Amazon Kindle

I've been pining after one for awhile... as of yesterday, I am a proud owner of a Kindle 2!

And no... I didn't buy it! (I'd like to think I'm past large spur of the moment purchases for myself.) It was a present from M! :) I guess he got sick of hearing me gush at the screen "ooohh, I want you!" and telling him to "come look! come look!" haha.

It will definitely help free up some room (I can give away all the books I have on my shelves, once I've read them)... but it makes me feel a little sad to not be able to lend out books to friends or show off my collection (which really isn't that large anymore - when I moved out of my mom's place I left quite a few boxes with her). I think I'll get over that pretty quickly though. ;)

The price of the books seems a little cheaper as well, though M pointed out that it will never be as cheap as a used book. Then I pointed out to him that I never buy used books (I like the crispness and smell of new ones... and I like buying them on Amazon (with free shipping). I think I've been put off used books because I buy all my law books used (if I can) and I've had a few arrive smelling smoky and looking germy. I want my personal books looking pristine). Maybe eventually we'll be able to "rent" books electronically from the library? And lend out books to our friends with e-readers? But Amazon would lose money that way, so I'm not sure how that would work... Maybe we'd have to pay a monthly fee in order to connect to the library's servers, or a transfer fee to send books to friends. I guess that'd be better than nothing.

Here's my cursory review (I'm still reading my "real" books, so I haven't used it too much yet):

  • E-ink - just like reading a real book (you can read it out in broad daylight too)
  • Free (and fast) wi-fi lets you download books on the go
  • Wide selection of books, newpapers, magazines, and some blogs
  • Amazing battery life
  • Light and thin (about the weight of a small-ish paperback)
  • fits in your purse
  • You have to pay for everything. (to make up for the wi-fi being free, I assume) You even have to pay for blogs.
  • White is the only color (this is a really minor con... and I assume they made it white so it would stand out? makes it easy to find in my purse, at least)
  • Restricts your ability to share books with others
  • Does this weird "flash" when you turn the page - apparently it's the e-ink loading and it helps prolong battery life? It's a little distracting.
That's all I can think of for now... hopefully the "pros" list will grow as I use it more. We can only hope I'll one day be able to download law books!! My back would give profuse thanks. ;)

March Goals

  1. Devote one full day to studying every week (M, F, or weekend).
  2. Devote several hours every Friday to reviewing my notes.
  3. Study for and take MPRE.
  4. Prepare for and complete interview portion of Ethical Lawyering (50% of grade).
  5. Feel like I'm on top of the material for all my classes by the end of the month.
  1. Go to yoga (at least) 1x/week
  2. Go to the gym (at least) 2x/week
  3. Do some type of exercise for 30 mins daily - Wii Fit, DDR, exercise bike, biking, running
  4. Start tracking my exercise/eating habits in my fitness blog again.
  1. Call and/or write Macy's and Capital One re: removing negative marks from credit reports.
  2. Sell a few purses on Ebay.
  3. Only spend $200 on food!
  4. Check job postings 1x/week.
  1. Go to Lenscrafters and get an eye exam (I have a free coupon!).
  2. Buy new contacts.
  3. Continue following skin and teeth regimen.
  4. Go to the gynecologist... once I find one I like.

March Already?!

This month whizzed by... and now I'm already halfway done with the semester! Scary. I'm not ready for finals yet!

Here's a review of my February goals:

  1. Exercise - Every single day for at least 30 mins - gym, yoga, tennis, bike at home, wii fit. Fail! :( I've definitely been exercising on the weekends, but I've been so tired during the week that I just collapse in bed (after vegetating on the comp) at night... I'll give it another go in March!
  2. School - Devote at least one full day every week to studying (3 classes @ 3 hrs/class); Devote several hours on Friday to reviewing my notes. Fail! I've been studying more, but still not enough.
  3. Food - Go shopping every Monday for Tu/W/Th food - banana, applesauce, water, juice can/box, granola bar, sandwich. Success! I've been good with this; only buying healthy stuff, bringing my food to school, and not skipping meals as a result.
  4. Money - No purchases this month, period (other than food). Fail! But with good reason. I bought a sports bra, a regular nude bra (to replace the one that broke), a rain jacket, and a lunch bag.
  5. Health - Continue with dermatologist prescribed skin plan; Continue brushing teeth 2x/day, flossing, and using mouthwash; Go to the doctor to get my right knee checked out; Go to the gynecologist. Success (mostly)! I have had one or two days where I've fallen asleep without putting on my skin cream. There have also been a couple days where I've left out the elastics (when they hurt too much).
  6. Relationship - Get out of the house at least once on the weekends with M and do something fun and free (tennis, beach, walks to new places, museums, etc). Success! We went biking last weekend, on a trip the weekend before, tennis the weekend before... and tennis again tomorrow. :)
  7. Friends - Try to be social at least 2 times this month. Success (maybe too much)! I've been very social this month, and though it's been fun, it's also been really exhausting!
4/7 isn't bad. ;) But I'll try harder next month!

Why I'm Thinking About Getting Another Degree...

Grace asked me why I was thinking about getting a LLM (Master's of Law) after graduating from law school next year. (For anyone that's wondering, you can't get a LLM until you get a JD)

There are a couple reasons why it seems like a good idea.

  1. A degree from a more reputable school. I'm currently getting my JD from a school in the Top 50, but I could get the LLM from a school in the Top 10.
  2. My grades aren't that high. I'm trying to graduate with a 3.0, but even that is subpar. A LLM will make me more marketable.
  3. Jobs may still be scarce in 2010. This will delay my job search by one year.
  4. Classes in the field I'm interested in. I haven't had time to take any (I'm consumed by bar classes) and that likely won't change in the next year.
  5. Loan repayment will be deferred. This will give me another year to build up savings and pay down my other debt.
If I apply for the program this fall (to be admitted in fall '10), and I get accepted, it's possible I could defer enrollment until fall '11 (if the market seemed to be on the upswing and/or I secured a good job). I feel like this would give me more options.

What do you think?

The 5 Year Plan

Inspired by No More Spending's Grand Plan, here's my 5 year plan!


  • Lose 20 lbs
  • Lose the braces! Accomplished 5.09
  • Move into a cheaper apartment Accomplished 7.09
  • Get a full-time job that pays at least 60k
  • Visit France/Germany
  • Possibly apply for a LLM program? (maybe retake LSAT?)

  • Go to NY for V-day
  • Graduate from law school (unsure whether May or December)
  • Take the bar (either July '10 or Feb '11)
  • Begin LLM program? (either Fall '10 or 11; and that's only if I get in!)

  • Go to D.C. for V-day
  • Pay off my car
  • Be debt free! (not counting the student loans/mortgage - if I have one)
  • Complete LLM program?
  • Buy a condo w/M?

  • Go to Portland for V-day
  • Go to Chicago for V-day
  • Pay off student loans??
  • Turn 30! Have a b-day bash :)
Whew! It's hard to look that far into the future. My plans kind of faded out after year 3. ;) I think it's very unrealistic to think I'll have my student loans paid off by 2013... even if I get a 140k+ job, I still think it would take another 5 years to pay them back. But, here's to hoping!

Anyway... it was fun to put together. :) Strange that 30 is so close... and the year 2013! Still seems a little science-fiction-y! Even 2010 feels that way! haha.

Brand vs. Generic, Take 2

I thought I would do a follow-up to this post based on a few new comments I received.

When do I think it's worth it to buy brand?

  • Heart medication
  • Thyroid medication
  • Anti-depressants
  • Anything I would depend on to keep my organs functioning!
  • Inactive ingredients are different (can be allergic to dyes/fillers)
  • Bioavailability of active ingredient can be plus or minus 20%
  • Could be manufactured in a 3rd world country (quality control issues)
  • Small changes in absorption can make drugs with a narrow therapeutic range ineffective

Although in some cases I would prefer the generic, I think pharmacists should never push for it. It should be up to the consumer to decide. I know that pharmacies make more money off of the generic (the drug companies offer rebates up to 60% of the drug's cost), and that biases the opinion of the people who work there (pressure from upper management).

I would always trust my doctor's opinion over the pharmacist's. Pharmacists often seem overworked, unfriendly, and like I stated above, apt to make choices for you based on what's best for the pharmacy.

Also, despite my offhand wondering if the reason my doctor preferred brand was because she was receiving kickbacks, I LOVE her and think she's the best I've ever seen (and that's just after one visit). I'm sure she's interested in my health, but since she is a dermatologist, we're not talking about life and death issues here. So even if she did receive kickbacks/excessive perks (which is highly unlikely), I would still continue going to her.

I was just very curious because my natural inclination is to prefer brand, but after researching the subject, I've had to admit that generic is (usually) a fine, and smart (because of the savings), substitute. It was puzzling to find a doctor who preferred brand for something like skin cream.

I'll have to ask the her the next time I see her why she prefers brand. Maybe she'll be able to offer some insight.

Pharmacists' Individual and Organizational Views on Generic Medication
Pharmacies Receiving Massive Rebates from Generic Drug-Makers
Are Generic Medications the Same as Branded Counterparts?
Brand-Name Medications vs. Generic Drugs: The Differences Are Real (it's too bad the author starts the article off so unprofessionally. There's some good info here)
Generic Drugs: Cheaper, Yes; Same Quality, Maybe Not
Generic Drugs Not Always Equivalent to Name Brands

Budget Skeleton

I wanted to strip my budget down to its skeleton and see how little I can get away with paying... Money is going to be tight from now until June, and I'd really like to create a little wiggle room.

Rent: 1050
Cells: 120
Food: 200
Drugstore: 20
Debt: 1139
Gas: 40
Health Insurance: 99
= $2668

This frees up $555/mo... I'm going to just continue doing what I do now (tucking away $220 into my Long Term Expenses account every month), and the other $300 I'll leave in my general checking.

I think I'm also going to withdraw $200 cash at the beginning of each month and use it only for food. Once it runs out, it runs out.

I can't wait to move into a cheaper place....... did I mention I saw a rat outside my door the other day? Yeah. Can't wait to move into a cheaper, newer, cleaner place (with a landlord that doesn't suck!).


I've been feeling kind of overwhelmed lately trying to juggle work, school, exercise, blogging, eating healthy, keeping the apartment clean, sticking to a skin/teeth regimen, watching my spending habits... so much to think about and take care of! I was just getting into a routine last week and then I went on vacation, and that threw everything off-kilter. I have a detailed schedule that I printed out and pasted all over the house, but it feels so good (in a guilty pleasure kind of way) to not stick to it.

I think if I didn't feel so tired at night I would be a lot more productive with my time... as it is, I'll sit down at the computer and suddenly 2 hours have gone by. I enjoy those hours, but at the same time feel guilty. I think I should restrict my computer access, but I know I'll rebel against my own restriction! I just need to find some balance... I'm not so good at that. When I do something, I do it obsessively. (Everything except studying! I really need to find something I dislike more right now; then I'll turn to studying to get away from it! ha.)

I think I need to adjust my sleeping hours. M and I both go to bed at 2, and wake up at 10. Though lately I've been falling asleep at 12, and still waking up at 10! Maybe I need to stick to 12, and force myself to wake up at 8... Because I'm never productive past 12. I watch tv with M, but that's about it. If I woke up at 8, I could read e-mails and blog for 1 1/2 hrs, then go to the gym from 10-11. Hopefully that will give me an energy boost for the rest of the day?

It's almost March and I feel like my goals are slipping through my fingers. I know my financial goals won't be met until I get a full-time job. But before I get that job, I want to get the rest of my life in order. But... I don't want to push myself TOO hard (I don't want to get sick, as I'm prone to doing when I get overly stressed)... and I want to be happy. Balance, balance... I will find you.

Underwear = $$$

As the ladies out there know, bras can be really expensive. Especially bras from Victoria's Secret. I've been buying my bras from VS exclusively for a couple years now, and after having to throw another $55 bra in the trash (strap broke completely off) I think I've had it. I've never had a bra from them that has fit me perfectly; they're $50+; they stretch out quickly; and they break after half a year of minimal wear!

I've been searching online for the past week, and think I've found a replacement. Bare Necessities, which has a WIDE selection of bras, even for in-between sizes! They still have some bras that are over $50, and that gave me pause, and inspired me to write this post. Do you think that these expensive bras offer some kind of enhanced protection/lift or are made of better materials? Will they last longer? From my experience with VS, no, they won't. Having said that, I did purchase a $55 bra by Wacoal today. It received good reviews on other sites (that's another thing, I wish more women would review bras! I have to suggest that to Bare Necessities), so I thought I would give it a try.

I wish stores like Bare Necessities had physical locations... as it is, Victoria's Secret basically has the monopoly. Yes, there are places like Frederick's, but most of them are small and primarily focused on sexy lingerie. There's also the department store option, but it always makes me feel a little lost. Since I'm unfamiliar with any of the brands (and none of the salespeople are helpful), I usually wander around, poking and prodding and then eventually leave empty handed.

Anyway, considering how much money we women spend on bras and lingerie every year, I thought it was pretty relevant to personal finance. To those who are thinking "TMI!" I promise not to do another post about underwear in the near future! ;)


Just got back from my weekend trip! I had a lot of fun, but whew... I'm tired. The shorter a vacation is, the less of a vacation it is - we've spent the last two days doing almost non-stop sightseeing! I would've liked an extra day, but I didn't have the time, and M really didn't have the time (he works in the entertainment industry, and they're on a tight deadline).

M took me out to a nice restaurant on Saturday, and we split an even nicer restaurant last night. In total, I spent about $400 - $250 for lodging/transportation/tour bus, and $150 for food. Admittedly, it's more than I should be spending right now, but you know what... it was worth it. M and I have both been really stressed lately about work (and school, for me) and this gave us a chance to push it away, and regale in some much needed alone time. And I got to replace an unpleasant memory I had of the city (I last visited with an ex 7 years ago... I used to cringe every time I thought about visiting again... It was that bad).

We're thinking about making it a Valentine's Day tradition... spending a couple days in a new US city every year!

We also exchanged V-day gifts before we left on Friday night... M gave me a bike!! I've been wanting one for ages. So now I have a new (free) way to exercise. :) Can't wait to try it out!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well!

Tax Refund

I was happy to see my federal tax refund had been deposited into my account this morning... and even happier that last year's stimulus check wasn't deducted from it. Was that just a myth then?

I'm hoping California still has a few dollars left to hand out to taxpayers... I filed my return as soon as I could, so maybe I can see actual money rather than an IOU?? Here's to hoping.

It gets worse...

I need to make a non-pf related post... because there's something on my mind that I can't stop thinking about. What is it? ....PAIN. Pain in my mouth, specifically.

Who knew the braces could get worse?! :p My teeth are finally straight, but now I get to suffer through the torture of rubber bands aka elastics (to align my bite). I wish someone would've warned me this was coming. To those of you about to get braces - here's your warning! ;p

Anyway, there's my little braces update for the month. I have about 4 months to go, although I'm hoping the time will be cut in half (since the teeth are straight, and the bite is all that's left to take care of... maybe only a month left?). And I guess it's an exaggeration to call it pain... more like aching. Constant aching and pressure. Similar to the spacers; maybe not quite as bad. I know I'll get used to it, and apparently it's going to happen "fast." But man, is it unpleasant! Is there anyone out there I can pay to give me a gum massage? :p


I think I've only mentioned this in passing previously, but last month I went to the dermatologist to get started on a good skin regimen. I have mild acne which M scoffs at (he says it's hardly visible), but it's been very embarrassing to me my whole life, and I figured it was time to stop staring at myself in the mirror woefully (or covering my face in makeup) and do something about it. I went to a derm when I was a teenager, but I used the medicine very inconsistently and then eventually gave up when I saw no results.

I was very pleased with my visit, and I love this dermatologist. Unfortunately, I've discovered that a lot of the medicine she's started me on has no generic equivalent, and because my insurance doesn't cover brand, the price has been horrifyingly expensive.

I only discovered this now because at the visit she gave me some samples to try... I've since run out of the samples and went today to pick up the prescription.

The cost was... are you ready for this?... $289!!! This is for a cream that will last me maybe 2 months.

I really want to give this skin regimen a shot. I've only been doing it for 15 days, so I haven't yet seen any results. I do know that I'm taking much better care of my skin. So I figure my only option is to change my insurance plan so it covers brand.

As of 4/1, I'll be paying $77/mo for my current insurance. The cream will cost me $1734 (assuming I use it for a year). I have another cream (generic) that will cost me $228. The third cream I estimate will cost around the same as the first one ($1734). That's $3696 for prescriptions and $924 for premiums.

If I switch to the Blue Cross's PPO Saver Plan, I'll be paying $1704 in premiums. Drug costs would be $10 for generic and $30 for brand (after a $500 deductible). Over a year, I would need 6 prescriptions for generic ($60), and 12 prescriptions for brand ($500, then 10 prescriptions @ $30 each = $300). So I would pay $860 for prescriptions. In total, that's $2564 vs. $4620, a savings of $2056.

I'm feeling drained just thinking about this. I called M and told him, and he immediately said it wasn't worth it.

What do you guys think? Am I crazy to spend this much money on skin cream? Should I postpone doing this until I get a full-time job again? I really wanted to get myself at 100% during this year (before I become a lawyer)... my braces will be off in a couple months, I've started working out consistently, and I wanted to get my skin completely cleared up. If this regimen works, I know it will boost my self-confidence tremendously. I feel like that's worth almost anything.

Valentine's Day

In lieu of gifts, M and I are taking a mini-vacation up the coast next weekend. Even though it's only been a little over a month since Christmas break, I've been having a persistent urge to just get away. I need a break from my routine. We've made a vow to keep it inexpensive!

Speaking of Valentine's Day... I've never understood why people don't like it. I've spent plenty being single, but (cue the cheesy music) my mom was always my Valentine. ;) She would transform the table into a glittery red heart before I woke up, and then she would make a big breakfast for my dad and I. Later, we would eat chocolate and exchange cards, or bake heart-shaped cookies. And I loved passing out little notes at school. Nowadays, I enjoy the excuse to go out to a really fancy restaurant. ;) And if I was single, I would do it with a girlfriend (or my mom)!

I wish people would just relax about V-Day... simply recognize it as a fun day to spread some love and eat some chocolate. ;) Too much pressure is what's making everyone grouchy.

And yes, it's commercialized... but so what? You make the choice whether or not to buy into the commercial aspect. And of course you should be showing your partner/family/friends love on the other 364 days of the year... but it's nice to have a special holiday to celebrate all that love. :)

Parental Help

Two of my favorite bloggers, Stacking Pennies and Fabulously Broke, recently wrote about what they've received (and not received) from their parents money-wise over the years, and I thought I'd chime in.

Elementary School - High School
Basically, my mom paid for nearly everything (my dad was a cheapo), including food, clothes, everything school related (including all field trips, fundraisers, book fairs, etc), weekly trips to the comic book store, vacations...

[I've never given much thought to how much she spent on me when I was young. It kind of makes up for the few years I was paying for her cell phone plan... but I also paid her ($2000/mo) rent for a year; I'm not sure it makes up for that. (This was after my parents separated... my mom was jobless and left with nothing. I had sympathy, and I still have sympathy. But it was a tough burden to bear, especially considering she used my credit card without my consent a few times... once maxing out my card. It destroyed my trust and confidence in her.)]

The one thing I remember my dad buying me in high school was a prepaid cell phone (after a lengthy debate over why it was necessary (I said it would help me feel safe -- I was taking night classes at a community college for fun at the time)). Oh, and I remember there was even a debate over re-taking the SAT. My score only went up 20 points, so he thought it was a waste of money to take it a third time.

My dad paid for 2 quarters tuition (after I lied to him and told him I couldn't get a student loan; I would estimate it was about $5k, but it could have been less). He also paid for a normal cell phone & plan. He also paid for half of my first car (about $1800; which I received a couple months after graduation from high school).

My dad is currently paying for my car insurance. Otherwise, I have been entirely financially independent since my last year of undergrad.

I have some bitterness that my dad didn't help me out more in undergrad. I worked non-stop from when I graduated high school until last summer (midway through law school). At one point I was working two jobs. My grades were good, but not great, and I think if I had worked a few less hours, I could have changed that. Then maybe I could have gotten a scholarship to law school...

M and I have argued before about my sense of "entitlement." However, I think he has a skewed perspective because his dad is very generous, and will basically give him and his siblings anything they want. The fact that M has never really wanted anything is beside the point. I do think that parents should start a college fund (including tuition/living expenses) for their kids. I think it's healthy, and good experience, for kids to work (or volunteer) when they hit the latter years of high school. But education should be the primary focus, and parents should enable it to be the primary focus.

You brought the kids into this life, it's your responsibility to help them get through it... at least to a certain stage - in my opinion, the cut-off is graduation from college. I wouldn't be supporting my kid anymore after that, unless something catastrophic happened.

I keep hearing about friends of friends getting pregnant, and it irks me so much because they're nearly kids themselves and have little means to support a baby (and they have little chance of developing the means in the future). So incredibly irresponsible. There should be a law that states that parents need to provide proof that they've saved up a certain amount specifically earmarked for their children before they're allowed to get pregnant. (I realize that would be impossible to enforce, but I can dream. :p)

Health Premium Increase

I just got a letter in the mail today telling me the premiums on my health and dental insurance are increasing in March! $17/mo for health and 2/mo for dental. That's an extra $228/year! Ugh.

It'd be great if I got some good financial news in the mail... like a check from one of those survey companies telling me I'd won their monthly drawing for 1ok! haha.

Goals Review

I know we're only a week in to the month, but I think a weekly review will help keep me on track.

  1. Exercise - Every single day for at least 30 mins - gym, yoga, tennis, bike at home, wii fit. I wasn't too great at the beginning of the week, but I've started going to the gym consistently. We'll see if I can keep it up.
  2. School - Devote at least one full day every week to studying (3 classes @ 3 hrs/class); Devote several hours on Friday to reviewing my notes. I didn't review my notes on Friday, but I am planning to study all day tomorrow.
  3. Food - Go shopping every Monday for Tu/W/Th food - banana, applesauce, water, juice can/box, granola bar, sandwich. I did this last Monday, and I'll do it again in 2 days.
  4. Money - No purchases this month, period (other than food). I failed at this goal, but I really needed some stuff. I bought a sports bra, a rain jacket, and a lunch bag. Should need nothing else for the rest of the month.
  5. Health - Continue with dermatologist prescribed skin plan; Continue brushing teeth 2x/day, flossing, and using mouthwash; Go to the doctor to get my right knee checked out; Go to the gynecologist. Check... except for flossing. And I need to make appts for the dr and gyno.
  6. Relationship - Get out of the house at least once on the weekends with M and do something fun and free (tennis, beach, walks to new places, museums, etc). Check! Tennis last weekend and an event today. Off to a good start.
  7. Friends - Try to be social at least 2 times this month. Check! Went out with a friend yesterday, and am going out with M and 2 friends today.

Job Search Update

As I mentioned last month, I sent out quite a few resumes in the hopes of finding a new job. I've since decided that I want to postpone looking seriously for one for at least another couple months (I need the time to get on top of school and get into an exercise routine)... maybe that's why I've started getting callbacks. Hmph.

I'm feeling really conflicted about working part-time versus full-time. My grades were a little better last semester (I received my first law school A! woohoo), but overall I don't know if they improved enough to justify only having a part-time job. I guess the quality of my life improved quite a bit (I'm no longer getting sick at least once a month - actually, I don't think I've been sick since I quit the FT job); I'm happier, I don't yell at M as much.

But my financial state has really suffered... and it's so scary to think of myself as graduating next year, no longer having loan money to pay for my expenses, and with only 6 months before I have to shell out $1400+/mo to pay back those loans.

I'm really struggling with what to do... I can get by with my PT job. But I want to do more than get by. I know I should focus on the long-term, and the money I'll be able to earn once I get out of law school. Then again, who knows how much I can really make out of law school? My grades aren't good enough for a 160k job. I'm probably looking at 70k, at most. Keeping that in mind, isn't it absolutely crucial that I make as much money as I can right now? On the other hand, don't I deserve to enjoy my early 20s, and be healthy and happy?

Anyway... yeah. You guys have probably noticed that I think (and write) about this stuff at least once a month. Sorry if it's getting redundant. ;)

Meal Plan

Since I now have a consistent schedule, I want to try sticking to a meal plan. I want to eat healthier, consume less calories, and spend less money. I think I'm going to buy a lunch bag and make sure it's packed every night. When I'm rushing in the morning, I tend to forget things or pack too little (by packing I mean throw everything into my schoolbag).

My spreadsheet and grocery lists are works in progress. Does anyone have any relatively inexpensive/easy & delicious recipe suggestions? Or ideas for meals I can take with me to work/school? (easy-as-making-a-sandwich ideas. I hate making a mess in the kitchen during the week)

Weekly Grocery list

  • Mini-loaf
  • 3 Bananas, 1 peach, 1 apple
  • Salad
  • Salad Topper
  • Tortillas
  • Broccoli
Bi-Monthly Grocery List
  • Eggs
  • Milk
Monthly Grocery List
  • Jell-o
  • Salsa
  • Walnuts
  • Cheese
  • Sandwich meat
  • Cereal

Credit Card Progress

I updated my sidebars, and I progressed a little... but it's not very impressive.

Based on my current Visa balance of $7788, making $300 payments/mo, and calculating in about $77/mo in interest... It'll take me 33 months, or 2.8 years to pay off this card! I'll have paid $2600 in interest! Not acceptable. :(

July 1st will be my last braces payment, so that will free up $439/mo. Hopefully we'll also move into a cheaper apartment, freeing up another $100/mo. So August 1st I can start making $839/mo payments. Then I'll be able to have the card paid off in 10 months! So by June 2010, and just in time for the bar, my credit card will be paid off.

Which reminds me... at that point I'll need to make a $3000 payment to Barbri (for bar prep classes). Wonderful! If I don't have any money saved up by then (or even better, a firm to reimburse me), that money will have to go back on the credit card I just paid off! UGH.

Brand vs. Generic

I went to the dermatologist a few weeks ago and had an interesting situation arise when taking my prescriptions to the pharmacy.

The pharmacist had prepared the generic (actually, without consulting me, but when she told me it was $30 vs. $100, I assented) but then discovered that the doctor had written some code for "brand only" on the prescription (it was for a cream). She then got on the phone with the doctor's office, and asked them if it was ok to switch. They said yes, but it left me feeling uneasy. I called them later that day so I could hear for myself why the doctor had wanted me to stick with brand. I spoke with the office manager who said that the brand "works better" and that the doctor generally prefers it to generic with all prescriptions. But because the price discrepancy was so great, it was ok to go with the generic.

I've had a debate with M about this before, and after some research, discovered he was right - that generic is virtually the same as brand in almost all circumstances. They have the same active ingredients, but different inactive ingredients.

Which leads me to the question - could the doctor be right, and the inactive ingredients make the drug not as potent? Is it worth it to spend more for the brand? (My insurance only covers generic, so I'll always have to pay full-price) Or does she have some underlying reason for her preference - a kickback from the pharmaceutical company?

Being Social

I was unusually social this weekend, and some of it (tennis) was even free! This coming Friday I'm going to eat lunch with one friend, and Saturday I'm going to get together with a group of friends to do some sightseeing. So I'm all set to completing one of my goals for this month (being social at least twice).

Seeing people at work/school during the week takes a lot of energy out of me, so I tend to want to just spend the weekends with M... is anyone else like this? I have fun when I actually spend time with my friends, but it's a real struggle to get myself to spend that time. Especially when I have commitments on both Saturday and Sunday... I usually end up canceling one of the days. I need one full day to myself, at home, sleeping late, not showering, padding around in my pajamas.

Anyway, I'm going to try to set more tennis play-dates, because it's social, AND free, AND a great work-out. Of course, tennis is even more energy-sapping than normal social outings, so maybe I'll need a day and a half of being a hermit in order to recuperate. I'm not even kidding... two days later, I'm still so sore, I could just curl up in my bed and go back to sleep! Wow, am I out of shape.

25 Things About Me

"Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you and post it. At the end, choose 5 people to be tagged. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you."

I'm self-tagging! And I'm going to be like FB and cut this list down to 10 things... just because. ;)

  1. I loved comic books, comic cards, and video games as a kid. None of my friends shared the passion (they were all typical girls. boo to them!). My comic book collection I sold while I was in college.
  2. I still love video games, but I never play them alone anymore.
  3. I graduated college early.
  4. I have never dated an American (though I am one).
  5. My mom is European, and she rued the day she married my (American) dad, so maybe that's the reason for #4. (Nah, Kristy's right - it's the accents ;))
  6. I love foie gras, and don't feel guilty at all about it. Even though I also love animals. I have a disconnect in my brain about it.
  7. I never get coffee at coffee houses. Only chai lattes, hot chocolate, or milk teas.
  8. I enjoy taking pictures.
  9. I'm going to be a lawyer in a little over a year (well, hopefully) and it kind of freaks me out.
  10. I think unagi (freshwater eel) tastes like french toast. yum!

February Goals

I'm on a goals kick today... ;)

  • Exercise - Every single day for at least 30 mins - gym, yoga, tennis, bike at home, wii fit
  • School - Devote at least one full day every week to studying (3 classes @ 3 hrs/class); Devote several hours on Friday to reviewing my notes
  • Food - Go shopping every Monday for Tu/W/Th food - banana, applesauce, water, juice can/box, granola bar, sandwich
  • Money - No purchases this month, period (other than food).
  • Health - Continue with dermatologist prescribed skin plan; Continue brushing teeth 2x/day, flossing, and using mouthwash; Go to the doctor to get my right knee checked out; Go to the gynecologist
  • Relationship - Get out of the house at least once on the weekends with M and do something fun and free (tennis, beach, walks to new places, museums, etc)
  • Friends - Try to be social at least 2 times this month

Goals for the Immediate Future

In no particular order...


  • M and I will be giving our 30 day notice on May 31st.
  • We're going to start looking at apartments in mid-April.
  • We'll be aiming for an apartment that's $1900 or less ($200/mo savings).
  • We'll want to sign a lease anywhere in between June 15th - July 1st (though we have to finish moving by June 30th).
  • I need to save up around $2200 for moving costs (security deposit and movers) by June 1st.
  • We're going to England in September for M's mom's wedding.
  • Right now, the plane ticket is around $900. If we stay for 10 days, lodging will be maybe $1500? Which means I need to save $2400 by August 1st (I figure we can book hotels/lodging a month in advance).
  • In order to pay for moving and travel, I need to have a full-time job. I'm going to look sporadically starting now, but I absolutely need to find a job by the end of May.
  • In those 7 months, I will likely make $3000/mo net, or $21,000 total. I will also get $14,000 from my loans. Grand total is $35,000. With that, I need to (1) pay for living expenses from Jun-Dec ($20k), (2) pay $4600 for moving/travel, and (3) save 10k for living expenses for the following year (or pay off my credit cards, or pay M back what I owe him).
  • (#3 is up in the air because I may have to go back to working part-time next year so I can take more classes and graduate on-time... Alternatively, I'll stretch out school by another semester. I'm not sure yet. I would love to pay back M though)
  • I have 3 1/2 months until finals. I really have to get my butt in gear.
  • All day tomorrow I'm going to study. Hopefully I can get caught up with everything.
  • Then I really have to figure out whether I'm going to be able to graduate on-time.
  • I also have to decide if I want a LLM (though I'll likely postpone this decision to next year, when I can see whether or not the job market's improved).
  • I want to exercise as much as possible while I'm still only working part-time.
  • I have 4 months until I start working full time. If I'm able to lose 2 pounds per week, I can lose 24 pounds!
  • Even more important than losing the weight is getting into a good routine. I want to feel like my day is not complete without exercise.

January Budget Recap

I spent a LOT on household items this month - a rice cooker, a kitchen mat, muffin pan, etc. But very little on food (that's because M is paying for everything, even when I tell him to use our joint account). I feel really bad about that. :(

I currently have $8200 in the bank. I've already paid for rent (1050) and credit cards (839) for this month, which means I have $1334 left in expenses. For March, April, May and expenses for the beginning of June (because the loan payment likely won't come in until the second week), I'll need $12,423. The difference between what I have now and what I'll need is $4223. I'll get $2500 from my job. That leaves me with $1723. I have about $1500 coming from my tax refund. So I'll need to come up with about $300 extra ($600 if I do get an IOU as my state refund) from now until June 1st.


I have my taxes 99% finished, just waiting on a form from my school, then I'm done! I'm very happy to report I'll be getting a $2100 refund, which means I'll have enough money to last me until my next loan payment in June (if I choose not to go back to working full-time).

I did hear one troubling thing from M... The stimulus checks we received from the government last year are coming out of our refunds?! Ugh!

Oh, and then the other troubling thing is the IOUs being issued from the California government... Double Ugh.

Despite those two setbacks, I think I'll still have enough money to make up for my budget deficit. I better start running the numbers. Oh, and I think it's about time to look at my budget from January!

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