser – I couldn’t find my camera to snap a pic.

Used Antique Mirror – $25

I saw a beautiful antique mirror as I was browsing for my dresser on Kijiji, so I picked it up, as well.  The mirror I got is a similar shape, but has been painted a mint green, so I will have a little project to strip the paint, sand it down, and repaint.

IKEA Step Stools (2) – $30

I saw these little guys and thought one would make a great little night stand – I asked BF to cut a piece of wood to fit in the bottom for a shelf.  The second step stool, I was use as a purse holder, since I tend to just drop by bag on the floor when I get home.

Shark Clothes Steamer – $65 (on sale)

I hate ironing.  And it was on sale for half price.  Fate, I tell you.

Shark Steam Mop – $50 (my half – on sale)

My new apartment has all hardwood floors, and as beautiful as it looks, it was tough to keep clean.  Not to mention  both my sister and I hate mopping.  This little guy is AMAZING, and it was also half off.  Done.

Miscellaneous hooks, filing, storage –  $100 (guestimate)

I bought a bunch of stuff to help organize my closet, including an extra rail to increase closet space, some velour hangers, purse holders and some hooks.

Gifts

Ray Ban Aviators $190 (on sale)Not only was a very generous to myself this month, I was also generous to others :). BF was going to do his MBA, and I’ve wanted to get him a pair of nice polarized sunglasses for the longest time [we’ve been quasi sharing my old banged up polarized pair for the past few years].  He wore them as soon as we got outdoors, and kept exclaiming how everything was so clear!  Adorable 🙂

GPS – $180 ($60 is my portion – on sale)

It was my dad’s birthday in August, and my sisters and I pitched in to get him a GPS.  Even though, my dad kept saying he didn’t need one, and listed out a gazillion reasons why he didn’t need one, he secretly wanted one.  So, we got him one that also speaks Cantonese (quite common), and he can use all over North America.  He loved it.

In conclusion

Total spent on “just stuff”, as Gail would say: $1,264 + taxes = $1,401.

Whew!  Even though this is a lot of money, it’s not so bad now that I have it written out.

Please note:  I assumed $1USD = $1CND, as the Canadian Dollar is basically at parity.  Items which I didn’t add a 13% tax are USD items and my used items.

Sooo… what did you buy in August and July?  I’d love to hear about your purchases 🙂

Cheers,

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PF Confession: I did something really dumb

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I’m not going to lie, I love it when my networth goes up a month.  I feel a great sense of pride whenever I see that happen and I like sharing it (even though sometimes, it can seem a bit “boastful”).  But you know what?  It’s just as important to share times where I messed up.   Sometimes, I mess up really bad.

2 Delinquency Reports on my Credit Report

I finally got my credit report in February of this year, and I was pretty happy that I got a cool 767 credit rating.  However, even though I got my rating,  I didn’t really read everything – because if I did, I would have seen that on one credit card which I closed there were 2 reports of delinquency.

Yikes.

How did this happen?

I closed a credit card that I wasn’t using very much since I was having trouble keeping track of my cards.  What I didn’t realize was that even after a credit card is closed, pre-authorized payment will still go through.

I have my credit card statements sent to my parent’s home and I rely on my online banking to keep me up to date.  Usually I don’t open the paper statements since I can see it all online.  Or so I thought. It turns out that when I closed my account, they closed my online account so I couldn’t see what was going on in my account.  I assumed that nothing was going on.

Fast forward several months, and I randomly open a statement – I was in shock that my measly cellphone bill had been racking up interest – and was UNPAID.  I called TD to figure out why a payment still went through even after the card was closed and learned my important lesson.  I paid off the balance, and kinda hoped it would go away.

Really dumb, right?

Trying to Fix it

I called TD and tried to explain what happened.  I also pleaded my case that I have always paid my bills on time, and this was a one-time occurrence with a payment that went through after I closed my card.  Their argument was that it wasn’t their fault since they had sent me my statements even though my online account was never updated.  They refused to do anything.

Lessons Learned

This happened in 2010, and will be on my record until 2016 (6 years).  Live and learn, I guess.  Now I am super careful to make sure to update to check the balance is paid off on all my cards, even after a few months of having them closed.

Readers, have you ever done something this stupid?  Did you know that pre-authorized payments still go through a credit card even after you close it?

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Confession: A Long Distance Relationship (LDR)

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A lot of things have been on my mind lately, and one that I can’t keep from writing about any longer is a very likely long distance relationship in the near future for BF and myself. BF has been applying for MBA programs and he has been accepted to some of the world’s finest, with full tuition paid to boot. He has worked very hard, and he is so smart, and I am so proud of him and excited.

But another part of me is really scared and dreading the long distance relationship. BF and I have done LDR before when he was traveling for work, but it was never for that long. We’d go 3 to 6 weeks without seeing each other, before his company flew him back (and into my arms!). But things are going to be a bit harder now (and more expensive!).

My Plan

At first, I didn’t have a plan going forward, and I hate that. I’m a planning type of girl! I like plans.

Then, I started thinking some more and I knew that I needed a plan or else these 2 – 3 years will pass by very, very slowly and possibly painfully. After BF decides which school and program he will accept, we can work out a schedule for visiting and seeing one another and how we can stay in touch and be a part of each other’s lives.

Two years may seem like a long time, but it also means having summer and Christmas holidays. With summer holidays, he will only be away 8 months at a time, and I’m pretty sure that I can go see him at least once or twice during that time, or him come back. So, I will be focusing on the 2-3 months we will be apart instead of the 2-3 years.

I will need figure out my new budget for traveling and also see if there is a better rewards card which can make it worth it.

Self Improvement

I used to have my hands full between work, sports and maybe even taking a course. Now, I’ve gotten lazy, and only have been going to work and vegging at home (awful, I know).

I need to kick it up a notch, and look into ways to improve myself.

Option 1: Take a course or Write a Test

I’ve been curious about writing the first CFA test. I would like to learn more about finances and perhaps advance my degree in that direction, as opposed to just doing technical engineering. I think this would be a good first step, and also keep my busy and learning.

Option 2: Enroll in a MBA Program Part-time

This obviously takes a lot more commitment and planning than Option 1, but it’s not off my radar.

I’ve told myself that I won’t pursue more education until I feel a real need for it- such as a roadblock in my career. However, if I have the flexibility at work to work 9 – 5, I think that doing 2 courses a week would be do-able.

Even though the thought of being apart of my BF for so long is daunting, having a plan makes it a lot less scary. Well-heeled also had a great article about how her and her husband to be will be getting ahead financially by doing long distance.

Have you been in a long distance relationship with your sweetie? How do you guys cope with being apart? What made up your plan to work on yourself and your relationship?

Cheers,

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PF Confession: My Teenager Jobs

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When I saw Young and Thrifty’s post on her worst jobs held as a teenager, I couldn’t help by smile and think back to own horror stories learning experiences.

When I turned 16, I desperately wanted to work part-time to supplement my meager $5 a week allowance.  I wanted to make extra money for 2 reasons: (i) to save for my education (ii) to buy clothes.  My parents were adamant and refused to let me take on a part-time job during the school year for fear it would interfere with my studies; however, they were open to me working during the summer break.

During the summer of grade 11, I started my first job ever.

1. Pantry Staff

I worked at a summer camp in Orillia as a “pantry staff”.  We stayed in the (nasty) cabins onsite and were responsible for all the cleaning/preparation of the dining hall and serving meals for the campers.  This included preparing the dining area (setting tables, chairs, utensils), cleaning of dining hall, cleaning of dishes – for all meals.

The work week was 6 days a week, but since Orillia is a 3-hour drive from Toronto (aka out in the middle of nowhere to a city girl, like myself), we had to accumulate our “days off”, thus most of the staff worked 7 days a week.  The days were long, started around 6:30 – 7:00am in the morning with a very short break between meals (usually 30min), and ending between 11:00pm and midnight.

I was exhausted every day.  The last straw was when my acne flared right back up, due to all the stress and lack of sleep.  And I lasted about 2 weeks before I quit.

There was a “completion bonus” of about $2,000 in my contract.  Which is the sneakiest thing ever – if you ever see something like that in a contract – RUN!  When I told the director I was quitting, he reminded me of the completion bonus and told me that I could expect a cheque for no more than about $60 if I decided to leave.  I left anyway, and I got a cheque for $300 a couple weeks later.

Worst job ever.

2. Donut maker

After my failed attempt at my first summer job, I sent out my application everywhere.  I was hopeful – I now had some “experience” even if it was only 2 weeks.

I got a job at a local amusement park making donuts.

It paid minimum wage, but I was over the moon.  I only had to work 6 to 8 hour shifts and I easily made way more money while working less than I had at my previous job!

Bonus: I got a free season’s pass to the amusement park.

3. McDonald’s

I worked as a cashier full-time during the summer and then convinced my parents to let me work part-time during the school year if I kept my grades up.

Even though many people came out of McDonald’s with horror stories, I come out of my 1 year stint relatively unscathed.  The work schedule was extremely flexible, and I mostly worked on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays.   Often times, I’d work 6:00am to 2:00pm on Saturday and Sundays, and still had lots of time to homework/group projects, while still making about $200 per pay cheque during the school year.

Bonus: The McDonald’s I worked at was out in the middle of nowhere, and so I wasn’t able to blow my paycheques at the mall.

4. Ride Operator

During my last summer before entering university, I decided the leave the glamorous world of the fast food industry and move onto amusement park rides.  The ride operator position paid more than minimum wage (what I was getting in the fast food industry), and I was rolling in the dough making $9 an hour in the summer of 2003.

Turns out that the summer of 2003 was when the tourism industry was really slow – it was the SARS scare, and instead of having 5 – 7 shifts a week, I was only getting about 3 – 4.  But, I had a great summer hanging out in the sun, making new friends, and enjoying my season pass on my days off with my friends.

5. Math & Science Tutor

Since math was a strong suit of mine, my high school teachers encouraged me to tutor fellow classmates and lower grade students.

I learned that a lot of people who don’t “get” math, are simply missing a lot of fundamentals, but expect a “quick fix” from a tutor.  I usually go over class notes and examples with my students, and try to take them through the steps, at a slower pace.  We’d also go over assignments or past tests and I’d go over where and how they lost marks, and how to improve their future scores.

This was my most lucrative gig at $15 – $20 per hour cash.  But I also only worked 1 to 2 hours at a time.

Summary

There you have it!  All the jobs I held as a teenager.

Growing in a poor family, I always had a fear that I would not be able to afford attending university, which was the main motivation for me to work.  Even though these jobs aren’t super high paying, I manager to scrounge together about $8,000 in the 3 years I worked prior to entering university.

I think it’s really important to work part-time, or know (some) hardship, so one can truly appreciate the value of a dollar.  And I hope it’s a lesson I am able to pass on to my kids someday.

Readers, what kind of jobs did you hold during your teenage years and what did you learn?  What was your motivation for working at a young age?

Cheers,

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PF Confession: I Bought 10 Pairs of Shoes

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Blogs – I ❤ thee

I love reading blogs.  It’s so much fun to read, and I learn so much.

Before reading fashion blogs, I was never really interested in online shopping.  I am the type of girl who likes to try things on before I make the commitment, and unfortunately, online shopping doesn’t let me do that.  Until…

I realized that many bloggers buy things online – from sales, stacking coupon codes, etc, and then they try on the items in the comfort of their own home, and they can return the items if they don’t fit/like it.

Can I get a Hallelujah? 🙂

Shopping Online

I felt like I got a free pass with shopping online, whenever I had the option of getting a full refund for whatever it is I am buying.  It took the guess work out of ordering something online, and truly made the shopping process more enjoyable for me.

See a good sale and hate to rummage through piles of discarded clothes, only to find the only shirt in your size is ripped?  Why not shop online and have access to the store’s entire warehouse inventory?

Return Policies

In my small venture into the online shopping world, it is very important to understand the return policies of the stores you are shopping at.  Some stores have final sales on clearance/sale items, or perhaps you can only return for a store credit, as opposed to a full refund.

Make sure you read carefully and understand the return policy before checking out!

My 10 Pairs of Shoes

A couple weeks ago when I saw Red Flag Deals tweet an awesome shoe sale at MySpringShoes.com, I couldn’t help but take a peak.  They still had quite a selection left of shoes marked at 50 – 70% off regular price, with a coupon code for an additional 15% off.  Some of the shoes I got came to under $10 after taxes!!

I quickly checked Spring’s return policy, and it was exactly what I hoped for.  Full refund in the original form of payment for ALL items, including clearance items.  A few clicks, and $225 later, 10 pairs of shoes were enroute to me.

Of course, I didn’t keep all 10 pairs (what?  Did you think I was crazy?!).  I ended up keeping 2 pairs which I really liked.   These are the two I kept.  Cute, eh?  And the best part, they cost ~$65 total 🙂

Crazy?

Maybe buying 10 pairs of shoes was crazy of me.  I know that when BF saw my backseat full of shoe boxes, he thought I might have gone insane but I reassured him that I had a plan!

My plan also included parking at the mall entrance closest to the Spring shoe store, and him helping me carry back the 8 boxes of shoes to be returned. 😉

Conclusion

Next time, I may be more selective in ordering, since it was a pain to carry all the shoes back to the store.  But I did score a great deal on 2 pairs of shoes!

Readers, do you shop online?  And have you bought a lot of things, only to try them on and return the ones you don’t want?

Cheers,

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PF Confession: My Make-up Stash

Readers, I have a confession to make.  I have been hooked on buying make-up.

In the last several months, I grown my stash of make-up brushes, lipsticks and eye shadows by… a lot.  I now know the difference between shimmering and matte eye shadows, matte and cream lipsticks, an eyebrow brush and an eye liner brush.

Beauty Bloggers

I have discovered the world of beauty bloggers.  And I have been avidly reading their reviews on pigmentation of different eye shadows and lipsticks and have even ran out to grab some items from my local drugstore.  Because if it’s a holy grail item for a beauty blogger, it must be pretty darn amazing!!

These beauty bloggers are serious about beauty.  When they review a product, they do a thorough job.  Reviews usually include (but are not limited to) texture, usability, staying power, scents, pigmentation, allergic reaction(s) and even cost (sometimes).  When I read a good review, I feel like I really get to know a product… and then I want it.  Bad.

Even though I am still a PF blogger at heart, I still want to join in on the fun.  So, even though I can’t get my paws on Yves Saint Laurent, I can still have fun with Revlon and other drugstore (and more wallet friendly) brands. And maybe my expectations were set too low, but I have found a lot of great stuff at my local drugstore!  My current favourite make-up brands include MAC, Revlon, Wet n Wild, Joe Fresh, Marcelle and Maybelline.

My Stash

I won’t bore you with too many details, but I’ve had some great hauls recently with all the holiday sales going on.

My favourite purchases so far have been my L’Oreal HiP Metallic Eye shadow in Gun Metal (306), Wet n Wild Comfort Zone palette (738), Revlon Matte Lipstick in Fabulous Fig (009), Marcelle tinted moisturizer and Revlon Colorstay Liquid Liner.

Moving Forward

I also must delete the Shoppers Drugmart app from my iPod.  It has been a huge enabler for me.  It just makes it so  too easy to view their flyer.  The latest damage occurred on January 15th, as I saw my favourite Revlon lippies were on sale for $3.99 (reg. price $10.49).  I made an executive decision that Berry Rich & Plumalicious were good candidates (who knew that I would love plum lip colours so much?), and that I indeed needed a red lip liner so that I can actually wear my red lipstick without looking like Chuck.

So I am all stocked up and there is no reason to buy any more make-up (after January – oops!).

Readers, have you discovered the awesome world that of beauty bloggers??  If so, have you been able to resist temptation?

Cheers,

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Confession: I used to be a Tardy Person

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You know that friend of yours who is always running late?  And they always have a reason why they just couldn’t make it on time?  Well, that used to me.

Earlier this year, I really wanted to turn over a new leaf.  I was determined to kick this bad habit of mine.  I wanted to respect other people’s time, but most of all, I wanted to be less stressed.

How I came to be Tardy

I wasn’t always late.  In fact, my parents are sticklers for showing up early for every thing.  If a family event starts at 7am.  We will be there at 6:30am, while other people are still dragging their butts in at 9:00am.  Every single time.

For me, being late started in college.  I used to live on campus and was literally 5 minutes away from my classes.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love to sleep?  Well, I’d sleep in until the last possible minute and then dragged my butt to class.  If class started at 8:00am, I got up at 7:45am, maybe I’d snooze once.  Sure, I’d probably get into class 5 – 10 minutes late. But I just took my seat in the back and the lecture just started, anyway.

Since I was late to class, I applied my same not-so-great habit to most other events in my life.  I started showing up late to labs, tutorials, group meetings, then social outings and everything else.  Then, my friends just started to expect me to show up late (not that I blame them), so they might show up later, too.

It was a vicious cycle.

Friends

If you have tardy friends, you might be running late, only to end up getting there earlier than them.  Which is great at first, but then you give yourself a pat on the back, and forget that you technically were late.  And so you cut it even closer next time.  And then next time, you may be meeting up with an “on-time” friend, and you super late. Doh!

When I was travelling, ALL my travel buddies were perpetually late.  I would be freaked out as I was running 20 minutes late, so I’d take a cab instead of finishing my trip on public transit trip, only to end up waiting another 30 – 45 minutes for everyone else to show up.

This is not to excuse my tardy behaviour.  But it’s me trying to figure out why I never broke out of my cycle.

How to Break out of the Cycle

Cut down on commitments. Instead of having events booked up one after another, I just made committments to things important to me. Besides, if you’re all booked up and late for one appointment, likely all your following appointments will experience the “domino” effect, and next thing you know, you don’t even remember what it was like to be on-time.

Prioritize. You don’t have to say “Yes” to everything.  It’s OK to say no when you don’t want to do something, or it’s not important to you.  Others will just have to deal.

Give yourself more time.  Google maps tells you it’s going to take 30 minutes to get from A to B.  Is it likely you will encounter traffic?  What about road construction?  If you are taking public transportation, have you accounted for wait times and transfer times?

Trick yourself.  If your appointment is at 7:00pm, why not pretend it’s half an hour or 45 minutes earlier so you won’t be so rushed.  That’s what I usually do, and it has helped me immensly.

Respect.  Remind yourself that showing up ontime shows your respect for that perons’s time.  You are busy.  Your friends are busy, too.  By showing up on time, you are showing that you respect their time and in turn, you respect them.

Entertainment.  Have something to do if you get there early.  I know this sounds silly but I used to think I was inefficient if I got to a meeting early.  If this is the case for you, too, try bringing something to do.  Bring a book to read, a crossword/soduku/Angry birds/ whatever, or just explore the area around where you are waiting.  Relax.  And remind yourself how much calmer it is not to rush and enjoy your extra time.

Conclusion

It’s hard to earn back trust if your perpetually late.  I know that my family still expect me to be late all the time, and my excuses/reasons fall on deaf ears now. It’s similar to the boy who cried wolf.  If you are late too many times, no one will believe your reaoson when you eventually actually may have a good reason to be late.

Are you or were you a tardy person? What were your reasons for being tardy?  If you are an early person or on-time person, please feel free to share some tips!

Cheers,

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PF Confession: My September Budget was shot to Hell

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Before I even tally up my expenses and net worth update, let me preface by saying my budget for this month was shot to hell.  To be honest, I don’t feel great about it, but I also don’t feel super guilty about it either.  It is what it is.

I will be a breakdown of what I spend in my September budget (still a few more painful days to go), but I wanted to do another post and a rundown of the budget killers.

Automobile Repairs ($750)

As we all know, a car is great for getting to places more conveniently (when one is not part of traffic), but it is a such a money sink.

My car had been making strange rumbling noises and felt weird the past couple months.  It would be fine (making me question if I imagined the sounds in the first place), and then the rumbling would start again.  Usually it happened when I was driving on a highway going between 110km/h to 120km/h.

I took it to my mechanic (twice), and $750 later, I had new calipers, new (front) brake discs, new brake fluids and my brakes services.

This was the first major repair that I did to our 2002 Toyota Corolla, which I think is pretty reasonable given her age.  But still.  $750.  Ouch!

Skin care and Make-up ($320)

In my previous post, I shared my struggle with acne.  Usually, if I find a skin routine that works, I stick to it like super glue on crack :).  No need to fix something that ain’t broken, right?

Unfortunately, my skin has been really fussy lately.  My skin routine that worked great for the past 3 years, wasn’t working any more.  My skin got super oily and felt super dry and it kept going in spouts of getting better, and then worse, then better, then worse.

Right now, it’s in the “worse” stage.  Part of it has to do with my diet.  But another part is also my skincare routine.  I’ve found a new line of products that work great with my skin, and I stocked up during their annual sale.

And even though it might be better to go make-up free, I feel very self-conscious when I go out without make-up with breakouts on my face.  Maybe it’s the high school kid in me that remembers taunts from mean classmates about not washing my face, but I usually cover up when I leave the house.  Not like a blanket of make-up, just enough to camaflouge the redness.

So, in addition to stocking up on skincare products, I also got some foundation make-up – I didn’t have any for every day wear.   I know it’s breaking my shopping ban, but desperate times call for desperate measures.  And I was am desperate. (On the bright side, I can do a thorough review of all the products that I’ve tried!).

Le sigh.  Vanity.  I know.  And this doesn’t include what I spent last month.  Can we stop talking about it now? 😦

And as some of you may know of from Twitter, I broke my shopping ban (more on that in another post – with pictures!).

Clothes ($135)

Yep, I broke my shopping ban with the always stylish and fabulous enabler Serena/FB from Every Minimalist/Fabulously Broke in the City.

The original plan was for Serena to help me figure out my personal style (via my style board from Pinterest), and then we would go “window shopping”  and try on stuff that would work with me.

Let’s just say that after our shopping trip, I was “fabulously broke”, as well 😉  I kid, I kid.

Serena helped me find some really great pieces and at very reasonable prices.  I will share details in a post shortly.   I’m thinking of calling it “Rules are meant to be Broken.” 🙂

Conclusion

Sometimes I moan, groan and stress over money matters a bit too much.  This is my way of taking a step back, evaluating and generally thinking out loud.  To be fair, I did budget about $150 for skin care stock up. Though nothing else on the list above.

On the plus side, I’m pretty sure I stayed under budget for eating out!  That’s my usual budget killer.  Yay, for small victories 🙂

Anything crazy happen in September that you need to get off your chest?  Feel free to share in the comments!   I hope I’m not the only failure…

Cheers,

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PF Confession: Thoughts on Tipping

(Photo source)

Tipping is a huge deal, and as I am more and more aware of where my money is going, I can’t help but question the commonly accepted North American tipping standard (i.e., tipping at least 15% at restaurants and seemingly all “service” industries).

The following services I tip because it is the generally accepted etiquette, but I’ve got a few things to say about them, first!

Restaurants

I think it’s safe to say that the generally acceptable tip is approximately 15% after tax, and people are expected to tip more if they receive good service. Having said that, if I received bad service, I would tip less than 15% and in the rare case – none at all.

But my qualm is why tip at all? Does the advertised price of the food (plus tax) not include the cost of service?

Before you call me a big cheapo, I know that many wait staff have very low wages and depend on tips to supplement their wages. My qualm with that argument is why should the responsibility of ensuring fair compensation fall on the shoulders of the patron? Is it not the responsibility of the employer?

I truly believe that all I owe to the restaurant is the number on the bill (after tax, of course). Tipping is extra, period. If I walk out the door without leaving a tip, I am not breaking any laws and am completely free to do so. (Although I’d probably never set foot in that restaurant again).

To be honest, I almost always tip, but not because I really want to. I do it because it’s what society dictates, and I see it as part of the cost of eating out.

Massages and Facials

I loathe tipping for massages and facials. I don’t understand it and I just see it as a cash grab, honestly. I mean, what else am I paying for??

I am a professional, and when I do my job, I don’t expect my clients to tip me on top of the invoice I am sending them. How is getting a massage or facial any different?

Massages and facials aren’t cheap. And when I pay for it, I damn well expect good service. End of story.

I don’t even understand why tipping is even in the equation.

Cabs

I live in the City with one of the most expensive cab fares in the world. Seriously, I am not making this up, there were studies done to show it!

See above.

The cost of the cab ride should include good service. I’m not saying the cabbie should polish my shoes, but he should be taking the most direct route and driving safely. I don’t think that is asking too much.

Alas, I usually do tip my cabbies about 10-15%, depending on the ride. Most appear to be immigrants who are just trying to make a living in a new place. I always imagine that the cabbie (usually a male) would have kids to feed and a family to take care of, and I feel terribly guilty if I don’t tip.

Again, it’s guilt that is tipping, and not belief that tipping should be expected.

What are your thoughts on tipping?

Cheers,

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PF Confession: Eating Out Budget Fail

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The above is the only meal that BF and I cooked the past weekend. It’s a clam and mussel linguini. (Recipe coming up because it was super delicious).

Let’s recap the eating out disaster shall we?

  • Friday night – Sushi dinner and drinks $35
  • Saturday – Brunch $20, drinks at bar $20
  • Sunday – Brunch $20, Dinner $20

OMG! That’s $115 alone on eating out in ONE weekend. And that is only my cost, BF spent at least that amount. Yowzers.

Needless to say, I am way over budget in eating out this month. 😦

I’ve tried to make up for this in some other categories, such pushing back my haircut and massages, but the damage was done. Will be sharing my June spending recap soon.

Do you ever blow you budget in one weekend? What is your weakness?

Cheers,

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