How to Make Time without being a Superhero

April 21, 2010
Written by Cathy

wonderwoman A frequent phrase I hear from friends and coworkers is, “I would like to do <blank>, but I don’t have enough time.”

Some of the items for <blank> are as follows:

exercise
lose weight
cook meals at home
do another task at work
find a new job
learn to write computer programs
travel

I assure them I have just as many hours in the day as they do, but I have done all of the things listed above.  I do them on a regular basis.

My secret? I have a superpower able to slow down time while I get things done at supersonic speeds.

No, not really.  Alas, I am a mere mortal.  However, I have learned the art of time management and prioritization.

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A Spending Statement from the Past

February 7, 2010
Written by Cathy

3304915442_f8ce40eecf The other night, I went through my filing cabinet looking for tax documents. I found an interesting item from my past instead: a credit card statement of my former spending habits. In glaring detail, it is evidence of a spending spree that would eventually lead me to the lowest point in my life.

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Save Money at Restaurants (And Lose Weight!)

January 4, 2010
Written by Cathy

444450532_5f855f8728 One of the main trouble areas that contributed to my debt and weight gain was restaurants.  I didn’t cook at home, and I ate out at every meal.  McDonalds for breakfast, Burger King for lunch, and Applebee’s for dinner. 

I didn’t realize that an average American restaurant portion is 2-3 times larger than it should be.  After learning how to cook for myself, I discovered I can put together a gourmet steak dinner complete with grass fed beef, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables and a glass of wine for about $12.  Total calories is about 400-500.  An equivalent meal at my favorite steakhouse costs $38, and weighs in at over 1000 calories!

My partner and I still enjoy dining out.  We do it economically, and stay slim.  This is how I did it, while still enjoying an occasional dinner out.

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Rainy Day Fund Saves My Bacon Again in 2009

December 30, 2009
Written by Cathy

842279505_fb596784ff One of the recurring topics I write about is the many ways a “rainy day” or “emergency fund” has saved my bacon.  It helped me get out of debt.  It’s now helped me stay out of debt.

I finished paying off $35,000 worth of consumer debt in April 2008.  Since that time to present, I worked aggressively to save, save, save.

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Working on it! (Forgive me!)

December 14, 2009
Written by Cathy

I know I know, I promised new posts and I’m late. I do have topics. This has been a very rough year, but I’m still debt free and have some insights to share with you.

We’ll chat soon!

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Luxury for Less: Pedicures

July 31, 2009
Written by Cathy

I read an article from Time recently about ways people are cutting back during this economic downturn: 10 Big Recession Surprises.  One of the benchmarks of a recession is lipstick sales, strangely enough.  During wallet tightening cycles, women buy fewer designer cosmetics, but more lipstick.  Lipstick is an inexpensive cosmetic luxury women feel they can splurge on.  This recession is no exception: lipstick sales are up.

Women are cutting back on visits to the nail salon.  This isn’t surprising; manicures and pedicures are a luxury we can forego.  It is surprising, however, that nail polish sales have not increased, indicating that women aren’t doing it at home.  They are going cold turkey on the manis and pedis.  

Giving up manicures is understandable. Highly sculpted nails are tough to do on your own.  But pedicures?  Easy!  Are women too intimidated to scrub their feet and paint their toenails themselves?  Do they think it can’t be as luxurious when you do it at home?

Whatever the reason, ladies, I’m going to show you that you do not have to forego taking care of your feet.  It’s the height of summer, and you don’t want calloused, stanky, unpainted toenails in your sexy sandals, do you? 

Heck no!  Let’s go!

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First Quarter 2009 Rainy Day Funds Assessment

May 4, 2009
Written by Cathy

3337971092_34f469bbed The start of 2009 was rough.  I’ve tapped into my emergency fund several times due to unexpected events.

1. My company is indirectly hurt by the instability in the financial sector.  Thus, many of us took a paycut.  I took a 7.5% paycut.

Impact: Disappointed, but my goals are marginally affected.  I can still meet the minimums on all my fixed obligations (rent, food).  I can still max my retirement funds.  Some of my short term goals will be trimmed back by about 7.5% proportionally. 

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Flu Prevention: Wash Your Hands!

April 30, 2009
Written by Cathy

213655846_d2d5fe896e The big thing in the news right now is the swine flu.  What’s the big deal, you might ask?

The first thing to know is the flu is always a serious illness.  Pneumonia complication from a flu is the 8th leading cause of death in the industrialized world.  If you’ve ever had a stuffy, running nose and felt pretty miserable, chances are you just had a really bad cold.  If you had the flu, it would have knocked you off your feet. Literally.

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Philanthropy in Tough Times

April 28, 2009
Written by Cathy

2133875401_e9cce8148b Give a hungry man a fish, you have fed him for a day.  Teach a hungry man to fish, you have fed him for a lifetime. – Proverb

I won’t deny it.  I wouldn’t mind being a millionaire.  But I do not want to sell my soul to do it.  I do not want to lose my empathy and understanding for those less fortunate.  Neither do I want to be a participant perpetuating cycles of poverty.  Philanthropy is not just giving money.  It is teaching.  We cannot end the cycle of poverty if we don’t teach others how to do it.

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A Tale of the American Car Company

April 27, 2009
Written by Cathy

502609973_15cf13875b My family was the poster child of the “Made in USA” label.  My father and grandfather were both mechanics that fed, clothed, and provided education for their families by being indirectly employed by the American car companies.  My uncle was a journeyman at General Motors in the 1990s.  The first cars I remember were my dad’s Chrysler and Chevrolet.  I’m not much of a car person, so I couldn’t tell you what models and years they were.

My dad bought an Oldsmobile 88 before they closed the brand in 2004.  Why?  When he was a kid in the hay-day of the American muscle cars, he remembered being smoked attempting to drag race a vintage Olds 88.  While the body style had changed quite a bit and was more sedan than muscle car, his fond memories led him to buy it.  I remember as a family, we only bought American cars.

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