fulfilling life

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.

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.

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.

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.

Why I'm Saving for Retirement Now

Why I'm Saving for Retirement Now

About a month ago my aunt posted a picture on Facebook of my grandparents before going to prom night at their senior living community. They were each dressed up in their finest and they looked so happy to enjoy the evening with each other and their friends. I think this photo is a great representation of what retirement looks like to me. Retirement isn’t about buying a yacht, traveling, or even the ability to sleep in. It’s not about what you’ll buy or even what you’ll do, it’s about making the most of the time you have with the people you love.

Money Boss Guest Post: The Ultimate Freedom

Money Boss Guest Post: The Ultimate Freedom

This week I'm excited to share with you a guest post from one of my favorite personal finance coaches, educators, and bloggers: Michelle Boss (aka The Money Boss). Michelle and I met while she was creating her Your Money Matters podcast series this spring. I was privileged to be a part of this series with so many other wonderful financial educators and coaches. I asked Michelle to share how she's connecting her money and her values to create a fulfilling life. I'm excited for you to hear a new perspective and get connected to all of Michelle's great resources. Join me in welcoming Michelle Boss to the Classy Frugalist blog!

Check the Value, Not Just the Price

Check the Value, Not Just the Price

How many times per week or even per day do you stop to check the price of something? You might stop to compare prices between two different brands of paper towels at the grocery store. You might surf the internet for a good deal on a vacation flight. You might compare the price of a book on Amazon between the new and used selection. You might scan a toy at Target to see how much it costs before you step up to the cash register. We spend a lot of time checking prices and searching for the best deal. But how often do we step back and check the value on an item or experience before we purchase it?

Ask the Classy Frugalist: Should I Get a Travel Credit Card?

Ask the Classy Frugalist: Should I Get a Travel Credit Card?

Let’s say you’re looking for a new credit card and you’re considering a travel credit card. How do you know if it will be worth it? Is there a certain amount of travel that you should be doing to make the perks and the cost of the card worth it?

Following my recent series on credit cards, Beth asked just this question. She writes, “Every week I find I receive at least one piece of mail encouraging me to get a new credit card. I've considered a Southwest or other airline-related card that would help me accumulate airline miles, but have never felt I travel enough to justify the upfront or yearly cost associated with it (I admit I did rough math on this!). I travel maybe 4-5 times per year on an airplane. For those of us not always interested in doing the math calculations, do you have an average of how much travel would justify getting a flight miles related card?

Every Day Stewardship: Connecting Faith and Money

Every Day Stewardship: Connecting Faith and Money

This week I'm sharing something different. What you'll see below is a post that I wrote for the Center for Stewardship Leaders' weekly newsletter. As some of you may know, I had the pleasure of working for this Center for three and a half years while I was a student, and later a staff member, at Luther Seminary. I learned the most about money and how to connect it to your values while I was at seminary. It was a pleasure to revisit that time of my life and share the story of this blog's evolution with that audience. I hope that you will enjoy this article, too!

When I'm 85

When I'm 85

During the Super Bowl, interspersed between the beer, chips, and car ads I saw an intriguing financial commercial. It features 85-year olds flying planes, DJing at a club, performing surgery, lifeguarding on the beach, working tech support, and fighting fires. The theme song running through the ad is “I’m 85 and I want to go home” – a riff on the famous Jamacian folk song “Day O” (The Banana Boat Song). If you haven’t seen the ad, I encourage you to check it out.

Burgers & Budgets: The Meal that Changed My Marriage

Burgers & Budgets: The Meal that Changed My Marriage

You’ve heard the story before. It’s not unusual. Saver is working diligently to get her finances in order. Spender is working hard to live his life to the fullest. Opposites attract. They fall madly in love and walk off into the sunset together. That’s the end of the story, right? But, how do those wonderful opposites – both of which have their own strengths and weaknesses – create a financial life that they can both be proud of?

What Does It Mean to Be a Classy Frugalist Today?

What Does It Mean to Be a Classy Frugalist Today?

Since I began writing this blog in January of 2014 the meaning of “Classy Frugalist” has changed a lot. At the time I started this blog I was engaged, fresh out of my first job, and just figuring out what it meant to have a steady income that allowed me to spend some money on "wants" not just "needs." And now, I’m thirty, married, in my third job, and doing better financially than I had expected.