$10.95 for all this food!?!

A friend reserved an area for his daughter's birthday inside this all you can eat buffett restaurant. It cost $10.95 for a lunch buffett. This place host the same business but to a new owner. The previous owner(s) failed at their attempts by charging patrons $19.95. Maybe it was at this price that their business failed. That is a huge difference of $9 per meal. Let me tell you, I have not seen that many people packed at this place before. The wait was out the door by 30-50 people long. They mainly serve asian cuisine and lots of sushi. If you're a sushi fan like myself, paying $10.95 is worth it. However, the hidden cost in all of this is that my husband and I gifted $60 to our friend's daughter. Therefore, it boiled down to paying $30 a person for lunch. But the cost included money gift to our friend and we also got food out of it.

What do you think of our monetary gift and lunch experience?

til DEBT do us part

I have no kids so spending is just between DH and I. However, we tuned into an episode of MSNBC called "Til Debt do us part" where a financial wizard name Gail helps families get out of debt by altering their destructive spending habits.

On this episode, she follows a couple with $25K worth of credit card debt. The wife is a SAHM with 2 young kids and a baby on the way. Her husband is the sole provider of the family earning $80K annually. So this is a family of 4 soon to be 5 living on merely $80,000 per year. What bothered me was that they seem oblivious to their current financial crisis. They continued to live a care free high consumption lifestyle. They spend on average $900/mo on organic food. The wife does not drive so she pays an additonal $120/mo to have food delivered to their house. Add in the mortgage, entertainment, utility/gas, and other kid expenses, we can all see why this couple was bleeding red. When confronted by Gail with a money makeover, they felt nothing was wrong because they were able to keep up with the credit card payment. But we soon discover that their payment was only on the interest portion.

This family was clearly out of control and not in touch with planning and budgeting. Spending $900/mo on organic food was mind blowing. On top of that, another $120 for delivery services. Just this $1,020 in expense already equates to my monthly spending in food/entertainment/utility/etc. We make 1.5 times more than this family but spend much much less. It goes to show that there are many couples out there either in denial or blindsided by their financial reality. This show serves as a great purpose to motivate families to get out of debt. Planning and saving for a secure future is more important than high consumption. Especially if there are children involved.


DIY projects = saving money

DH and I have always been DIY-ers. Our bedroom walls had evident of mold growing inside since we live in a fog dense area. For the sake of our health, we decided that it was time to replace the two damaged walls.

Here's a comparison of how much we saved by getting our hands dirty.

Contractor's estimated cost
Garbage Disposal-$40
TOTAL: $1,040

DIY cost
Labor - $0
Materials(dry wall, foam insulation, mudding sheet rocks, and paint) - $250
Garbage Disposal - $0 from our weekly service
TOTAL: $250

By tackling the project, this translates into a HUGE saving of $790. That's $790 we can allocate back into our home expense fund in case something else needs repair down the road. Now this is what I call "sweat equity."

Apple's new iPad

Steve job sure is a great salesman. The new Apple iPad which is set to launch in March 2010 is said to be magical and unbelievable. It sure is magical being only 0.5 inch deep and weighing in at 1.5 pounds with an LCD screen of 9.7inch. But is it unbelievable? I sure don’t think so given the starting price of $499. As much as I love Apple product having owned 5 of which all broke down on me, this new gadget is nothing but a gigantic iPod Touch. The $499 is 16GB in memory and can only be connected through Wi-Fi from home or areas that offer such service. If you want a set data plan of $30 with AT&T a month, you would need to buy the $599 32GB or $699 64GB. As much as I want to get my hands on this new fancy purchase, I think I would have to wait it out for a price drop to $299 before considering. The wait begins.


My 2010 Goals!

I'm glad lousy 2009 is in the history book. It wasn't a good year for most people. The stock market was terrifying (although it gained back some but not all), housing was in the dumps with mile high foreclosure rates, and unemployment is now at +10%. But I should be thankful that both DH and I still have a job and eventhough we are still a bit underwater with our house, we are still able to make monthly payments on our mortgage. So cheers to that! In honor of our gratefulness, I have set forth the following goals for 2010:

1. Max out retirement 401K plan
2. Pay down $10K debt
3. Save 25% of paycheck towards rainy day fund
4. Open a Roth IRA (now that the maximum income restriction is eliminated)
5. Pay additional $200-$300 of principal towards our monthly mortgage
6. Eat out less and bring lunch (estimated savings of about $3000-$4000/yr)

The Bears are back and Bulls are hiding

My first blog ever will be about the stock market. I tune into the market virtually every day. It's the first thing that pops up when I log into my computer at work. The market reached its highest point at 10,710.55 a week ago since the recession back in Feb 2009 (Now I'm refering to the DOW Jones since I'm using that as my benchmark). But as of today, it tanked triple digits down to 10,120.46. I thought it was a good move to transfer both DH and my money from stable bond funds over to more aggressive allocations. But since our transfer around 10,300 it has now tanked again to 10,120.46. Maybe I should have waited before transfering since the economy is still really shaky. But we're never able to time such investments.

Do you have a story you want to share about your timed investment as being either successful or a bear bust?