Category: money and happiness

9 Painless Ways To Trick Yourself Into Spending Less

Want some tricks to spending less? Looking for budget tips that don't suck the joy from your life or easy money advice. Click through for tricks to spending less in a way that doesn't suck!Does spending less feel like a long slog of coupon clipping, ramen noodles, and watching everybody have more fun than you on Instagram?

Friend, it doesn’t have to. Hand to God, I swear by these tricks to spending less that feel nigh-on painless. Like, you might not even notice that you’re spending less till you get your surprisingly small credit card bill.  

A giant asterisk: these tricks will absolutely help you buy fewer things you don’t need. HOWEVER. They won’t help you get to the root of why you’re buying things you don’t need in the first place. That’s a much bigger endeavor.

That said, this is a great place to start and when you’re ready to really, actually change your relationship with money, this will help.

9 Painless Ways To Trick Yourself Into Spending Less

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16 fun, cheap ways to celebrate the holidays (that don’t feel chintzy or grinchy)

Looking for cheap ways to celebrate the holidays? Trying to budget for Christmas? Click through for money-saving tips that will make your holidays affordable AND fun!

Are you rolling your eyes and thinking “There is no such thing as a cheap way to celebrate the holidays. Also: It’s still decorative gourd season. DON’T TELL ME HOW TO CELEBRATE!”

Yes. I hear you! I personally refuse to decorate for Christmas or Hanukkah till we’ve finished all the Thanksgiving leftovers. Thou shalt not trim the tree till the stuffing is gone!

But I’m sharing these fun, affordable ways to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and Thanksgiving because I want you to have time to plan a holiday season that isn’t filled with overdraft fees and regrettable purchases.

Americans spend $465 billion on Christmas. Meanwhile, the average American has $6,385 in credit card debt and 40% of middle class Americans couldn’t weather a $400 financial emergency. And even if you’re totally debt free, most of us would prefer to spend less money rather than more, right?

Luckily, dialing back holiday spending doesn’t have to feel Grinchy. In fact, it can feel intentional and creative. Truly!

16 fun, cheap ways to celebrate the holidays (that don’t feel chintzy)

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6 Instagram Ideas That Will Make Your Life Happier + Better (Instead Of Falling Into The Comparison Trap)

Looking for Instagram ideas? These aren't your usual Instagram tips about cropping and filters. Click through for advice on using social media in a way that makes you happier and supports your personal development!

What are your Instagram ideas?

“My house should look like that and since it doesn’t I am clearly a loser.”
“How in the name of all that is good and holy can they afford that? And why can’t I?”
“I don’t look like that in a swimsuit. I AM NEVER WEARING A SWIMSUIT AGAIN.”

I’m sure you’ve seen a million studies that say social media negatively affects our self-esteem. Instagram is charged with this more often than Twitter or Facebook – and I get it! It’s not hard to filter and crop our way to a perfect-looking life. It’s easy to forget that social media is a highlight reel.

There are certainly arguments for using our phones and social media less. But I’d like to make the controversial argument that – when used with intention – Instagram in particular can actually make us happier.

6 Instagram Ideas That Will Make Your Life Happier + Better 

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13 Birthday Ideas For Adults That Are More Fun Than Going Out To Dinner

Looking for birthday ideas for adults? Want to celebrate your birthday in a way that's more fun than a dinner out? Click through for meaningful birthday tips for grownups!

Birthday ideas for adults are often …. lacking, aren’t they?

It seems like our options are often limited to:

  • Corralling friends into a dinner out (but trying to do it on your Actual Birthday is nearly impossible plus budgets and traffic and dietary restrictions?)
  • Traveling (Which is awesome! But not always financially or logistically feasible)
  • Scrolling through all the Facebook birthday notifications and eating cake in the break room at work (When you’re really more of a pie person, anyhow.)

Today is my 39th birthday. We spent the last five days celebrating my birthday/our anniversary with a trip to Massachusetts and Vermont, but my thirst for celebration has yet to be quenched! I’m still going! If you’re looking for ways to celebrate your birthday, keeping reading.

13 Birthday Ideas For Adults That Are More Fun Than Going Out To Dinner

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How I Furnished My Living Room + Landscaped My Yard For $0

Looking for free decorating ideas? Want to decorate on a budget? I bet FREE furniture would help! Click through for the surprising trick I used to decorate my adorable living room for free!

This title seems like clickbait, doesn’t it?

And it seems like this would be the part where I say something about a pyramid scheme or transferring credit card balances, right?

The truth is both more (and less) exciting than that.

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You’re Totally Allowed To Buy That Latte (And Other Shocking Money Insights)

Is that latte personal finance advice air tight? If you're looking for budgeting tips or money advice, click through for some you've never heard before (but totally works!)

I’m sure you’ve heard it before.

It’s practically a pillar of the personal finance advice industry: Stop buying $5 lattes.

“The average latte costs five dollars. If you buy one every work day, that’s $25 a week, $100 month. That’s $1,200 a year! You could be putting that towards credit card debt or a house down payment or a vacation!”

Now, this is true. These numbers add up. Five multiplied by five does, indeed, equal twenty-five. And if you really do buy a $5 latte every workday, 52 weeks a year, those purchases will add up.

But not all lattes are created equal.

I learned this from one of student in my Put Your Money Where Your Happy Is course.

Natalie had one of those daily latte habits that every personal finance expert rails against.

Every day on her way to work, Natalie would buy a latte at Starbucks. She’d sit in her car in the drive through, checking email on her phone while she waited her turn to shout her order into the speaker.

She’d pick her coffee up at the window and then drive to her job at an office park in the suburbs, usually finishing the last sip as she pulled into her parking space.

The purchase of her daily latte was a habit. It was almost-mindless and not even particularly happy-making. It was just something she did every day, like brushing her teeth or checking Instagram while she stood in line.

But.

Once a month, Natalie would drive into the city, heading towards her favorite neighborhood: parks, boutiques, bookstores that invite lingering.

Natalie would, again, buy a latte. But this time she’d sip it on a bench in the park, people watching and warming her hands. She’d finish it as she windowshopped and stooped to smell the flowers in the planter outside the antique store.

These lattes all cost five dollars. The one that made her Saturday feel special cost $5 and the ones she drank mindlessly on her way to work cost $5. 

But her weekday, much-less-enjoyable lattes affected her finances a lot more than her Saturday, seems-like-a-scene-in-a-rom-com latte.

Here’s the truth:

It’s not the Sunday morning latte we drink as we walk along the river with our best friend, catching up, and watching the ducks along the shore.

It’s the four lattes we buy during the workweek, because it’s 3:30, we’re sick of working, and we need to get out of the office.

It’s not the $200 boots that look good with everything, make us feel amazing, and get worn three times a week.

It’s 11 pairs of $17 shoes we never wear, bought on sale because we wandered into Target tired, hungry, and grumpy. 

It’s not the $100 anniversary meal, eaten on a gorgeous patio, under bobbing lanterns.

It’s the three-times-a-week $12 takeout we don’t even really like but it’s easier than figuring out what to make for dinner.

I guess what I’m saying is:
If something makes you happy, if it truly adds to your life, if you can afford it: OMG BUY IT. If if it doesn’t or if you can’t: Don’t. Click To Tweet

Traditional personal finance advice – and most budgeting tools! – treat all purchases equally.

They don’t take into consideration how we felt in those jeans or what we were celebrating when we bought that bottle of wine.

They don’t point out that those $150+ Target trips seem to happen after bad conference calls or a night of sub-par sleep.

If we can figure out what makes us happy, we can point more money, time, and energy in that direction.

(And less money, time, and energy in the direction of lattes consumed in thework  parking lot.)

I want to hear from you! Do you have your own version of this story? How do you track your spending? 

P.S. If you want to break your not-that-happy-making daily latte habit (or any other habit) this will help. And it’s free!

Photos by Charisse Kenion and Marion Michele on Unsplash