Category Archives: Money

The Ice Bucket Challenge

Here’s something I’ve been thinking about this week:

ALS.

And if you’ve been on twitter, facebook, instagram (and/or probably MySpace?), it’s something that you’ve probably thought about too.

Maybe it was just a passing moment where you wondered what it was and why on earth people were dumping ice buckets on their heads for it. Maybe you got nominated and you poured ice water on yourself and you laughed about how crazy and cold it was. Maybe you clicked on and watched all of the ice bucket fails because those are hialarious (thanks Jenny). Maybe you’re just plain sick of it being in your newsfeed and you hope you never seen another person get doused with water again.

Or maybe, just maybe, you saw it, did some research on what ALS actually is and educated yourself.

If you’re in that later bucket – I high five you.

If you went an extra step and you donated $5 – I applaud you.

Because at the end of the day, it’s not one bit about the ice, the water, the celebrities posting their videos, or even about you and me. No, it’s about $31.5 million (and counting) reasons that a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad disease might be cured and about hope for the 5,600 people a year that are diagnosed.

And you know what else it’s about?

Feeling compelled to donate.

Giving a little bit of your time, talents, resources to something that matters.

(I know, it just got deep.)

But really, I hope that’s the take away from this.

I hope you feel called to donate to something that matters.

And maybe, ALS doesn’t matter to you. Maybe you’re not personally affected by it.

Okay, great, fine. I get that. I totally support you.

But you know what? Something else in your life matters.

Are you giving to that?

And maybe you don’t have a spare penny to your name, maybe you’re streched so thin that giving $5 is exactly $5 too many.

I get that.

But I also know you have 24 hours in your day.

Could you give some of that?

And if you’ve got no spare money and no spare time, you just let me know and I’ll start praying for you, because in that case, you need a prayer warrior my friend, and I’m happy to be there for you.

But to you with a little bit extra each month? Spend some time learning about what ALS actually is (hint: it’s terrible), or research something else that matters to you and how you can support them. Sponsor a kid. Help cure a disease. Volunteer in your community. Give to your church.

Give from yourself, cheerfully and readily.

Thank you to those of you who nominated me. Know that this incredible challenge has made me take a deeper dive into what else I want to spend my spare pennies on. Sure, I’ve made a one time donation to ALS, but I’ve also started a monthly donation to the Alzheimer’s Association. It’s all about support, advocacy and research for a disease I passionately despise and I can really get on board with that. I should have been sharing my pennies with them for years. Shame on me for not.

So I suppose that also means I need to share my thanks with you facebook, for making people stop and notice. I applaud you for sucking us in and for making something viral for a cause.

Now to my lovely readers, I hope you feel challenged to give of yourself. And while you’re at it, wouldn’t it be wonderful if you encouraged others to do so too?

I’m super into that… whether or not that involves dumping a bucket of ice water onto your head. 🙂

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Where Fiscally Responsible Meets Hair Dye

A couple of months back, I went to the hair school in town to get some highlights put in my hair. It was summer and it was killing me to not be blonde.

Because, for those of you who know me well, my hair is very seasonal. And it had been the same color SINCE I MOVED HERE. Which was like 8 months ago. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much of my natural hair color. And it’s nice. I’m proud of the medium-ish brown tone that I have naturally, I really am. But when it’s June. There’d better be a sun kissed looked to this hair.

But here’s the thing. To maintain that natural looking hair glow… it’s just plain downright expensive. And what nonprofit working girl has that kind of money?

Not this one.

And then I heard about the hair school in town. A magical place where you could get highlights for $35. Did you think you read that wrong? No. You don’t have to go back over it. I said $35. Because, IT REALLY IS THAT CHEAP.

And they really were pretty good. But, something to consider about $35 highlights… They just don’t look like $110 highlights. And since it’s a really nice beginner student doing your hair… it takes about four hours. Which, is just a lot of a Saturday.

And the can’t-stand-bad-roots-or-lack-of-consistency-in-color-and-stripe-pattern type A part of me was dying. So I invited a few friends over, made a trip to Sally’s and took matters into my own hands.

May I introduce, my new favorite thing in the world?

It just LOOKS like fun... doesn't it?!

It just LOOKS like fun… doesn’t it?!

For $20 I now own: a pair of reusable gloves, a mixing bowl, a paint-brush-thing-a-ma-jig, hair clips, a two use bottle of developer and a box of INTENSE medium brown.

Which means, anytime I want to color my hair, your hair, random friends hair… it’s going to cost me like $6. Which is freaking sweet. And I’ll need a friend. Because this really isn’t something you should try alone friends.

And that’s where I’d like to introduce you to my fabulous stylist: Emily Gray. Yes, I appreciate that normally people get a funny little nickname. But this girl has a blog. Where she tells you her name. And YOU SHOULD ALL BE READING IT. Cause the girl is funny. And because of that Emily Gray she will be.

Not only does this legit lady have a funny blog, a DIY husband, two crazy dogs and a baby on the way… But she’s got mad skills when it comes to dying hair.

Things got mixed:

IT LOOKS JUST LIKE AT THE SALON!!!

IT LOOKS JUST LIKE AT THE SALON!!!

Things got applied:

Adios amiga. And by 'amiga' - I just simply mean blonde hair.

Adios amiga. And by ‘amiga’ – I just simply mean blonde hair.

Seriously, how professional does that amazing lady look?! Gloves. Brush. The whole nine yards:

It's my blog. Of course there's going to be a cheesy picture. People, it's just how I roll.

It’s my blog. Of course there’s going to be a cheesy picture. People, it’s just how I roll.

And then it was DARK brown:

Extra cheese for the after shot.

Extra cheese for the after shot.

Okay… it’s maybe a tad bit darker than originally intended. In fact, some may say it’s BLACK. But hey, maybe we just try something a little crazier and darker for fall this year. Life’s an adventure right? At some point, I’ll probably stop scaring myself every time I look in the mirror…

And for $20, 15 minutes of application, 30 minutes of process time and a serious shampoo (in your very own shower!) – you end up with a whole new hair color! That’s just darn impressive to me.

So thank you to the lovely talented beautiful Emily Gray (I know, I know, last link… I promise!) for my amazing new do. Girl didn’t miss a piece. Everything is one color. She’s a professional. Who knows… maybe I can get her to attempt highlights next time… I mean really… what could possibly go wrong…?!

Bring on the fall, my hair is officially ready!

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Buy-Nothing Month

Back in my former days working for a great online high yield savings account, I had the opportunity to help run a national campaign and meet some really wonderful people – all while learning tips of the trade about saving money.

Crazy concept. I know.

One of the people I was so fortunate to meet was the lovely Liz Pulliam Weston and one of her ideas struck me as insane. It was for the people who just spent money without thinking about where it went. Everyone knows how they are spending money… right?!

When I first started ‘banking’ I had a checkbook and every purchase I made was written down. You always had to think before you bought something, because you had to account for it in a register. But now, with debit cards and online banking it’s so much easier to lose a grasp on what you’re spending, as long as you still have money in your account at the end of the day. Tools like Mint.com will help you oversee where your money is going – how much you’re spending in various categories – but unless you’re actually logging in and looking, you’re not learning.

And truth be told, I’ve realized I have no idea where I spent my entire salary last year. Sure, there’s mortgage, taxes, insurance, gas bills, electric bills, trash bills, car payments… but then there should be some leftover plenty leftover… and I had zero leftover.

buynothingmonthSo I introduce to you… the Buy-Nothing Month. I’ll give props to Liz by letting you read about it though her newsletter or if extra reading isn’t your thing, you can watch a video about it here. (And yes, if you watch the rest of the PYFChallenge videos, you will find me in one very awesome call to entry video…)

Anyone else looking for a challenge in January? Feel like a kick-start to savings success (whoa that’s cheesy former bank writer Betsy coming back out)? Want an excuse to use up all of the food in your freezer and all of that extra store pile of shampoo? Or do you just want to find out how much extra you really COULD have at the end of the month?

I’m in. I’m sure you’ll all be hearing about it. It’ll be especially interesting since I have one ski trip planned (using Christmas money) and a friend coming into town (outlet malls anyone?). But I’ll be planning on bringing my meals into work, not buying non-necessity items (even at the outlet mall), and will focus on being a budgeting genius. See you later drive through dinner. Adios random new nail polish from Target. Get gone you unnecessary coffee purchase.

Getting a handle on what I need versus what I want sounds like a brilliant idea. Let’s get creative in how I solve problems instead of just spending money to fix something. Then I’d like to say that I’d deposit the extra money at FNBO Direct – the  amazing wonderful awesome high yield savings account with a 3.50% APY as my blurb from Ms. Weston states… but sadly… the days of 3.50% are long gone. I’ll just have to settle for a 0.65%. It’s almost the same. Waa waa.

It’s all in the game…

I can’t tell you the last time that I went shopping and came home empty handed. Not because I needed anything (trust me, just visit my closet), but because I adore shopping. I love finding new things, having new things, wearing new things… and just the thrill of buying new things.

Yes. I’m materialist. Moving on…

With my recent move, life change, career switch – the previous mindset of buying anything and everything I wanted, has changed. And ladies and gentlemen, that’s an awfully large adjustment for a former spoiled girl. After a few scares with a very empty checkbook, I’ve come to terms with it and I’m thinking it’s just one way my life can amuse God a little bit. And hey, if it’s giving God a smile, it gives me a smile…

A few new friends invited me on a shopping adventure this weekend. To a beautiful mall. One may call it my own personal mecca. May I just say, it was beautiful.

And. I. Didn’t. Buy. A. Single. Thing. Well, scratch that, I didn’t buy a single thing for myself. I did, however, buy a $20 shirt (on sale) as a Christmas gift for someone else. But had it not been Christmas season, I would have come home empty handed.

You know what helped? Having someone tell me that I couldn’t do it. So today, I’d like to give a shout out to my loving boyfriend, who told me it was impossible to come home empty handed. Who knew, apparently all I needed to get my finances on track was a bit of a challenge. Making a game out of not spending money. Now there’s a new idea…