Category Archives: Ways to Save Money

The Feminist Financial Handbook

This book is so needed! Excited to be one of the first to get my hands on The Feminist Financial Handbook. Fighting the patriarchy and kyriarchy while building my wealth.

I’ve mentioned in passing that I’m writing a book.

Well, I can now say that I’ve written a book.

That’s right, guys. It’s getting real up in here.

Now that the manuscript is done, I wanted to tell you guys a little bit more about the project, what it entailed and what comes next.

The Feminist Financial Handbook

Even before I was blogging about money, I was interested in personal finances. I’d read book after book on how to make my money better. There were some crazy great hacks. Like opening CDs before the Recession. Or investing your money starting young so you could take full advantage of the power of compound interest.

And I was all, “I can’t wait until I can do this stuff!”

I wrote out goals and future budgets, but something was missing. That missing thing was an income which met more than just my baic needs so I could do things like save and invest. I was great at money management; I just didn’t have enough green to do all the responsible things I wanted to do.

I now recognize that there were some systemic road blocks in my way at that point in my life. I also recognize that there are women out there who face far larger and more frequent road blocks than myself.

And that’s the piece of financial advice that seems to always be missing: When you’re motivated, disciplined and hard-working,  yet you can’t seem to get around these massive obstacles, what do you do next?

That’s what The Feminist Financial Handbook is about. It’s about recognizing oppression and its  effects on our day-to-day personal economies. Without minimizing these struggles, it looks at ways you may be able to get a leg up so you can do all those fun things like watch your wealth explode over a period of 30-40 working years through diligent investing.

It’s about being real about the real-life situations so many of us struggle with every single day, and finding ways to take action despite them.

Defining Wealth

The first part of the book looks at how we define wealth. Does money actually  make us happier? I don’t want to spoil too much, but the answer is sometimes.

In this part of the book, we also take a deep dive into the things that actually can make us feel more content, and counting them holistically in our personal wealth equations. Because while money scarcity is no good, a relentless pursuit of cash isn’t healthy, either.

Earn More

It’s no secret that women tend to earn less than men. The gender wage gap is real. But I tend to think the commonly cited reasons behind it are sexist and fictitious. Some of these arguments include:

  • Women gravitate towards lower-paying fields.
  • Women don’t negotiate.
  • Women carry babies in their wombs.

These are all poor justifications for paying women less, and some are straight up untrue. in the book, we tackle each one of them.

Gender is not the only reason for lower pay, though. Whether you’re a single mother, disabled, a woman of color, transgender, gay, or bi, society is going to punish you economically. It’s not right. But there are some workarounds for financial success, even within a system that would have you believe you’re worth less.

You’re not worth less, by the way. And this whole section of the book outlines why that is and what we can collectively and individually do about it.

Save More

Not only is there a wage gap, but there is also a gender-centric investing gap. This gap starts young, and can result in poverty in old age. We take a look at some of the basics of financial planning and how to become more aware of any internalized sexism that may be affecting your investing decisions.

We also look at how you or your child can go to college for free–or sometimes even get paid to go back to school. I promise this is real. These strategies have worked for me in real life, and are backed by a professional in the higher education industry.

And, of course, we look at budgeting. Not just budgeting, but judgement-free budgeting. Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to spend the money you earn, or that you can’t stash it all away in pursuit of financial independence. But to do either one of these things, you’re going to need a budget.

When One Thing Affects Everything

Ladies, we put up with some intense experiences in our lives. Because of the normalization of sexism and other -isms, we suffer much higher rates of mental illness and domestic violence. Both of these areas have real, long-term affects not just on our mental health, but on our finances.

We also tend to make less money than our male counterparts when a child is diagnosed with an illness or is pronounced differently abled. And that’s on top of the gender pay gap.

This final section of the book looks at all of these things, offering up solutions for living a wealthy life in spite of the effects oppression can take on our bodies, minds and finances.

Pre-Order The Feminist Financial Handbook

Believe it or not, these are just some of the topics covered in the book. The pages take a deep dive into so many issues–issues not typically discussed in the personal finance sphere. Because they’re hard issues to tackle, and there aren’t always easy solutions.

But at the heart of the matter is hope. Hope that we can fight the system to build a successful career for ourselves as women in business or a fat e-fund as homemakers. Hope that you can build a wealthy life even when the system would stunt your cash flow. It affirms that you are worth it and capable no matter what society tells you, because there is no “right” way to be a successful woman with motivation.

Now that we’re getting ready to launch, you can pre-order today from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

I’d be so grateful if you could hop on board and join the waitlist so you can be one of the first to get your hands on a copy!

I can’t wait to hear what you think. It’s been a huge effort to produce, and I hope it opens up a lot of conversation about what we can do to make the economic plight of women better, whether we’re talking about society as a whole or ourselves as individual females.

This book was very much a collaborative effort. Because I cannot speak with experience to all the different issues women face, it largely features the experiences of others. These are the amazing women who gave so much of their time and heart to the effort:

 

Adventures in Lawn Mowing

A few months ago, I moved into my own place. I had to buy a step stool to reach things like the blinds and my cabinets, but other than that I’m fairly self-sufficient. I built a bed frame by myself when Ikea told me I’d need at least two people to get the job done. I fixed the hinge on the door to the laundry. I’ve killed bugs that in the past would have made me cry out of pure fear.

Okay, I might still cry. But I kill them by myself anyways. Push through the tears.

Also, I have a lawn. Which is pretty exciting after living in the city for nearly a decade. The only problem is that I have to mow it.

That’s not really a problem in and of itself. When I was growing up, I had to mow our nearly-an-acre, hilly plot. I would load up my walkman with my favorite Rx Bandits CD and got the job done.

But to relive the days of my youth, I had to first get a lawnmower. Getting and storing gasoline in a container freaks me out, and I’m trying to save the planet. So gas mowers were out. I looked at electric ones, but they were too expensive.

Then, my friend recommended this gem.

orange push mower

It’s a great push mower. But I wouldn’t have told you that the first time I tried to mow my lawn. It was super hot out. My neighbor had been doing my side of the lawn for me for a couple weeks while I tried to get the mower situation figured out. So I needed to pay it back and mow his.

There were innumerable sticks in the yard. Those could be removed, but there were also tree roots, which couldn’t be. There was a massive hill on his side, which was no fun to take care of. And because I had taken so long to get this done, the grass was super thick.

After about an hour of exerting more energy than anyone would ever want to, I went inside to get a drink or five of water. While I was in there, I heard a gas engine rev up. My neighbor was remowing the lawn. That’s how terrible of a job I had done. Taking pity on me, he also did the part I hadn’t started yet.

I was pretty discouraged, and gave up on my frugality. I set up services with multiple landscapers, all of whom flaked out on me. My neighbor moved out, and I had to figure out what the heck I was going to do.

The other day, I tried it again. I got out the push mower I had given up on. I set out to do my half of the lawn. And you know what?

It wasn’t bad.

Yes, I sweat, but that wasn’t something I had been afraid of. I don’t really know why it was so much easier this time. Maybe the grass was shorter. Maybe it wasn’t as humid out. Maybe I had gotten stronger Maybe my side of the lawn has less tree roots than his did.

Regardless, I’m glad I tried again. I’m glad I proved to myself I could take care of my own self. And I’m super glad I was able to do it without using gasoline, without paying someone else to do it for me, and without spending money on a more powerful electric lawn mower.

If at first you don’t succeed, try again. You might still be able to save money. And assert that you are the one with the power–you don’t need a machine or any other human being to exert that power for you.

Seven Years of Blogging

Can't wait to read this book on feminist money and check out the budget travel hashtag on IG!

This is it, guys. Today marks my seventh year of blogging.

Okay, technically it’s tomorrow, but that’s a Thursday and therefore inherently less convenient for my posting schedule.

I really can’t believe I’ve been at it this long. What started as a way to share some of the saving and earning hacks I’d been learning as a less-than-wealthy human being has morphed into a career. It’s absolute craziness and nothing that I could have predicted when I signed up for a free platform on WordPress–and then Blogspot–all those years ago.

The Feminist Financial Handbook

Today, I’m pulling in an income through this site and freelance writing. I’ve been to conferences around the country, and made some of the best friends of my life I would have otherwise never met. I’m writing a book, which you can pre-order, and crazier than it all, I’ve been in touch with people whom my writing has actually helped.

That last one is the biggest one for me. The money is nice, though I’m by no means rolling in it because of my self-imposed non-workaholic schedule. But to know that my writing has directly impacted people’s lives–that’s why I started. And it’s what keeps me going. Thank you for reading. And thank you for letting me know when this stuff works for you in real life.

What’s Changed Over the Past Seven Years

When I started, blogging was a lot more social. We’d all comment on each other’s stuff, share a lot more of our personal lives and connect in direct ways.

Sure, there were people manipulating the SEO machine, which was far easier to do in 2011, but for the most part our community was tight-knit and supportive.

There are still aspects of our community that remain that way. But I myself am guilty of not leaving as many blog comments as I once did. I don’t share as much of my life as I have become more guarded and cognizant of the stories I put out there now that this site is a little bigger and my name is often attached to my work instead of my pseudonym.

And I’m not the only one. We’ve all done it. I don’t know how new bloggers do it anymore. It seems more like a business decision to start a blog than a passionate hobby. At least in the circles I’ve found myself cemented in.

I know some of you newer bloggers will disagree with me–which is great! I want to hear your stories and secrets in the comments!

Which is why I’m all the more grateful for the friendships I made back in those early days. Before everyone started quitting their 9-5. Back when we were just youngsters figuring out this whole money thing as young adults who came of age during the Recession. (Though many of my friends are Xennials–the Recession hit their careers and cash flow hard, too.)

Adjusting to the Times

Share your best budget travel tips every week to be featured!

So much has changed in seven years. But if you want to stay relevant, you have to keep up with the times. I’m not always the greatest at this. For example, I just joined Instagram a couple months ago. Now I understand that platform might as well be the whole internet in 2018.

I’m primarily using it to showcase my travels–which nine times out of ten are hella cheap. It’s kind of cool because while I still get to interact with the personal finance peeps I love, I also have been meeting some amazing travel bloggers who are also typically budget conscious.

I miss the community aspect of blogging, but I think rather than trying to go back and recreate an environment that may no longer exist, I’m going to try something new. Something different for me. Something a little fun–at least from my perspective.

Get Your Budget Travel Tips Featured

So I’m starting a hashtag. Check out #femmefrugalitybudgettravel on Instagram! Then use it within your own post, sharing a great travel experience you had on a low budget. I’ll be sifting through the hashtag and picking a feature to repost–full credit provided–at least once a week for #WanderlustWednesdays, getting your best tips out in front of my followers.

Want to become one of my IG followers? DO IT!

Seven years later, I’m excited to build community in new, fun and exciting ways. Thank you for being here with me all these years, and I’m so excited to continue on this journey with you.

 

Finding Ways to Save Extra Money for Next Vacation

This post is brought to you in collaboration with ValuedVoice.

Going to be making some calls to save on those recurring monthly bills. Totally worth dealing with a CSR if it means I can afford that next family vacation!

Everybody wants to go on a fun, relaxing vacation every now and then, but it can be hard to save up enough money and get the time off work. While we can’t help you with your work schedule, we can help you find a few ways to pocket some extra money and start building your vacation fund. If you really need a bit of extra money, you might even consider picking up a side hustle to bolster your income. In any case, here are our top tips for saving vacation money.

Bills

If you’re trying to cut back on your monthly spending, the first thing you should look at is how much you’re spending on monthly bills and how much you can reduce that number. There are a lot of monthly bills that are set in stone, such as your rent, but you can actually take steps to reduce numerous bills.

For example, there are a number of ways to reduce your auto insurance bill. By bundling your auto insurance with other types of coverage, shopping around and looking for any eligible discounts, or even raising your deductible if it’s currently too low. Simply speak with your Pittsburgh insurance agent to learn more about how you can save.

Other bills you may be able to save on include your power bill, water bill, cable and internet bill, and your cell phone bill.

Saving Tricks

For some people, employing a simple trick is all it takes to start saving more effectively. It can be difficult to save money when you’re simply spending and putting some aside with no regard for your budget. Instead, you should make a list of all of your expenses compared to your income. You can use this list to make sure you’re staying on track and saving enough.

Many people find the envelope system to be a good method of saving. All you have to do is separate your money into envelopes for various purposes: one for rent, one for groceries, etc. As long as you only use the money from each envelope for its intended purpose, you will have some money left over at the end of the month.

Side Hustle

If you’re really having a difficult time-saving money with your income, you might consider trying a side hustle. Now is a better time than ever to find these sorts of gigs, although a traditional second job works as well.

The biggest benefit of having a side hustle is that you don’t have to dedicate too much time to it. If you want to drive for Lyft, for example, you get to choose your hours to make as much money as you need. If you were particularly busy at work this month so you made enough money and didn’t have time for your side hustle, you aren’t obligated to do it.

If saving money were easy, everybody would do it. However, as long as you follow these tips and make a conscious effort to budget and save, you can make your next dream vacation come true.

Money-Saving Tips for Your Next Backpacking Trip

Today please welcome Mads from MightyGoods as he shares some great tips for backpacking on a budget! Loving these money-saving tips as a backpacker myself. 2018 is the year of travel!

You are going on a big backpacking trip that could literally take you all over the world, but you really need to do your homework first. You could save thousands on your trip because you have taken a few smart steps before even leaving the house.

These money-saving tips for your next trip can be very helpful because they let you get some of your investment back on every little thing that you do. This is a simple way for you to cut back on your costs so that you can actually do more on your vacation.

1. Plan Ahead

Planning will always be the best thing that you can do from getting a good backpack to planning where you will go. You must choose a backpack that will help you carry all that you need for the length of the trip. You might need a really big bag for a really long trip, or you might get something smaller for a shorter trip that may only take up a few days of travel.

The planning that you do must be done with regards to everything that you are doing. This means that you have gotten the bag, packed the bag, and then made certain that you know where you are going. You have to have the tickets for all your transportation bought, and you also have to find some places that you can stay. You could pick anything from a hostel to a hotel, and you might find campgrounds that you can hang out in.

It is literally impossible to take a successful vacation without a plan. You will run into snags along the way, and your plan is the only thing that will save you when you are in a foreign country possibly all by yourself.

2. Cheaper Accommodations

You could be going anywhere from the jungles of South America to Asia on your trip, and you must be certain that you have places to stay that you can actually afford. You might stay in a hotel in one town, on a campground in another, and in a hostel in another. You might want to make your experience as varied as possible, and you must see if the locations that you choose are along your route.

The accommodations that you have chosen must have all the things that you need at that point in your trip. If you are backpacking without a tent, you cannot go to a campground, or you might find a hostel that has a trunk where you can lock all your belongings. Comparison shopping is what all the best travelers do. If you are buying a hotel room that you found on your first search, you are wasting money.

3. Transportation

Transportation could be the most frugal part of your trip, and you must be certain that you have selected the modes of transportation that you think would be best for you. You could get a ferry instead or trying to take a train, or you might take taxis instead of renting a car. You might take a bus instead of driving, or you might actually get a plane that takes you to your next step along the trip.

You can package your transportation as part of a trip, and you should never go up to the counter and just buy tickets. You are wasting money every time you do not plan ahead. You could get a rail pass to travel through Europe, or you could get a plane ride into the hills or mountains you want to see in places like Nepal.

4. Souvenirs

Buy from local vendors who always have the lowest prices, and you might get to know these people at the same time. There are many people who are buying too much, or they cannot travel with these items because they do not have a place to put them. Have your souvenirs shipped home because you do not want to slog these items around.

5. Conclusion

Your next backpacking trip could be the best time of your life, but you will have a very hard time trying to figure out what to do if you are spending too much money. You must have a plan that will help you cut down on the costs of the trip, and you also need to see if you could plan places to go where you know you will always have service on your smart phone and be near the transportation you paid less for. Each of these things works only when you plan ahead and think like a smart traveler.