Frugal Idea #31: Retirement, where do you stand?

While watching The Walking Dead, I ran across this page. 

I was a little worried about not being on track with my peers in regards to saving up in a retirement account. Do I have enough? Should I increase my contributions? You can check out your status in comparison to your age group and/or zip code. Check it out:

How do I compare?

If you are behind schedule to hit your financial goals, take the next step and change your plan in 2015! It is never too late.

Retirement Ahead!

About the Blogger:

VegasTrip

Neville (Nev) Bendiola grew up in the Mission District of San Francisco, California until the age of 10 before relocating to Sacramento, CA.  Growing up in a low income family, he slept on the floor most of his young life until he got his own twin size bed at the age of 10 – a memory he will always remember. Nev relocated back to San Francisco for college where he continued on in a career in Staffing Sales and Recruiting. Achieving financial success, he spent more than he earned using credit cards along the way. He found himself  carrying debt through the recent recession. Inspired by friends and reading success stories online, Nev moved into a Studio apartment in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district where he minimized his spending and material items. He is currently focused on saving money and sharing the ride with his readers along his journey to financial freedom.

Contact: frugalnev@gmail.com

Twitter: NEVBB

Facebook: facebook.com/frugalnev

Frugal Idea #30: Wrap it up

I hate seeing food go to waste!

If you work in an office setting, you may notice the trends of October to December: plenty of food, sweets, and treats.The spirit of giving is present more than ever. Last week, I was offered Muddy Buddies by our Receptionist. (Recipe: Muddy Buddies). Bagel breakfasts for the office starts to show up more and more. Tubs of cream cheese brings the co-workers together.

The week after Halloween, I started to notice the candies that failed to go to no-show Trick or Treaters appear in baskets alongside the printers. Print your expense report, grab a Tootsie Roll.

Our annual Thanksgiving potluck was a success. The entire office contributed $8.00 to our Office Manager and in return, we had a catered lunch of turkey, gravy, stuffing, and buttered rolls.

I wonder what Christmas will bring this year.

I have a reputation in the office. If you want to save food, go to Nev. In my bottom desk drawer, underneath the lint brush, are two sizes of Ziploc bags. I started to buy Ziploc bags for my office desk because I despised seeing the Noah’s bagels that were once soft and oven fresh, become hard stale discs because no one wanted to store them. In the trash they went. I have seen one too many potlucks result in food left out to spoil as Sales people scrambled back to their headsets once the food and laughs have died down.

As a child, food was important. We did not eat out at fancy restaurants. We could not afford it. Instead, I learned the importance of coupons, buying in bulk when an item was on sale, and always eating leftovers. My Nana would go to the local church to obtain donated foods for lower income families.

As an adult, I now can afford the hot new San Francisco restaurant (once in a while) and I love to splurge on a good cheap bite here and there, but I will never be one to waste food if I can help it. Here are a few tips with leftovers:

  • Keep a gallon size bag and quart size bag of Ziplock bags in your office drawer. You will be surprised how much you use them. Your minimal investment in the Ziplock bags, can save you from spending a $15 breakfast or lunch one day.
  • Give thanks for the bagels. Did you know that they freeze very well? Store them in the office freezer. When you are ready to use them, pop one in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute and it will defrost enough to slice and toast. If you are in a rush in the morning and skipped breakfast, you will be thankful for the frozen bagels.
  • After the potluck frenzy has died down in the office, offer to help your Administrative staff to clean. You would be surprised how much they appreciate the help. Store the food away properly so that all can eat seconds (or thirds!)

As we celebrate the holidays, be thankful for what you have. There are plenty of hungry people out there and many who can not simply afford an extravagant holiday dinner. Be mindful of what you throw away. If you can, wrap up the leftovers from your work celebrations and do not be ashamed. Someone out there would gladly take your leftovers.

Ziploc Bags

About the Blogger:

VegasTrip

Neville (Nev) Bendiola grew up in the Mission District of San Francisco, California until the age of 10 before relocating to Sacramento, CA.  Growing up in a low income family, he slept on the floor most of his young life until he got his own twin size bed at the age of 10 – a memory he will always remember. Nev relocated back to San Francisco for college where he continued on in a career in Staffing Sales and Recruiting. Achieving financial success, he spent more than he earned using credit cards along the way. He found himself  carrying debt through the recent recession. Inspired by friends and reading success stories online, Nev moved into a Studio apartment in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district where he minimized his spending and material items. He is currently focused on saving money and sharing the ride with his readers along his journey to financial freedom.

Contact: frugalnev@gmail.com

Twitter: NEVBB

Facebook: facebook.com/frugalnev

Frugal Idea #29: Embrace it, live it

I spent one hour in a car with someone who spoke my language.

He wanted to save, grow his net worth, and share his vision. So he invited me to a free 1 hour seminar on retirement. Of course, I accepted his invitation. My friend hitched a ride from me and we drove in typical San Francisco traffic which allowed us to have a very deep conversation. After catching up on our personal lives, asking who we were currently dating, & what fun activities we have recently accomplished, our conversation switched to his relationship with his Financial Advisor, mutual funds, and my dreams of creating a personal business.

My journey of frugal living, increasing my net worth, eliminating debt, saving money, creating multiple streams of income, becoming a better sales person, and entrepreneurship started not too long ago, but my passion seems to seep out of me more than ever presently. I truly believe in who you choose to surround yourself around with will influence your life, I believe that your thoughts become actions, and what actions you conduct become results of the life you live. At one point in my life, I was jealous of the rich and the successful and assumed they had it easy. I assumed they were born wealthy or at least were privileged to have access to more things in life. So for years, I played victim. I finally decided that I was in control of my own destiny. I wanted to look up to people who overcame many obstacles in their lives – celebrities and within my own circle. A good friend once told me that he chooses to not spend a single minute with anyone who was negative and did not add value to his life. I now choose to do the same. I choose to surround myself around those who also strive to improve their lives, value their time, and think positively. I admire those who are successful and instead of resenting him or her, I now ask, how did you do that?

So, this past year, I decided to brand myself as someone who is open to learning, open to receiving, and in return, share the knowledge I have gained. I started following blogs that inspired me (along with commenting and liking their posts), follow Tweets that reminded me of my goals, read every single day about a topic I did not understand (for example, bonds – what are those?), and watch/listen to videos, that shared my passion. I hope these videos inspire you in some way.

Video #1: When You Know Better, You Do Better – this video means so much to me. It shows that whatever mistakes you have made in the past, you can forgive yourself. That includes playing the victim, accruing so much debt, or making bad financial decisions. Whatever you have done, it is ok. You simply did not know better. What you did then does not reflect the person you are today. When you know better, you do better.

Video #2: Saving Money – The first financial book I ever read page by page was a book by Suze Orman: The Courage To Be Rich. I ordered it randomly via Amazon.com and it really has changed me. Suze was a waitress and changed her life around. Becoming a successful business person, she still found herself in a lot of debt and a situation she described struck me. She was at a restaurant and the waitress who served her probably made less than she did salary wise, but her net worth was definitely worth more. Here is a quick snippet of Suze!

Video #3: The Law of Attraction – A coworker once introduced me to “The Secret” by by Rhonda Byrne. I did not believe this at all. Fast forward years later, I now understand. What you think, feel, and do goes out to the Universe and it is returned. Once I changed my energy, the people I surrounded myself with, my thoughts and my actions, my life has changed. I was changing what I attracted into my life. This video is an example of what I choose to listen to while I clean or make dinner versus television that may not add value to my life.

Whatever it is you choose to do and have passion in, embrace it and live it. Only you can live the life you want. DREAM.

About the Blogger:

VegasTrip

Neville (Nev) Bendiola grew up in the Mission District of San Francisco, California until the age of 10 before relocating to Sacramento, CA.  Growing up in a low income family, he slept on the floor most of his young life until he got his own twin size bed at the age of 10 – a memory he will always remember. Nev relocated back to San Francisco for college where he continued on in a career in Staffing Sales and Recruiting. Achieving financial success, he spent more than he earned using credit cards along the way. He found himself  carrying debt through the recent recession. Inspired by friends and reading success stories online, Nev moved into a Studio apartment in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district where he minimized his spending and material items. He is currently focused on saving money and sharing the ride with his readers along his journey to financial freedom.

Contact: frugalnev@gmail.com

Twitter: NEVBB

Frugal Idea #28: Taking Care of Business (During Flu Season)

I received my annual flu shot last week… and it was free!

flu frugalnev

As a kid until the time I graduated from college, I knew that every winter, I would get really sick. So sick that I would miss at least 1 week of school or work. It was a given. My parents never exposed me to the act of flu shots and the fact that we has so many people living in a small space, it was very easy to pass on germs. There were always those co-workers who never got sick and I was jealous. As I grew older and my body started changing, I knew that I had to start taking care of myself. When you take care of your mind and body, you will have more energy and remain balanced so that you can continue to focus on your goals. Besides, when you are sick, you will miss work.  This can affect your salary if you are an hourly employee, a contractor or consultant, or freelance worker. Here are some ideas to have a healthy winter so that you can maximize work opportunities and reduce the possibilities of discrepancies in your income.

Invest in your health! I am very lucky to have access to health benefits. That is how I was able to receive a complimentary flu shot from the local Rite Aid. Earlier this year, I had horrible stomach pains and went to the emergency room of a local hospital. After numerous tests, I discovered I had a parasite. Prior to the emergency room visit, I was requesting days off from work, scheduling visits with doctors, and spending quite a bit of money on travel to the health facilities, co-payments, and on top of that, losing out on work hours. After a couple of doses of antibiotics, I was back to my normal self. That is until, I received the medical bill – almost $2000! My insurance covered 90% of the bill and I was responsible for the rest. I could not fathom the idea of having no insurance and facing a debt as large as an emergency room visit. To avoid a situation of going into medical bill debt, take a look at different healthcare options, researching on Covered California if you reside in the State of California, or join a recruiting and staffing firm which may offer benefits to their temporary staff and consultants.  Not only must you protect your body, but protect your wallet as well.

Pay attention to your body. As the winter chill takes over, be sure to prepare for the flu and cold. When you are feeling extra tired, chances are you may have caught a bug. Force yourself to rest more, take naps, and sleep 8 hours if you can. If you are taking public transportation, be sure to carry wipes or antibacterial gel so that you can reduce the germs you may have on your hands. Wash your hands a lot. I sing the entire song of “Happy Birthday” in hot water (I forget where I learned to do that), but supposedly, that is the length of time you should wash your hands to remove germs. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water (more than you usually do), and have your vitamins stocked.

Learn more about the benefits offered from your employer. Many employers offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Depending on what is offered, you can receive complimentary referrals or services. When my father passed away, I utilized the mental health benefit and was able to see a therapist for multiple weeks at no charge. If you are going through a difficult situation this winter such as experiencing the holidays without a loved one for the first time, this may be a great option for you.

Reduce the stress! Winter can be a very stressful time. You may be the one to plan Thanksgiving dinner this year, you may have to travel, see relatives that you do not always agree with, or buy gifts for the holidays and then stress about your financial situation. Learn to say no to parties that you do not want to attend to and learn to say no when you do not have the financial capacity to spend for others.  Be sure to squeeze in a workout to keep the body moving and maintain a strong immune system. In fact, I just installed a pull up bar in my apartment. I currently can do three assisted pull ups (yes, working on it).

As I wrap up this blog, I realize I also need to wipe down this keyboard. The ideas are endless and don’t forget to pull the down comforter out of storage. Bundle up and happy holidays!

About the Blogger:

VegasTrip

Neville (Nev) Bendiola grew up in the Mission District of San Francisco, California until the age of 10 before relocating to Sacramento, CA.  Growing up in a low income family, he slept on the floor most of his young life until he got his own twin size bed at the age of 10 – a memory he will always remember. Nev relocated back to San Francisco for college where he continued on in a career in Staffing Sales and Recruiting. Achieving financial success, he spent more than he earned using credit cards along the way. He found himself  carrying debt through the recent recession. Inspired by friends and reading success stories online, Nev moved into a Studio apartment in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district where he minimized his spending and material items. He is currently focused on saving money and sharing the ride with his readers along his journey to financial freedom.

Contact: frugalnev@gmail.com

Follow me on Twitter: NEVBB (Frugal Nev)

 


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