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Archive for October, 2006

Contest update: didn't make it!

October 31st, 2006 at 07:38 pm

we each received a diploma and a letter with comments/critics to our business plan..
mine reads:

*Emphasize tourism companies in target market section
*Review proyections, growth is overestimated,rework financial analysis
*Salaries are not according to the reality of an emerging company (so...they think I can hire good translators at $300/month, or what?...the first year, the only salary contemplated is MY salary, and of course it is based on me making enough to cover all my living expenses....)
*Review sales forecast (ok, I agree with this!...this has always been my greatest problem: getting customers...marketing plan was supposed to take care of this!)
*Consider cultural change in target market
*Be realistic regarding profit margins (sorry, the costs of translating are NOT high!...most of the investment was my education, how much does it really cost me to translate a 20-page document? ...next to nothing!...unless I pay myself a high salary!...so, even with the "unreal" salaries, they think the profit margins are too high!)

...I think what saddens me the most is that it must have cost me about $200 to participate in the competition thing...at least I consider that money as an investment and not a waste!...I did learn a lot! (mostly about myself!) and, as I said before, I still believe I have a GREAT business idea...and, you'll see, I WILL start this company, even if it takes me a year just to get enough money to get it started!

sugar high!

October 31st, 2006 at 02:40 pm

...Ale's school went on a field trip to a park near our house today...since I had to meet with my cousin for some shopping (toys!-- to sell...) it was ideal for me to pick her up there (and, our transport lady couldn't make it, since she has Ale scheduled for 3pm and the kids were being sent home at 11:30am)...well, my car was trapped (we have parking problems, as the municipality is fixing the street that we park on!, so there was one car parked behind me and, being 11am, the owner was nowhere in sight!...had to call him, he was nice enough to come, but, I was late anyway!)...since the kids weren't there anymore when I got to the park, had to go halfway across town to Ale's school and then back again to meet my cousin at the toy store...well, it came 1:40pm and we still weren't done, so I just left Ale with my cousin and came back to work...notice I haven't had lunch?? ...I settled for a wonderful delicious sinful "oblea" (two thin wafers with luscious caramel in the middle!!)...and then a friend came by and offered some home-baked carrot cake!...so, now I'm not hungry (for the time being), but, I am about to OD on sugar!!! (water, I need water!!)...I still have about 1 hour to go (it's 4:45 here!) before I leave for the hotel where the closing ceremony is taking place....
water!!

Today's the day!!

October 31st, 2006 at 12:30 pm

This evening we'll have the event to close this phase of the business plan contest...there's a presentation and then a cocktail party and, they will be announcing the 24 finalists!!!!

I guess I'll be blogging about it (one way or another!) when I get home!

Looking for a graduation gift

October 30th, 2006 at 12:24 pm

...well, I guess this one dropped off the radar somehow!...niece is graduating HS and, we have the party on Nov 16th...of course, I want to give her a nice present, but, I don't want to go broke over it....I went scouting for parfums today...a nice boxed gift set of Amarige Mariage (100ml parfum + body lotion + shower gel) is $74!...I'm thiniking of asking one of the managers to quote how much it would be at the duty free store at the airport (they travel almost every week!)...I could even ask them to buy it if it's around $60, for example...

Still, before doing this, I might look into other (hopefuly, cheaper) options...

061030- 2006 goal update

October 30th, 2006 at 06:41 am


1. keep better track of my spending- I have been very good at writing down EVERY expense this month! Yay me!...I have also done better at staying on budget! (right now, I’m overbudget by $6 – I can live with that!- and, today and tomorrow should be no-spend days!)

4. continue to lower my overall debt - I started Jan 05 with ~$17K (out of which ~$4K were for a loan and the rest -~$13K!-pure cc debt) and, am starting Jan 06 with $~11K (with ~$8K for a loan and ~$3K in cc debt)... expect to be able to end Dec '06 with ~$7K, which I expect to be purely for the loan... to come partly from the English classes/$20 challenge. ...current situation is: $13.4K total: ~$8K (refinanced) loan, ~$2.7K car loan, ~$799 personal loan, $1.5K other personal loan… Phone bill is $400...a work in progress...another one that won’t get taken off the list! ..some days it feels as if I’m not progressing with this, so it’s good to see how things are going…

5. Help Ale find a way to earn those $3 she's missing to open her account with HER OWN money...didn´t open the piggy bank in October, either…Ale has only been able to save about $0.25 for the whole month out of her $2/week…I guess I have to work harder to try to make her understand that it’s not a matter of spending the $2, no matter what, but of trying to save as much as possible!

Had to fight temptation today...

October 28th, 2006 at 08:16 pm

I got a migraine while Ale was at her swim lesson (the heat did it!) and, was all for buying lunch today, just so I wouldn't have to think too much, but, migraine and all I made it home and just put some leftovers in the microwave for Ale and myself...yay, me!
(believe me, the way I was feeling, it IS a great victory!)

Full tank!

October 27th, 2006 at 01:12 pm

...yesterday, when I gave my keys to one of the managers so he could take my car home (I took theirs, so I could leave straight from home at 6:30 am this morning for the police inspection!), my car had a bit less than 1/4 tank...today at lunch, when I moved my car out of the manager's spot, it had a full tank!...now, my car doesn't do that (fill up magically, that is!)so, that means the manager filled the tank yesterday!...that was really nice of him! (especially since his house is about half-way from our office to my house, so it's not like his taking it would have meant higher consumption!)...

woo-hoo!...that should last about 15 days (or, 8, if you take into account our planned "Termos del Rio" excursion with Ale!)...hmmmm, should I put $20 (about what it would have taken to fill the tank) into my $20 challenge??

Trouble with nephew D - again!

October 27th, 2006 at 11:20 am

we must come across as such a horrible family!...and we aren't, honestly!...

Nephew D - cousin's son, he of the phone calls!- is causing trouble again (not that he ever stopped, I guess it was just that he hadn't had the opportunity!)...

cousin got paid the 50% advance from two toy purchase orders, amounting to $2,100...for some strange reason (I really have no idea...I may ask later, but not right now -- you'll see why!)...well, for some strange reason she cashed the check and kept the $$$ at home! ...now, for some even stranger reason, she decided to tell D where she was leaving the money, in case anything happened to her -- maybe she hasn't been feeling well, I don't know, she's overweight and diabetic and, she doesn't exactly take care of herself! --now...I know EVERYONE here knows where this is headed, right?

RIGHT! He stole $300 and spent the whole afternoon binge-drinking with "friends"...he came back dead drunk and with $21 in his pockets...

I'm unlucky enough to have been there 1) when she discovered the theft -- which was obvious, as we HAD to take out the money so she could give me the money for the expenses that I had incurred!...I must say, when she mentioned she had told him, the first thought that crossed my mind was: WHY did you do that??...had to bite my toungue...and 2) when he arrived home!...oh, that was a scene from a bad soap opera!...really...I mean,at some point he said: search me, I don't have $300!...she got so mad she slapped him and he fell on the floor (he could barely stand anyway!) and he just went to sleep and started snoring!...it was just awful!...she had called a friend of hers to come help and, I waited there until he arrived...then I excused myself and left!...
I called her this morning, after coming from the Transport Protectin Division of the police (still trying to get the documents needed for that missing license plate for the company car! -- but that's another story!)...she told me she had called the police and they had come to get him...he was still sleeping when they got him out of the house...he is a minor and they had the mother's permission)...Apparently, he woke up sometime around 2am and tried to call his Uncle T. (cousin's best friend)...he couldn't take the call, he was out of the house, they know from a message in their machine!...

So, anyway, cousin is out $300 MORE ... which would be bad enough already if someone else had done it...but, being her son...Plus, obiously, now she has to 1) face the fact that the boy IS an alcoholic and 2) as a mother, living with putting your son in jail, whether merited or not, must be really difficult....

$300 for cc's

October 27th, 2006 at 09:31 am

this doesn't go in the $20 challenge because this is a REIMBURSEMENT of expenses for the toy venture (this is coming out of the 50% advance payment, with this we buy the toys and reimburse expenses, the complementary 50% comprises money to finish paying our suppliers for the toys and to distribute between us -- THAT will go into the $20 challenge!)...

Productive day at work!

October 26th, 2006 at 12:56 pm

well, our VP said the other day that we should be passionate about our work and make sure we are creating value for our unit/company...I have already done that today!...I've input 4 post-trip reports ($$ and peace for 3 different managers!), and 6 pre-trips ($$ and peace for 1 manager)...and have still 7 more to input ($$ and peace for 2 managers)...I have also photocopied and sent originals of medical expenses ($$ and peace for the Director!) and a contract to have internet/phone line installed for another manager...and, right now I'm on my way out to quote repair of a scratch on one of the new cars -- don't ask! ...and it's only 2pm!

********************
I CAN'T belive this! ...the car was almost out of gas!!!...I had to go to the gas station and put in $5 (I've already submitted it for reimbursment!)...the pilot for the gas was already coming on (want to be they haven't put in any gas since las Thursday, eventhough they used it to go to the airport, which is 45 minutes away from the city?? (each way!)

Determining goals for 2007

October 25th, 2006 at 12:15 pm

I am already thinking about my goals for 2007...they will, of course, be dictated in part by what has been achieved/left pending at the end of 2006...but, I want to make them more specific and useful this year...for example: my goal of "tracking expenses" was good enough for this year, as all I really wanted to do was gain awareness of my expenditures and where my money was going and, while tracking expenses should remain part of my goals next year, the main focus should be shifted from mere tracking to controlling expenses to make sure they are consistently at or below budget...

I'm looking at this year's list first and then re-working the current goals in this way, before setting any new goals...

Here's to financial sanity in 2007!

$10 for gas

October 25th, 2006 at 07:38 am

Well, since I'm almost out of cash for the month and, since my poor car was almost running out of gas, I went to the gas station yesterday and paid for $10 worth of gas...at $3.12 a gallon, it was the cheapest gas I've bought since I've had this car!!!...(gone are the days when we thought $3 for gas was expensive! how sad is that?)

Oil change!

October 24th, 2006 at 01:51 pm

Took my car for an oil change today...spent $22.84...they also quoted on some other stuff that needs to be done: brake check, 2 new tires and change of coolant in the radiator...for a total of $108....
...so...I'll start quoting and shopping around! ((sigh))