Sunday, July 19, 2009

A 1.81 ct engagement ring *may* not be enough for her

I just wanted to share this - I thought it was too funny! There is this diamond website called
where all the women go to talk about (and show off) their engagement rings, and as I've always been interested in diamonds, I love browsing the site.

Anyhoo, I stumbled upon this post from a 25-yr-old girl, I believe she's in NYC, who wasn't sure if she was happy with her ring because it was only 1.81 ct, but the stats were perfect, it was a hearts and arrow cut!

Here's the link:
Spoiled much?

Isn't it hilarious! The responses were especially funny - she does need a good reality check. I do love looking at diamonds, but I don't have one. When hubby and I decided to get married, I told him that I'd rather put the money into our businesss (which in hindsight...). I've always disliked the comparing factor between women and their diamond rings. Some think it means he loves you more, that it must be 3x monthly salary (prorated with bonus or not always leads to a lively discussion), etc etc etc.

I suppose living in such an expensive city and running with what I'm assuming to be a more wealthy crowd has clouded her vision of what's important. But it is pretty sad that she is actually disappointed at the size of her ring. If hubby showed up with that one day, I would probably get so excited that I'd and pass out, and then freak out at how much money he just "wasted".

Friday, July 17, 2009

I found it so strange this week that Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JP Morgan and Citigroup posted significant gains. How could any of this have been possible without government bailout money? Shouldn't there have been some accounting stipulation requiring them to break out TARP money in their earnings statements? Or did it just go on their books as a loan?

I'm glad that things are slowly stabilizing. Just cautious and wondering, I guess. This recesssion has taught me to be so careful and wary about everything.

On another note, I was talking with my co-workers today about legalizing marijuana. Why isn't it legal yet? Bringing it into the mainstream would help close the budget gap with the sales tax income, as well as create some opportunities. I don't smoke myself, but I have some friends who do, and they are not at all stereotypical potheads. On the contrary, they're quite successful, driven, and only smoke recreationally. It's like drinking, really. Everything in moderation. Of course there will be idiots who overuse, just like idiots who overdrink.

California, you're passing out freaking IOUs! For such a "liberal" state, I'm disappointed. First Prop 8 didn't pass, and now we can't legalize something that would help bring in revenue. My goodness. California sucks.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lease finally renegotiated

We finally have a revised lease for the restaurant. Not sure why the landlord kept thinking that we're not in a recession, especially since they're a huge landlord, but what can you do. We were able to cut 1/3 of our rent, which is huge.

I feel so much more relieved now, knowing that we will be able to make the rent. The threat of having to file bankruptcy had weighed so heavily on me for the past year or more - you feel so depressed that everything you've worked so hard for is going to be taken away. Now that we're settling on the past due balance and have a lower rent going forward, I'm no longer afraid. I am so motivated again and ready to market and throw everything into the process.

I feel stuck between having a well-paying day job and focusing on the restaurant and our side business. The obvious answer would be to focus on the businesses that you own, but it's easier said than done, especially since none are making enough money for me (or hubby) to quit. It's especially because I'm so close to six figures, and it's a nice-sounding job, great on the resume, well-respected company. And it definitely helps to have a steady paycheck direct deposited into your account biweekly. But then, to be your own boss, how great is that? Especially if you ALREADY HAVE ONE and just to focus on it?

What to do, what to do...

Shopping tip

I just found this out recently from a co-worker - Target donates furniture and other items they aren't able to sell to Goodwill. I've gone to check out my local Goodwill several times in the past month, and it's true! I saw a cute pillow that was in Target sometime last year, but didn't feel like shelling out $20 for it - and was able to pick it up for $4. Good find.

Friday, July 3, 2009

You know that website,
Bag Borrow or Steal
? I think it's the perfect example or what's wrong with society today. Why do you need to rent a bag? Who are you proving anything to? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

As much as I love hadbags myself, it's like you're faking the funk. You have to know where to draw the line. It's pretty simple to me - if you can't afford it, then you don't need to buy it, let alone "borrow" it for a few weeks to prove something to people that you don't know and probably wouldn't even like.

Okay, rant over.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Today was a good day, I got a raise. My manager had told me that it might be coming, but not to expect too much due to budget cuts. It was actually a really decent 15% increase, and I know I was really lucky to get it, yet for some reason I'm not 100% thrilled, and you'll probably think me bratty for what I'm about to say below.

The boss said he sees a great future for me at this company, so even though I'm constantly stressed and want to quit half of the time, I guess I'll stick it out for a while longer. You see? This is how they suck you in. Yes, I am extremely happy and grateful that I got a raise, yet at the same time disgusted with myself for being so easily satisfied. It's like Stockholm syndrome.

I still need to get going on expanding hubby's business and making sure everything else succeeds. Then I can stop worrying about office politics, jumping through useless hoops, taking attitude and rude comments, etc, and all of it! I'm going to put more into my 401k, since stocks are so cheap now. We are currently renegotiating the lease for the restaurant, and it's a huge relief. If we can lower the rent, everything else will hopefully work.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Being Frugal vs. Efficient

Ever since I was 20, I've had my own business in one way or another, so it's always made sense for me to lease a car. The payment is a write-off, the mileage (most of it, anyway) is a write off, and as shallow as it is, it's nice to have a new car. But lately, I've been considering purchasing a car to just drive into the ground after hubby's lease is up (in about 7 months). It seems to make so much more sense - after it's paid off, your insurance premiums will drop, obviously monthly payments end, etc.

Yet while I see this side, there's another side that I need to balance it out with, that of a businessowner. We have a growing side business where we are beginning to need to meet with clients more and more, hubby's day job requires him to meet with clients, and my small business requires me to meet with clients as well. Like it or not, in the world, appearances do matter. Does it sound like I'm justifying a new car? Sometimes I'm not sure. I read so many great personal finance blogs, and sometimes it seems that they are cutting out too many expenses, some of which are a necessary cost of doing business. I'm all about creating wealth without sacrificing lifestyle.

For example, time is money. Would I ever spend time making my own laundry detergent? Not a chance. I would rather spend the 30 minutes or whatever it takes reaching out to an existing customer and making a sale, or taking care of of a customer inquiry, etc. In that time, had I chosen to make detergent, I would save about $5-$10. If I used the time instead to handle a sale/client request, I would make much more, not to mention it's an investment in a future dealing.

Back to the car - with all this in mind, I go back and forth between purchasing vs. leasing. I think we'll end up buying a more economical car (Honda, Toyota, etc) and lease one car.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Company layoffs

The company I work for has been holding up surprisingly well the past two years. There was definitely the tightening of the belts and a drastic cut in raises, bonuses, marketing and overhead, but at least no one was let go.

A few days ago, several hundred people were laid off - a co-worker from another office had emailed me earlier in the morning with some budget questions, and when I got back to him a short while later, the email came back as undeliverable. Being part of management in my office, I am usually in the know for such things, and it was so frightening to have had no idea that this was coming. His entire office was let go and closed, and HR went about the rest of the offices for the remainder of the week, pink slipping everyone. A basic two week package, and that was it. It's terrifying. I have already been working pretty hard and building up a cash reserve, but it seems that nothing I do will be good enough.

Now I'm worried I might be let go without warning as well. A good girlfriend was laid off May 2008 and has yet to find a job. I don't want to be in that situation. How do you survive this, how do you plan for the future, how do you do anything? Now everytime I look around the house, I feel so guilty. I shouldn't have bought this, shouldn't have bought that. Each amount is associated with x dollars, and it's driving me crazy.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The hardest part of this whole situation is that my business partner and I may be forced into declaring company bankruptcy, as well as personal bankruptcy. We worked so had, managed finances carefully, saved enough to invest in the restaurant, and then boom, everything starts going downhill, and my personal financials will end up screwed in the process. I am a bit of a personal finance geek, and it's like losing - I lost in the game of money!

I'm surprisingly optimistic that we'll be able to stop the UT (Unlawful Detainer, aka "eviction notice" that we received two weeks ago) and renegotiate the rent to a more reasonable amount, but again, we'll see. Such a shame. I was on checking my finances the other day, and hubby and I are doing okay - still tons of credit card debt, but we're slowly gettng rid of it - if we weren't in this situation, I would be pretty happy.

Ah well, such is life - you win some, you lose some. At the very least, this will be a challenge and provide more fodder for this blog - "how to overcome and kick bankruptcy's ass?"