Over these past few months I’ve been shifting my financial house in a new direction.  I’ve paid off 60% of my debt, maximized savings, maximized my 401k and started budgeting (living by the envelope method).  But even though I’m doing what’s best to push my financial dream in a new direction, I’m constantly revising what I’m doing to see if there are better ways of doing things.

So why talk about this on “Diary of a Perfectionist Wannabe?”  Well, it has more to do with becoming a little bit better at making financial dreams come true.  Here are a few things I’ve come across recently that has saved me time, money, and hassles.  It’s made my life more convenient and helped me to reach my goals.  It’s also helped me to find new places to get a better deal for the things I love most.


After all the bills are paid, I set aside a certain amount to spend on food, laundry, dry cleaning, eating out and other miscellaneous expenses.  It’s from this budget, I have to figure out the best way to get more bang for my buck.

I joined Amazon Prime this year.  I am actually grateful that I did because I’m seeing that there are a lot of benefits to this membership.  First, I don’t shop in stores often.  I shop online.  What’s great about Amazon Prime is that I can order the monthly items (like cat food, treats and litter) for a much lower price than I would find at Target.  I don’t even have to pay for shipping, because technically, I already did.  It cost me $105.93 for a year long membership, but if you divide it up by 12, that’s $8.83/month.  If you think about how much it would cost to ship a 20 pound bag of litter plus 2-3 cases of of cat food every month…you’re actually getting a severe bout of savings.

Normally, I’d have to take a cab or an Uber car to/from Target.  That’s $30-$40 round trip.  If I have it delivered by a grocery delivery service, that’s a $20 delivery fee, plus another $4.95 service charge.  If I pick it up at KMart by Madison Square Garden, I’d have to do all the schlepping plus the cost of using public transit to go from Point A to Point B and go up and down a lot of stairs.  Amazon has saved me a lot of money, time and hassle just to get these items to my home.

For those who drive, factor in your car payment, insurance and cost for gas for the entire month.  Divide the total to how many times you use your car during that month to get a better idea of how much each trip costs you (not to mention the amount of time you spend in the store and traveling to these places).

Prime customers also get access to Prime Pantry where you can fill up a box of groceries for a flat rate of $5.99.  I’ve used Prime Pantry for the 20 lb bags of litter and then added in some additional items on the side (they separate the stuff up into 2 internal boxes inside of 1 big box).  I also plan on using this to order and ship boxes out to my brother’s platoon.  It saves so much time at all of the stores, going to the post office, etc. and it saves me $10 in shipping costs to ship to an APO.  Once again, another cost savings.

Another amazing benefit to Prime is that members get access to Prime Instant Video, Prime Music, Prime Photos and 1 Kindle Book a month.

For those who like streaming movies and TV shows at home or on your devices, you’ll have access to hundreds of thousands of movies and programs.  It’s unlimited.  Netflix and Hulu Plus both start at $7.99/month…and you don’t get access to free shipping on stuff you’re probably ordering from Amazon already.

I also added Kindle Unlimited and Audible memberships to my entertainment budget.  I am addicted to the Books with Narration from Kindle Unlimited.  You can read the book, but when you have to stop and bookmark it because you have to walk from one place to the next, just switch it to the narration and you can listen to the book while you’re moving.  For those who commute, this is an incredible feature.  I was able to get through a 246 page book in 2 days.  I usually do 1/2 of that just sitting down to read because I have to keep putting the book down.  Being able to switch to narration while I’m walking around keeps the book going.

My goal of getting through 52 books this year is more feasible now.

I added Audible as well because it gives me access to more audio books that Kindle Unlimited doesn’t offer.  For me, this is mainly for those Book Club books that haven’t become available on Kindle Unlimited yet (or when I want a book that just came out).

I took the suggestion from a fireman friend who suggested I start listening to audio books, especially since I’m having problems getting back into reading.  Audio books have been a godsend because I can actually listen to “War and Peace” instead of forcing myself to sit down to read a chapter.  Now, I can just listen to it while I’m walking around.

Another great feature from Kindle Unlimited are the reference and self-help books available to customers.  While I’m at the office and have some down time, I’ll read books that help with my job.  Like this week, I read “Math Made Easy” (which is basically a cheat sheet on how to do math in your head very quickly), and I read a book on Passive Income.  Today, I plan on reading a book on organization.   Truthfully, these aren’t books I’d spend money on or take time to take out of the library, but make them available to read online and I’m more apt to read them to better myself.

All in all, by using these new services from Amazon, I’m saving a lot of money and time by simplifying my life in many aspects.  Sure, I can get library books and DVDs from the library for free, but the convenience of downloading the book I need where I can both read and listen to it?  I’ll stick to these two services.  [Note: Audible is only for Audio Books.  Kindle Unlimited offers the book/narration option, but not all books offer narration.]

For Movie Going Lovers

Another part of my entertainment budget I keep in is Going to the Movies.  These days, it’s about $15 a pop.  Even more if you want to go to IMAX.  There is a solution to this.  MoviePass offers a membership for movie going lovers.  It’s $34.99/month.  You can see 1 movie per day.

Before signing up, I strongly urge you to see if the movie theater you go to takes this membership.  For me, I can use it at every movie theater I go to, including the artsy community one across the street from me.  These days, it pays for itself in 2 movies a month.  I recommend waiting until the summer months to really take advantage (technically May starts the hot Hollywood films of the summer).

In order to get more bang for your buck, sign up for the movie theater’s membership club as well.  Those tickets you’re purchasing through Movie Pass can be turned into points which can be turned into money you can use at the movie theater for concessions and even movie tickets (like if you want to see an IMAX film or use the extra ticket for a friend who isn’t a Movie Pass member).

The downside?  You can see 1 movie every 24 hours.  They are strict on the 24 hours.  It used to be that it just reset itself every night (which was perfect)…and then it went strictly 24 hours down to the very last second.  Another downside for some is that you can only watch the movie once.  You can’t go see the same movie more than once while it is still in the movie theater and use the Movie Pass card.

How does it work?  First, you need a smartphone in order to download the app.  They’ll send you a Movie Pass credit card that is activated only after you check in to the movie through the app.  You can only use it to purchase that 1 movie ticket.

If you go to movies frequently, I highly recommend this.   It seriously cuts down the cost for movie lovers who love to go to the movies but don’t go because it’s just ridiculously too expensive these days.  If you go to just three movies a month…the membership is more than paid for.  If you went to one movie every day, each movie would cost a little over $1 each.  It’s $34.99 for me because I’m in NYC.  It will be less for people not living in major metropolitan areas.


I have a confession.  I’m a bit of an addict when it comes to buying designer accessories.  I have a rather large designer handbag collection.  A couple of years ago, I decluttered the handbags down to only major designers, getting rid of all of the lesser names.  Now, I just buy what I like to add to the handbag collection.

Currently on my radar is the Fendi fur bag bugs (aka Monster) collection.  In my search, I came across a site called Tradesy.  I took a look around and let’s just say I went on a bit of a spending spree.

I netted a Chanel, Hermes and Dior bag and purchased a pair of Louboutin and Fendi shoes.  My friend did a delayed double take when I said, “So I bought an Hermes bag.”  She couldn’t believe it, so I showed her my cart and lo and behold, my closet said I purchased an Hermes bag.  No, I didn’t spend $20,000 on a birkin.  I found a Herbag for $500.  That’s half off what you’ll find at other consignment places.

Luckily, they were having a friends and family event, so I was able to take additional money off.  You can get $25 off your purchase of $100 or more by using my special link: TRADESY.

outnetP.S. As of right now, The Outnet is having their semi-annual clearance sale.  This is a great time for fashionistas to stock up on all their favorite designers for up to 80% off the retail price.  [My major score were a pair of Adidas by Stella McCartney ballet flats for $18.  After all was said and done, I’d saved $2,286.75 on my entire order.  That’s some serious savings.]

Also, for designer addicts that frequent Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom…trust me when I say you can get your coveted designer accessory for less.  For instance, the Fendi monster tote bag is $1500 at Saks.  That same bag is $999 at Overstock.com.  The exact same bag.  {Also, if you’re a Club O member, you can earn rewards from your purchases.  I’ve been able to score free Fendi sunglasses thanks to all of the reward dollars I earned from shopping at Overstock.com.}

Other places you should look: Century 21 shops (they have an online store), TJMaxx (yes, they are finally online), Loehmann’s (they may have closed all of their stores, but that’s because they went e-commerce) and Modnique.  I’ve found that a lot of these shops have the same merchandise, but you never know if they’ll have a special sale on top of their already discounted prices.


I was reading in “The Little Secrets of Passive Income: How You Can Create Passive Income With Little Or No Money At All” by Raiden Steven that everyone should have five accounts. 1. Financial Dream; 2. Basic Savings; 3. Education; 4. Basic Necessities; and 5. Other.

The book is a quick read, so I highly recommend taking a look at it just to get your brain moving in a direction of earning passive income (I don’t recommend doing what he suggests, but it’s worth a read to understand what you can do to grow passive income) [it’s a free read with Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited].

I want to touch on the Education part.  This is why I recommend Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited…he suggests putting away 10% of your income to the education fund.  I never put 10% away to an education fund mainly because I already had my schooling and frankly don’t have time to do continuing education courses.  I also don’t have kids, so really, this was an account I could do without.

I started to think about it and then realized just how much money I’m saving by using the Kindle Unlimited membership, especially if I take the membership fee from the Education account.  During the day, I’m pulling up books that will better myself.  I even have books written by scientists discussing their various theories.  There are even books on Photoshop, photography, etc. that I can read during the day.  In other words, Kindle Unlimited has opened the door to a world filled with resources where I can better educate myself.

I spent a lot of time on Wednesday doing math problems just to jog my memory of how to do math in my head.  I’m glad I did, because it forced me to re-memorize addition and multiplication tables (something that I had forgotten post-op).  By really diving into complex math equations I started looking at the equations and answering them in my head in half the ‘short steps’ the author was suggesting.  To me, this meant that math was back in my head again.

In other words, sometimes you just have to challenge yourself, especially when it comes to forgetting how to do things that are as important as math.

There are so many things out there to learn.  That was the point of the Education account.  You have to constantly challenge and better yourself.  If you don’t, you won’t be able to command good salaries or keep working.  After all, I’ve seen what happens to people that didn’t learn how to use a computer.  They’re barely making it.  You never want to be left behind, so continuously better yourself through education.  It doesn’t have to cost you a fortune.

Who knows?  By all the money I save in the Education account, maybe I can just use it towards an educational trip or an archaeological dig somewhere.

Just something to think about…but I highly recommend reading the Passive Income book.  It will give you a new idea on how to budget yourself in order to earn income, and take a hard look at how you’re living.  Re-doing the way you do your budget is interesting.  It’s the 50-30-20 lifestyle, but that 30-20 is changed to 30% savings and 20% doing whatever you want with the money.  Previously, it was vice versa.  You’d save 20% and use 30% to do whatever.  Personally, I like this new take on budgeting.  What he shows you is how to use 10% of that 30% towards increasing your passive income…that’s what makes it worth the read.