Six for Saturday (#4)

The school year has begun! Wow, I forgot how much it takes out of me every day. I love what I do, though, so I intend to go in and give 110% every day to my students, while still maintaining a work/life balance.

Here is this week’s Six for Saturday!

1. Don’t retire on planning for retirement. 
One of the definitions of retiring is to go to bed early. Stop “going to bed early” on planning for retirement. Every small step in your plan is a gain in the right direction. Plan now. You’ll thank yourself later.

2. It’s getting a little chilly outside…time to go to a housewarming!
Many of my friends are moving into new homes and having housewarming parties. Even though some may see it as a way for them to get free stuff, I enjoy knowing I am helping them contribute to their new home. 🙂

3. Craigslist Car
I was going to look at Craiglist for my next used car, but now I’m not so sure…

4. Makin’ it Rain
Really, though. It’s raining a lot today. But, if you would like to “make it rain” even more and make additional income, here are a few ways to do it. Currently, I am selling a few things on eBay. The past 2 months, I have made over $200 on it. Keep it comin’!

5. Money Mistakes
We all make ’em. Here is a rundown of a few from some financial gurus. Maybe you can learn a thing or two.

6. Inexpensive Meals that Taste Expensive
Just because it didn’t cost much, doesn’t mean the quality isn’t great. I would definitely like to try to make some of these meals!

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Shoebox Dates


I’m a cheap date.

So, I’m seeing someone.

And our first date was coffee.

Our second date was cooking dinner.

Our third date was a scavenger hunt through the city.

Are you swooning over the frugal-ness as much as I am?

Frugal dates are the way to go. Honestly, all you need is good conversation and good company. Money cannot buy that.

And so I have begun a fun challenge and idea for us of only having frugal dates. I call them “Shoebox Dates.” I took it from a movie, actually. I decorated a shoe box and put some fun date ideas inside so that when the time comes, one of us draws from each other’s shoe box and picks the slip that decides what we do that day.

Some date ideas:

  • Mini-golf
  • Tennis
  • Apple-picking
  • Hiking
  • A “secret” park or garden in Chicago (I have a list of 16)
  • Biking
  • Kayaking/Canoeing
  • BBQ
  • Picnic
  • Museum (thank you, museum campus)
  • Movie night
  • Game night
  • Potluck dinner
  • Attend a talk at a local university (our city has a lot)
  • Wine and dessert

Any suggestions for the shoebox?

August 2015 Net Worth: $111,382.70

It’s time for the net worth update for August 2015!

Net Worth Update: August 2015  
Cash Savings   702.75
Brokerage   50.11
403b     41,711.56
IRA: Roth     22.476.58
IRA: Traditional   9,004.23
More Vanguard Fun   37,780.42
Car     1,200.00
Credit Cards   1,542.95
Total Net Worth:   111,382.70

Ouch. Thank you, stock market.

Here’s how the month went down…

Cash Savings: Rent came and went. Also, as a teacher, I don’t get paid over the summer, so that’s why it is so low.

Brokerage: This is from some Capital One promotion a few years back. I should probably transfer this out and put the $50 somewhere where it will actually make money.

403b: 60% of each of my paychecks go into this until I max it out ($18,000 for 2015).

IRA Roth and Traditional: This went way down, thanks to Mr. Market.

More Vanguard Fun: I may look into playing around with the asset allocation in this one.

Car: Well, my goal was to sell the car. Too bad I couldn’t get a job that didn’t need one.

Credit Cards: I pay these off in full every month, of course. I still put all my spend on credit cards, so that each dollar can work for me somehow and not the other way around.

How are you doing with your net worth goals? Or do we all just not want to talk about it this month? 😛

Six for Saturday (#3)

Happy September! The first day of school is on Tuesday, so this is my last weekend of “freedom”! 😉
We transferred internet providers, so excuse the lack of posts. I’ve been without internet for the past week.

As a bonus, here is this week’s Six for Saturday!
1. Saving Money Saturday
Here are some great tips to save you money. How have you saved money recently? One of my favorite tips is to never buy anything at full price, so I only buy things if they are on sale or if I have a discount or coupon.

2. Save More to Get More
It’s always smart to save for retirement. Here are some clever ways to do it. I’m a big fan of the adding 1% each year. It adds up, and you don’t even realize it!

3. Financial Fear
People are afraid of what they don’t know, so kick those financial fears in the butt. Become financially aware of your situation to increase your confidence and awareness of where your money is coming from and going.

4. The Golden Rule 
You know the Golden Rule in life, but do you know the Golden Rule of Budgeting?
5. Refinance Analysis
If you are in need of refinancing your student loans, make sure you take these things into consideration.

6. No Plan, No Follow Through 
If you would like to be on the path to early retirement, make sure you have a plan to get there. Otherwise, you’re just someone with an idea and nothing to back it up.

Have a nice, long weekend everyone!

Five for Friday (#2)

Hope you all are having a great week! School starts back up on Monday for teachers, so today is my last day of “summer”!
Here is this week’s Five for Friday…

1. First Things First
Perhaps buying a home should become your first investment. I still go back and forth on renting vs. buying, but this is helping me lean toward buying.

2. Back-to-School Shopping
Speaking of back-to-school, here are some ways to save on that shopping. As a teacher, I am so happy when students can bring in everything within the first two days. It has me running around less to see if Johnny finally brought those crayons or Susie those erasers. Thank you in advance, parents! 🙂

3. Uber Engagement
I love Uber, and I love engagements. Combine this guy and his awesome side gig to earn money for an engagement ring, and you’ve got a financially smart match made in heaven!

4. The Only Index Card You’ll Ever Need
I love organization and lists, so you know I love this index card with all the financial advice you will ever need.

5. Craigslist Car
I’m thinking of selling my car on Craigslist in a few weeks. This article will help you out if you’d like to join me.

Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend!

Life List

I have had a couple people request for me to post my “Life List.” It’s weird and awesome having this go public.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy living it!


  1. Court-side seats at a Lakers game.
  2. Bulls game.
  3. Learn Spanish.
  4. Study abroad.
  5. Pylon Lookout.
  6. Sell something on eBay.
  7. Live in Poland.
  8. Graduate college.
  9. Fall in love.
  10. Get married.
  11. Be a mother.
  12. Be a grandmother.
  13. Habitat for Humanity.
  14. Sleep under the stars.
  15. Visit Central Park.
  16. Learn to cook.
  17. Design my own home with a lot of land.
  18. Own a car.
  19. Have my own savings account.
  20. A 401k plan. (403b plan)
  21. My own credit card with airline miles.
  22. Learn how to put on makeup (natural, for skin tone, etc).
  23. Stay at the Cinderella Castle. ($8,000 a night)
  24. Cubs game.
  25. Kiss in the rain.
  26. Alaska.
  27. Travel to the Olympics.
  28. Learn how to drive stick.
  29. Read the entire Bible.
  30. Get a dog.
  31. Attend Wimbledon.
  32. Visit every continent.
  33. Be an extra in a movie.
  34. Visit Tokyo (Shadows).
  35. Become a teacher.
  36. Go on a safari in Africa.
  37. Easter Island.
  38. A day at the Spa (massage, manicure, pedicure, mask, the whole deal)
  39. Ride a mechanical bull.
  40. Teach English in another country.
  41. Visit India.
  42. Swim with dolphins.
  43. Own a seadragon.
  44. Visit Madagascar.
  45. Become financially independent.
  46. See Southern Lights.
  47. Ride a camel.
  48. Learn how to play poker.
  49. Travel to Hawaii.
  50. Learn how to surf.
  51. Hold a koala.
  52. Visit Greece.
  53. Skinny dip.
  54. Have a conversation all through the night with a fascinating person.
  55. Travel to France.
  56. Run a marathon.
  57. Visit The Great Wall of China.
  58. Visit New Zealand.
  59. See the Northern Lights.
  60. Floss every day.
  61. Take dance classes.
  62. Do yoga.
  63. Stratosphere.
  64. Jet-ski.
  65. Have a food fight.
  66. Pilates.
  67. Kickboxing.
  68. Visit all 50 states.
  69. Visit every country in Europe.
  70. Do 100 consecutive push-ups.
  71. Get rid of junk food.
  72. Learn how to change a flat tire.
  73. Tag my city with “You are Beautiful” stickers.
  74. Read everything in Oprah’s Book Club.
  75. Rent a lake/vacation house.
  76. Ride in a trolley in San Fran.
  77. Skip class.
  78. Truly learn to accept myself and stop caring about what other people think.
  79. Stop multi-tasking. Finish what I start.
  80. Learn how to scuba dive.
  81. Compete in a triathlon.
  82. See a Broadway show.
  83. Join a book club with meetings and all that fun stuff.
  84. Basilica of Notre-Dame de Montréal.  
  85. Re-learn how to ski.
  86. Put a message in a bottle and throw it out to sea.
  87. Live to see the first woman President.
  88. Know who my “real” friends are. Keep in touch with them.
  89. Drink vintage wine.
  90. Get my Masters.
  91. Learn to juggle.
  92. Send a card or letter each week.
  93. Have a Guinness at the Sky Bar in the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, Ireland.
  94. Give more than I take.
  95. Get into the Guinness Book of World Records.
  96. Learn to whistle with my fingers.
  97. Take a picture every single day for a year. 
  98. Rent a boat for an entire day and just sail, sail, sail.
  99. Go hiking.
  100. Vote.
  101. Grow a garden.
  102. Spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square.
  103. Egypt. See the pyramids. Discover the Nile.
  104. Home exchange.
  105. Walk the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru.
  106. Donate blood.
  107. London. Drink tea. Westminster Abbey. Double-decker bus. The whole deal.
  108. Order room service.
  109. Sing karaoke in an actual bar in front of people I do not know.
  110. Invest in stocks. Get to know what all that stuff means.
  111. See a taping of a show LIVE (Oprah, Jay Leno, etc.)
  112. Vespa.
  113. Go to a nude beach.
  114. Climb a live volcano.
  115. Join a protest march.
  116. White-water rafting.
  117. Wake up early just to watch the sunrise.
  118. Attend Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
  119. Go rock climbing.
  120. Change someone’s life for the better.
  121. To truly feel as if I have made a difference in the world.
  122. Do the tango in Argentina.
  123. Milk a cow.
  124. Get drunk.
  125. Own a piece of jewelry from the famous Tiffany & Co.
  126. Throw a dart at a map and travel wherever it lands.
  127. Ride in a hot-air balloon.
  128. Ride horseback on the beach.
  129. Fly in a helicopter.
  130. Fly first class.
  131. Hold a baby chimp.
  132. Be at an event that will go down in history.
  133. Gondola in Venice.
  134. Donate money for a park bench or something with my name on it.
  135. Run up the stairs of…some tower (Sears, John Hancock, etc.)
  136. Be silent for 24 hours.
  137. Plant a tree, and see that it lives.
  138. Take an around-the-world trip.
  139. Ride the tallest roller coaster in the country.
  140. Attend the U.S. Open.
  141. Scream at the top of my lungs on a mountaintop.
  142. Fire a gun.
  143. Stay awake for 24 hours.
  144. Go fishing.
  145. Ride a 4-wheeler.
  146. Gamble in Vegas.
  147. Try everything at Jamba.
  148. Breakfast in bed.
  149. Attend a national figure skating competition.
  150. Smash a window (mirror, guitar, plate, etc.) on purpose.
  151. Be blind for a day.
  152. Be alive to witness the first human on Mars.
  153. Try pasta all’amatriciana in Rome.
  154. Visit a winery; make my own wine (stomp on grapes!)
  155. Attend the Kentucky Derby with a big hat.
  156. Ride a unicycle.
  157. Paint a picture.
  158. Go to the auto race track.
  159. Be an au pair.
  160. Picnic in the park.
  161. Bike on the Golden Gate Bridge.
  162. Fill a bottle with water from the Atlantic Ocean and empty it into the Pacific Ocean.
  163. Take a self-defense class.
  164. Write my will.
  165. Identify 100 things that make me happy.
  166. Learn to belly dance.
  167. Learn to sew.
  168. Take a cooking class.
  169. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
  170. Lay around in my PJs all day.
  171. Swim in every ocean.
  172. Make a scrapbook.
  173. Learn about cars.
  174. Kiss the Blarney Stone.
  175. Have a Baci in Perugia.
  176. Read for fun every single day.
  177. Snowboard in Colorado.
  178. Learn to play a musical instrument.
  179. Re-learn a magic trick from Tata and teach it to my kid(s).
  180. Watch a foreign film.
  181. Sleep in a hammock.
  182. I want them to know I gave it my all. (Camp LEAD Mission Statement, graduation 2010)
  183. Share my journals.
  184. Join the Travelers’ Century Club.
  185. Sleep on a water bed.
  186. Play golf.
  187. Watch a space shuttle launch.
  188. Make a shirt quilt.
  189. Attend the World Cup.
  190. Go on a road trip with no pre-determined destination.
  191. Cross Abbey Road.
  192. Stay at the underwater hotel in Istanbul.
  193. Trace my family tree.
  194. Host a themed party.
  195. Washington D.C.
  196. Learn to ballroom dance.
  197. Sit on a jury.
  198. Stay out all night dancing and go to work the next day without having gone home.
  199. Drink beer at Oktoberfest in Munich.
  200. Shower in a waterfall.
  201. Rio during Carnaval.
  202. Visit the Holy Land.
  203. Look into my child’s eyes, see myself, and smile.
  204. Be in Cannes for the Film Festival.
  205. Learn the names and be able to identify constellations.
  206. Attend a fashion show in Milan.
  207. Watch the Academy Awards from a seat in the audience.
  208. Be sent a dozen roses.
  209. See a whale in the wild.
  210. Dogsled.
  211. Drive across America from coast to coast.
  212. Visit the Hershey Chocolate Factory.
  213. Enable somebody else to accomplish a goal from their own List.
  214. See a birth (human or animal).
  215. Celebrate the Day of the Dead in Mexico.
  216. Test-drive a Ferrari.
  217. Celebrate Christmas in New York.
  218. Hit all the buttons in a crowded elevator (ELF!).
  219. Stay in Sweden’s Ice Hotel.
  220. Sleep a night in a snow fort.
  221. Write a letter to an editor.
  222. Climb a tree.
  223. Spend the night in a treehouse.
  224. Dance with a stranger in a foreign country.
  225. Have a personalized license plate.
  226. Buy coffee and breakfast for the person behind me at the coffee shop.
  227. Go a week without using a computer.
  228. Host an outdoor barbeque.
  229. See and wish on a shooting star.
  230. Have a family reunion.
  231. Explore all of the world’s great religions.
  232. Leave a dollar where a kid will find it.
  233. Make my own beer.
  234. Bow before Michelangelo’s “Pieta” in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican and “David” at the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, to marvel that such beauty can be created by man.
  235. Visit the original Hard Rock Café in London, England.
  236. Run the bases and touch home plate at the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa.
  237. Pay my respects at the Arizona Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii.
  238. Give back to my parents. Give them a comfortable and happy retirement.
  239. Learn the basics of Latin.
  240. Become someone’s hero.
  241. Eliminate racism by treating everyone equally and not accepting racist remarks.
  242. Help someone to overcome their greatest fear.
  243. Stay in excellent physical shape all my life.
  244. Read an entire encyclopedia.
  245. Hug a panda. 
  246. Be in the front row seats when my family members graduate or marry.
  247. Fall asleep to the sound of waves in the ocean.
  248. Record the stories of my childhood and pass them on to my descendants.
  249. Participate in an international exchange.
  250. Swim a mile in the sea.
  251. Ride on the Orient Express.
  252. Make ice cream by hand.
  253. Have a library room.
  254. Ice Skate in Rockefeller Plaza during the Christmas season.
  255. Solve a Rubik’s cube.
  256. Visit the Oval Office.
  257. Find a four-leaf clover.
  258. Smoke a Cuban cigar.
  259. Drive a Zamboni.
  260. Send a postcard to Postsecret.
  261. Get a purity ring.
  262. Watch The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz, and Mary Poppins: the childhood movies I seem to have missed out on.
  263. Soak in a natural hot spring.
  264. Make my own soap.
  265. Grow my hair long, for once.
  266. Become “friends” with my sister.
  267. See and pet a kangaroo.
  268. Travel to Disneyland.
  269. Visit the Happiest Place on Earth with the love of my life.
  270. Sleep on a rooftop.
  271. Meet a favorite author.
  272. Attend the Burning Man Festival.
  273. Take a photography class.
  274. Learn how to do a cartwheel.
  275. Have a valentine.
  276. Take a road trip with a red convertible (corvette!).
  277. Get rid of unnecessary possessions
  278. Exercise an hour a day.
  279. Fast for a week.
  280. Work on a political campaign.  
  281. Go clubbing.
  282. Travel cross country in an RV.
  283. Let love find me.
  284. Learn sign language. Basic words, conversation.
  285. Visit the Seven Wonders of the World.
  286. BMW 760Li.
  287. Bra-fitting.
  288. Give back to my biggest supporters: Babcia i Dziadzia.
  289. Buy something ridiculously expensive on Sunset Blvd.
  290. Write a love letter.
  291. Go out for breakfast in pajamas with a bunch of friends.
  292. Work with a personal trainer to see what I need to do to stay fit.
  293. Take a martial arts class.
  294. Go tubing.
  295. Water-ski.
  296. Take the Mensa test.
  297. Find out my blood type.
  298. Learn how to hula in Hawaii.
  299. Smile at strangers every day.
  300. Eat what I love in moderation.
  301. Create small pieces of art, and leave them for people to find.
  302. Dunk.
  303. Say the F word.
  304. Be in a spelling competition.
  305. Sleep on the beach.
  306. Stay at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
  307. Stay at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
  308. Stay at The Plaza in New York
  309. Learn to fence.
  310. Learn to hand-toss pizza dough.
  311. Learn about computers.
  312. Pay my respects at Princess Diana’s grave.
  313. Be in Rome when Jan Pawel II, moj Papiez, becomes a saint.
  314. Converse with a parrot.
  315. Dance a waltz in Vienna.
  316. Stand on the International Date Line and stand on two days at once. (Kiribati)
  317. Hug a complete stranger.
  318. Meditate at Stonehenge.
  319. Carve my initials in a tree.
  320. Forgive.
  321. Ride a motorcycle.
  322. See the Radio City Rockettes in NYC.
  323. Instill in one person the inspiration and wisdom that others instilled in me.
  324. Attend a Garba.
  325. Go dancing in the pouring rain.
  326. Walk into Neiman Marcus and watch as people follow me.
  327. Have a star named after me.
  328. See The Nutcracker on stage in NYC.
  329. Hug all the people who mattered to me at some point or another in my life and just say ‘Thank You’.
  330. Buy a round for everyone in a bar.
  331. Make the soundtrack to my life.
  332. Have a summer home on the East Coast like Summerland. My backyard is a beautiful patio and the sand leads right up to the ocean. Love.
  333. Complete everything on this beautiful list.

I hope this inspires you to create your own list if you haven’t already. It puts your finances in a whole new perspective.

What’s on your Life List?

Five for Friday (#1)


Hope you all are having a great week! I have had two job interviews this week, so let’s hope something good comes out of them! 🙂

Every Friday, I will post five personal finance or other articles that caught my eye that week and gave me some great tips and advice. Hope they help you, too!

1. Frugal NFL Players.
Even though he signed a $3.6M contract, this football player still lives off 60K a year. And this 308-pound NFL player drives a $9,000 Nissan Versa. YES.

2. Home is Where the Frugal Heart is.
Why not buy a home and actually stay in it forever? This family is. I hope I can do this, too, one day. It just doesn’t make sense to live in a huge house.

3. Interview Ignorance. 
As you know, I have had a few interviews this week. Make sure you do not ignore these factors if you are not getting an interview.

4. Mortgage Shopping. 
I know so many people in the home-buying process right now. While you’re shopping around for houses, don’t forget to shop around for mortgages, too.

5. Financial Bucket List
I talked about my bucket list a few posts ago. Well, what’s on your financial bucket list?

Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend!

How to Pay $36/month for Car Insurance

Buy an older, used car. Drive said older, used car for 10+ years.

That’s it. That’s the secret.

So many people creep into the trap of lifestyle inflation. They buy something that looks nice and slick, just to succumb to car financing and adding car loans to their monthly budget.

If you can’t afford to pay for a car in cash, you can’t afford the car.

It’s that simple.
Here are some other things I do to keep the car insurance low:

Shop around for rate quotes from different companies.
Many people just stick with the company they always had. When I shopped around, I realized I was paying $200+ more than I should have because of coverage that I did not need.

Have high deductibles.
If you go from a $250 to a $1,000 deductible, you can save up to 40% on your policy.

Collision and/or comprehensive coverage on older cars? Nah.
Any damage done to my car would cost more than the car is worth. That is why I don’t even have coverage for these two categories.

Low-mileage discount
I drive less than 10,000 miles a year, so there is a discount for that.

Affiliation Discounts
Any company you are affiliated with can have a discount for you. Since I am a teacher, I get a discount being part of the NEA. Being a part of your alumni association can give you a discount. Check to see the carrier’s list of associations that would qualify you for a discount. You will be happy you did.

Pay all at once.
The carrier charges you more if you prefer to pay in installments instead of all at once.

My Bucket List

When I was 17 years old, I created a “Life List.” This was the same thing as a bucket list, but it was before I knew what “hitting the bucket” was and before the movie came out.

A big part of my personal finance philosophy is that the personal part is just that. We all choose what we spend our money on. In my case, I prefer to spend it on money and experiences, specifically travel.

My favorite number is 3. Because of that, my Life List contains 333 items. (The number 3 three times. Does this mean I might be OCD as well? 😉 )
I wanted to share some of those items with you today.

Here are some items that I have crossed off the list.

  • Study abroad.
  • Visit Central Park.
  • Visit the Great Wall of China.
  • Ride horseback on the beach.
  • Ice skate in Rockefeller Plaza during the Christmas season.

I find joy in spending my money on these things because I feel they are priceless experiences with never-ending intangible rewards and memories.

Next up:
Go on a safari in Africa.

South Africa will be in November! Looking forward to it!

What’s on your bucket list? What is the next item you plan to cross off?

Cell Phone Costs

My cell phone bill is never more than $30/month.

How, you ask?

Well, by the greatness that is Republic Wireless.

The only catch? You have to buy one of their phones. I got the Moto X when it came out last fall, and I love it! RW uses the Sprint network, and their plans go something like this…



Personally, I use the $25/month plan. With taxes, it ends up being around $30. But, the great thing about Republic Wireless is that you get paid back what you don’t use. So, last month, I received a refund of $8.04, just for staying on Wi-Fi most of the month and not using up data.

What carrier do you use? Would you consider switching to a less expensive one?