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Stories That Rocked My Week #7

23 May

Happy Memorial Day weekend! I love a good three-day weekend and look forward to a little backyard barbecuing with the fam. I’d also like to send a much-needed shout-out to all U.S. active, retired, reservist and veteran military — you brave men and women have my sincerest gratitude today and everyday for your service and sacrifice. Thank you!

Photo by Timo Kohlenberg via Flickr

Photo by Timo Kohlenberg via Flickr

 

Now, onto the shameless plugs…

6 Tips for Navigating Memorial Day Deals. Just in time for the big shopping weekend, I wrote my first guest post for The Dime Colorado, an awesome personal finance site with a hometown twist.

Budget Gifts for Mom: A Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gift Guide. I love finding fun gifts for my mom, so writing this post picked up by GoGirl Finance was a total blast!

…and without further ado, these rockin’ posts!

Michelle at Making Sense of Cents gets a virtual fist-pump for “Las Vegas Recap: My Most Frugal Trip Ever.” She rocked Sin City for less than $300 and treated her friends to heavily discounted plane tickets. Props, Michelle!

I should dedicate a section of my roundups to Erin at Broke Millennial since I seem to read everything she pens. I stumbled upon “How Staying in Shape Directly Impacts Your Wallet” at TaxACT and couldn’t agree more with her savvy points (as always).

I respect Kathleen at Frugal Portland‘s shared addiction to quality coffee, which is why I enjoyed reading “Conscious Spending: Morning Coffee Ritual” while sipping on my morning cup of Sumatra. I also relate to liking/buying/owning pretty, tasty and otherwise expensive things while still practicing a frugal lifestyle.

I LOVED “It’s a Marathon, Not a Race. Namaste.” from Debt Free Guys the moment I read the headline. It combines my two fitness faves: yoga and running. The moral of the post is an important one that not only applies to finances and debt but also to other goals and aspirations in life. Well done, gents.

I’m a sucker for any article offering ways to eat healthy, so “Eating Healthy on a Slim Budget” from April at Get Rich Slowly was an obvious read. I appreciate that her tips go beyond “use coupons” and “shop in season,” and can relate to spending a good chunk of my money on good-for-you food.

I love me some Club Thrifty, and Holly’s post “How to Deal with Online Criticism” offers great perspective on the ugly side of blogging. Her “I am who I am, bring it” attitude really shines in this post and serves as an inspiration for the more squeamish writers like me, who recede into the darkness of shame when criticized.

Stories That Rocked My Week #6

2 May

Happy Friday! After five straight days of relentless wind, it’s finally calm here. The weekend forecast is warm and sunny, and my BFF is flying in from Vegas and together we’re going to enjoy a not-so-frugal fine dining experience in the big city. As my friend of mine likes to say, life is grand!

The picture of calm. Photo by me.

The picture of calm. Photo by me.

I read a lot of amazing posts this week and it’s always a struggle to pick out my faves! Before I get to the stories that rocked my week, here are a couple shameless plugs for you to skip over:

5 Ways to Save Money Using Pinterest on HuffPost Financial Education — Karen Cordaway of MoneySavingEnthusiast fame helps me justify the hundreds of hours I’ve spent saving and organizing images by quoting me in this article. Pinterest shouldn’t be so entertaining, but it’s highly addictive and can also be a method for money savings.

10 Reasons Why You’re Still Living Paycheck to Paycheck on GO Banking Rates — Not only includes quotes from yours truly, but also from personal finance bloggers Stefanie at The Broke and Beautiful Life and Matt over at Mom and Dad Money.

Onto the good stuff…

Tackling Our Debt‘s travel tips are just in time for summer planning and helped inspire me to consider a separate savings account just for vacations.

Savvy with Saving explores why it’s so hard to split the bill at a restaurant and how to avoid paying for someone else’s dinner and drinks.

Color Me Frugal offers practical tips to prevent lifestyle inflation, an affliction I seem to have every pay day.

Clever Dude‘s wife gets a gold star for her persistence, and for inspiring Brock’s post about getting a discount just by asking.

Cash Cow Couple‘s frugal ways continue to amaze as they outline expenses from their first year of marriage.

L Bee and the Money Tree‘s Lauren celebrates her second blog birthday and deserves a shout-out: congrats chica!

Have a great weekend!

Stories That Rocked My Week #5

11 Apr

Be jealous. I was a here a couple weeks ago (Peju Winery, Napa Valley, Calif.).

Be jealous. I was a here a couple weeks ago (Peju Winery, Napa Valley, CA).

I haven’t done one of these in a few weeks because I’ve been busy with travel, work and home improvement to catch up with my fave bloggers. Luckily, I found some time this week to get back in the groove and I’m pleased to share the following posts! But first, some shameless plugging:

Over at Modest Money, I offered the parameters I use when considering buying a daily deal. I think they can be big money savers when purchased wisely!

At GoGirlFinance, I list out unnecessary wedding expenses that when skipped can save couples over $1,000. #CrazyFact — the average 2013 wedding cost nearly $30K!

Onto what you’re really here for, the stories that ROCKED my week!

I love, love LOVED this post by Stefani from The Broke and Beautiful Life over at See Debt Run. She eloquently conveys how spending money on otherwise mundane expenses can be pleasurable. I feel gratitude when I pay bills at the beginning of the month because I CAN pay them. There’s no stress or fear about not being able to afford my bills, and that’s huge.

I’ve only recently discovered Kristin Wong and I’m ever-so-glad I did — she’s a gem. Her post about ways to save at the airport on Brokepedia was timely since I just committed a frugal fail at the San Fran airport. I bought a second bottle of water for my plane ride (after slamming the first one during lunch), only to find a water fill-up station IN MY GATE. Kristin would never do such a thing.

Props to John over at Frugal Rules for his first post on Daily Finance! I love me some “Game of Thrones,” so I was pretty pumped to read his post about money lessons from the epic series. John surprised me with some of the parallels he found (which were spot-on). Who knew the detestable Theon Greyjoy was actually good for something?

I enjoyed Dear Debt‘s unconventional money tips over at VOSA, especially the one about making more money instead of slashing spending. While cutting back on spending is always good money advice, focusing on it exclusively can make for a miserable lifestyle, especially when side hustles can help balance things out.

Since I would never have the stones to ask for a “good guy discount,” (or a “cool girl” discount, for that matter) I enjoyed the brazenness of The Billfold‘s article “The Art of Asking for a Discount.” My husband is pretty good at this strategy, having recently knocked down the price of a costly gadget by $25 just for asking.

Michelle of Making Sense of Cents is just plain amazing for so many reasons. Her story about saving money on wedding expenses through bartering is GENIUS. I never would have thought to trade my expertise for free or reduced-price services at my wedding. Consider my mind blown, Michelle.

You guys. It’s Friday!! #TGIF 

Stories That Rocked My Week – #4

7 Mar

Happy Friday, everyone! Is anyone else pumped about Daylight Saving Time this weekend? I know it’s lame but I personally can’t wait for the longer evenings, even if that means sacrificing an hour’s worth of sleep. Who’s with me?!

Photo by Martin Pettitt via Flickr

Photo by Martin Pettitt via Flickr

 

Here are the posts that rocked my week:

Having gushed about my newfound love for water and microfiber towels as the ultimate cleaning duo, TidyMom‘s “10 Simple Tips to Be Greener At Home” represents a well-timed read. It didn’t occur to me that my new favorite cleaning method has already reduced the ridiculous amount of paper towels I typically use while cleaning. Go me. 

I’m obsessed with pruning and paring down my closet (only to build it back up again in times of weakness — FAIL), so Frugal Portland‘s “The Essential Items in a Minimalist Closet” caught my eye. A witty exchange about the merits of the Canadian tuxedo commenced after Kathleen teased me about owning too much denim.

I’m a big fan of Wendy over at GirlMeetsDebt, and her post celebrating Women’s Power Wednesday introduced me to two new bloggers (which I love!) and reinforced the awesomeness of the ones I already follow.

Continuing my minimalist wardrobe kick, I stumbled upon SaveSpendSplurge‘s “Principles of a Practical and Functional Minimalist Wardrobe” and proceeded to be utterly blown away by the amount of detail contained in the post. She seriously deserves some kind of award for this advice!  

Andrew’s post asking “Are We Overworked?” at LivingRichCheaply had me reminiscing about a time when I thought climbing the corporate ladder through long hours and mega-stress was a reasonable way to live. I’m so thankful NOT to be in that place anymore.

Paul Angone’s list of “TwentySomethingProblems” at All Groan Up is humorous, insightful and at times poignant. Though I’m on the fast-track toward my thirties (turning the big 2-9 this year), I could relate with quite a few of Paul’s gripes. 

Good weekend, everyone!

Stories That Rocked My Week – #3

21 Feb

Oh Friday, where have you been my whole week? I’m jetting off to Vegas on Sunday night to visit my BFF and soak up the 70-degree rays with as much enthusiasm as this lizard here. Jealous much? I hope you have fun plans for the weekend, too!

Photo by snowgen via Flickr

Photo by snowgen via Flickr

 

Here are posts that brought sunshine to my life this week:

This post by Broke Millennial made me LOL despite myself. In fact, most of Erin’s articles are knee-slappin’ funny because she’s just so darn witty. In this post, Erin compares the excessive use of acronyms by both millennials and the finance industry. It will have you  ROTFL, guaranteed. 

I read Cat’s articles all over the place it seems, to the point where it feels like I’m stalking her (I’m not, Cat, I promise). Her post about credit card churning on BudgetBlonde re-peaked my interest in this practice. It still terrifies me but at least now it doesn’t totally stump me. 

Erin’s hilarious confessional at RedDebtedStepchild has helped me on the path of self-forgiveness for my own frugal follies. Read them here and here to instantly feel better about yourself, and then read Erin’s post because it’s better than those two combined. 

At SWAMFinance, Adam’s post about paying down a third of his wife’s student loan debt using a tax return is pretty awesome in of itself. However, it’s the motivation he describes to pay down the debt even faster that really resonates with me.

Grayson over at DebtRoundup highlighted the top home improvements you can do to make your house more valuable come resale. I was pleased to see projects we’re working on this year are included in the list. 

Brock at CleverDude gave me hope on the prospects of selling a few items on Craigslist. He was able to offload a homemade smoker made of barrels for $50 using the site, so surely someone will want my porcelain carousels and collectible Disney plates, right?

Cheers to a sunny weekend, folks!

Stories That Rocked My Week – #2

14 Feb

What better day to share the posts I loved this week? Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! I’m sure you all have fabulous-yet-frugal plans to celebrate the loves in your life, whether it’s your partner, furry friend or, best yet, yourself!

Photo by photophilde via Flickr

Photo by photophilde via Flickr

Here are posts that I fell for:

A Budget Won’t Fix Your Problems by Jacob/CashCowCouple on SnarkFinance – Jacob continues to blow my mind with his practical approach to finance. This line, for example, eloquently summarized why a formal budget will never work in my household: “In reality, many people just have the wrong motives from the start. They try to spend as much as possible up to that budgeting line, then they make excuses if they fail and outspend the budget.”

Sell Your Junk: How to Make Money on Ebay by Mel/BrokeRICHGirl – I found this gem of a post after Mel commented on my latest story on consignment. I’ve always been wary about eBay but Mel’s detailed, easy-to-understand “how to” on the subject has inspired me to get over it and get on it. Thanks Mel!

To Kid or Not to Kid by WellHeeledBlog – I was hooked on this post from the headline, and WHB’s thought process parallels my own so closely that it’s downright eerie. It’s a great read for anyone contemplating the big question (and read the comments if you have time — some great stuff there, too).

10 Things You Could Do Instead of Buying This Louis Vuitton Purse by Jessica/Mo’ Money, Mo’ Houses – I’m a recovering (and recurring) materialist, so I love how Jessica compared all the truly meaningful experiences one could have for the same price as an exceedingly overpriced handbag.

I’m Not Having Kids (and That’s Okay) by Kali/Common Sense Millennial – Having kids is not an easy decision but what makes it worse is people who assume they know better than you on the subject. Kali offers awesome responses to the most ridiculous “advice” from presumptuous a-holes.

How We Lowered Our Cell Phone Bill By Over $100/Month by Planting Our Pennies — You must read the entire series to get the full benefit of this brilliant post. The first will make you laugh if you’ve ever dealt with nonexistent customer service from mobile carriers. The second will hopefully inspire you to take a hard look at your mobile plan (as it did me — more on that later).

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Stories That Rocked My Week – #1

7 Feb

Welcome to my first-ever blogger roundup! Since I read and Tweet awesome stories all week, I’ve decided to shamelessly copy other bloggers who have Friday roundups of their favorite posts. Imitation is the best form of flattery and all that, right?

Photo by Kainet via Flickr

Photo by Kainet via Flickr

 

Here’s a few articles that rocked my week:

Marissa at ThirtySixMonths had me OMG-ing after the second paragraph and face-palming after the first bolded sentence. Read her agonizing story of spending $1200 on jeans (which isn’t even the craziest part!) – http://thirtysixmonths.com/my-biggest-money-regret-aka-the-1200-jeans-story/

Trent’s post about using frugality as a life preserver is a fantastic example of how many people are first introduced to the frugal lifestyle — necessity. Check his post at The Simple Dollar – http://www.thesimpledollar.com/frugality-as-a-life-preserver/

Greg and Holly are a couple of my all-time favorite bloggers and probably my favorite blogger couple (see what I did there?). Greg’s epic rant about exceedingly bad customer service will have you thinking YGTBFKM during the entire read – http://clubthrifty.com/definition-of-insanity/

The fabulous Stefanie over a The Broke and Beautiful Life had me hollering “Amen!” after reading “Love and Money: The Most Romantic Gift.” I love me some practical, thoughtful gifts — http://thebrokeandbeautifullife.com/most-romantic-gift/

I’m new to Stapler Confessions and I’m excited to find this gem of a blog after reading “How to Have a Frugal Valentine’s Day Without Looking Like a Cheapskate.” I love how Rebecca thoughtfully tied in her experience during 9/11 to creating thoughtful, long-lasting Valentine’s Day gifts – http://staplerconfessions.com/index.php/how-to-have-a-frugal-valentines-day-without-looking-like-a-cheapskate/

FreeFromBroke’s “Frugal vs. Cheap: Which Are You?” reinforced my Ally McBeal-like behavior whenever someone uses the terms interchangeably. Instead of fantasizing about slapping someone silly, I’ll just direct them to this fantastic post. http://freefrombroke.com/frugal-vs-cheap/

John over at Frugal Rules put all men to shame when he offered easy, thoughtful and cost-effective Valentine’s Day gifts for wives the world over. Mrs. Frugal Rules found herself a catch – http://www.frugalrules.com/5-great-valentine-gift-ideas-wife/ 

Happy weekend, everyone!