7 Simple Ways to Save on Travel for the 2017 Holidays

Jen SmithFrugality, Personal Finance7 Comments

holiday leaves

Whether you’re traveling to see family or skipping out for a much-needed vacation, keep these tips in mind to save on travel to wherever you’re going. I’m going to FinCon next week and I’m super excited not only because I bought my ticket over a year ago but because it’s my last travel of the year. I’m ready to hunker down come November 1st, publish the No-Spend Challenge Guide, and implement all the cool things I learn at FinCon Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling, but it all adds up and this trip is number three for the month … Read More

How to be a Mystery Shopper

Jen SmithPersonal Finance18 Comments

Be a Secret Shopper

Mystery Shopping has been a fun activity for us while we’ve been paying off our student loans. It’s taken our tight budget and opened it up for dinners out, movies, and activities we otherwise wouldn’t get to experience. My husband and I have been mystery shopping for over a year. Even with busy schedules and multiple jobs we still make time to shop at least twice a month. We’ve done car test drives, movie theaters, cell phone stores, quick-service restaurants, fine dining, mini golf, roller skating, and so many more. If there’s a shop for it, we’ve tried it, or … Read More

The Do’s and Don’ts of Finances for Newlyweds

Jen SmithPersonal Finance11 Comments

Finance for Newlyweds

Finances for newlyweds are the last thing on your mind when you’re blissfully floating in a perfect world with your new boo. But money fights and money problems are the leading cause of stress in a relationship  and play a role in every leading cause of divorce. Money is a necessity to understand and communicate with your spouse on. The Do’s of Finances for Newlyweds   Do Talk About Your Financial Past & Future Unfortunately, I still hear stories about couples who don’t talk about their financial situations until their marriage is already suffering from it. It is essential for couples … Read More

The Baby Steps Explained, And Why They Work!

Jen SmithDebt, Personal Finance16 Comments

These are the steps that introduced me and my husband to what financial independence is and for that I am eternally grateful. But a lot of important considerations get looked over if you just find a list of the steps and start crackin. The articles circulating the web are from two camps: Dave Ramsey people, who are relentlessly devoted to the man, and people on the other side, who do math. My goal is to neutrally answer the question: What are The Baby Steps? The Baby Steps, outlined in the book The Total Money Makeover, are the foundation of personal … Read More

December 2016 Budget

Jen SmithBudgeting, Debt, Personal Finance12 Comments

Real Life Budget

Are you ready for this? We paid $5,000 of our student loan debt in one month.   That’s crazy even for us! We were able to do this for two reasons: the budget and some discipline. UPDATE: As of August 31, 2017 Travis and I are STUDENT LOAN FREE! We paid off $77,646.54 in 23 months! We never have the perfect budget. In the 14 months we’ve been doing this we’ve always had to tweak here and there to make it work but paying off our student loans is the priority and that puts all spending into perspective. Over the last … Read More

What is 3-6 Months of Expenses and Which Should I Have?

Jen SmithPersonal Finance, Savings21 Comments

The traditional emergency fund is 3-6 months of expenses. Most people don’t have it and some have way more. The one thing most people can agree on is that they have no idea what their 3-6 months of expenses should look like. The first step to having a solid emergency fund is knowing why you need it and what it’s for. If every time you save $1000 you have an “emergency” haircut, you’ll be battling this vicious cycle of emergencies forever. Why do I need an Emergency fund? An emergency fund is for unexpected emergencies. You know they’re coming but … Read More

Throw a Holiday Party on a Budget!

Jen SmithFrugality, Personal Finance7 Comments

Low Cost Holiday Party Ideas

We don’t get much cold weather here in Florida so when it dips below 70 I’m in full winter mode. Having friends over to listen to music, watch movies, and drink warm bevs is the highlight of my year. While those of us in our 20’s and 30’s usually dodge the bullet on hosting big family gatherings, we love our Friendsgivings and Ugly Sweater Parties. Holiday party hosting can get super expensive if you don’t plan ahead and set a budget. Fortunately, there are a ton of low-cost holiday party ideas out there. Some of you may be wondering, “Jen, … Read More

5 Ways to Save Money Online

Jen SmithFrugality, Personal Finance13 Comments

Save Money Online

With 2 weeks to go until Cyber Monday, it’s a good idea to start planning online purchases so you can take advantage of as many deals as possible. I’ve never been a big Cyber Monday shopper but I strongly prefer shopping online over in-store at this time of the year. Actually, any time of year. If you do your due diligence you can find dozens of ways to save money online. And I don’t even mean haggling or timing your purchases. There are really simple ways to get the stuff you need and pay less for all of it. Also … Read More

My New Favorite Planner For my Money & my Life

Jen SmithBudgeting, Debt, Personal Finance9 Comments

Personal Finance Planner

Want a peek into my life? I am notorious for having a separate monthly and weekly calendar, notebook for to-do lists, meal planning, and grocery lists, and that’s just what’s at my bedside. I also have a scrap piece of paper with our debt pay off goals/progress and I am constantly scribbling on whatever I can get a pen on. The Struggle is Real And I’ve never been into big, beautiful, personalized planners. They sound nice, but with everything I’m trying to keep track of, I’d still need my scraps of paper to keep everything recorded. But when Lauren Greutman … Read More

November 2016 Budget

Jen SmithBudgeting, Debt, Personal Finance8 Comments

November 2016 Budget

I’m on a financial high going into November. It’s my favorite time of year; the weather is crisp, people are happier, and my favorite holiday, Black Friday, is right around the corner. I’m on cloud 9. And I have one more thing making my money-saving heart flutter (or palpitate, I can’t tell the difference lately.) My student loan is now 4 digits. I’m finally under 10 grand! I didn’t see this day coming anytime in my 20’s and it’s here. You guys, hard work and perseverance pay off! And I’m really excited to have you to share this moment with. … Read More