Category: money and happiness

My problems aren’t your responsibility (and, ahem, probably vice versa)

For too long I expected other people to cater to my needs and whims or work around my issues. Putting our happiness or contentment in the hands of other people is an exercise in managing disappointment. Let's stop. Here's how >>
When I was 12 years old I convinced my parents to let me be a vegetarian.
I’d spent at least five years battling their two-bites-of-everything rule.  If memory serves, my mom finally caved after I theatrically gagged some summer sausage back onto my dinner plate and worked up some crocodile tears + puppy eyes.
I remember her standing in our dining room, hands on hips, and sighing “You don’t have to eat meat anymore but I’m not fixing you anything special.  There’s enough food on the table.  You’re not going to starve.”
In our current state of helicopter parenting, this might sound overly harsh, but I think it’s completely legitimate. To this day, I’ll happily pick pepperoni off the pizza my friends ordered or dig the pork out of the soup.  Being vegetarian is my deal.  Which means I’m the one who has to deal with it.
Because I’m The Most Fun, I have plenty of other deals. Want to hear them? 
  • I get really motion sick and I’ll puke if we’re driving through the mountains (even if I take Dramamine).
  • I don’t like it when people eat cocktail shrimp in my vicinity.
  • There are various exes I’d prefer not to run into.
  • I don’t like amusement parks or the State Fair.
  • Wearing cashmere or angora makes me feel like the walls are closing in.
  • I don’t like to be around large groups of drunk strangers.
  • After about four hours of conversation or group engagement, the light turns off inside me and I need to go sit in a quiet place by myself. And preferably read lady magazines or nap.
And there was a time (um, embarrassingly not-that-long-ago) when I thought it would be really, really lovely if everyone ever went out of their way to accommodate my various neuroses.

You know who likes constantly accommodating one person’s needs?  Absolutely no one. 

If I don’t like it when you eat cocktail shrimp next to me, maybe I should move.

Rather than asking you not to invite my ex to that party, maybe I should go early.  Or late.  Or go whenever I want and then not talk to them.

You’re having a birthday party at an amusement park?  How about I buy you a drink the day before?

If I feel myself reaching my social quota I can just excuse myself and go the eff home.

And nobody’s going to hold me down and make me wear angora.Of course it’s nice when the people in our lives work around our stuff!  When they take into consideration our gluten intolerance or our fear of snakes or the fact that we’re on a really tight budget!

But ultimately, I am the only person who is responsible for myself, my happiness, and dealing with my issues. And I imagine you’re in the same boat.

If reading fashion magazines makes you feel bad about your body, don’t read them.

If a specific friend always brings you down, stop hanging out with them.

If a friend invites you to a cabin weekend that you can’t afford, don’t go.

If you’re a vegetarian and your friends invite you to a steakhouse, either don’t go or go and order a baked potato and a martini.

If you’re gluten intolerant and you get invited to a potluck, bring a dish that you love so you’ll have something to eat.

If you’re having a rough, grumpy day, don’t take it out on your roommate/partner/parent.  Go to the gym, go for a walk, write in your journal is a sulky, dramatic manner.

As  harsh as it sounds, I find this approach really empowering.

Making my wellbeing someone else's responsibility is an exercise in disappointment management. Click To Tweet

When I decided that I was the only one responsible for working around my stuff, life got a lot easier and friendships became a lot more fun.

(People like you more when you’re not asking them to stop eating that shrimp so loudly.)

What issues are you working through?  How do you work around them without expecting everyone to make exceptions for you? (and have you ever been guilty of being too demanding?)

P.S. If you like this kind of stuff, I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to ‘Life Advice’!

12 thrift store DIYS you should try today

Looking for clever, cheap thrift store DIYs? Click through for DIY ideas for four things you can always find at thrift stores for cheap: hardcover books, vinyl records, silk scarves, and dishes!
I’ve been a voracious thrifter for ages.  I’ve been pawing through racks of second hand clothing since plaid and high-waisted jean shorts were cool – the first time around.
(You can read my thrifting tips here.)
These days I don’t thrift as much because, well, I don’t need anything.  I’ve got all the cute dresses and vintage t-shirts a girl could want! (Or at least, as many cute dresses as a girl who hates having excess stuff that she doesn’t use could want.)
Every time I pop into a thrift store I see shelf after shelf of the same items – there are always piles of vinyl records, dishes, silk scarves, and hardcover books.  These items might not be too exciting in their current state, but with some elbow grease and creativity, they could be amazing!

Click on the photos to see how to make these adorable things!

DIY project you can do with Records

Looking for clever, cheap thrift store DIYs? Click through for DIY ideas for four things you can always find at thrift stores for cheap: hardcover books, vinyl records, silk scarves, and dishes!
Vinyl record DIY
Vinyl record DIY

DIY projects you can do with Hardcover books

Hardcover book craft ideas
Hard cover book crafts
Crafts to make with hardcover books

DIY projects you can do with Silk scarves

silk scarf craft ideas
Shorts made from silk scarves
Silk scarf pillows

DIY projects you can do with Dishes

DIYs with dinner plates
Crafts with dinner plates
Crafts with tea cups
Do you have any favorite DIYs for things you find at the thrift store?  Leave links in the comments!

5 Tricks To Make Cheap Clothes Look Expensive

Do you want to make your cheap clothes look expensive? Interested in budget fashion tips? Tap through for tips on how to look bougie! #budgetfashion #budgetstyle #moneytips #budgeting #personalfinance
Do you want to make cheap clothes look expensive? <- That’s pretty much a trick question because most people would prefer to
a) spend less money
b) look polished, put together, and as though they spent a bit of money and effort on their appearance

If you’re not sure why you should trust my judgement on the matter of ‘making cheap clothes look bougie,’ let me tell you that right one of the crowning moments of my life was being complimented on my outfit on the in street NYC.And everything I was wearing cost less than $20.

If you, too, have a budget to stick to but want to look like you don’t, read on.

5 ways to make cheap clothes look expensive and bougie 

1. Invest in a slip or an inner layer

I think one of the things that separates Cheap Looking Foolishness from Fancy Looking Poshness is lining.

High-end stuff is lined. Stuff from Target isn’t. Just go buy a slip (yes, they still make them) and all of a sudden you don’t have to wear Spanks and your dress fits and flows so much more elegantly. Try to find a white or neutral slip without any lace – you don’t want the texture of the lace showing through the top layer of your $12 dress.

2. Fake leather + shiny metal = no. Canvas + wood = yes 

Pleather is obvious from 8 feet away and shiny metallics look tacky. Matte metal isn’t any more expensive (or real) but it looks much nicer. This bracelet is only $15 but it looks fancy and like some rich relative gave it to you.

Also: canvas. It always looks posh and it’s not expensive. See? Wood bangles are cute and make people think you a) bought them in a pricey museum shop b) spent some time abroad.

3. Take good care of your cheap clothes

These pieces were not built to last. But you can extend their life by:
* Only washing them when they’re really, actually dirty
* Washing them inside out, in cold water, and air drying them
* Using one of these fabric shavers. No exaggeration, this purchase will change your wardrobe life

4. Only wear one trend at a time

Oh, this is terribly boring advice you’ve read a thousand times before. And, really, you should wear whatever you want.

BUT. If you’re in a situation where it would behoove you to ‘pass’ as higher-income or if you’re rubbing elbow with, like, middle-aged donors or board members or the like, you might want to limit the trendiness.

We all look waaaay classier when we pair our sheer neon tops with a black boyfriend blazer and jeans and cute black t-strap sandals, rather than with sequinned dropcrotch pants and those wedge sneaker things. (Again, ‘classy’ can be very overrated so feel free to ignore this advice)

5. Shiny hair + lip gloss + clean nails always look good

Your mom was right.

How do you make your cheaper items look good?

P.S. How to purge your closet without losing your mind

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

How To Save Money Without Hating Your Life

Want to know how to save money + live on a budget HAPPILY? Figure out which expenses + purchases bring you the most just - and then budget accordingly! //
Have you guys ever been broke?
Like, canned-soup, checking-out-library-DVDs, not-sure-if-you-can-afford-the-Maybelline-blush broke?
I have.  I mean, I imagine anyone who’s been 22 has been that broke.  At one point, I had a $15-a-week ‘fun budget’ that I used to cover all non-gas or grocery items.  I felt so clever when I found that $1 second-run theater!

Eventually, I started making a bit more money and had a little financial wiggle room. I started to engage in decadent things like full-priced movie tickets, non-pre-owned clothing, and living by myself. $30 sundresses from Target!  The luxury!And then I started to make even a little bit more money.  And I could drink $12 cocktails, like, once a week.

Every once in a while I’d spend more than $30 on a piece of clothing.  I HAVE ARRIVED! I AM FANCY NOW!But the funny thing was, even though I was making more money – I was saving the same amount.I fell into the trap of spending money because I “could.”

“Grown-ups with real incomes go out to eat a lot.  Maybe I’ll do that now?”

“I can afford Aveda shampoo and I want to smell like fancy dirt.  I’m going to spend $12 on that bottle.”

“It seems like expensive haircuts are better.  Are they better?  That salon is full of cute girls. I’m sure I’ll be cuter if I pay them $60 to cut my hair.”

But when I really thought about it, those $15 an entree meals and $12 shampoo and $60 haircuts weren’t particularly awesome.  Or rather, they didn’t make me happy or make my life easier, the way that some other purchases did.

I decided to actively notice which purchases that made me happiest.

I realized that:
Travel made me happy.
Mid-day pedicures with my girlfriends made me happy.
Perfectly ripe produce and amazing cheese made me happy.
Funny art prints and colorful throw pillows made me happy.
These earrings made me happy.

Name brand clothing, manicures, expensive meals, non-costume jewelry, cable, $4 coffees did not make me happy.

These things are really great and totally happy-i-fying for some people!  It just so happened that – when I really thought about it, I realized – they did nothing for me.

So I stopped spending money on things because I “could” or because I thought that’s what “adults who work hard for their money” do.

I started putting my money where my happy was.

And you know what?  Now I’m happier and my savings account is too.

Figure out what brings you joy and then buy it. Skimp on the other stuff. It's that simple! Click To Tweet

How do you budget for the things you love?  Do you ever find yourself spending more money when you’re earning more?

P.S. How to (at least start to) get your finances under control + How to pay off your soul-crushing debt

My 5-second Money Saving Trick

This one budget tip has saved me hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars! Money saving tricks don't get much easier than this! Click through and start using it today! >>


This money saving trick is possibly head-smacklingly obvious BUT I’M GOING TO TELL YOU ANYWAY. One person’s ‘obvious’ is another person’s ‘you’re blowing my mind!’

So here it is: The money-saving trick that has saved me from thousands of dollars of regrettable purchases. When you see something you want to buy but don’t necessarily need … Think about how much you'd be willing to pay for it before you look at the price tag. Click To Tweet

There are many times when I’ve thought “$7” and turned over a price tag that read “$35.”  But occasionally you’ll find things you’d pay hundreds of dollars for that only cost twenty bucks!
Photo by Marion Michele on Unsplash

7 Cheap Ways To Update Your Space

Want to update your space? Looking for cheap design tips and easy decor tips that make a big difference? Look no further! I swear by these 7 decor ideas - I do them once or twice a year! #budgetdecorating #thriftydecor #moneytips #personalfinance #FIRE
Here’s how you know it’s time to update your space:
1. You still have framed photos of That Non-Awesome Ex
2. The dust on your artificial plants has made them appear beige

3. You find yourself spending more money on coffees and cocktails so you can hang out outside of your lack-luster space

Sound familiar? Updating your space doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. You don’t have to take time off work to repaint everything or spend $500 on a new couch. You’d be amazed at the changes you can make with $20 and  a Sunday afternoon!

7 cheap ways to update your space 

1. Swap out the prints and photos in your frames 

If you’re like me, you’ve probably had the same prints and photos in the same frames for, oh, five years. Dig through your Facebook albums and print out some funny photos, find some cool black and white pictures of your grandparents, or just have a poke around Etsy and order a few prints.

It’s amazing what a difference it can make! This set of four prints is only $13!

2. Level up the cozy by getting a new throw blanket for your living room

Adding a new blanket immediately makes your home warmer + snugglier and can provide a pop of color. If you’re reading this in the summer, get a light, cotton throw. This throw is cuddly and neutral enough to match any color palette.

Thrift stores are rife with grandma-style hand knitted afghans or you can usually pick one up at Target or Ikea for less than $30.

3. Upgrade your lampshades

Innocuous lamp bases are one of my best and most common thrift store purchases. But why match an innocuous base with a bland shade? You can frequently find fun patterned lamp shades at Target and Ikea (apparently the only places I shop other than thrift stores) for under $30. This statement lampshade is $13!!!

Or you can just make your own!

4. Elevate your space with new towels

Other than your shower curtain, your bath towels are pretty much the most exciting design piece in your bathroom, right? Or at least, they’re probably displayed someplace where everyone can see them?

Why not get something other than white? Or if you’re feeling really kicky, what about something other than terry cloth? Apparently cotton Turkish towels are amazing.

5. Make it smell amazing

I know this seems ridiculous but it really, really isn’t. We all know that an apartment that smells like cinnamon + cloves feels really different than an apartment that smells like gym clothes + litter box. You can make your space smell good with crackling wood wick candlesoil diffusers, or ‘stove simmers.’

6. Put something new in the middle of your dining room table

I am exactly the kind of try-hard who always has something artfully arranged in the middle of my dining room table. And by ‘something’ I mean ‘a wooden bowl of produce and a candle.’ It’s better than nothing, but it feels nice to switch it up sometimes. Here are some cute, cheap centerpiece ideas.

7. Improve your pillows by changing out (or at least washing) the shams

So easy! Unzip your old shams (and probably throw them in the wash), slide on some new ones in a different color or fabric. Done. You can frequently find pillow shams at Ikea for less than $20 or, of course, you can just make them yourself.

I probably won’t be undertaking of these but I think I’m ready to get rid of my stained dish towel and frame a few new photos.

But I want to know about you! What do you do when your space is feeling stale?

P.S. How to make your house cozy when it’s gray + horrible outside and 8 ways to show your home you love + respect it

photo by sara dorweiler //cc