9 Simple Ways To Be More Generous

9 Simple Ways To Be More Generous

A few weeks ago, I was traveling for work. When I landed at the airport, I went to Enterprise to rent a car and was greeted by a woman about my age who gave me exceptional service. Even though the facility was small, crowded, and noisy, she spoke clearly, worked efficiently, and smiled effortlessly. I was out of there and into my rental car in no time. As I was leaving, she gave me her card and invited me to contact her manager if I had received good service. She mentioned that she was up for a promotion and that any feedback would be really helpful.

Ask the Classy Frugalist: I’m Self-Employed. What Options Do I Have to Save for Retirement?

Ask the Classy Frugalist: I’m Self-Employed. What Options Do I Have to Save for Retirement?

For many of us, an employer retirement account is a given … but what if you’re self-employed? This week’s question comes from a reader who is a freelance actor, and her spouse is a freelancer, too. She wants to start saving for retirement early, but she’s not sure what her options are since she doesn’t qualify for an employer-sponsored 401(k) program.

Thanksgiving: Investing in Relationships

Thanksgiving: Investing in Relationships

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. In my family, this is generally the only time during the year that we are all able to be together. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins come from far and wide to my parents’ home in St. Louis for a few days to reconnect, eat good food, shop, and relive old memories. My dad — who used to be a caterer — is the chef, and he consistently wows his audience with course after course of amazing dishes. It’s always quite a feast.

How to Financially Prepare for the Holidays

How to Financially Prepare for the Holidays

Can you believe the holidays are just around the corner? While they can certainly bring a lot of joy, they can also bring a lot of stress, particularly to our financial lives. A few weeks ago, Emilie Aries from BossedUp interviewed me for her blog on just this topic! Below I’ll share a few tidbits from the article, but I invite you to follow this link to read the whole article.

This is Why (Part 2)

This is Why (Part 2)

It happened to us. And now, it’s been six months.

So often people ask me, “How is your husband doing?” And I want to respond, “Do you want the short answer, or the long one?” Here’s the short answer: better; a whole lot better, in fact. He’s back at work, he was able to join me for our dream vacation in Paris, he finished PT, and all of his health care providers (in addition to his adoring wife) have been impressed by his quick progress. It’s the bright, shiny success story that everyone wants to hear.

5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Got Married

5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Got Married

When my husband and I got engaged five years ago, one of my biggest concerns was how we would handle money. When it came to finances we never seemed to be on the same page. He enjoyed spending money and I couldn’t wait to give money away. He liked investing money in more expensive items and hobbies, while I enjoyed living frugally and struggled to spend money on myself. We did have common dreams and goals for our marriage — like buying a house and traveling the world — but I wasn’t sure how we’d ever make these dreams a reality when our approach to money seemed so different. 

10 Financial Lessons I Learned in my 20s

10 Financial Lessons I Learned in my 20s

My 31st birthday is coming up this weekend. Even though last year was the big 3-0, I think it took me about a year to come to terms with leaving my 20s and really consider all that I had learned during that decade of my life. Like most people, I experienced mountains of change: I started out my 20s in college, a single woman living with three roommates and a vague notion of what I’d like to do with my life. I began my 30s in my own home, a married woman with a clear sense of what I love to do: help people improve their relationship with money.

My Paris Getaway: 6 Tips to Make Your Dream Vacation a Reality

My Paris Getaway: 6 Tips to Make Your Dream Vacation a Reality

Ever since I studied French in school, I always dreamed of visiting Paris. I longed to stroll the streets, sit at a café eating a croissant, visit the market to buy all of the ingredients for dinner, and see the famous art in its many museums. I wanted to drink in the sites, the smells, the taste, the culture. So about three years ago, I started putting together a trip to Paris to celebrate my 30th birthday. My husband was quick to get on board – adding that it this would be a good opportunity for him to see the Normandy beaches. As I began telling friends about the idea, we found another couple who was interested in joining us, too.

Comparing Yourself to Others? 3 Key Questions to Ask Yourself

Comparing Yourself to Others? 3 Key Questions to Ask Yourself

I have to confess: I’m jealous of people who spend extended time traveling — whether it’s a few months, a year, or more. I constantly see posts on social media related to this topic — Facebook knows me well! — and I can’t help but imagine my husband and I setting off on a fully-funded globe-trotting journey without a care in the world.

Cultivating Financial Independence Within a Marriage

Cultivating Financial Independence Within a Marriage

You know you have a problem when your husband feels the need to ask your permission every time he wants to make a purchase even if he’s just buying an occasional cup of coffee on the way to work. Don’t worry – it’s not that he’s financially dependent. It’s because I was (and probably still am to some extent) financially controlling. I like to track where each dollar of our income is shared, saved, and spent. I still check our bank account every day even though we have more than enough. After living paycheck to paycheck as a student, I like to be reminded that we are ok. While I never said he should call me when he wants to spend money, I think my behavior implied it.

Ask the Classy Frugalist: What’s your philosophy on marriage and money?

 Ask the Classy Frugalist: What’s your philosophy on marriage and money?

I get this question a lot and I have to admit that it feels like a trick question. Couples want to know if they should combine their money when they get married, keep it separate, or do a hybrid of both. From my perspective, I don’t think there’s one right way to do it. The most important thing is that you and your partner are on the same page in terms of how you want to handle money. Many engaged people I’ve talked to assume they will be taking one approach – either combining their money or keeping it separate – but they’ve never had a conscientious conversation with their partner about it.

How to Buy Yourself More Time

How to Buy Yourself More Time

Can money really buy you happiness? According to researchers – yes – it can buy you time, which in turn can boost your happiness!

Last summer, a group of researchers published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they found when people spend money on time-saving services like a house cleaner, lawn care, or grocery delivery they experience a boost in happiness. In contrast, when they spend money on things, it didn’t boost their happiness in the same way.

Step Back To Step Forward

Step Back To Step Forward

I don’t know about you but the thought of stepping back sets off my internal alarm bells. I’m a big fan of getting things done, crossing items off my to-do list, and constantly moving forward. But I think this addiction to forward motion can often get us stuck in a hamster wheel. We keep running – thinking we’re moving forward – when in fact we are just spinning our wheels. If we do in fact move forward, we may find ourselves stepping further and further away from our intended destination because we aren’t willing to course correct.

Ask the Classy Frugalist: Should Student Loan Debt Repayment Be My First Priority?

Ask the Classy Frugalist: Should Student Loan Debt Repayment Be My First Priority?

A few weekends ago, I attend the BossedUp Trainer Certification Program with a bunch of other amazing entrepreneurs, side hustlers, and all around boss ladies. During lunch, I sat next to another trainer who asked: “What do you recommend for people with student loan debt? This is a critical issue and it doesn’t seem like many financial advisors are paying attention to it.” I have to agree. While most financial professionals understand that student loan debt is a critical issue not many people in the financial industry have a lot of recommendations for how to handle this debt well.

Checking My Privilege

Checking My Privilege

A few weeks ago, I listened to an amazing podcast on Intersectional Feminism. Prior to listening to this podcast, I never realized how much the traditional feminist movement had done to privilege white, heteronormative voices. I was amazed and ashamed. But I think my biggest takeaway from listening to this podcast was how important it is to be willing to step back, check your privilege, and be “called in” when you unintentionally exclude the experience of others.

Crafting Your Own Financial Milestones

Crafting Your Own Financial Milestones

What financial milestones are you hoping to achieve over the course of your life? As I’ve said before, I think the cookie cutter milestones of getting married, buying a house, adopting a dog, having 2.5 kids, and retiring are a bit overrated. However, I think the practice of crafting your own financial milestones that really align with your lifestyle, values, and goals – even if it includes some or all of those more conventional milestones – is highly underrated.