I just watched this documentary last night called American Winter, and man did it freak me out… And made me want to cry at the same time. In fact, I’m not ashamed to admit I did tear up a little in places… I can’t stand to watch children in poverty :( The movie focuses on some families in the Portland, OR area who were doing &
Very interesting post from J Money at Budgets are Sexy. In this tough economic climate, poverty is striking many who are in the middle class. Let’s think of others this holiday season and be sure to watch the HBO Documentary American Winter.
Have you seen the price of Post-its lately?! My god!
If you are a Parks and Recreation fan like myself, (shout out Leslie Knope! Such a feminist, love her) you may know a little something about Donna and Tom’s special “Treat Yo Self" day. Basically, co-workers Donna and Tom take the day off to pamper themselves and do whatever they want: manicures, fine dining, spa day, new clothes—anything and everything is fair game because they deserve it!
I thought this was such a great topic for a blog post! I think two opposing state of minds come into play with Donna and Tom’s “Treat Yo Self” day:
- You work hard, so why not take one day out of the year to spend freely and treat yourself? It’s a great way to wind down and reflect on what life has given you and also has to offer. -OR-
- This is a dangerous precedent to set especially when you have important financial long term goals that need to be addressed daily. One day of spending can set you back months or longer!
Now, I am not proud to say that I am unfortunately a glass half empty kind of person. I love the idea of taking a free-spirited day off from work to enjoy like Donna and Tom but my worried nature cautions me to refrain from the “Treat Yo Self” day. Personally, I would be kicking myself for being irresponsible when there are important financial goals to be met! I envy those who breeze through life with little worry and always land on their feet. Damn those people! Haha.
But, if I were to join Donna and Tom here’s my short list of “Treat Yo Self” activities:
- Knicks game
- Auburn Football game
- Craft beer
- Lots of shopping
- Getting my hair done
Maybe we need a “Treat Yo Self” fund where we stash away a separate savings account for these yearly outings? I can get on board with that! Consider the “Treat Yo Self” savings project commenced.
Do you enjoy a “Treat Yo Self” day like Donna and Tom? What kinds of activities and items do you indulge in? Mimosas, velvet pants, cashmere socks?
This week’s post will feature our famous guacamole! Guacamole is not only a huge crowd pleaser but also delicious and healthy. Seriously, who doesn’t like guac?! Make it for your next tailgate, football get together, or any party for that matter! Guacamole also goes great with all Mexican food, omelets, sandwiches, and on salad—so be creative!
(6) avocados (this is for a decently sized group. If you only have a few people, you can use 2-3).
1/2 diced red onion. (the more avocados you use, the more onion you should add).
(4) cloves garlic, diced. (this is personal preference. I like a lot of garlic but some people like less).
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 cup cilantro, diced
salt and pepper to taste (I like mine a little salty, but definitely add little by little. I’ve ruined quite a few batches by adding too much salt).
Pit all avocados and place in a bowl. Make sure you scoop the avocado out of the skin (do not include skin!).
Mash the avocado until there are no large chunks left.
Add the diced red onion and garlic, mix together until evenly distributed.
Add diced cilatro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Mix until evenly distributed.
Taste. If the guacamole needs more salt, add and then mix again.
You’re done! Serve in a bowl with your favorite tortilla chips and enjoy!
Note: guacamole goes bad quickly. Do not make guacamole ahead of time and don’t store the leftovers. It’s made to enjoy right away. If you want to bring it to a friend’s house more than 10 minutes away, bring your ingredients and prepare it at their house.
What are some of your favorite gameday recipes?
Frugal Deal of the Day: Forever 21 sunglasses, $7.99. You don’t need to spend $100+ dollars to be stylish!
Recently, I was listening to The Herd with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio in which he was dissecting the whole Drew Brees tipping “incident.” If you haven’t heard about this story, basically Drew Brees tipped $3 on a $74 take out order and all of Twitter went into a panic. This opened the flood gates of discussion for what really is the proper tip (if any) for a take out order. Which ultimately lead to the greater question: what is the proper etiquette for everyday services that we could be totally messing up?!
I’ve done a little research and here are the most popular figures among this highly controversial topic:
Sit Down Meal: 20%
This is a standard tip. Of course feel free to contribute more for outstanding service.
I think this is a little low, they are taking your drink order and waiting on you in some form.
Take Out: 10%
I may have to agree with Drew Brees on this one. If my order isn’t complicated and I’m simply picking up food, I don’t see why I need to tip anything. I don’t want to be cheap, so please enlighten me!
$5-$10 per visit
I haven’t dealt with an exterminator yet so this was a bit of a surprise—who would have thought!
This is a pretty standard tip I think unless they’re running a substantial distance.
I ALWAYS tip 20% (if not more). Hair is pretty important and you do not want to make your stylist angry. Next thing you know, you have a messed up dye job.
At the spa, 20% is also a standard tip for services.
I also tip 20% at the nail salon—if you mess up during dry time, your technician is going to be a lot more agreeable for a touch up if you tip well.
This is standard tip for an at-home service. If you are at hotel, it depends on how many nights you stay and I assume how gross your room is. My research has indicated about $5 per night. There is a lot more info about hotel tipping that I’ll save for a future post.
On a personal note, tipping has always played a helpful and enlightening role in my family—my dad is the master of tipping. He tips EVERYONE. He has an emotional attachment to tips because when he was a kid in Jerusalem, he sold anything and everything to tourists, conducted city tours, and also peddled jewelry. He has a soft spot for the service industry and has passed down the knowledge of tipping to me. Let’s just say, when we’re with my dad: we get the best table at restaurants, the fastest service, the best view at a hotel, extra alcohol in our cocktails, and super fast bell service. That being said: What are your tipping habits? Do you agree with these percentages, tell us what you think!
As some of you know, I am in the midst of planning my wedding. Being “frugal and fearless,” I’ve tried to save where I can. One area that I’m going to have to get creative with are the flowers.
Flowers are usually a healthy chunk of the wedding budget and quite frankly, I’d rather spend money in other areas such as food and entertainment. After flipping through some bridal magazines, I luckily came across a couple of fabulous websites that sell flowers wholesale!
Now, I’m not DIYing the wedding but I don’t see why I can’t take some of the floral matters into my own hands to save some cash. Fabulous Florals and Grower’s Box are the best ones I’ve researched thus far. Both options are fantastic, especially if you are planning a DIY wedding.
These sites offer a large variety of flowers and plants for a substantial discount over your local florist. Grower’s Box even offers ready to go arrangements and boutonnieres.
So you don’t feel overwhelmed by the robust amount of choices, you can also narrow your search by:
One feature I will definitely be purchasing are the freeze dried rose petals to line the aisle with. It’s a crazy good deal and there are several colors to choose from.
Besides rose petals, I also plan to buy bunches of flowers for the bar, bathrooms, and other common areas that don’t need a fancy arrangement. I will also be creating boutonnieres myself with these wholesale flowers. (By the way, YouTube or Google “how to make a boutonniere,” so easy. It’s a waste to pay for it.)
Why just use these frugal flower deals for a wedding? Try out these wholesale sites for any festive occasion like: Mother’s Day, birthdays, baby showers, bridal showers, and much more! All you have to do is add a nice ribbon or throw them in a vase. No florist necessary, just a little imagination!
Have you used wholesale floral sites? Tell us your experience.
Summer is in full swing so cool off with these fresh summer cocktails that won’t hurt your wallet. And remember, alcohol is optional!
Grape Sparkler (EatingWell.com)
- 4 cup(s) seedless red grapes, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoon(s) lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon(s) honey
- 2 cup(s) seltzer
- 6 ounce(s) (3/4 cup) vodka
Puree grapes in a blender. Pour the puree through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl or large measuring cup. Press on the solids to extract all the juice. Add lemon and honey to the juice; stir until the honey is dissolved. Add seltzer and vodka. Divide among 4 ice-filled glasses. Garnish with whole grapes.
Strawberry Punch (Cosmopolitan)
- 3 fresh strawberries
- 3 slice(s) canned pineapple
- 1/2 ounce(s) pineapple syrup from the can
- 1/4 ounce(s) lime juice
- 1/4 ounce(s) simple syrup (dissolve one part sugar in one part boiling water; let cool)
- 2 ounce(s) white rum
Muddle fruit. Pour over ice with other ingredients; shake. Garnish with fruit.
Cran Razzy (EatingWell.com)
- 1/2 cup(s) fresh or frozen raspberries for garnish
- 2 cup(s) cranberry-raspberry juice
- 2 cup(s) seltzer
- 2 tablespoon(s) lime juice, plus 4 wedges for garnish
- 6 ounce(s) (3/4 cup) vodka
- If using fresh raspberries, freeze them in a single layer for about 1 hour (or overnight) before proceeding with Step 2.
- Combine cranberry-raspberry juice, seltzer, lime juice, and vodka in a pitcher. Divide among 4 ice-filled glasses. Garnish with frozen raspberries and lime wedges.
Peach Wine Cooler (EatingWell.com)
- 1 cup(s) peach juice or nectar
- 1 cup(s) dry white wine
- 2 tablespoon(s) honey
- 4 slice(s) fresh peach
Combine seltzer and peach juice (or nectar) in a pitcher. If desired, add wine and honey; stir until the honey is dissolved. Divide among 4 ice-filled glasses. Garnish with peach slices.
Watermelon Gin Fizz (EatingWell.com)
- 5 cup(s) diced watermelon, divided
- 6 ounce(s) gin, divided
- 8 tablespoon(s) lime juice, divided
- 1 1/3 cup(s) ginger ale, divided
- Lime wedges for garnish
- Freeze 1 cup watermelon for garnish. Puree the remaining 4 cups watermelon. Strain; divide the juice among 4 ice-filled glasses.
- Top each with 1 1/2 ounces gin, 2 tablespoons lime juice, and 1/3 cup ginger ale. Garnish with the frozen watermelon and lime wedges.
What are some of your favorite summer beverage recipes?
Advice…everyone has it—especially about money. Here is a list of advice from millennial women that can be applied to most everyone and gives you great strategies for setting financial goals!
Stephanie, 29, Finance
"Begin to save now if you ever plan to retire. We will not have pensions like our parents, and most likely, nor Social Security. It’s never too early.”
Anna, 30, Teacher
"Make sure you save 5-10% each month in case you lose your job or if your car breaks down. Remember the 5-10% savings is on top of retirement savings. Keep things simple and live within your means. Things will be a lot less stressful!”
Kim, 30, Travel Industry
“My splurge is traveling—everything else is just stuff. I cherish the gifts family and friends give me but I would never buy those items for myself. It’s more fun to have meaning behind your possessions.”
Stephanie, 30, Insurance
“Use credit cards smartly to build your credit. Also, learn the power of negotiating.”
Jenna, 29, Finance
"Take a look at your monthly spending and break it down into different categories of expenses. It’s very easy to do if you pull from your online banking into an excel spreadsheet and then sort by the type of expense. It will really help you to see where you are spending the most money or where you can possibly cut back. You’ll be shocked at how much goes to a little ole’ place called Starbucks for instance!”
Kayla, 25, Higher Ed
"Shortly after getting engaged, my (now) husband and I opened a joint savings account and began automatic deductions from our paycheck. We started small, but $25 from each of us per paycheck adds up! Over time we’ve increased the amount we contribute. It’s very comforting to know that if and when we need the money, we’ve got it. We’ve used it in planned situations like paying for airfare, but also unexpected things like replacing tires.”
Jackie, 29, Aviation
“Avoid making impulsive decisions when shopping. If you see something you like, sleep on it for a few days and if you still want it (and can afford it!) go ahead and buy. And avoid paying full retail price, it’s easier than you think!”
Megan, 29, Healthcare
"It’s important to build credit and understand what factors play into your credit score, a lot of people make big mistakes when they are young.”
Jolene, 27, Marketing
“Know where your money goes. If it’s going down the toilet, at least you know. It’s the first, and most important step in having control over your financial life.”
Kim, 29, Public Relations
"When I was interning and doing bottle service at night, I used to take my cash and divide it up into different envelopes. If I had $300 cash, I would put $100 towards food, $72 for a subway pass, and divide the rest of my money towards: taxis, shopping, and an emergency fund. This was helpful for me so I knew if I only had $10 in my cab envelope, I had to either walk or take the subway, forcing me not to take a cab. No exceptions.”
What money advice do you have for the millennial generation?
(And a big thank you to all the gals who participated!)
I’m by no means the epitome of a career woman but I’ve put in my dues. I’ve worked a few jobs and a couple of (unpaid) internships so I can eventually do what I want to do. And I got a master’s at night, while working full time along the way to help at least insure I get a few interviews.
I’ve driven 50 miles each way five days a week for a part-time job at a crappy television station just so I didn’t have a gaping hole in my resume when shit hit the fan with the economy. I’ve packed up and headed to New York City one summer during college for my dream (unpaid) internship with the New York Mets (definitely not complaining with this one). I volunteered at my college’s radio station (shout out WEGL 91.1FM, Auburn’s new music leader!) to pad my resume while in college. I also volunteered with my college’s yearbook to gain desk top publishing, photography, and software experience. I’ve also had another internship with the Women’s Sports Foundation to gain PR experience while making next to nothing and then took a job also making next to nothing in 2008 because it was a job and in ‘08, those were hard to find.
The point of this entry isn’t to toot my own horn, it’s to start a discussion of why there are so many of us millennials that just think a fabulous job is going to fall into our laps. As if an executive is going to come to our door and offer us the career of our dreams. It’s not going to happen. Ever.
I’m not saying that the majority of us feel this way—I have many friends who have worked their asses off and paved their way to a fantastic career. But the main verb in that sentence is worked.
It irks me every time I see someone wasting their potential just wishing and hoping instead of doing. You would be shocked how many professionals are more than willing to help a young, eager millennial get on their feet. I’ve had the pleasure of talking to several professionals via phone calls and email strings, getting invaluable advice and making contacts.
If you want to be a chef, go shadow one for free. If you want to be a photographer, volunteer to be their apprentice on the weekend to learn the business. If you want to work in television, show up to the station and let you know that you’re work for free on your free time—trust me—they’ll be happy to take you. And don’t tell me you have no free time because you know your ass is at the bar every Saturday.
Doing is better than wishing—because there truly is no substitute for hard work.
What’s your take on millennials wasting their potential? Are there other factors like the unemployment rate that contribute to complacency? Tell us your thoughts.