Tag Archives: money management

St. Valentine is not the Patron Saint of Debt

Awwww new love!

Editor’s note – this is a “from the vault” release that never stops being relevant for you, your loved ones, or Valentine’s Day…enjoy!

Here we are again. Valentine’s Day has come back around and if you’re like me, the status of your love life is directly proportional to how you feel about the holiday. Lucky for me, I’m now happily married to a great guy. This year I have some conversation hearts in a jar on my desk, a pink and red wreath on my office door, and heart wallpaper on my cell phone. Heck, I will probably even wear red on the actual day. Love is grand! But this hasn’t always been the case. If I were stuck back where I was eight years ago, single and somewhat bitter about love (when I spent Valentine’s Day with a guy friend eating wings at Hooters), I’d probably be tempted to pelt a few snowballs at any happy couple that wandered into striking distance. I will sheepishly admit that in my “loveless” years I may have crudely referred to the holiday as VD.

I’ve heard many times that Valentine’s Day is just a made up holiday to line the pockets of candy and card makers. I can understand why people would say that but I also think they’re missing the point. Is there anything really wrong with taking one day to focus on telling our loved ones how we feel about them?

The key is not to get carried away with overspending and to focus on the point of the holiday, which is to show someone that you love and appreciate him/her. Choose carefully how you share the love. According to my friend Carla, her husband had better not even consider getting her that footed pajama thing she keeps seeing ads for. Apparently, she is not buying the claims that “it feels like a hug”. Even if you can’t afford a giant stuffed bear, Godiva chocolates, jewelry, and two dozen roses for your sweetie, there are still ways to show that you care without going into debt.

Continue reading St. Valentine is not the Patron Saint of Debt

Little Green Lies: Fibbing for Budget’s Sake

**Editor’s Note: I chose this for another “Throwback Thursday” post ~ great reads from last year I’m not ready to archieve w/o one more pass. Enjoy!

I’m an honest person. In fact, I hate lying and am usually terrible at it. I’m the kind of person you should never ask “if your butt looks fat” in those jeans. While I wouldn’t be heartless about it, I’d probably say that we “can find a more flattering style.” So knowing this about myself, I was shocked and appalled by my recent behavior on a shopping trip to a local specialty store.

My friend Cristy at work has the coolest little loose leaf tea pot. I fell in love with it as she kindly made me a cup of tea one afternoon when I was feeling under the weather. So, after some internal deliberation about spending money for something that I wanted but did not necessarily need, I knew that I simply had to have one, too.

Before I went shopping, I estimated that I would probably spend about $30 on a tea pot and a couple of ounces of tea. I knew from the moment the sales clerk opened his mouth that my carefully planned budget had met its match. This guy knew more about tea and tea accessories than Bob Barry knows about Sooner football.  He was simultaneously incredibly helpful and terrifying.

I was firm on only spending a set amount in this store and he was the czar of cross selling. I picked out the tea pot and then moved on to tea. I already knew which type I wanted so I asked for two ounces. He reminded me that you ‘get a better price break if you buy four.’ I was still feeling strong at this point and stuck to my guns. “No, I’ll just start with two ounces, thank you,” I said.

Then, he threw the first curveball my way. “You’ll need a tin to store it in. Otherwise it will rot. Would you like the small one or large one?” My mind started racing. Rotten tea? Well, I can’t have that! I had no choice but to buy the tin, right? So, I weakly said, “I’ll take the small one.” Score one for the tea king. Continue reading Little Green Lies: Fibbing for Budget’s Sake

Fiscally Fit Bootcamp Whips Your Wallet Into Shape

I guess that you could say that Billy Joel and I have a little something in common. No, I’ve never married a supermodel even though my husband Justin is pretty hunky. All I can play on the piano is “I dropped my dolly in the dirt” so there’s no similarity there. But, just as the chorus in Billy’s hit song “I Go to Extremes” says, apparently Billy and I both go to extremes and neither of us knows why.

In the summer of 2009, I had an 8 month old baby boy and 17 pounds of baby weight that didn’t leave my body when the baby did. Instead of slowly starting a workout regimen to walk off the pounds or enrolling in a nice, leisurely yoga class a few times per week, I got an extreme idea. I guess it was the Piano Man part of my personality breaking through.

I had been driving around town and kept seeing these little signs stuck in the grass called Operation Bootcamp. I went to the website and watched all of the video testimonials. Operation Bootcamp is a 30 day outdoor workout routine held locally in parks. Did I mention that I signed up for the June/July session and that it is outdoors?  Did I also mention that it involves running (which I hate), push ups face down in the grass, sit ups (which I could not even do at the time), bear crawls, and some monstrosity called a “mountain climber”? Continue reading Fiscally Fit Bootcamp Whips Your Wallet Into Shape

Finding Your “Want To”

"Have a Coke?"
"Or.....have a bikini?"

I’d love to lose 10 pounds. I’ve actually been saying this for a couple of years now. Everyday, I wake up, get dressed and depending on what the scale says and how my clothes fit, I usually think, “I’d love to lose 10 pounds.” Some days it’s 15. I adore cooking, enjoy eating even more and don’t really like to exercise. That’s pretty much the trifecta of doom when it comes to a productive weight loss strategy.

In my mission to wear a bikini in public again, I have armed myself with some pretty amazing tools to help me take off these stubborn last few pounds. We bought a used elliptical machine and placed it in our bedroom. I have at least 10 DVDs of numerous workouts ranging from kickboxing to stress relieving yoga. I bought a daily deal for 10 Zumba classes. For Christmas, I asked for “Just Dance 2” on the Wii so I can shake my groove thang while burning calories. I even got Zumba for PS3 so I can pretend that my groove thang is Latin when I want to switch it up.

Strangely, even after arming myself with all of these amazing weight loss tools, I have not lost more than a pound or two. The ugly truth is this: Until last week, the elliptical was a great place for my husband to hang his laundry. The workout DVDs are gathering dust under the DVDs of Baby Einstein that see a lot more action these days. I went to two Zumba classes with my sweet friend and neighbor Berween but our schedules got busy and we have not yet been back. I have done “Just Dance 2” a few times but the Zumba PS3 game is still in the package. Continue reading Finding Your “Want To”

How Buying A Car is Like Watching “The Bachelor/ette”

Chris Harrison accompanying "The Bachelorette" Jillian Harris to her next scene.

When the Bachelor/Bachelorette started all those years ago, I tuned in just out of curiosity. Well, that and because I went to college with the host Chris Harrison and wanted to check out his new project. Over the years, I have watched every season. Some were obviously better than others. I cried along with the fairytale of Trista finding her Prince Charming in Ryan. I laughed at Bob’s goofy antics but was pretty grossed out as he mugged down with every female in close proximity. I was bored to tears as Prince Personality searched for his princess. I wanted to gouge out my eardrums as Wes sang his “special love song” to Jillian for the 437th time. I screamed at Jake through my TV and begged him not to pick Vienna but he wouldn’t listen! Now, with Brad in his second turn as the bachelor, I am firmly hooked once again.

If you untangle yourself from all of the drama and take a step back, you will see that the Bachelor/ette concept is also a pretty interesting social experiment. During the Bachelorette, the men are certainly no angels. They remind me of the many National Geographic shows I’ve watched about animal behavior. You know the ones where the little tiny bird puffs up and swaggers around, his magnificent feathers on full display as he proudly and somewhat desperately struts around, trying to get the attention of the female.

Continue reading How Buying A Car is Like Watching “The Bachelor/ette”