…is today!


As you undoubtedly know, I am a big fan of free things.


french press coffee

And coffee.



So here’s some of the free (or almost free) deals I’ve found that you can get in honor of National Coffee Day! (And please comment if you know of any other good deals!!)



National Coffee Day 2014 Deals

Dunkin Donuts– free medium cup of their (hot) Dark Roast Coffee


Tim Horton’s– any size coffee in Regular or Dark Roast for $1


McDonald’s– I totally dropped the ball with this one; I guess they’ve been offering a free small coffee during breakfast hours for the past few days– today’s the last day to take advantage! I really should have blogged about that sooner, huh?


Peet’s– buy one get one free all day!


Krispy Kreme– FREE Small Coffee or 12oz Mocha, Latte or iced coffee for $1




Go forth and get yourself some free (or heavily discounted) coffee!


PS– October’s Saving Money Challenge will be sent out Wednesday morning… are you on my email list? Sign up here!



Today I feel like writing whatever pops into my brain. And I also want to share some pictures with you. Soooo today’s post is gonna be a little random…




Last week Mike and I walked downtown to check out a (free) show called Circus Orange: Tricycle. It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. It included a creepy clown riding a GINORMOUS tricycle and other strange creatures following it around. The tricycle drove through the crowd then at the end of the show, the front wheel from the tricycle was lifted into the air by a crane and fireworks / flames shot out of it while a performer ran around the wheel like a hamster.


That description sounds ridiculous, I’m sure, but let me assure you… the actual show was even more ridiculous.



That big blur of white light in the sky is the tricycle wheel spinning around and flames shooting out of it. …yeah.

I’ve been reading a TON lately. It’s glorious. I got hooked on this Chelsea Cain thriller series (super good but also super gory/disturbing), Room (saw it recommended on a few other blogs, it was kinda weird at first but then really good), and I started listening to this Sophie Kinsella book on my phone while I walk in the morning. (I download the audiobook for free from the library’s app)



Speaking of the library, last week I rented 17 Again. I hadn’t seen it before- it was so cute!



Also discovered that the library carries the new Skrillex CD– who woulda thought?!! hahaha



And to round out our free entertainment, Mike and I started watching the last season of Are You The One on mtv.com. It’s hilariously trashy, I love it. They have all of last season’s episodes up on the website for free- check it out! (sidenote: MTV usually offers free episodes of all the old seasons; if you’re trying to catch an episode of a current season, you can only watch it for a week after it airs… after that they take it offline until the season is over!)




I shared this on Instagram (are we friends there yet?!) so sorry to anyone who follows me there, too, because I’m sure this is gonna make you crave sushi again! We used a $10 restaurant.com voucher (Mike’s company offers them even cheaper than their usual price) to grab sushi the other night and it was SO SO SO GOOD. Our bill still ended up being somewhere around $25 (including tip though, so I suppose that’s not too bad) which means that Chipotle still comes in first in the cheap food category. As if we all didn’t already know that…


sushi-fortuneOh and this was my fortune! (it’s a lil blurry but says: Beware of little expenses. Small leaks will sink great ships.) …so fitting for a financial blogger, right?!




PS- As much as I can’t believe I’m about to say this… it’s ALMOST OCTOBER! (????!!!! whoaaaa) and that means it’s almost time for another monthly Saving Money Challenge! Make sure you’re on my email list so you’ll get October’s challenge :)




Whatcha doing this weekend?

Read any good books lately?


I’ve always been a little skeptical of deals that businesses offer that seem too good to be true. I usually assume that there’s a catch somewhere.


The other day (okay, a few weeks ago… I’ve had this post on my to-do list for awhile, haha) I got an email from my cousin’s cousin. {side note: Is there an actual word for that— cousin’s cousin? Let me know if there is.} Anyway, Emily emailed me with an AWESOME money saving idea… but I was skeptical.


She told me about a gas station near her called Cumberland Farms and a program they do called “Smart Pay”. If you sign up for their program, you save 10 cents (!) per gallon on every gallon of gas.


10 cents off each gallon? That’s like, a lot! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?


But since I’m kinda-halfway related to her, I decided to look into it rather than just writing the idea off.



gas-station{not a Cumberland Farms, but I had to work with what’s near me!}



How is that possible?

Turns out, it IS possible. The way the program works is that you link your checking account directly to your Smart Pay card/app. Whenever you buy gas using your Smart Pay account, the money comes straight out of your checking account, saving the gas station the usual 1-3% (ish) credit card processing fee. So basically, the gas station is saving itself some extra fees, and is just passing those savings along to you. {And this probably also drums up extra business, so its a win for them!}



Is this better than credit cards that give you cash back for gas?

So let’s say that 10 cent savings comes out to be about 3% off (which, if your gas is $3.40/gallon, that’s pretty accurate). That’s a good savings! BUT… I’ve found credit cards that give you 5% cash back per gas transaction, which is a bit better than 3% (duh).  {I don’t really have experience with credit cards that give you airline points and things like that, so I’m not going to mention those}


So does that mean these types of programs aren’t as good as using a credit card? Ehh, not necessarily.


Honestly, it comes down to the type of person you are. If you religiously pay off your credit card bill each month and you can handle charging all your gas (and you get a better cash back return than 10 cents per gallon), then the credit card wins.


But if you’re the type that sometimes struggles to pay off your credit card bill, it might be best if you pay for your gas straight from your checking account until you can feel more secure putting things on your credit card.



Keep an eye out!

I bet there are programs like this at other gas stations, so if you see something advertised with a too good to be true deal, don’t write it off like I did! Take a few minutes to look into the program. You never know— you might see that it would save you money!




Are you a skeptic of good deals like me?
Have you ever signed up for something like this at your gas station?


I’ve been holding out on you…


… I gave Mike a pretty good (in my humble opinion) gift for Valentine’s day this year, and never blogged about it! {and if you don’t blog about it, did it really even happen??!}



Here’s what I made: a date jar!


It was really quite easy…



I took a bunch of little pieces of note paper and jotted down some date ideas. I (obviously) made them very fitting for us- very beer heavy and mostly on the cheap side!


I included a mixture of going to bars for a beer, buying beer and drinking at home, making homemade lattes (YUM), and even going on a mini road trip. Honestly, this might be the toughest part of the whole project– it took me a little while to think of all the ideas!


I ended up with 8 dates (one isn’t pictured because it’s currently up on our fridge, haha!)



Then I folded them up and put them in a mason jar and gave it to Mike for his v-day present :)


On the first of each month, we pick a date from the jar and post it on our fridge, and we have to accomplish it that month! It gives us something exciting to look forward to… and it also gives our friends entertainment because whenever they came over they can see what date we have to do that month. HA! :)


I think we both really liked it and are kinda bummed that this month is our last “date”! I kinda want to brainstorm some more ideas and keep it going!



Have you ever done a date jar {or something like it} as a gift?

Got any more date ideas that we can use for the next few months? :)


I’m not sure if you’ve heard about the missing UVA student Hannah Graham? She went missing last weekend after leaving a party by herself. As I write this (Thursday afternoon at 3pm) they still haven’t found her :(


This is hitting really close to home for me– not only because I’ve visited UVA quite a few times, but because the story (at least from what they’ve released of it) is frighteningly… normal.


Since most of you reading are females in your 20s… I want to take today’s post to do a little PSA… ok?



I know I make a big deal on this blog about saving money. A few bucks here and there really can add up to a significant savings each month! But lemme say this right now:


NEVER. EVER. EVER. skimp on your safety because you’re trying to “save money”.





I mean… have you ever been in this scenario?


You’re out with your friends, you decide that it’s time for you to head home but the rest of your friends still want to stay out (or they live in the opposite direction of you).


You have a mental battle with yourself as you leave the bar: should you walk home, or should you take a cab or some other form of mass transportation? You know the cab would be smartest, but you ARE trying to save money, so maybe you should just walk home and save the $10 or $20 cab fare…? It might be sketchy, and it’s late at night, but gosh, that $20 is a LOT of money just to get home…


You might feel invincible (especially after drinking…) and think “oh it’s just a mile, it’s pretty well lit, I’ve never seen anyone sketchy, I really shouldn’t spend money on a cab, I’ll be fine!” but it is SO so so not worth it.


Never skimp on your safety.


And look out for your friends, too. Don’t let anyone leave alone.


Don’t let a few bucks be the difference between you (or a friend!) getting home safely.



Be safe this weekend, please <3