Bah Humbug: A Little Scrooge in Me

December is a lot of things for a lot of people. For me? Well, it’s mostly a race to finish A Christmas Carol before winter break begins. The Dickens classic is part of the curriculum so I’m up to my eyeballs in ghosts, chains, and mince pies.

While the iconic antihero Ebenezer Scrooge is typically held up as the opposite of kindness and consideration, I’m finding I can’t totally write him off this year. No, it’s not that I’m turning into a sourpuss myself. It’s simply that there are a few lines that pre-reformation Scrooge spouts off that really resonated with me this Christmas season. Continue reading “Bah Humbug: A Little Scrooge in Me”

Bah Humbug: A Little Scrooge in Me

Minimalism and Losing a Mentor

mentorMinimalism lite served me well this year. I’m no longer living out the latte effect. My shoes almost all fit into my organizers. There is hope that one day, my husband’s clothes and mine will be able to live side by side in one closet. That’s to say nothing of the money that I’ve made selling my stuff, clocking in at just over $1,300 for the year.

Yes, my watered-down version of decluttering and deowning was a bright spot in 2016. Until I realized that I gave away the saltshakers. Now, I’m not so sure. Continue reading “Minimalism and Losing a Mentor”

Minimalism and Losing a Mentor

Millennial Money Chatter: Money Sense for Us

moneychatter_450x375-01You know FOMO and YOLO and adulting. You’re probably familiar with regifting. But what about degifting and frugle and debth? It turns out, that as we sort through our money, millennials are creating new language right along side of it.

Why the need for the new vocabulary? Our generation is looking at money differently. Sometimes we’re confronting new issues. Other times, we’re confronting age-old issues in new ways. And when an entire generation is faced with unprecedented money obstacles, it’s going to take some new words to sort through the numbers and the emotions behind them. Because when it comes to millennial money, some of it is good, some of it’s bad, and some even gets a little ugly. Continue reading “Millennial Money Chatter: Money Sense for Us”

Millennial Money Chatter: Money Sense for Us

Thoreau, The Minimalists, and Opting Out

Opting OutHenry David Thoreau the environmentalist? I appreciate. Henry David Thoreau the abolitionist? I applaud. Henry David Thoreau the father of simple living and the minimalist movement? I have a bone to pick with you. Continue reading “Thoreau, The Minimalists, and Opting Out”

Thoreau, The Minimalists, and Opting Out

The Latte Factor Lived in My Closet

LatteHere’s the thing: I don’t drink coffee. I can count on one hand the number of sips I’ve tried. It’s so repulsive to me, I cannot swig it down in a Frappuccino that is 87% sugar, 11% heavy whipping cream, and 2% coffee. I won’t even eat tiramisu, failure of an Italian American that I am. But the latte factor is real. In fact, it’s my biggest money mistake. Continue reading “The Latte Factor Lived in My Closet”

The Latte Factor Lived in My Closet

That Time I Made $4 an Hour

$4 (1)He paid off his student loans flipping furniture. They paid off their mortgage re-selling estate sale finds. I made over $1,000 decluttering my closet. We’ve all seen the headlines. Some of us have even written them (guilty). But you know what? That’s not real life. Not all the time, anyway.

When it comes to selling my clothing, shoes, and handbags, I’ve found a great deal of success with online platforms like Poshmark, Tradesy, and even Craigslist. But when sales get slow, I take my goods to local consignment-like stores like Plato’s Closet and Clothes Mentor, or I donate them. Scratch that. From here on out, I donate them. Why? Because I don’t ever want to work for $4 an hour again. Continue reading “That Time I Made $4 an Hour”

That Time I Made $4 an Hour

5 Money Lessons from Dad

DadMy dad’s been teaching me lessons my whole life. Whether it was showing me how to dry the floor with a towel underfoot only to be busted by Mom or helping me build a sarcophagus to scale for a history project, my dad’s wisdom knows no bounds. And with Father’s Day fast approaching, I thought I’d share some of my favorite finance lessons from my dad.

You get what you pay for. File this under the “told you so” category. Like that one every boyfriend except my husband who my dad seemed to have a sixth sense about, he was also a master at anticipating which of my purchases would end in disappointment. From cheap toys when I was growing up to even cheaper clothes in my teens, he spent a lot of time predicting the soon-to-be casualties of a single day of play or one go-round in the spin cycle. Of course, there are happy exceptions. But he’s been right more than he’s been wrong (grumble, grumble) when it comes to this adage.

Get your hands dirty. When something breaks, my instinct is to look for a new thing on sale. My dad’s inclination, though, is to meticulously dissect whatever has broken and then tinker around with it until it is fixed. In the spirit of full disclosure, he is a mechanic by trade. But I’m not talking about cars. Whether it is the riding lawnmower that the previous homeowner was trying to junk, a washing machine that suddenly refused to spin, a toilet that never sounded quite right, or anything in between, he operates on it all. Every once in awhile, he gets stymied or realizes the cost of replacement parts simply isn’t worth it. However, by and large, being willing to tinker and developing an understanding of how most things work has served him–and me!–incredibly well.

It would cost $0 if you didn’t shop. Growing up, my mom was my accomplice when it came to hitting up all the best sales. My dad? Not so much. Still, I would do my best to infect him with my enthusiasm for shopping. After unleashing a deluge of shopping bags across our kitchen table, I would root around for my best purchase to showcase. My claims of scoring yet another pair of super-clearance shoes for $13 would be met with a pause and a standard reminder that not shopping nets 100% savings.

Your time is worth something. Now, there are times when I think my dad takes this mantra a little too far. Grocery shopping at the corner store for example. I really do think my time is valuable, but I’m not about to pay $1 for a banana. Sorry, Dad. Still, when I recently found myself planning a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew my license plate sticker in person in order to avoid a $2 online processing fee, I stopped myself. I could be blogging, I could be side hustling, I could be relaxing. Really, anything is probably a better use of my time than navigating the mile-long lines overrun with soon-to-be-new-drivers, apprehensive guardians, and cranky state workers.

If you’re going to work that hard, work for yourself. When I was three, my dad bought an automotive repair. For essentially my entire life, I’ve watched him toil away, strategizing when the economy was strong and sacrificing for his few employees when it wasn’t. While my dad would never try to talk me out of teaching, he would watch me spend hours planning lessons, hosting meetings, and agreeing to all sorts of extra, unpaid duties. He’d smile, but he’d also ask when I was going to run a school, become a writer, or work for myself in some capacity. It wasn’t until I started looking for different income streams like tutoring that I really started to see what he meant.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, grandpas, uncles, and nephews out there. May your weekend be full of family, relaxation, and a little wisdom.

So Tell Me…What is your favorite lesson–finance or otherwise–that a family member taught you?

 

5 Money Lessons from Dad

The Burden of Gifts

null (1)“You haven’t given me a gift. You’ve given me an obligation.” Of all the witticisms, one-liners, and pearls of wisdom that Sheldon Cooper* has uttered, that gem about gift giving is one of my favorites. He spoke those words in regards to the implied reciprocity of gifting. Granted it may be taxing to some people to determine an equally exciting gift of commensurate value to give to the gifter. For me, though, the real headache lies in determining what to do with a gift. More specifically, are we obligated to keep the gifts we receive not because they offer utility or add fulfillment to ours lives, but simply because they have been given to us by someone else?  Continue reading “The Burden of Gifts”

The Burden of Gifts