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Archive for December, 2006

Money Poverty and Material Prosperity?

December 29th, 2006 at 06:19 am

It seems in the U. S. that even people living in poverty have material goods that are not affordable to rest of the world. Americans seem to have lot of stuff. I came across an article on MSN Money. It's somewhat amusing that Americans in general may be living paycheck-to-paycheck or incurring credit card debt, but we have all the conveniences.

I compared myself against the stats:

Refrigerator: 99.20%. I got one!

Stove: 98.30%. I got one!

Color TV: 98.20%. I got one!

Auto: 85.70%. I got one!

Microwave: 98.20%. I got one!

VCR: 86.9%. Does a DVD player count?

Washer: 80%. I got one!

Dryer: 77.10%. Mine is a stacking unit with the washer.

Stereo system: 72.55%. Yes, I have a 5.1 system!

Computer: 59.30%. Laptop it is!

Uh, Gift Cards?

December 26th, 2006 at 06:03 am

Merry Christmas! So what did you get for Christmas?

Nowadays, I don't really expect gifts from my parents. Since I'm making enough money to buy myself presents, all I want is good home cook meal when I visit my parents twice a year. Humorously, this year, I got some gift cards as Christmas presents, and they're not even the stores I shop at! A $100 gift card is $100-equivalent, it'd be hard for me to just throw them away. Thank goodness there is eBay, I'm going to sell these useless gift cards and get some cash back!

Also, on MSN Money, there is an article about Trade In Those Unwanted Gift Cards for additional tips.

Holiday Census Bureau!

December 20th, 2006 at 10:53 am

I was reading an e-mail newsletter from DailyCandy NYC. It compiled a bunch of fun stats about the holidays.

Number of calories in FDA-mandated fruitcake serving size of four ounces: 500

Average number of pounds gained between Thanksgiving and New Year’s: 1 (It just feels like 10.)

Number of movies and TV shows in production in New York in December: 133

Number of personal dramas in production over the holidays: 8

Average amount spent on holiday party outfit (including salon appointments): $272

Average time spent in outfit before eggnog spills, cigarette burns, etc.: 57 minutes

Number of sprigs of mistletoe in NYC holiday decorations: 1,045,232

Number of kisses from someone you actually like under said mistletoe: 0

Ratio of men to women in NYC: 1:1.11 (It just seems like 1:3 whenever there’s mistletoe around.)

Number of holiday cards sent through NYC postal system: 244,154,645

Projected number of gifts to be exchanged in New York City over the holiday season: 27,942,705

Average number of presents to be regifted: 2

Average number of gifts bought and then kept for self: 4

Can You Live on $150k (Per Year)?

December 14th, 2006 at 10:58 pm

While checking personal e-mail before leaving work today, I jumped to CNN Money to see if there is any funny news. And behold, there is a story about a family of 6 getting by on $150,000 a year. Before you say "these people are money foolish" or "things cost a lot nowadays", you can read the full story here.

I have to admit, depending on cost of living, a 6-figure income may not be much. For example, in the New York City metro, where $1,000-$1,500 for rent is typical, making $60,000 is getting-by. Making $100,000 is comfortable, but definitely not something people would say "you're set". It seems like $100,000 used to be the status of economic success, but $200,000 is the new $100,000 now.

Tell me your thoughts! Do you find it hard to believe a family with a six-figure income would have a hard time making ends meet? Or have you experienced that yourself?

November Cash Flow!

December 14th, 2006 at 05:42 am

Uh oh, it's middle of December already and I am just posting my November cash flow. Why have I been slacking? Well, first, I'm finally done with holiday shopping today, both online and offline! Second, work has been hectic. There're samples needed for a public relations (PR) event in Asia-Pacific region, yet circumstances
keep coming up to delay it and I'm the one needs to resolve it. I was truly in a panic mode yesterday.

Incoming (all figures are after-tax):

$3,668 salary
$800 housing
$374 misc
Total: $4,841


Outgoing:
$466 car payment, gas, tolls, parking
$101 triple play - cable, broadband, phone
$40 cell phone
$142 utilities
$2,145 housing
$211 student loan payment
$140 cash withdrawal
$125 charitable donation
$13 clothing
$237 dining out
$71 groceries
$7 household
* $635 insurance premium
$173 leisure - black Friday shopping
$20 gift - pet toy
$12 post office - stamps, packages
* $337 travel - plane tickets to Chicago (MDW)
$91 misc - bars, clubs, dry clean
Total: $4,966


Net:
Difference: ($125)


:: Three months after starting a new job, my income and expenses are gradually stabilizing into more predictable numbers.

:: This month, November that is, the income is within 10% of previous month.

:: From expenses categories, it seems like about $300 on food (groceries and dining out) and I also eat out a lot more than cooking. Approximately half of the cash withdrawal went to eating out? It's hard to track when everyone just put in cash.

:: The one-time insurance premium would not be present for December, and the one-time trip cost would not be present, that's about $970 toward positive cashflow.

Although November ended slightly negative, December is looking good!