My Work

I don’t often share my “other side” on this blog but my work is very much a part of whom I am. I often get questions about what I do or how I do what I do so I think it’s time I share the whole story of how I got here.

Once upon a time, there was a girl who was very, very lost! The year was 2002 and it was my senior year of college. My very last semester I had only three hours left to graduate, was already accepted in to grad school at UT and on my path to being a Speech-Language Pathologist. In my heart, I just wasn’t passionate about it and I felt so stuck and quite frankly very scared. I talked with advisers to see what it would take to get my architectural degree because I love home design but in my mind, it was too late and I knew that if I didn’t finish what I had started, I would be disappointing a LOT of people including my parents and the many people who gave me scholarships. I battled with this through my entire first year of grad school. I was really confused because my grades were always really great and I was really good at speech pathology but I don’t know why my heart just wasn’t in it. I spent my entire first year of grad school researching alternatives of what I could do. By the second year of grad school, I decided to fast track my way to graduation because quitting wasn’t an option and I decided to start a small business importing high-end pearl jewelry. With a little luck, a lot of sleepless nights and dedication, I was able to get myself through graduation, work several part-time jobs, complete all my clinical hours, and launch my new business in the spring of 2004. Looking back, there is no way I could do that again! My internet-based pearl company took off and after less than a year, I no longer could juggle both my speech pathology career and my pearl company so I let my speech pathology career go. That was the point I was able to really build my business into something great (with my proudest moment being featured in TIME magazine) and I was really passionate about this path I had taken! After several years, I started another business in the online financial sector that I became really passionate about and my pearl business was acquired. Now that it is 2012, 8 years after I first started my original business, I find myself in an interesting place. What’s next for me? Of course I will continue my financial businesses because I’ve worked so hard to build them, but I really have been sucked into the idea of new possibilities. I truly believe that if you find something you really want to do, do it! You might be surprised where you end up. Doors open in places you may never have imagined. I just have to figure out a way to balance it all. I think the best way to start is to make it a hobby business and see where it takes you! I read the book “Dream Big, Little Pig” to Avery and I think sometimes, we as adults forget to dream big because we get bombarded with real life. Don’t give up on your dreams…

I hope soon I will be unveiling my new hobby project. My hope that this new journey will be fun, inspirational, and a place where I can be more creative and share with others! Between two kids, a traveling husband, my existing businesses and building a home, I hope to be able to follow through. It’s going to take committing myself to it. I think I perform better under pressure. That’s why I’m posting this here. Commitment. That’s the first step, right?

Huge Money Saving Tips- Mandy Style

Kelly at Kelly’s Korner has a blog carnival today featuring money saving tips so I thought I would join in because saving money is so much fun!   I always get excited when I get a good deal.  (BTW, I am planning on posting the SeaWorld pics but it is taking a long time for them to all load on Flickr :) )

First, I’ll start with the fact that I’m not afraid to negotiate.   I’ve tried couponing and though it is a great concept, it takes time and I lasted one week.  I don’t have the patience.  However, the one thing I have find to be most effective in saving lots of money in business and personal life is negotiating.  I learned early on from my mom and I have honed my skills at the art of negotiating.   You really have to know when it is appropriate and when the time  comes, don’t be afraid to ask.  I’m rarely told no.

Ways to Negotiate:

1.  When we purchased our new lot, we didn’t have an agent because I found the lot myself.  We were a day from closing and I decided to ask the seller if we could have the 3% back as a credit to the purchase price since we didn’t bring an agent to the table.  The answer was an immediate yes and we saved a TON of money.  It was a simple question and I got an easy answer that came through very successfully and that was after we had already negotiated the price on the lot.

2.   When calling about phone service, electricity, internet, etc. always play them against each other.  For instance, we spend a lot of money on electricity every month, especially during the summer.  I called up another company that was advertising low rates and found out the details of their program.  I then called up our electric provider and told them we were going to move services unless they could match or beat the other providers rates.  They didn’t want to lose our business so they matched them drivng our monthly electric bill down by 30%. 

3.  Volume Negotiating – With my business, I buy a large quantity of different things and you would be amazed at what you can negotiate when buying in volume.  If you can think of something you spend a lot of money on with a particular company, do not hesitate to ask for a discount or if you already get a discount, a better one.   I’ve never been turned down on this one.  

4.  Banking Fees – All of our bank accounts are free.   I always negotiate this.  It’s really very simple…just ask.  

Price Matching

1.  Shoes – Nordstrom’s will price match on anything.  If you see shoes online on sale, bring in the print out and they will match it.

2.  Target has a new price match policy as well which is awesome!

3.   Don’t be afraid to ask a company if they will price match.  If you are at a particular store and don’t have time to go elsewhere, pull out your iphone, look up the product online and see who has the best price and ask the store if they’ll match the price.   Most of the time, they will.  

Rewards Points and Rebates

1.  Most people don’t use their credit card rewards to their full advantage.   If you can pay off your credit card at the end of every month, I highly recommend this.   For bookkeeping purposes and rewards points, we put everything we can on credit cards.  We pay them off 100% at the end of every month.   There are major benefits to this.  First, the rewards points.  We love to travel and pay for many flights with these points saving us thousands of dollars a year.  Secondly, everything is itemized so you can easily see what you spend your money on every month.  

2.  Ebates – I do use ebates and have received quite a bit of funds back by using this service.  It really is a no-brainer.

Coupons – No clipping Involved

If you are purchasing from a store online, always, always go and google “store name coupon”.   Many stores have coupons floating around.   The internet makes it so easy to save!

I hope these tips help someone save money!

Crazy Week

I can’t believe December is flying by so quickly.  Before I know it, this month will have come and gone.   Scott and I have both been busy.  Scott has been traveling quite a bit and  my pearls are selling like hotcakes for Christmas.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this trend continues!  

 The house is finally starting to feel complete.  We had the painters in here for several days this week repainting all the move-in boo-boos and so forth.  Our bedding, living room furniture, and rugs finally came in, too.   I’ve been so worried that not everything is going to work together.  Decorating is quite challenging, especially when you are working with very small swatches of fabric for the furniture and have to try to coordinate that with rugs and all the other pieces.  After waiting for a month for our rugs and two months for the furniture, it’s finally starting to look like a home!    

© Copyright Love This Life