Whoa. A post on a Tuesday? I know, I know. It’s getting crazy around here.

 

I thought it might be cool for you to not only hear me chat incessantly about finances, but maybe other people too. After all, the main thing that I want you to get from this lil’ blog is that you can be 100% normal and still be smart with your money. You don’t have to be a hermit, you don’t have to be a total cheapskate; you can still hang out with friends and go to restaurants (if that’s your thing) and buy cute clothes (if that’s your thing) and travel cool places (if that’s your thing). You can be normal.

 

And to prove that point, I am going to start interviewing some of my favorite bloggers and get their perspective on money! These posts will go up on Tuesdays, so be sure you check back on Tuesdays in addition to my usual Monday, Wednesday, and Friday posts! :)

 

 

gettin nosy jamie jar half full

First up in the Gettin’ Nosy series is my friend Jamie from The Jar Half Full. I really don’t remember how we found each other, but all I know is that we have become internet bffs (whether she likes it or not) and I love it.

 

the-jar-half-full

Jamie runs a shop at The Jar Half Full where she sells the cutest mason jar tumblers! (pic from her site… that is def not my photography work obviiiii haha)

 

 

jar-half-full-tumbler

She was super duper sweet and sent me one of her tumblers last week and I dude… I love it.

 

 

the-jar-half-full-glass-tumbler

I’ve been filling it with iced coffee and taking it to the library while I work. It’s actually really perfect because after I’m done with my coffee, I can rinse it out and fill with water from the water fountain. {I used to attempt this with normal coffee thermoses but it’s actually reeeeally annoying to drink water from those… they’re designed for sipping not for actually drinking. I like being able to drink lots of water, not just a tiny sip at a time. Long story short, thank you Jamie because now I’ll be much more hydrated and way less frustrated with my drinkware! haha}

 

 

Gettin’ Nosy with Jamie from The Jar Half Full:

 

1.  I LOVE learning tricks & tips that can help me to save more money. What is the best financial tip you’ve ever heard?

I know you’ve already talked about this on the blog, but I’m a huge believer in direct deposits! If you never see the money in your account in the first place, you never miss it.

 

2. What is your proudest financial moment?

I’d say my proudest financial moment was saving up for a big vacation that I’m taking this summer. Travel is a huge priority for me, and I have a dedicated travel fund to save for trips. Me and my boyfriend will be frolicking around Italy and Croatia in June, and the entire trip was saved for and is paid off. That’s a great feeling!

 

3. Prioritizing your spending so that you spend money on things that truly make you happy is something that I think is SO important. What are some things that make you ridiculously happy and you feel zero guilt spending money on? 

First of all, I LOVE your philosophy on this! Being on a budget doesn’t mean being boring and never doing anything – it means prioritizing! Travel is one thing I never feel guilty about spending money on… they say it’s the only thing you can buy that makes you richer, and I totally agree! I can also drop $50 on books and not bat an eye – I try not to go buy brand new books TOO often, but I do love to read, and have never felt guilty about a book purchase. In general, I’d say I prefer to spend money on experiences because that’s what makes me happiest!

 

4. On the flip side, what things do you try NOT to spend money on, because it doesn’t make you happy?

Fancy dinners is the first thing that comes to mind. I love to eat, but really don’t get any satisfaction out of dropping $200 on a steak dinner. I also don’t like to spend money on having the newest electronic gadget, like the newest iPhone. I just don’t care that much, and would rather save up for a killer trip!

 

5. I’m big on setting financial goals. I think it’s hard to progress in our financial life if we aren’t really sure what we’re working towards. What are your current financial goals?

My biggest financial goal currently is saving for a down payment on a house. I want to put down at least 20% when I finally buy, so a lot of my savings is dedicated toward that right now. My other goal is to replenish my travel fund – I have a 2016 trip to Thailand in the works, so I need to save for that!

 

 

Thanks so much for letting me interview you, Jamie! I love how well you prioritize your travel and can’t wait to hear about your trips this summer!!

 

 

Do you like getting nosy and hearing about people’s financial lives like I do??

I hope you do because I’ve got a few of these coming up! :)

 

 

PS– Have you checked out my new Budget Coaching program? Spots for February will be open until Saturday, so be sure to check it out and if you’re interested, sign up on the email list for more info! (btw, if you aren’t totally ready to take the plunge, you can also sign up on that list just to be notified when the next round of spots are opening up, and to see a sweet behind the scenes video of how Budget Coaching works!)

 

Soooo since I keep forgetting about this series, I think this might be my last post (unless you have a suggestion for a topic- in which case I’ll gladly continue ;) )

 

billion dollars

In recap, we’ve already covered: going out at night, restaurants, friend dates, mani/pedis, movies, and wine/beer tastings.

 

So here is the biggie…

 

What do you do when friends or family invite you to do bigger events? Not just a little coffee date or a mani/pedi or a wine tasting… but like, big things.

 

 

caps-sabres-hockey-game

Sporting Events / Concerts:

Only go if you reeeeally want to go. These tickets can run from like, $10 (for baseball or something like that) to HUNDREDS. Don’t agree to go just because your friend is pressuring you. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but concerts are NOT my thing. So I usually say no.

 

rochester-concert

If you do want to go, for the love of god, DON’T DRINK ALCOHOL. Venues charge like $8 for a Bud Light at sporting events and concerts! Uhhhhh thanks but no thanks. If you do want to drink, consider pre-gaming (whoaaaa that’s one of my first posts, haha!). But only if you can do it safely and legally, of course.

 

Also, eat a big meal before you go. Food is always wayyyy overpriced. Not worth it (to me at least)

 

nats-game

Finally, set your budget in advance. If you want to drink, decide in advance how many ($8) beers you’ll get. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the event and keep ordering. So decide before you go and stick to it! Also, will you buy any event merchandise, like a CD or jersey or festival t-shirt? Again, easy to get caught up in the excitement and buy a $30 t-shirt only to realize once you get home that you really didn’t want it.

 

 

 

Vacations:

Think long and hard about this before making your decision. It’s ALWAYS okay to say no to bigger expenses like this. I mean, your friends can’t expect you to drop hundreds on a vacation they’re going on. It’s just not feasible. And if they DO expect you to do that, well, perhaps that’s not a good sign for your friendship. #justsayin

 

sodus-point

If you do want to go, talk in advance about budgets. You don’t want your friend booking a $500 a night hotel room when you were thinking more in the $100 a night range. Also discuss food– will you chip in and buy some groceries? Or is your friend trying to eat every meal at a restaurant?

 

grocery-haul-beach

(When we went to the beach with our friends last summer we did a big grocery run and it saved us SO much money!)

 

Also, before you go, make a list of things YOU want to do. Just because you’re going with other people doesn’t mean you can’t make time for things that make you happy. This is your vacation, too!

 

ice-cream-store-rehoboth

Same vacation: I really wanted to try this ice cream place so I suggested it to our friends. To my surprise, everyone wanted to go! It was great. But even if they hadn’t wanted to go, I would have gone. Because it was my vacation, too!

 

And I’ve written about this before; here are a few / other / ways you can save money on vacation!

 

 

 

Do you go to sporting events / concerts / vacations with friends & family? How do you make sure your spending stays under control?

Also: have any other topics you’d like me to cover in this series? I’m up for anything! :)

 

 

PS– it’s free (kinda) sofritas day at Chipotle!!

 

budget coaching icon

PPS– Have you taken a look at my new & improved Budget Coaching program? Spots are now open for February coaching, so if you’re interested, be sure to sign up here & I’ll be in touch ASAP! (oh, and if you sign up on that list you’ll get a little video giving you a sneak peek into how the coaching process works! woo!)

 

 

Did you know that you can score some FREE Chipotle next week??

 

chipotle

 

Okay, well kinda free. So if you go to Chipotle on Monday, January 26 and order a burrito/bowl/salad/tacos with sofritas (aka tofu), you will get a FREE burrito (of any kind!) anytime between January 27-February 28 with your receipt. So basically it’s buy one now, get one free later.

 

Here’s more deets!

 

Also I’ve had the sofritas before and it’s really good! Don’t be scared by the fact that it’s tofu; I promise you’ll like it! And if you don’t like it… well, at least you’ll get a free burrito later! :)

 

ikea-family-card

 

Okay other than free chipotle news, the other thing I wanted to notify you of is that IKEA IS AWESOME. Well, most of you probably know that already. But here’s the exciting thing I just learned: if you sign up for their Ikea Family card (it’s free) you can get FREE COFFEE AND HOT TEA EVERY TIME YOU GO!!!

 

So this past weekend while we were desk shopping, Mike and I both got cards. It’s super easy to get a card– they have kiosks all over the store where you put in your info (name & email is I think all they need) and they give you a card right there!

 

ikea-free-coffee

After we were done shopping (aka spending 2 hours in the desk section trying out every desk ever) we went to the restaurant area, went to the cashier line and picked up a mug, showed them our cards (they don’t even need to scan it) and then got as much coffee as we wanted! It’s a serve yourself type thing so you can literally fill up your mug a billion times. So ummmm any of you who go to Ikea, you should totally get the card just for the free coffee & hot tea :)

 

(oh and the card gives you discounts on some products and other stuff like that… but mostly I just care about the free coffee)

 

 

3-ingredient-peanut-butter-cookies

In other unrelated news, have you ever heard of 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies? I’ve seen the recipe floating around a few places: it’s 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, and 1 egg. Mix together, bake for 6-8 mins at 350, and boom! PB cookies.

 

Ours took a little longer than the recipe time to bake– more like 14 minutes? Not sure if I made them bigger than they were supposed to be or what? Oh and don’t mind that one flipped over cookie… there was a slight issue as I transferred from the pan to the cooling rack. ha!

 

3-ingredient-pb-cookies

Just in case you wanted to see a picture of sugar, raw egg, and peanut butter. mmmmmm.

 

We tried them Wednesday night… and they were actually really delicious! I’ve been trying to find chewy pb cookie recipes (not a fan of the super crunchy kind) and this definitely stays chewy, even a day later! So if you’re ever looking for a super easy cookie… try these :)

 

budget coaching icon

Also… have you checked out my updated budget coaching page? I revamped the whole process this winter and the new one-on-one program is beginning in February! If you’re interested in getting your spending under control, this is for you :) Be sure to sign up here for updates– I’ll also be sending a lil sneak peak video of the coaching process so you can get a better idea of what it’s like!

 

 

Oh and to round out this post, I was interviewed by one of my awesome readers (HIIIII Susan!!!!) for the website UChic. Check out my interview here!

 

 

Are you going to get free chipotle next week?

Do you have the IKEA Family card? Have you been getting free coffee without telling me about it?!?! (RUDE)

 

In our next installment of “How to _____ without spending a billion dollars”, (previous activities: going out at night, restaurants, friend dates, mani/pedis, movies) we’re going to tackle the age old question of:

 

How to do a beer/wine tasting without spending a billion dollars.

 

Okay, maybe this isn’t really an age old question. BUT STILL… it’s important.

 

So I could probably make this article very short and just leave it here: always say yes.

 

Haha no, just kidding. I’m slightly biased because I’m a big fan of tastings: they’re normally pretty cheap and provide a pretty fun experience. But they can get pricey if you do them wrong. So here are my tips on doing it without spending a billion dollars:

 

lost-borough-tasting-flight

 

Beware of the post-tasting buzz.

By the time you’ve completed your flight of tastings, you’re probably entering ‘slightly buzzed’ territory. That post-tasting buzz makes you extremelyyyy likely to purchase a bottle/pint/case/annual subscription afterwards… and that’s where they get ya ;) Make your budget before you go and before you’re buzzed; it’s almost impossible to convince yourself to save money while drunk. Decide ahead of time that you’ll only purchase a 6 pack, or 1 bottle of wine, or whatever… and then stick to it!

 

beer

 

Research before you go.

This may or may not make me sound high maintenance… but I prefer specific types of tastings. I don’t like places that offer a la carte tastings… you know, the places that say, “you can try any 4oz pour for $2″. I like the ones that say, “you can try five 4oz tastings for $10″. Even if the math is the same, I like having a predefined tasting rather than making my own. Weird preference, perhaps, but that means I try to seek out places that offer the types of tastings I like, rather than ones that don’t. No point in spending money on something that’s not my favorite!

 

On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who knows you don’t like a certain type of beer/wine, it might be smart for you to seek out places with a la carte tastings rather than flights, so you only pay for tastings you know you’ll like!

 

dogfish-head-brewery-tasting

 

Have tasting parties.

To really save some money, plan a tasting party with your friends– have everyone bring a bottle or a 6 pack they’ve never tried and hold your own tastings! Kath from KathEats wrote a post about how she throws pumpkin beer tasting parties– complete with rating cards so everyone can decide which beer was their favorite. I think that sounds SO fun!

 

oast-house-barn-raiser

 

Recreate your favorite parts of the tastings at home.

For me, my favorite things about tastings are: trying new drinks that I wouldn’t normally pick up, spending one on one time with Mike outside our house, people watching, and drinking out of mini tasting glasses (yes seriously that’s actually one of my favorite parts). So we’ve started doing tastings at home while recreating these favorite aspects.

 

Our method is: Pick up a few beers we’ve never tried (a lot of stores are doing the “make you own 6 pack” thing nowadays, and that’s awesome for this purpose), pour into tasting glasses (we have a few 6oz glasses from various brewery tastings, but you can get a legit set to make it even better!) and we sit on our porch so we can people watch and get out of the house. (well, we did when it was summer. Now we suck it up and sit inside) It’s not quite the same as being out and about in a real brewery, but it allows us to save money so we can have tastings way more often!

 

 

And for the DDs or non-drinkers…

I’ve seen tons of wineries and breweries that offer free water, juice, or soda to DDs or non-drinkers. Look on the menu or just ask if they offer anything for you!

 

 

 

Are you a wine/beer tasting fan?

I definitely prefer beer tastings, but I also enjoy wine tastings. I’m not a huge wine fan so I think tastings are good to help me identify which types I do and do not like!

 

 

PSSSSST– For the past few months I’ve been doing some fun things behind the scenes… I reworked my entire Budget Coaching process and it’s about to be up and running, better than ever! Check out more info here and if you’re interested, sign up here to be notified when spots are available! :)

 

Dude. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I am obsessed with our new apartment. LIKE 100% OBSESSED. It’s so beautiful and I love it.

 

I took some pics yesterday so that you can see! I’ll probably make a video eventually, too… just like our last place! :)

 

 

from-door

From the front door, this is the view. Ignore the many boxes and random ironing board right there in the middle… this is the last room that we need to work on unpacking! So anyway, the kitchen & dining “nook” are off to the left, hallway to the bedrooms and bathrooms straight back, and a coat closet on the right. (there are SO many closets here and I love it)

 

living-room

Here’s a view towards the front door where that last pic was taken. Look at the fireplace that we haven’t covered up and probably won’t– yay! First time for everything I guess, ha.

 

 

new-kitchen-sink

Here’s one side of the kitchen. I love the white cabinets & dark counters… and how you can see through to the living room!

 

 

new-kitchen-stove

Other side of our kitchen and in the back is our little dining nook AND the washer and dryer! After having a shared laundry in the basement in our last place (and we had to pay $3 in quarters for it) now having one in our apartment is totally awesome.

 

 

extra-bathroom

Then there’s one bathroom off the hall– I still can’t get over how crazy it feels to have AN EXTRA BATHROOM! Like, who has two bathrooms?! I feel like I’m living in a mansion.

 

 

new-office

Aaaand here’s my favorite room: OUR OFFICE! See that huge beautiful desk in the corner? I just got that yesterday from Ikea! (side note: I need to write a post about Ikea because it’s amazing and I found out that you can get free coffee there and obvi I need to share that with you!) I cannot wait to get back to working tomorrow just because of that desk- ha! I still need to get a new desk chair… anyone know of any good cheap-ish but still nice desk chairs?? (I gave Mike my old desk + chair because they drove me insane. the desk was too small and the chair is falling apart and has NO cushion anymore haha)

 

 

master-bedroom-bed

Here’s our bedroom! We have so much space in there that we even fit a chair in the corner. whooooa. (I’m obviously not used to having extra space haha)

 

 

new-bedroom-back

And the bedroom from the other side. Closet on the left and bathroom on the right!

 

 

new-closet

Walk in closet… ahhhhhhmazing :) We had a walk in closet in our second to last apartment, then went down to a tiny closet in Rochester and that was SO painful having to downsize. I had to keep my sweaters in our front coat closet just because there wasn’t enough room! So having a big closet again is glorious.

 

 

master-bathroom

And the (super messy) bathroom off our bedroom… haven’t gotten to putting this stuff away yet :)

 

 

packing-paper-kitchen

And just for kicks… here’s what our kitchen looked like during the unpacking process. We have SO MUCH PAPER IN THE HOUSE RIGHT NOW. That’s what the movers used to pack everything… and now it’s everywhere. hahah ahhhh

 

 

So! That’s our apartment and if you can’t tell and if I haven’t mentioned it 1500 times already, I looooove it!!! :)

 

 

Anywhooooo… what have you been up to this weekend? Do you have work/school/whatever today or are you off?

Mike doesn’t start work til tomorrow so this is our last free day! Two of my friends are coming over to see the apt this morning (HIIIIII Katie & Marg!) and then we’re going to work on the last of the unpacking. YAY!

 

 

PS gotta sneak this one in here… happy birthday to my oldest bro!!! Thank you for being my #1 email reader & clicker… you’re the best!! Love you!