Dude. You guys are so clever with your ideas for an Instagram hashtag! I love it!


Here’s what I got:


I really liked the “freehappiness” because it’s short and sweet. BUT it’s already being used on Insta and I kinda like the idea of having my very own that no one else has used before… so I’m going to go with “SMIYTfreehappiness”:)


SO! I’m going to start posting #SMIYTfreehappiness pictures on my Instagram and I would love for you guys to join! I’ll share my favorites that you guys post, too :)



In other news, we went on another mini-trip to VA beach this weekend! It was SO SO SO crowded… like, I couldn’t even believe how many people were there.


It was one of those days where we had to CRAM in on the beach between other people (even though there’s a big gap in this picture… I don’t know why that’s there but I swear it was really crowded, ha!) and then the tide came up and Mike tried to build a wall of sand to keep us dry (which other people started doing too, at one point there were 9 people working on the wall! so hilarious) but eventually the tide was too strong and we had to relocate… bummer. Anyway, it was a good time and I didn’t get burnt so SUCCESS all around. And then we went to Chipotle and used one of our buy one get one free deals. YUM.



I’m running a special offer this week for those of you who sign up for the Live Your Life {+ still save money!} eCourse— you’ll get a 30-minute Skype session in addition to the course! We can schedule the session whenever you want; at the beginning of the course, after you’ve tracked your money for awhile and want advice, you can hold on to it for a few months– whatever floats your boat. Just me and you chatting for 30 mins about your finances! :) (and if you’re not a fan of vid chatting, we can totally do a text-chat too)




So enroll ASAP in the Live Your Life {+ still save money!} eCourse! Be sure to sign up by Friday, July 31, at 11:59PM EST to get the 30 minute Skype session. Can’t wait to chat with you!




This post doesn’t really lend itself to any related questions sooooo here’s an unrelated question…

Tell me a random fun fact!

My fun fact: Exactly 3 years ago today (well, technically at like 10 or 11pm), I met Mike! We both ended up at a random bar– him with his roommates, me with my roommate and some of our friends. Somehow Mike and I ended up talking (even though neither of our friend groups knew each other) and I gave him my number (even though I had forgotten my phone at home that night?! dumb) and when I got home he had texted me (with literally just a 2 word text– his first and last name, nothing else. not even a “hey.” hahahaha still cracks me up) and we went to Chipotle for our first date 3 days later. I think it’s especially crazy because if we hadn’t met that night at that bar, we have ZERO mutual friends so I don’t think our paths would have ever crossed in any other way! And I had contemplated not going out that night, his friends originally wanted to go into DC instead of staying local but then their plans fell through… Life is crazy, yo.


Yesterday I was driving around had a sudden realization: I freakin’ LOVE driving around with the windows down*, sun shining, and a good song on the radio. It’s like the happiest feeling ever, right?




*but only when you’re going under ~40mph… anything above that and your hair gets totally messed up


And then I realized: How often do I stop to identify and truly appreciate the FREE (or cheap) things that make me happy?


In my case, I know I don’t do it often enough. (I occasionally write posts about it, though)


So as I’m driving around and realizing how much happiness it’s giving me, I got the idea that I should start posting pictures of these free things that make me happy on my Instagram. Because, backstory, I’ve been kinda unhappy with my Instagram lately.


I’ve been slacking at posting things on there (my last picture is over 3 weeks ago?!) because I just don’t know what to take pictures of. When I do remember to take pictures, it’s because we’re doing something out of the ordinary, like a beer tasting. BUT I hate having my Instagram made up of pictures like that, because it gives the impression that my life is one big exciting beer tasting/beach trip/ice cream fest. It’s not! Those are just the picture-worthy moments.


(which is one of my biggest problems with social media in general… I find myself feeling depressed/falling into the comparison trap because everyone posts the best stuff about their life and mine seems super lame in comparison)


So I’m thinking that having this new goal of documenting the free/cheap things that make me happy will give me more of a structure for my Instagram (kinda like when I did the 100 happy days project… that was actually really fun!) AND, most importantly, will hopefully help inspire you!


I realized (I’m using that word a lot in the post… oops) last week that I have 3 goals with my blog and social media: I want to leave you feeling inspired, motivated, and/or excited to save money. So I think that posting these “free things that make me happy” are more likely to leave you feeling inspired to save money; whereas a picture of a beer tasting I went to won’t leave you feeling inspired. It might even make you feel worse about your finances, and that’s the exact opposite of what I’m going for!


I want to come up with a cool hashtag to use for these pictures so that you can join in, too! My current thought is #freestuffthatmakesmehappy… but is that too long? I’m no social media expert so I’m definitely open to suggestions :)


In totally other news– I am ashamed that it’s taken me this long to mention this…. but have you heard of the new Chipotle deal where you play a game (it has to do with picking which ingredients are in a Chipotle burrito vs another fast food item) and then you get a coupon for buy one get one free Chipotle! (and I don’t even think it matters how well you do in the game; I got like 10/20 and still got the coupon) You do have to give them your phone number and get on their phone text list BUT you can totally cancel that as soon as you get your coupon! Do it soon because the site says “while supplies last” and I don’t want you to miss out on BOGO Chipotle!



Would you be interested in seeing pictures of “free stuff that makes me happy” on Instagram?

Got any good ideas for a hashtag? :)

(If you come up with the winning hashtag, you’ll get my undying love and possibly a handwritten thank you note ;) )


Yesterday afternoon I was scrolling through my pictures and discovered this one from Saturday that I totally forgot I took:




Mike and I went on a mini-road trip to 3 breweries and a bbq place as his belated birthday gift (trips = WAY better than gifts) It was SO FUN! And delicious. Beer and bbq… you literally can’t go wrong :)



The back right beer in this pic was a peach habanero ipa… I don’t normally like spicy things but it was SO GOOD!


Ooookay, moving on before I start craving a beer at 6am….



Unsurprisingly, I am still hooked on this whole habits + saving money idea that I discussed Monday. I haven’t gotten the book (Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin) from the library yet (I’m 75th in line for the book… guess everyone else wants to read it, too!) so I’m still just mulling over what Gretchen said in her podcast interview on The Lively Show.


Gretchen came up with the “Four Tendencies Framework”, which explains how people respond to inner and outer expectations (which is really important to how you create/stick to habits). She says you can sort everyone into 4 categories: upholders, questioners, obligers, and rebels. (the bullet points below are copied from her website)


  • Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations
  • Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense–essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations
  • Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike


If you want to get more info on the tendencies and take a quiz to find out which tendency you are, check out Gretchen’s website!


I think that understanding these 4 tendencies, and figuring out which one we are, can help us to learn about how best to create our own money-saving habits. For example, if you realize that you’re an obliger (ahem, me) then maybe this is why you are totally failing at your self-imposed deadline to pay off your student loans by the end of this year.


I cannot WAIT to read the book because now that I get that there are 4 different tendencies, I just want to know how to utilize each tendency to help set habits (and thus save more money!). One example Gretchen used with Obligers was trying to set an exercise habit– she says that for Obligers, you should get a personal trainer or sign up for a running coach or get an accountability buddy so that you have that external expectation from someone else to keep you on track! (so if you’re an obliger and are trying to save money, it’s a good idea for you to work directly with someone [like me!] who will keep you accountable)



Are you an upholder, questioner, obliger, or rebel?

I thought this as soon as I read the descriptions, and Gretchen’s quiz confirmed it: I am an Obliger. It’s easy for me to uphold the expectations/tasks from others… but hard to uphold my own internal expectations. Aaaand this explains SO much about why I sometimes have a huuuuuuge struggle with keeping on track with this whole being-my-own-boss thing… haha!


FIRST! Big news! I finally entered the 21st century and made a FACEBOOK GROUP for this blog! Wahoo!! I am restricting membership to only people who are on my email list– so make sure you’re on my email list! I’ll send the link out in an email at 11am EST today :) 


smiyt fb group

It’s a ‘closed’ group, which means we can all chat back and forth but no one else on Facebook, other than those of us in the group, can see what you say. I’m envisioning it as a safe space for you to come and say “omg, my friends want to go on a $2,000 vacation and I don’t know how to say no! Help!” and we can all chime in and give advice. Or you can get motivation to keep on your savings goals, or find an accountability buddy to help motivate you to pay off debt! Sound fun? :)


You know that feeling when you hear/learn about something that TOTALLY makes everything that’s been floating around in your head just click and suddenly make sense??


That was me last week. And it was AWESOME.


Here’s the story: I like to listen to podcasts as I walk to the library, get dressed, fold laundry, etc. I go through phases of what I listen to, but lately I’ve been listening to Jess Lively’s podcast- The Lively Show.




So I was listening to this episode where Jess interviews Gretchen Rubin (author of the book The Happiness Project, which I’ve actually talked about on the blog before) and their conversation totally gave me that “AH HA!” moment where everything in my brain clicked into place.


Gretchen’s newest book, Better than Before, is all about habit formation and how different people’s personalities help them stick to habits or hurt them from sticking to habits.  (and I technically haven’t read the book yet, so I might be missing a few parts in that brief summary)


I was totally fascinated by the discussion because I suddenly realized: I think a big part of my money-saving abilities aren’t anything special– they’re just habits that I’ve created in my life. So maybe I should be focusing more (on this blog, in my courses, etc) on the habit formation of saving money?


Some money saving habits in my life:

  • Always making my lunch at home. (slightly easier now that I work from home… but still. buying lunch is literally never a thought that crosses my mind, even if I’m out and about during the day)
  • Obsessively tracking my money and knowing where each of my dollars goes every month.
  • Only getting books from the library; never purchasing them (unless I fall in love with the book and really want it for myself)
  • Always painting my own nails. It’s never even a question in my mind of “will I go get a manicure this week?” No, it’s no question– I’m painting my own nails.
  • Cutting my own hair ;)
  • Always making a shopping list before I go grocery shopping, and currently working on the habit of meal planning before going shopping.
  • Always walking to the library to do work (I usually work from the lib at least a few hours each day)– never driving.


When you look at these habits, there’s nothing spectacular. They’re little habits in themselves, they don’t make me feel like I’m being cheap or frugal (because they’re just habit), but they all add up to save a lot of money in my life.


So that’s what I’m pondering this week. I’ll probably keep posting about this for awhile as I think it though… you’re getting a front row seat to my brain, haha. Also I haven’t even read the book yet, so expect even more posts on this once I actually have my hands on the book! ;)




Do you have any money-saving habits?

Are you interested in learning about habits and saving money?


I’m finally getting around to posting vacation pics! Woo!! We spent a week in Cape Cod with Mike’s family and it was FANTASTIC and I already wish we could go back and relive it :( Why do vacations go by so fast?!


So now we’re back and I have the post-vacation blues. Womp womp. At least I have pictures to remember it by :)



We stayed in the CUTEST little cottage complex right off the beach. It was infested with SKUNKS though, which was bizzare. They were everywhere! And one died outside our cottage (!!!! yeah seriously) and smelled terrible. (what a good note to start this recap off with… haha sorry)



a 20 second walk from our cottage was the BEACH! It’s a private beach for just the people in the complex so it was never crowded, which was awesome. The public beaches on either side were PACKED. Our setup is right in the middle of this picture– the blue umbrella and 2 chairs. I think Mike was in one of the chairs when I took this :)


We spent 99% of our time hanging out on the beach and I loved it. So nice to have a vacation where you aren’t trying to do anything– just chill out!




The thing I have the most pictures from was our day trip to Nantucket (I kept my phone in the cottage most days since we were just hanging out at the beach and I hate getting it sandy) This is us on the ferry to Nantucket! It’s only ~25 miles off Cape Cod, but about a 2 hour ferry ride.



It was a GIGANTIC ferry that carried people and cars. And HUGE trucks!! Can you believe that a boat can carry all this stuff? (And this is only one side of the boat)


Side note: I HATE BOATS. I don’t like water so I therefore don’t like boats. But I think I was okay on the ferry because it was so big and really didn’t feel like you were on a boat?



Anyway, Nantucket was GORGEOUS.



I mean… cobblestone everywhere!



These houses!! (another side note: did you know that Nantucket, according to Wikipedia, surpasses even the HAMPTONS in terms of house prices? There’s your fun fact of the day)




Our ferry back was different than the one in the morning, and it had bathrooms with WINDOWS!! For some reason I found this hilarious and awesome and had to take a picture.


(Dead skunks and pictures of bathrooms… this post is really the classiest)


Also I don’t have a picture of it, but we stumbled across the jewelry shop that Meghan Trainor’s parent’s own! SO COOL! They had a little sign out front that said something about “our daughter, Meghan Trainor, has a record out…” and then had links to purchase her CD. Super cute!



SOOO I’m going to go drown my post-vacation blues in some iced coffee (update to that post: Yep, getting my favorite coffee creamer automatically makes any iced coffee recipe 10000x better!) and play Hilary Duff’s (yes seriously) new song, Tattoo, on repeat. I’m obsessed. Her whole new CD is actually awesome and I’ve been playing it on repeat on Spotify for the last week while I work.



Where was your last vacation?

Where would you love to go on vacation next?