Dear Readers…

Hello readers & followers! It has been quite some time since I wrote on this blog and I was ready to actually delete this blog. Luckily, someone made a recent comment that brought me back to those goose bump feelings I would get when I touched someone. I will be writing again, but may be changing the formatting on this blog.

Ok, quick updates on my life!

I am still debt free! Woo Hoo

I recently purchased a 2013 Mini Cooper (dream car) in cash – it was hard to see the savings diminish, but my 2005 Mazda3 had over 210,000 miles and it was time to say farewell. I could not mentally stand the thought of having debt/car payments again, so I bit the bullet and drained the savings. I am in rebuild mode again. On a pay it forward mentality note, I gave my Mazda3 to my cousin in Sacramento who loves it as she was taking the bus to class each day. I now keep up with her Snapchats and her in the car – typically at a fast food joint. 🙂

I am now focused on saving more money for a down payment! I still want to focus on one new country vacation each year and one new state each year, so I need to be able to add that to the budget for sanity purposes, but I do want to focus on that 20%.

One of my personal friends recently became a Real Estate agent and introduced me to a lender who is evaluating my finances. I do not feel very confident about the liquid cash I have, but we will have to see how our discussion goes on Tuesday.

Now that I have a focus, I will be mainly blogging on ways to save for that down payment! Here are some budget friendly action items I have recently done.

  1. I stopped buying coffee! I used to walk into the office daily with coffee the last few months, but I now make it at home daily. Back to the grind!
  2. I have been brown bagging it. Due to my crazy work schedule and commute, I had to outsource my shopping and stick to a realistic plan. This may help you city dwellers:
    • I use Instacart (www.instacart.com) for my grocery shopping. I accepted the fact that I would arrive home around 7pm and was way too tired to shop and then cook. I easily stopped by the local Vietnamese restaurant nearby way too many times dropping $20+ a night! I now create a shopping list, walk to my car at work, hit “submit” and by the time I am home 45 minutes-1 hour later, groceries are delivered to my door. I signed up for the annual fee to avoid delivery fees each usage, so I then just pay for the tip. However, the money I save from eating out is well worth it. Not only to mention, my sanity and time is saved!
    • Learn what works for you: I purchased an indoor grill because I hated the way my chicken breasts came out, so I invested in items that will help me eat what I shopped for. I also found a Griddle pan at Ross that I love that has helped me make breakfasts more enjoyable. Also, frozen rice is a life saver, but is more pricey, so I am looking into a rice cooker.
  3. Back to saying NO! I have said no to quite a few things. If it does not bring me joy, I just can’t do it. Also, I am looking for NEW adventures, so if I have tried that restaurant, if I have already done that event before, chances are, I will say no to you (with a smile)

Ok, that is all folks – Keep you posted on my down payment goals. I am also looking into investing strategies, so I’ll share that as well.

Cheers!

Frugal Idea #49: Yummly

I was recently invited to dinner at my friends’ spot. They are recently married and they are both passionate of their crock pot. So far, I have only discovered their homemade turkey chili. However, I am anxiously waiting to try the salsa verde chicken! It was really great to see a couple take time to make home made meals versus eating out for dinner.

After numerous days of eating out during the work day lunch, I realized I needed to stay focused on home made meals and watching that budget. I could not believe I was paying up to $20 for lunch. Ridiculous! As much as I enjoy eating out with the staff and co-workers, eating out will not assist with my financial goals. Having a crazy work schedule and commute, I needed to make quick and easy meals that are easy to pack. Here is how I have quickly adjusted my eating habits to save money:

  1. Invest in Tupperware you enjoy using – I used to buy random Tupperware from Safeway that did not last long (Glad or generic versions). They stained from red pasta sauce, they lost their shape, and sometimes leaked. I decided to invest in quality Tupperware such as glassware. I bought enough sizes to store leftovers, small items like a half used onion, or snacks. I love it!
  2. Organize your Tupperware – One thing that drove me crazy was having Tupperware, but never being able to find the lid that fits. I finally, pulled all Tupperware out of the pantry and threw away any plastic Tupperware that was missing a lid. I decided to buy one of those multi sized packages that comes with 20 Tupperware pieces. If you are more organized, you will be more likely to use the Tupperware and cooking will be a breeze. I now store the lids all together and stack the bottom pieces for easy grabbing and packing.
  3. Get some help – Sometimes I just don’t have time to think about what to cook! I also get sick of cooking the same old meal. I decided to run a Google search on best mobile cooking apps. I decided to download Yummly! It is pretty amazing. You list your favorite cuisines, list any allergies or foods you don’t enjoy (I listed Banana Leaves and sticky rice… just not my cup of tea!), and the app will send you a feed of endless recipes. You can also filter the feed based on the type of ingredients you want to use and how you want to cook it. Tonight, I chose Slow Cooking/Crock Pot and Chicken Breasts. The other great thing is that, you can have all of the ingredients sent to a grocery list for easy shopping! I really look forward to dinner, thanks Yummly!

I hope this helps you out with meal planning and enjoying your time in the kitchen! Let me know what you make.

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Frugal Idea #46: Moving on Forward

Happy New Year! Confession. I lost my passion to write lately. It is January 1, 2016 and I am back on. Three situations has happened that inspired me to write again:

  1. A friend of mine bought his new car in cash
  2. My cousin who is still in High School told me she reads my blog
  3. Someone reminded me that my blog helps them stay focused

How can I stop? For those who I inspired this past year, I am continuing to write for you.

Let’s catch up…

As you may have read, I paid off my student loan mid 2015 and I have been able to aggressively save money. It feels quite amazing to start this year without any interest rates to pay. I also have been able to save over a year of rent! It is quite powerful to know that if I happen to lose a source of income, I have some time to change the situation.

My car is going through some maintenance issues, so I have mentally prepared myself to start searching for a new car. My goal is to pay the car in full and still have at least three months of emergency funds in the bank. I will then aggressively build back up. Since I increased my retirement contributions to 15%, I am excited to see my nest egg grow.

For 2016, I want to keep my life simple. I still value time over money, so I am still finding ways to eliminate “stuff”, relationships, and/or events, that add no value to my life. I did goal myself to increase my net worth by 20% by the end of the year which will help my personal goal of finally having a down payment.

Unfortunately, I did not meet my fitness goals in 2015, but I checked out Crunch Fitness today! Now that my finances are in much better shape, it is time to make sure my mind and body are fit as well.

I hope you join my 2016 journey with me! I will be more committed to writing more. I hope I add more value to your lives so that your net worth increases and you are financially fit. Cheers and let us move forward!

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Frugal Idea #42: Yoga To The People

Happy Sunday! As some of you might have read recently, I paid off my student loan and I am now 100% debt free (Link: Frugal Idea #41: Countdown – 3,2,1, “I’m debt FREEEEE!”.) It has been surreal and loving it. I am now focusing on my budget towards a down payment, a vacation, savings, a car (I have 187k miles on my current car and I need to save now in order to pay in full and all in cash for the next car), & a laptop (so I can keep blogging!). Everydollar.com has been wonderful. For July, I was under budget! Woo Hoo! (Link: Frugal Idea #40: EveryDollar.com.) 

To maintain a debt free lifestyle, I need to continue living below my means. This includes taking advantage of local and free events/services. A huge inspiration for me this year to clear my mind, maintain a healthy body, and channel focus has been to practice Yoga. It started with a bit of bravery to try out a class for the first time and a few stumbles on the poses.  I instantly fell in love with Yoga.

Taking classes can definitely add up in costs. I was introduced to a donation based class available in San Francisco’s Mission District! The organization is called Yoga To The People and there are locations in New York, Seattle, Berkeley, and of course, San Francisco. You can donate what you can afford and participate in a one hour Yoga class. This is a great service! Does anyone want to attend with me?

Visit Yoga To The People’s website at http://yogatothepeople.com

As mentioned on their site: Yoga is meant to help strengthen and stretch your arms and legs, not cost you one!

Yoga To The People

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