One Year In: Blogging for Fun About Money

One YearShe Picks Up Pennies turns one this week. While many bloggers are able to share impressive, jealousy-inducing numbers in terms of income and views, I cannot. Just like all those spam commenters aptly note, I did not monetize my blog. And I’m not entirely sure how to get back to the view in WordPress that shows you how to find an in-depth look at your page views. Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. More on that in a moment.

Beyond that, I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I wanted to quit repeatedly. Cut my losses and find another hobby. Or watch cable that I’m still paying for. But I got so much more out of this year of blogging that I can’t imagine my days any other way. Through the insights and interactions, dialogues and debates, comments and tweets with all of you, I learned so much about finance and mindfulness. And I had a ton of fun along the way. That’s something worth hanging onto. Continue reading “One Year In: Blogging for Fun About Money”

One Year In: Blogging for Fun About Money

Money Lessons from My Garden

My GardenWhile I’m a far cry from an expert gardener, it’s been a hobby of mine since I was little. And it’s always been a family affair. I can’t ever recall a summer where my dad and I weren’t trying our hands at a tomato plant or twelve. Not to mention the ill-fated encounter with a pumpkin vine and his riding lawn mower. When I was even younger, my grandma taught me how to grow moss roses from seed and then harvest them for seeds for next year’s gardens. Then there’s my mom. She has a remarkable eye and knack for landscaping that I wouldn’t put it past her to retire a second time and start working for a gardening center. Now that Mr. P and I have been living in our home for three years, he’s been roped into the gardening mix as well. We’ve had our share of successes and failures, but he’s equally enthusiastic about gardening.

While I still can’t really explain the difference between a brandywine or a beefsteak tomato, I can say that there are quite a few parallels between starting seeds and planting pennies. Here’s what my garden has taught me: Continue reading “Money Lessons from My Garden”

Money Lessons from My Garden

“You Don’t Know What It’s Like to be Poor”

PoorLast week, it was the Democratic sound bite heard round the Internet – or at least, my private Facebook feed: “When you’re white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto. You don’t know what it’s like to be poor.” Bernie Sanders’ comment on institutional racism and systemic poverty eviscerated the fantasy enshrouding many of my friends.

“I grew up poor.” “What about my loans?” “I’m still broke!” “That’s racist!” The number of people who felt the need to defend themselves and their privilege, the number of people who tried to wage a contest of suffering was baffling. Yet, I knew that if his comment had this kind of a ripple effect on social media, there was one thing I had to do: talk to my students about it.  Continue reading ““You Don’t Know What It’s Like to be Poor””

“You Don’t Know What It’s Like to be Poor”

Lessons I Learned Sitting Next to a Winning Slot Machine

Winning Slot MachineDon’t fly in on a Sunday. Play in heavily trafficked areas. Always use a player card. Never use a player card. As soon as anyone heard we were dashing off to Sin City this past December, advice on how to beat the odds in Las Vegas bubbled over.

Want the best odds of returning home with lots of money after a jaunt to Las Vegas? Don’t get off the plane. I know full well that stepping foot in a casino is akin to lighting my dollars quarters nickels pennies on fire. But the cacophony of blazing neon, screaming bells, victorious whoops, and defeated sighs is too much of a siren song for me to resist. While I certainly did not win big, I left with some interesting lessons after sitting one seat away from a winning slot machine on this past vacation. Continue reading “Lessons I Learned Sitting Next to a Winning Slot Machine”

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What Teens Know That Adults Forget

What Teens Know That Adults ForgetThe other day, we were in the middle of reviewing literary devices when I asked for a student to remind me of what sarcasm is. “It would be like someone saying, ‘I reeeeally like that blouse you’re wearing today’.” Sometimes, I just walk right into. My stomach hurt by the time we all got done laughing.

Truth be told, I imagine most adults have been outsmarted by a child or teen at some point. A clever quip, an unforeseen loophole, an infallible counterargument. But this week I was absolutely amazed to realize that when it comes to purposeful living and personal finance, teens know quite a few things that we seem to forget as adults.   Continue reading “What Teens Know That Adults Forget”

What Teens Know That Adults Forget

How We Flunked Teaching Delayed Gratification


Age is Not an Excuse for (1)At the start of each school year, fundraisers are ubiquitous across the country. From cookie dough and wrapping paper to magazines and chocolate-covered pretzels, items are sold to family, friends, and neighbors to raise money for various school projects. In the past, students have been able to redeem their sales for assorted trinkets, plastic novelties, and the occasional gift card. This year, however, many fundraiser organizations began to offer a lesson in delayed gratification. And that lesson failed miserably. 
Continue reading “How We Flunked Teaching Delayed Gratification”

How We Flunked Teaching Delayed Gratification