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Debt Gone, Part I!

February 25th, 2007 at 08:04 pm

Wow, I really haven't updated much in the month of February. As I mentioned in

Text is previous post and Link is jen-taylor.savingadvice.com/2007/02/14/january-cash-flow_22322/
previous post, I received the bonus for 2006 last week (yeah, the company I work at is weird, they give out bonus after closing out 2006 earnings). Look at the CC3 at the right, it's gone! Originally, I balance transferred CC2 to CC3. Last week, I used the bonus to pay off CC3 balance of $12,000. Now I only have about $13,000 on CC1.

Also, two more car payments and the car will be paid off!

Happy, happy!!

January Cash Flow!

February 14th, 2007 at 09:03 pm

Incoming (all figures are after tax):

$3,719 salary
$800 housing
$277 misc
Total: $4,796

$557 car payment, gasoline, tolls, parking
$101 cable, broadband, phone
$39 cell phone
$270 utilities
$2,175 housing
$175 student loan payment
$100 clothing
$292 dining out
$149 groceries
$92 household
$225 education - textbooks
$50 gift - friend's house warming
$28 company store - gifts
$301 auto insurance
$166 credit card interests
$24 train rides to/from airport
Total: $4,744

Difference: $52

* As I began my MBA classes, I shelled out about $250 for textbooks.

* Food expenditures seem to be on the rise, totally about $450 this month.

* Looking forward to big bonus in February, probably enough to wipe out CC3 and part of CC1. Also, the federal tax refund would help as well.

Tax 3 - Tax Returns Filed!

February 8th, 2007 at 09:50 pm

I filed my tax returns on February 5! The federal refund is $4,900. The net state refund is $100.

This is the earliest I have filed my tax returns. Last two years, I did it in March. Even better, I expect to receive the refund on February 20. This year (2006 that is) is a bit strange, since I had to file two state returns and one federal return. So the I'm ending up with a refund from State of New York and owing State of New Jersey. Of course, I'm not filing NJ return until April :-)

What would you do with the refund? Did you file your tax return yet?


February 4th, 2007 at 10:08 pm

In the previous week, I was invited by a co-worker to a "E-commerce Seminar" about starting an online business. At first, it sounded like an interesting opportunity to make some money on the side (ha, try to fit that into my schedule). When I arrive at the hotel it was holding, pretty much everyone wore suits or some kind of business attire. In the end, it's called

Text is Quixtar and Link is quixtar.com
Quixtar and
Text is BWW and Link is bww.com
BWW. All you need to do is to "buy from yourself and teach other to do the same."

I have never heard of these companies (or organizations) and this type of business concept. Is this something new? Help me with what you got.

Tax 2 - Free Filing!

February 2nd, 2007 at 06:14 am

As a follow-up to

Text is previous entry and Link is jen-taylor.savingadvice.com/2007/01/20/tax-season-is-here_20962/
previous entry on what to use for filing tax return, I've decided on
Text is TaxCut and Link is www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000K2NKUA?ie=UTF8&tag=photojournaja-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000K2NKUA
TaxCut from
Text is IRS and Link is irs.gov
Text is Free File and Link is www.irs.gov/efile/article/0,,id=118986,00.html
Free File.

Among the reasons:
- It's free to file federal tax return
- My
Text is AGI and Link is en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adjusted_Gross_Income
AGI will be below $52,000 (like in 2005 tax return)
- I can file state tax returns by printing them out and mail them (I have to file both New York and New Jersey)

Have you filed your taxes yet?
Text is Boomeyers and Link is boomeyers.savingadvice.com/2007/02/01/taxes-are-done_21644/
Boomeyers is done!
Text is SCFR and Link is scfr.savingadvice.com/
SCFR's brother is done!

Who Pays on Dates?

January 27th, 2007 at 07:21 pm

Alright, this is hardly personal finance-related, but I would like to use this

Text is blog and Link is http://jen-taylor.savingadvice.com/
blog to see if my thought process is relevant.

I've always been hearing from guy friends who complain about taking girls out and being expected to pay for expensive dinners and drinks. It appears to me that guys should pay for the first date, since he is the one who initiated. This act of gentleman politeness is definitely appreciated. However, if the girl becomes interested at the end of first date, she could offer to pay her share to indicate her interest. I've met a guy who insisted on paying for first three dates, then I offered to take turn paying so we don't have to do math lessons all the time.

Of course, when I meet someone interesting, I don't want him to spend all his money on food. After the first date, if there are more dates planned, the going-out could be split. Moreover, nowadays, women are making more money and prefer to pay for their share.

As for expensive dinners and drinks, well, I have low-tolerance and one drink is about it. I consider a good time in a coffee worthwhile for a date also.

Don't be a jerk, if you (male) ask someone out, then bring your wallet. Don't be a freeloader, if you (female) haven't offered to pay by the third date, don't waste his time.

Tax 1 - What Do You Use for Tax Return?

January 20th, 2007 at 04:06 pm

Today I received the first tax return document from my bank, the

Text is 1099-INT and Link is en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Form_1099
1099-INT. What does this mean? Oh no, tax season is here (and hopefully getting a refund)!

Can you tell what do you use to do tax return, i. e. good old paper forms, software (
Text is TaxCut and Link is www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000K2NKUA?ie=UTF8&tag=photojournaja-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000K2NKUA
Text is TurboTax and Link is http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000JD3AL4?ie=UTF8&tag=photojournaja-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000JD3AL4
TurboTax), accountant, or "I have to pay taxes"?

December Cash Flow!

January 8th, 2007 at 09:32 pm

After a month of shopping and eating, the time has finally arrived to tally up the staggering expenses. This is also a good month for income, as there are three Friday paydays.

Incoming (all figures are after-tax):

$5,558 salary
$800 housing
$50 misc
Total: $6,408

$483 car payment, gasoline, tolls, parking
$101 cable, broadband, phone
$40 cell phone
$97 utilities
$2,175 housing
$275 student loan payment
$80 cash withdrawal
$84 clothing
$153 dining out
$230 groceries
$106 contacts, medicine
$173 household
$457 leisure - Christmas gift shopping
$122 company store - Christmas gift shopping
$34 post office - shipping those gifts
$19 train rides to/from airport
$483 plane tickets to
Text is Houston and Link is houston.sidewalk.com
Total: $5,112

Difference: $1,296

* December is unusually due to the higher income and expenses (now every month has its reason to be unusual).

* About $600 was spent on Christmas presents. Mostly for parents and myself :-)

* About $500 was spent on Christmas travel, including plane tickets and train tickets. For some reason, travel this time costs more than before. I guess plane tickets have been going up.

* The extra money left over will be most likely going toward credit card loans.

Money Poverty and Material Prosperity?

December 28th, 2006 at 10:19 pm

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

Text is article and Link is articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/PovertyNowComesWithAColorTV.aspx
article on
Text is MSN Money and Link is money.msn.com
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 25th, 2006 at 10:03 pm

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

Text is eBay and Link is ebay.com
eBay, I'm going to sell these useless gift cards and get some cash back!

Also, on
Text is MSN Money and Link is money.msn.com
MSN Money, there is an
Text is article and Link is articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/Advice/TradeInThoseUnwantedGiftCards.aspx
article about
Text is Trade In Those Unwanted Gift Cards and Link is articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/Advice/TradeInThoseUnwantedGiftCards.aspx
Trade In Those Unwanted Gift Cards for additional tips.

Holiday Census Bureau!

December 20th, 2006 at 02:53 am

I was reading an e-mail newsletter from

Text is DailyCandy NYC and Link is dailycandy.com
DailyCandy NYC. It compiled a bunch of fun stats about the holidays.

Number of calories in
Text is FDA and Link is fda.gov
FDA-mandated fruitcake serving size of four ounces: 500

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

Number of movies and TV shows in production in
Text is New York and Link is newyork.sidewalk.com
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 thereís 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