Author Archives: femmefrugality

Why Being a P.I.T.A is a Good Thing!

I meet some of my favorite people in the most random and beautiful ways. In 2017, I was fortunate enough to meet Shanah Bell at a surprisingly emotional and wonderful dinner. I love talking to Shanah. In a world where I often feel like I’m walking a different path than everyone else around me–especially those my own age–her words make me want to celebrate this fact and all the rich experiences that come with it rather than allowing myself to feel isolated.

Today I want to share her words with you! Shanah recently released a great book called The Art of Being a PITA, which addresses the financials of living a nontraditional life. It’s super rad and you should pick a copy up today!

Without further ado, here’s Shanah to give you a little background on her own story.

Most people might consider being a P.I.T.A (pain in the ass!) a negative quality. In reality, that isn’t necessarily the case.

My mother gave me this nickname when I was growing up because I refused to do anything the traditional way. I am stubborn! And things haven’t really changed so much for me — I still fit into that category today! So, I suppose, if you want to call me a P.I.T.A for not always going with the flow, then so be it. I am a P.I.T.A.

But being one only means that I do things my own way, instead of how most people think I should do them. This primarily relates to how I have carved out my work-life and my career, going the non-traditional route and dumping the corporate 9-5 ideology. And actually, if anything, it has only aided me in being as successful as I am.

P.I.T.A Youth

When I was growing up, I was told that success equated to getting a good, corporate job, and that was the ONLY way to experience life-long stability.

This never felt right to me, though. I felt that there had to be a better way, because corporate jobs just don’t suit every personality. This is especially true of us P.I.T.A’s! We like to buck the system and think outside the box, which does not typically translate well into a corporate environment.

Even so, there were a few times that I tried to make it work. Oh, how I tried! I wanted to be considered stable and successful, and more than anything I wanted to make my family proud. But I never felt at home in a corporate job. I felt like those jobs sucked the life right out of me.

Why I Left Corporate Jobs Forever

Whenever I worked at a corporate job (and I’ve had a few!), I spent a decent portion of the day not doing anything productive because I had already completed my tasks. I really HATE being bored, sitting around and doing nothing, even if I am getting paid for it. I would much rather be busy, working my butt off the whole time than sitting around, twiddling my thumbs, trying to find things to do, or waiting for new opportunities to crop up.

To me, that is just ridiculous!

Then, after spending most of the day doing nothing, I would have to go sit in afternoon traffic for another hour, and once I was home it was time to decompress, which took at least another hour, if not all night.

For me, working a corporate job meant I was on someone else’s clock for close to 12 hours a day, yet only getting paid for 8. And the 8 hours I was getting paid, I wasn’t being nearly as productive as I could be on my own.

It became clear to me that leaving corporate jobs for good could not only free up my own personal time, but also potentially increase my income! I am much more productive overall when left to my own devices than I ever was when I was restricted by the constraints of a corporate job.

Tips to Being a Successful P.I.T.A

As a life-long P.I.T.A, I have learned quite a few tips, tricks, and lessons about success along the way. Some of these are:

  • Think outside of the box
  • Increase your problem-solving skills
  • Apply skills from previous jobs to new and unrelated fields
  • Never stop learning
  • Bust your ass at every job to prove that you can do anything
  • Keep lines of communication open with old co-workers, because you never know what future opportunities may lie there
  • Live your successful life — it’s different for everyone, so don’t let someone else determine what success looks like for you
  • Keep a budget and check it weekly
  • Don’t forget to save a little bit each week and put it into a high yield savings or retirement account

In Summary

Because I chose to live my life authentically, on my own terms, and in a way that I can be proud of, my income has the potential to be limitless. Every hour that I work is productive.

Therefore, I am able to work less hours and enjoy my life, while still continuing to learn and grow and increase my income. What a win-win! To me, this is the only way that I can live my life successfully. It took me a while to learn, but now there is no going back.

While being a P.I.T.A takes work, creativity, drive, and critical problem-solving skills, it is the only way that I get to live my life happily and successfully.

In what ways have you found being a P.I.T.A a good thing?

A Cat’s Guide to Money

Text reads" Who can say no to adorable kittens? Book review on Femmefrugality.com" Below that is a picture of a seafoam green book with illustrations of cats and money all over the front. The title is "A Cat's Guide to Money" author Lillian Karabaic

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to this great event in NYC. I’ll tell you a little more about it in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, you can follow along the photo journey.

ANYWAYS.

The point is I that while I was there, I got to meet a lot of new friends for the first time. One of them was Lillian Karabaic.

Lillian is amazing. She hosts the Oh, My Dollar! Podcast, has traveled the world and seen far away places I’ve only dreamed of and wrote a book where cats teach you personal finance.

In fact, she releasing the second edition in the coming weeks.

It’s a book about cats and money.

You need a copy.

A Cat’s Guide to Money

Guys, this is likely the easiest and most engaging personal finance read I’ve ever held in my hands.

It breaks down the same complex topics as other personal finance books: money mindset, budgeting, investing, student loans, debt payoff strategies, insurance, credit–it’s all in there.

But it does it with persistently delightful feline-inspired illustrations, puns, analogies and sometimes even stickers!

Very rarely do I read a personal finance book that’s so approachable. Lillian writes with empathy, zero judgement and a level of understanding that only comes through experience.

Also included: punk rock references and writing inclusive of the Rainbow Community.

Order Your Copy Today

picture of an open book with an illustration of a cat sitting on money on a solid purple background. Heading on the next page reads "2" for the chapter number, and then, "Purrrfecting the Budget"

A little over 24 hours ago, Lillian’s Kickstarter launched to get the self-published second edition to print.

In just over 24 hours, she’s already at half her goal!

If you want to get your hands on a copy, there are tons of ways to do so. To just get the book (including early shipping!) you can pledge as little as $7 for a digital copy and $22 for a print copy.

There are all kinds of ways to support this project, though, both for more and less cash. Rewards at different levels include:

  • High-quality cat stickers. (The kiddos and I gave them a test run! Love!)
  • A 12-month kitty calendar which will help you stay on top of things like bills and budgets.
  • A book donated to someone in need in your name.
  • Access to the Get Your Money Together online course.
  • An original illustration of your own money-smart cat (or just regular cat–it’s all right if they don’t know how to budget) in both print and sticker form.
  • Sponsor a financial workshop for low-income youth with a larger pledge.

Go pick up whichever package makes the most sense for your budget today!

How I Got Divorced with Kids for $800

Man and woman sitting at a table at an outdoor restaurant, unhappily having an intense discussion. White text reads "How I got divorced for $800 with kids! femmefrugality.com"

Okay, guys.

This is it.

This is the one where I confirm what you suspected last summer.

The marriage to the man I’ve been in a committed relationship with since before I started writing is over.

I’m divorced.

Don’t send me condolences! This is really a positive thing in my life. It’s a change that needed to happen for way too long. It’s a process I dragged out over the course of many years in the name of trying to save things.

And, yes, it’s something that messed with my head, kept me up crying many nights and was a horrible thing to go through.

But I did get through it. I just didn’t feel like sharing that part of my life in real-time. Now I’m in a place where being divorced feels like a relief and permission to start a new chapter of my life.

I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next chapter. I have very few concrete personal goals, though I have been making forward progress as I figure out what I want out of life.

It’s scary sometimes.

But it’s also exhilarating.

How I Got Divorced for $800 with Children

Before I get into the numbers, I want to disclose a couple of things. The first is that my ex agreed to every last thing I wanted. And I only wanted things for the children.

We’re not squabbling over financials. We didn’t own any joint property and neither of us owns any real estate.

Those things in and of themselves made this process dramatically cheaper than it could have been.

The Lawyer

If we had simply been filing a no-contest divorce, I may have taken a stab at filing the paperwork myself.

But we weren’t. There were kids involved. And it was really important to me that the paperwork surrounding that issue was rock solid legally.

So I hired a lawyer.

I began shopping by calling around to different lawyers in the county. None would give me an initial consultation for free, and many of them wanted retainers around $3,000 at the conclusion of that initial meeting.

That was not going to fly with me. I’m not a fan of paying professionals before they’ve worked to establish a professional relationship with me. Sit down with me. See if you can help me. And if you can, THEN I’ll pay you money.

I kept looking and found this lawyer who runs their business completely via USPS. You mail in the divorce paperwork and any additional information for an agreement along with payment, and they file the divorce for you.

In Pennsylvania, you can file for divorce in any county. Which can save you big bucks. So even though this lawyer was local, the filing fees were not. They were lower than what you’d pay in Allegheny County.

You have to mail back and forth a few times, but because we had not been living under the same roof for more than a year (there is no such thing as legal separation in Pennsylvania), the entire process took one month and four days.

I was holding my breath the entire time with Mx. Lawyer-I-found-on-the-internet. I really hoped I wasn’t getting scammed. I had done my research on them, but still. I was consciously taking on risk to save thousands of dollars.

Luckily for me, the lawyer was legit. I’m officially divorced. If anyone in PA is interested in using the same lawyer, get in touch and I’ll be happy to send over the information. Just keep in mind that you and your spouse must agree 100% on everything as they only file no-contest divorces.

Altogether, the costs came out to about $800, including a legal agreement about all things children.

The Costs of Staying Together

But of course, that wasn’t the only cost we incurred. Ironically enough, most of my expenses came not from the divorce, but from trying to save things.

I really don’t want to get into all the details. But I do want to say that if you, too, are trying to save a marriage or any type of relationship, set rational money boundaries at the very beginning of your attempt at heroism.

For example:

  • If this living arrangement is costing us more than $X,XXX/month, I’m not going to delay finding another living situation.
  • If we cannot communicate about anything nonetheless money, how am I going to conduct my own finances independently and perhaps sometimes in spite of the desire to “help” the other person?
  • At what point can we not afford to protect our kids from the bad news anymore?
  • This whole process is going to suck. How am I going to cope economically if I hit or trigger a period of less-than-awesome mental health?

Those are examples. I definitely lived through some of those, but others I’ve watched friends and family go through before. Some of them assume a large amount of privilege and autonomy on the part of each spouse–especially when the spouse is female.

I found these costs to be the most expensive part of the divorce, though it is important to remember I lucked out with the no-contest divorce and crazy affordable lawyer.

Emotional Labor

Both of us did emotional labor through this entire process. I think each one of us would argue that the other hasn’t done a successful job in their pursuit.

That’s been the hardest part of this whole process. I have faith in myself that I can fix my money. But getting through this entire thing emotionally has been a nightmare.

It would have been hard if nothing else bad was happening in our lives. But, of course, there were other bad things.

It would have been hard if I had a mindless desk job where all I had to do was show up for 8 hours everyday and close the Facebook tab when the boss made their rounds. But, of course, I don’t.

It would have been hard if we didn’t have children together. But we do and for that I am eternally grateful, despite the deepened wounds that come with the fact at this particular juncture in time.

Yes, trying to stay together cost me money.

No, I didn’t have to pay very much in legal fees.

But at the end of the day, I am reminded once again that in life, money is hardly the thing that matters most.

4 Tips to Drive More Traffic to Your Trade Show Booth

This post is brought to you and contributed by an outside writer.

Many people milling around a crowded Honda booth at a trade show in a warehouse.

It’s tempting to rely on your show organizer alone to drive all the traffic to your trade show booth, but in reality nothing happens until you make it happen. It takes a lot of planning, innovative thinking, and flawless execution on your part to get more footfalls to your booth, says an expert at Trade Show Display, a leading NYC banner printing company.

The usual tactics of giving away free pens and t-shirts or handing out of fliers by booth babes no longer work. So how can you make your trade show booth stand out in the crowd and attract more foot traffic? Here are four useful tips.

1. Contact your prospects ahead of time

Seven out of every 10 attendees make a list of the stores they want to visit before visiting a trade show, says a recent study by Center for Exhibition Industry Research. That’s exactly why you should find a way to reach out to your prospects days before the event. For instance, you can collect the names and contact details of all the registered attendees from your event organizer and contact them via email or direct mail. Make your email copy persuasive without making it too sound too aggressive or salesy. Use images of New York banners to make it look visually attractive.

2. Start a contest

Another good idea would be to encourage potential attendees to participate in a contest that starts online and ends on the event day at your trade show booth. Make sure that you offer exciting prizes for the winners and some innovative freebies for every participant. That way, you can create buzz and drive more traffic to your store.

3. Launch a new product

Trade shows are a great place to launch a new product or make an announcement of an upcoming product. If possible, bring the new product to your booth and allow people to touch, feel and operate it. That way, you can pique their interest in your product and brand. But before you do that, make sure your booth is well designed and have enough space for product demonstration. You can use vinyl & mesh banner printing or retractable banner printing services to show your products in a good light.

4. Make your booth functional and attractive-looking

Irrespective of the size of your booth, you can make it look neat and eye catching. All it takes is a little innovative thinking. And designing an attractive trade show booth doesn’t have to be time consuming. Thanks to same day banner printing services, now you can custom design your trade show displays really fast. Identify the focal point of your booth and place your most crucial message right there, so people can notice it on a quick glance. Also, make sure there’s enough free space for free movements inside your booth. If necessary, seek professional help for banner designing from a reputable banner printing company in NYC.

Choosing the right booth staff is also important. Ideally your booth staff should have in-depth product knowledge, experience in face-to-face marketing, good attitude and a pleasing personality.

5 Ways Printed Stickers Can Help Promote Your Brand

This post is brought to you and contributed by an outside writer.

Printed stickers laid low through the history of print marketing, despite being a staple of the industry for years. Even today, if you are looking for an easy, quick and cost-effective way to promote your brand message, stickers have no alternative.

Printed stickers come in different shapes and sizes to suit different marketing needs, says an expert at New York Banner Stands, a leading company for New York stickers. If you’re still skeptical about the power of sticker marketing, here are 5 proven ways printed stickers can help increase your brand awareness.

1. Use Car Stickers as a Giveaway Item

When you participate in a trade show or corporate event, you can hand out free magnetic stickers to the attendees. Some of them will put the sticker on their car. That way, your brand message will remain on their car for years. Another good idea would be to distribute car stickers to your loyal customers, as they are more likely to use the sticker on their vehicles.

2. Use Stickers on Consumer Products and Packaging

You can use a printed sticker as your product label. If you sell products online, consider using promotional stickers on your packaging. Printing promotional stickers is more cost-effective than custom printing on your each packaging box. No matter the size your packaging box, you can use the same stickers on all of them.

3. Use Stickers on Your Corporate Vehicles

Chances are that your company has a fleet of vehicles, including service vans and trucks, for day-to-day operations. Why not put stickers on them. That way, you can turn your company vehicles into moving billboards? You’ll find many different types of printed stickers in NY, including bumper stickers and removable stickers. Choose a sticker that suits your brand. Another good idea would be to custom print your stickers, so they look more attractive and appealing. When put up on your company vehicles, the promotional stickers travel with them, helping your brand gain more visibility.

4. Use Stickers to Share Information

While stickers are a great promotional tool, you can also use them to share important information about your product or service. Let’s say you want to inform your updated product features to your existing and potential customers. One good idea would be to print your new features on round stickers and distribute them at trade shows or corporate events.

5. Use Stickers to Improve Your Call to Action

Thanks to their small size, stickers are more effective than other print marketing materials (such as flyers and brochures) in drawing immediate attention. So if you are planning to announce a special offer or discount, consider using custom stickers NY to improve your call to action. When using stickers for call to action, make sure you use attractive colors and creative designs. If required, consider seeking professional help from experienced designers.

You can also use stickers for guerrilla marketing. For instance, use stickers as teaser ads or start a sticker campaign on a local shopping mall. That’s a great way to get word-of-mouth publicity for your brand.