January 28, 2009

According to CNN Money, here are the top 25 companies to work for.

1 NetApp
2 Edward Jones
3 Boston Consulting Group
4 Google
5 Wegmans Food Markets
6 Cisco Systems
7 Genentech
8 Methodist Hospital System
9 Goldman Sachs
10 Nugget Market
11 Adobe Systems
12 Recreational Equipment (REI)
13 Devon Energy
14 Robert W. Baird
15 W. L. Gore & Associates
16 Qualcomm
17 Principal Financial Group
18 Shared Technologies
19 OhioHealth
20 SAS
21 Arnold & Porter
22 Whole Foods Market
23 Zappos.com
24 Starbucks
25 Johnson Financial Group

Here is the complete list

I was expecting google to be #1!

These companies have the best healthcare:

Boston Consulting Group
Nugget Market
Shared Technologies
Whole Foods Market
Kimley-Horn & Associates
EOG Resources
Rackspace Hosting
NuStar Energy
Stew Leonard's
Lehigh Valley Hospital & Health Network
Perkins Coie

I wonder if working for these companies are as good as it's made out to be?

Money Wise
Working towards a goal!

January 27, 2009

401K vs. Savings

I have been reading articles about 401k vs savings and where you should put your money in this kind of economy. I am contributing enough to my 401K to get the company match and then been contributing to my Roth IRA. After making these contributions, I put a little bit towards my savings. Weighing the options, I will never think about contributing less than the company match even though I am losing a little money in my 401K. It is free money after all!

What have you been doing? Are you still contributing to your 401K or do you feel safer making payments to your savings account?

Money Wise
Working towards a goal!

January 22, 2009

Becoming a millionaire?! Piece of cake!!

Being a millionaire might sound like an impossible task, but it gets easier if it’s broken down into manageable parts. I was surfing and came across this calculator which I thought might be helpful.

Save a Million Calculator

Now that you know how much you need to set aside, go get ‘em!!

Money Wise
Working towards a goal!

January 19, 2009

How Far is Too Far?

I know being frugal and watching what you buy is a vital part of saving. How far is going too far to save a few dollars?

One thing that I always thought was wrong is when you go to eat but don’t leave a tip. We will go out to eat and this girl I know, let’s call her X, doesn’t leave a tip!! NO tip! Everyone will be scrambling to see if they have a couple of dollars to pitch in but she just pays for her food. If you are too cheap to leave a tip then don’t go to a restaurant. Simple. Get a carry out, go to fast food, eat at home! I just feel this is so wrong, I mean…waiters/waitresses don’t make enough without the tip so I feel like we are ripping them off. If they didn’t serve you well or were rude to you or spit in your food then I understand but to just not leave a tip to save money?

What do you think? Is this going too far or no? What bothers you the most?

January 16, 2009

How do you Compare to the National Average?

Average Family Budget National Average
Total Food at home 7.7%
Food away from home 5.6%
Alcoholic beverages 1.1%
Housing 32.1%
Apparel and services 4.2%
Transportation 18.0%
Healthcare 5.9%
Entertainment 5.1%
Personal care products and services 1.3%
Reading 0.3%
Education 2.1%
Tobacco products and smoking supplies 0.7%
Miscellaneous 1.6%
Cash contributions 3.2%
Personal insurance and pensions 11.1%

Total Monthly Expenses 100.0%


According to CNN Money, your ideal budget (based on gross income) should be:

Housing & Debt 30%
Taxes 25%
Insurance 4%
Saving & Investments 15%
Living Expenses 26%


*Stares at the housing in disbelief* 30% - 32% is the national average for housing? Mine is more like 50%! With rent/mortgage, utilities, repairs, etc., I can’t believe that’s the average! How much % is your housing? If I am well beyond the boundaries, I definitely see where I need to cut expenses. *Shakes head*

My transportation costs aren’t that high. All the other categories seem reasonable to me.

How do you add up to the national average?

January 14, 2009

Money Personality

"Your Money Personality is Healthy"

You have a good relationship with money.You don't spend wildly, but you're not opposed to treating yourself on occasion.In general, you save some of what you earn. You know the importance of a nest egg.You aren't afraid of being financially literate - you embrace learning more about finances.From a retirement plan to having an emergency fund, you know what you need to have to be safe.


Ohhhh, look at that! I have a “Healthy” Money Personality!! Woo hoo!!
Okay, okay, I know it’s not that big of a deal. I mean…it’s just a quiz anyways, but STILL!

I admit that I treat myself more than occasionally, but I do try and save. It’s hard to get away from all those sales, especially with the convenience of online shopping.
I was one of those people who always thought of retirement as being far away; I mean why worry about it now right? Live for the moment! Then I slowly started realizing that retirement is not as far away as I thought it was. If I didn’t start saving a little by little now, where did I think I was going to get the money from when I retire? At work I heard one women say that she can’t retire yet because of the economy and how she doesn’t have enough to survive on. I do not want to be 65 and still be working! NO WAY!

If you are thinking that I probably started saving for retirement because I am scared I will be working when I am that old, you aren’t completely wrong.

What got you into saving?

January 13, 2009

Vote for the Seven Wonders of Nature

The Swiss-based nonprofit foundation that held the voting for the 7 Man Made Wonders have now started the voting process for the New 7 Wonders of Nature. There are 261 “national and multinational” nominees competing to make it to the top 77 spots. Votes can be cast until July 7th here
(You do have to register since they don’t want people voting twice).

A panel of judges will decide on the 21 finalists in July. The public will then choose the final seven winners via Internet, phone and text messages. The voting will last until 2011.

For those of you who are curious about the winners of the 7 Man Made Wonders, they were:

Pyramids of Giza (Egypt)
Colosseum (Italy)
Great Wall of China
Taj Mahal (India)
Petra (Jordan)
Christ the Redeemer Statue (Brazil)
Machu Picchu (Peru)
Pyramid at Chichen Itza (Mexico)

Yes, I do know there are 8 places on that list! :)

If you have a favorite place you would like to see get nominated, get voting!!

January 12, 2009

Dining Out is a Budget Buster!

Eating out is taking a huge bite (hahaha…) into our budget! I knew we ate out a lot, but oh my goodness! We don’t really spend much in other categories, so I allotted $200 for dining out for two people and guess what?! It’s only the 12th and we spent $75.75 already. That’s $7 5. 7 5!!

Tracking puts everything right in front of your face! Dang the spreadsheet!! Okay, maybe it makes more sense to get something out of this than to curse at the computer…. * sigh *

A lot of that has to do with me buying lunch almost everyday. It’s so much easier than to pack something every morning. This is where those TV dinners and soups come in handy. That’s what I am going to do… bring my lunch! * Throws Smart One in a bag* That was easy…..!!

How much do you set aside for dining out every month?

January 10, 2009

The Millionaire Next Door

I kept hearing really good things about The Millionaire Next Door, so I decided to check it out in Amazon. There were excerpts of the book available, and I was pretty surprised at some of the information in there. It mentioned that millionaires live in homes that are worth $320,000 on average. I would have never thought this! The book also mentioned that they live below their means and wear "....inexpensive suits...." I must have a vivid imagination, I always thought millionaires drove luxury cars and wore really expensive clothing. I blame the TV for this perception!

I will update after I read the book...

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?

January 8, 2009

Monthly Expense Calculator

Have you ever watched Suze Orman and wished you can get her advice on your income/expense. Now you can! Well, kind of.....

I was surfing Oprah's website and came across Suze Orman's Monthly Expense Calculator. You enter your income as well as your expenses and hit the Get Honest button. Bada Bing Bada Boom, you have Suze's opinion!


Deals & Steals

For those of you that have really young ones at home, I found this at www.slickdeals.com


Wish they had this during Christmas!

January 6, 2009

Best Advice

There are no shortages of advices. Family, friends, relatives are always giving you their opinions whether you want to hear them or not. There are a few though (whether or not it's from someone you like) that are helpful and we can benefit from listening to it.

Empty out the change from your pockets when you get home and save them in a jar (or a can, bank, whatever you can find).
At the end of the year you can use it for Christmas gifts, buy something for yourself or better yet put it into savings. Remember a penny saved is a penny earned! You are probably thinking - a penny?? What good is a penny? If you have 100 pennies, you can order from the McDonalds $1 menu. 200 pennies? You can order TWO items! Now, doesn't that put everything in perspective?

Don’t buy anything you can’t pay for in cash
If you have to use a credit card to pay for it, then don’t buy it. Try to save for it instead.
Which brings us to the next point.....

Pay your credit card in FULL each month
Those interest rates are high and why waste money paying towards finance charges and interest?

Save atleast 10% of your paycheck
Having it automatically transferred into a savings account helps. If you don’t see it, you won’t spend it. Always pay yourself first! I have an ING Savings Account which I use for this purpose. If you need a referral, E-mail me!

Make/follow a budget
Making a budget is easy enough but following it is the hard part. If you can stick to the budget then your money goals will be that much easier! This is one of my 2009 goals.

Live below your means
I think this is one of the big ones. It’s easy to increase your expenses when you get a raise, but try to live off the old income. Differentiate between needs and wants. No girls, new shoes are NOT a need!

Savings/Investing wisely leads to financial freedom!

January 5, 2009

2009 Goals

It's a New Year and a new beginning to your financials! I have to admit that I always spend time making a budget then I follow it for about a month and then it's forgotten. This year I am GOING to make a budget and stick to it!!

I am also going to:

Max out my Roth IRA ( Contribution limits for 2009 is $5,000 if you are age 49 and below and $6,000 if you are above 50).

Contribute to 401K (at least up to my employer's match)

Open a 529 Savings

Contribute to my Emergency Fund

Pay towards the Student Loan principle

I am sick of the student loan payments always going to the interest rate. I WILL make a dent in that loan!

What are your goals for the New Year?