Frugally Stupid: Graduation Celebration

graduation-1I’ve done a lot of foolish things for the sake of frugality. That one time I kept using hair product after I lopped off 7 inches of hair. It didn’t make my hair look better. In fact, it looked sticky and frizzy and ugh. But I didn’t want to be wasteful. Then, there was that other time that I bought a fancy shampoo, and it gave me really attractive pimples all along my forehead. Can’t throw that out. No. I spent $7 on it. But that’s not what this post is about. Those are things that I can laugh about, things that I can just chalk up to being Penny. You know, adorably awkward Penny.

This is something entirely different. If it doesn’t cross the line from frugal to cheap, it certainly sits right on it. And it’s downright stupid. Continue reading “Frugally Stupid: Graduation Celebration”

Frugally Stupid: Graduation Celebration

Travel Anyway: Vegas, Baby…Again

travel-anywayI’m going back to Vegas. Who’s shocked? I know. No one. And maybe everyone.

I do a spectacular job of hating on my mortgage. I post about it. I tweet about it. I stress myself out about it with side hustling. I think about it constantly when paying for grad classes to boost my income and my husband’s. So why in the world would I go back to Las Vegas again especially when we were just there this summer? The short answer is, Why wouldn’t I? Continue reading “Travel Anyway: Vegas, Baby…Again”

Travel Anyway: Vegas, Baby…Again

Stop Asking Everyone to Buy Things

PartiesThis past month, I have learned to say no. I know, I know. Clap a little louder so I can hear you while I take a bow. In the past thirty days, I successfully turned down three in-person Stella & Dot parties; five virtual parties of assorted sundries like lotions, bags, makeup, and diet pills wraps magical concoctions that won’t work; a Stitch Fix subscription request; and an invitation to pay money to drink wine and paint. I am so proud. I also feel a little bit like a jerkface. But mostly, I’m just proud.

Most of these invitations have come with “easy out” opportunities, like a polite click of the “decline” button followed up by a text message thanking the host for the invitation and suggesting that we catch up soon. But one of these parties came with a never-ending email chain threaded between all the invitees. While I kept my reply short and sweet as a courtesy, here’s what I’d really like to say: Continue reading “Stop Asking Everyone to Buy Things”

Stop Asking Everyone to Buy Things

A New Outlook on Our Mortgage

A New OutlookI hate our mortgage. And I probably always will. The fact that we own so little of our home yet foot all the repair bills was maddeningly frustrating last week when our furnace started acting up to the tune of $600. But after clicking through Tim Urban’s “The Tail End”, I realize that maybe I’ve been viewing my mortgage–and homeownership to a degree–all wrong.

Our Mortgage Takes Our Money

Every month, I am greeted with an email ping reminding me that we owe the bank something to tune of $900*. Since we are determined to pursue some form of financial independence and now Mr. P’s car loan is no more, we are trying to double those payments. Because we made a 30-year commitment to our bank, we are trying to be more aggressive with paying it off by adding my side hustle money to the debt-payoff pot as well.

It isn’t always possible to be so aggressive with our payments, but we are going to keep trying. There’s no denying the crushing feeling that comes with six figures worth of debt. As for those who classify a mortgage as good debt, I say no debt is good debt. I won’t be sorry to see it go.

Our Mortgage Buys Us Time

As much as I dislike our debt, it affords us the luxury of time. My commute lasts between 15-20 minutes and Mr. P’s is about five minutes longer. I can make it to and from work in the span of a single podcast. That’s pretty hard to beat. Sure, having no commute would be even nicer, but I’m not about to make that weird childhood misconception that teachers actually live in their classrooms a real thing. These short commutes allow us to maximize our time at home and our time with each other.

More than that, though, our mortgage buys us time with our families. My family is ten minutes away and Mr. P’s is just a stone’s throw farther. Tim Urban’s analysis of his time left with his parents was crippling to me. He writes, “When you look at that reality, you realize that despite not being at the end of your life, you may very well be nearing the end of your time with some of the most important people in your life.” His reality affords him about ten days per year with his parents. Tears rolled down my face when I looked at his chart that was almost completely filled with red Xs.

Once I pushed past that momentary existential crisis, I realized my chart would look dramatically different. Yes, my parents are in their 60s as well. No, I’m not kidding myself into thinking that they’re going to be the first couple to live to 120 together. Unlike Urban’s setup, however, our mortgage allows me to spend at least one or two days each week with my parents. Whether it’s me stopping over for tea and to go through the hoards of things they are still so generously storing in their basement or it’s us meeting up for dinner and running errands together, I can see my parents whenever I want. The same holds true for Mr. P and his family.

As easy as it is to get caught up in numbers, spreadsheets, payments, and account balances, I have to remember that life is so much more than a mortgage. In the moments that matter most, I’ve not given our mortgage a single thought. Money is not the most precious thing in the world. If leveraged correctly, money is nothing more than a tool that allows us access to the truly precious things in life: the people we love.

The next time my in-laws are over for a barbecue or my parents are crowded around the kitchen table, I like to think I’ll hate our mortgage a little less. In reality, I know that, as we pass plates, clink glasses, and laugh loudly, our mortgage won’t even cross my mind.

*It’s worth mentioning that apartments and rentals in our area are commensurate in cost, if not more expensive, than our mortgage. Just the other day, I learned of one friend who is paying $1700 for a two-bedroom apartment. I about peed myself.

So Tell Me…How are you leveraging your money to do the things you love or to spend time with the people who matter most?

A New Outlook on Our Mortgage

The High Price of Free

High Price of Free (1)We’ve all heard the cliche that some things are too good to be true. In the case of “free”, sometimes there’s a much higher cost than anyone expects. In our consumer culture, the notion of free shows up in a lot of ways. Sample day at Sam’s Club (the horror!). Mail-in rebates. Buy one, get one free. Free gifts with purchase. Free trial subscriptions. Vouchers for free lotions from Bath & Body Works, underwear from Victoria’s Secret, haircuts from a new Great Clips. But sometimes we get–or give up–more than we bargain for with these screaming good deals. Continue reading “The High Price of Free”

The High Price of Free