Archive for January, 2009

More ways to save money when you go shopping

January 27, 2009

Sometimes, being a smart shopper isn’t quite enough. So here are some more things I do to save money.

  • Go thrift/vintage shopping – You can often find some great stuff here – there’s a lot of designer clothing that’s been barely worn.
  • Organize your closet – when was the last time you cleaned out your closet? Chances are, there’s probably a great shirt that you’ve been overlooking.
  • Tailor/fix up your clothing – if there’s a great pair of pants you love but have a hole in them, no need to buy a new pair. Just go to the tailor and get them fixed up.
  • Accessories – You can change up an entire outfit if you change the accessories that go with it. Change a necklace, use a different tie with a suit – no one will tell the difference.

Hope these helped! I know some people dislike wearing used clothing, but there are some clothing that’s new at thrift stores. I’ve been wearing hand-me-downs (from my sister and various family friends) my whole life, so I have no problem with vintage and thrift clothing.

For more tips, go here and here.

Back! And with shopping tips!

January 26, 2009

Whoopeeeee!!!!!! Finals are done. SAT is (hopefully) done. And school is starting with a clean slate – new classes, new grades, yay!

So, yesterday, in order to celebrate the end of the semester, I went shopping with some friends. Recently, with the recession, I’ve been seeing people put up shopping tips everywhere. So I thought that I would put up some of my own. I consider myself a very smart shopper (after a couple of years of experience) so here are my tips.

  1. Don’t do rush shopping – If you go shopping right before a big event, chances are that you won’t get something you absolutely looooove. And you’ll probably end up plunking a big chunk of money down for it too. The solution? When you see something you really really like, buy it. Doesn’t matter if you might not wear it in the near future. The  possibility of using it is enough. Especially if it’s on sale. Besides, if it looks good on you (which it should if you’re going to buy it), wearing it even in the privacy of your own home is always a self-esteem booster. I’ve made this mistake  a lot – found a great pair of heels for $10, but I thought I would never need them, and so I didn’t get them. Fast forward two years later, and those heels would look great with all of my dresses. Damn.
  2. Quality over quantity – there are some things you just can’t skimp on – a great handbag, comfortable shoes. And these are what you should spend most on. You need to decide what is important to you, and expect to spend a lot of money on them. For example – all those camisoles and tee shirts you see with the big designer names? Yeah, those are like $40. Get a pack of Hanes t-shirts for $3 at Target. On the other hand, a pair of jeans that make your butt look great? Well, that’s a once in a lifetime find for most people. Spend money on that.
  3. Don’t buy something just because it’s cheap – if you never wear it, that’s still money out of your pocket that you haven’t used. I once found a cashmere dress for $15. At the time, I thought to myself: Gosh, cashmere for cheap! So what if it doesn’t fit that well, I’m gonna buy it anyways. 3 years later, how many times have a worn that dress? None. That’s 15 bucks I’ll never see again.
  4. Buy something you love – there’s no point in buying something that you’ll never wear. Buy something you’ll wear constantly, and then your purchase will be worth it. Even if it was really expensive, if you wear it constantly, you’ll get your money’s worth.
  5. Be patient – if you go through everything slowly, you will find what you’re looking for. Sure, it might take a couple of shopping trips, but eventually, you’ll find it. And chances are you’ll like it more than if you just grabbed a random garment that was kinda what you wanted but not really.
  6. Shop at the right times – I pretty much go shopping about 3 times a year – Fourth of July (I stopped watching fireworks when I was a kid. And there are some pretty awesome sales), Black Friday, and after-Christmas sales (started going this year). These are when all the sales are, and they’re pretty huge. Not only that, but if you’re into stuff that’s not usually on sale (the trendy stuff), then you’ll be able to find it on sale here, when the whole store’s on sale.
  7. Screw the trends – I practically go straight for the sale section every time I step into a store. That, and I shop at outlets. I don’t care if I’m wearing last season clothes. If it looks good, it’s cheap, it’s good quality, I’ll buy it. That, and I really can’t justify to myself buying something not on sale unless I love it. The last time I did this was probably three years ago.
  8. You don’t have to buy something every time you go shopping – The other day, when I went to the mall, the only thing I bought was food (I love it, what can I say?). I tried some stuff on, didn’t like it, didn’t buy it. I feel like you should have this mentality every time you go shopping, because otherwise, you force yourself to buy something you either don’t necessarily need or don’t necessarily want.
  9. Avoid the mall (and online sites) if you don’t want to spend money – If you don’t see it, you don’t buy it. Simple as that.
  10. Have fun when you go shopping! Shopping should be fun. It’s shouldn’t be something that you force yourself through. If you’re not in a good mood every time you shop, you’re not going to be shopping well. So try to cheer up and brighten up when you go shopping.

Well, that’s it! Sorry about the hiatus, but I’ll try to update as often as possible. Hope the shopping tips helped!

Hiatus

January 19, 2009

Sorry guys – have to go on a hiatus until finals and SAT are over (just for this week). Just too busy studying for all my exams (Calculus is the bane of my life). I’ll be back by the 25th. Sorry!

So I’ve got a bit of an addition…

January 17, 2009

I’m a little addicted to browsing on-line shopping. It doesn’t matter that I know that I most likely won’t buy anything; I just like to look. Unfortunately, this often leads to lots of time wasted and wishful thinking.

So, in an effort to remedy my concentration problem, I joined shopittome. This program browses a lot of stores and sends you the clothing on sale. You get to choose the brands that you like, your sizes, the type of clothes you’re looking for and the days you want to receive the emails. No more looking sales wistfully and wishing something was in my size 🙂 Or looking for that one type of jacket that you can’t find. And hopefully this will cure my addiction.

My Long-term goals

January 17, 2009

I know I have my short term goals, but lately I’ve been thinking about my long term goals (call me crazy, but I actually like planning things out). So here they are! These will most likely change, considering I’m only 16, and these goals go until 30.

  • Own a house by 30
  • Invest the maximum in both a 401(k) and IRA (Roth would be preferable, but that depends on my eligibility)
  • Be debt-free my entire life (except for mortgage and school loans)
  • Save at least 20% of my income every year

Holy Crap

January 16, 2009

I actually am not  opposed to plastic surgery. If you want to make yourself feel better by inflating your breasts, hey, it’s your body and your choice. I realize that some people just don’t feel confident about themselves, and surgery can help with that. What I am against, however, is teenage plastic surgery. I just can’t fathom why any mother in her right mind would allow her daughter to go under the knife. Her body hasn’t even developed fully yet. How do you know she won’t grow into her nose when you get surgery performed on her when she’s 11? I know that self esteem is difficult to obtain if you deal with jeers all the time, but all teenagers go through that awkward phase. Heck, I’m still going through it. That doesn’t mean you just take the easy way out. Cindy Crawford has a mole that she was uncomfortable with, and she did just fine with her life.

The New York Times article says that teens and parents are going through with their plans despite the economy. Which brings me to this. Oh. my. god. If you’re going to lend money for plastic surgery (which you really shouldn’t anyways, considering that plastic surgery isn’t exactly a necessity most of the time), lend it to someone who can pay for it. Not a woman on welfare with a kid. What’s going to happen to her daughter when there’s no food in the house? I don’t think she’s going to appreciate her mother’s nose job very much at all.

Sometimes I really question the choices people make. People want something materialistic, they go to the bank, and the bank gives it to them. No questions asked. It’s stuff like this that has made the economy what it is.

Reading List

January 14, 2009

As soon as I have time, I’m going to start reading more finance books, to learn more. First up? Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki. It was recommended to me by a friend, and I decided to take a hit at it, considering it’s bestseller status. Despite the criticism, I’m going to give it a chance, and start reading it. After that will be Suze Orman’s 2009 Action Plan (you can download it for free here, until 1/15!)

After I finish these two books (which might take some time, probably not until finals are over), I’ll start hitting up more books – here and here are lists of books that I may read.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress and what I think about these books!

Paying for College

January 13, 2009

With all the college applications that have the seniors around me aflutter, I’ve had college on my mind for a while. My mom tells me that I should try as much as possible to go to a good college not only for a better education, but also because of the environment. In her opinion, her undergraduate years were some of her best. But college, despite all the fun, also comes with lots of debt. And as I was reading through some blogs today, I spotted this. And I started wondering, who’s responsibility is it to  pay for college? My AP Economics teacher, for instance, worked full-time when he was in college to pay for it (his parents didn’t foot any part of the bill).

That’s why I think that I should contribute as much as I possibly can toward my college education. I plan on working throughout college (part-time, maybe? Or a paid internship), so I would like to try to help my parents out. I’ll probably go to the place that offered me the most financial aid and a good education. That’s why I think that state universities are so excellent – not only are they much cheaper, but they also have decent educations. Name brand schools may be nice, but I don’t feel like paying off school debt when I’m 40. Also, state universities are much more likely to accept AP credits, which can significantly reduce the number of years I’m in school (strangely enough, my mom wants me to stay in school longer to have fun, while I want to get started on my life sooner. We obviously have very conflicting viewpoints). But all in all, money is money, and with the state the economy is in now, being debt free would help a lot. Especially when I’m getting a pretty decent education at a low price.

New Year’s Resolutions

January 12, 2009

I know this is kind of late, but here are my New Year’s Resolutions! Not all are finance related.

Shopping/Money Spending

  • Think before I buy anything
  • Quality over quantity
  • Don’t be afraid to “step out of the box” (my family is always asking me why I buy so many nice clothes and never wear them to school)
  • Knit a scarf (I suck at knitting. I learned this summer and my rectangular scarf turned into an irregular trapezoid. But knitting will help me solve my scarf addiction)

Saving Money

  • Save at least 50% of my income.

Other

  • Read more current events (I subscribe to the New York Times and Washington Post, but I usually archive them before actually reading them)
  • I will not gain weight during Chinese New Year. Despite the 139034 parties that all Chinese people have with all the Chinese food and dishes and delicious desserts and everything that tempts me, I will not gain weight. No sirree.

Download Suze Orman’s 2009 Action Plan free!

January 11, 2009

This may be a little late, but you can download Suze Orman’s 2009 Action Plan for free here until 1/15.