Burned by the price of wine. What would you have done?

Posted on June 16, 2013 10 Comments

Running, fishing, and loads of good food. Can a Fathers’ Day weekend get any better? Not in my book.

My dad, fishing on Sunday at a lake near his house

My dad, fishing on Sunday at a lake near his house

We did have one problem though, and I wondered what you would have done about it. Some of us kids took my dad to a Brazilian steakhouse  in Downer’s Grove for dinner on Saturday to enjoy copious amounts of meat. To give you an idea of the costs, the food was $42 per plate. That gives you unlimited access to a big salad bar, 15 types of meats, and some side items. This was an “expensive” restaurant for our family, but we were all pretty excited to splurge on my dad. Drinks were not included with the price.  Read more

Category: Money
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Five Ways to Blow Your Budget

Posted on June 14, 2013 1 Comment

We talk a lot about how to be frugal, make smart decisions, and meet your savings goals, so I thought it would be fun to highlight a few ways I’ve missed my target budget over the years. In the spirit of learning from my mistakes, here are five easy ways to blow your budget (even when you’re trying to be good):

Always a bridesmaid? Make sure you can afford it!

Always a bridesmaid? Make sure you can afford it!

  • Pay too much for housing and furnishings. My rent was too high for what I was earning when I first moved out of my parents’ home. I spent two years building up a savings cushion, only to see that cushion gradually disappear as I spent more than I made each month. Your rent or mortgage should be no more than 30 percent of your income. Above that, you’re really jeopardizing everything you’re working for. My current apartment isn’t perfect, but my rent hovers around 10 percent of my income and allows me to save big for a down payment. 
  • Attend many weddings in one summer. After college, a lot of your friends will get married. Sometimes, you’ll have five weddings or more to attend in one summer. Read more
Category: Money
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Missing the Starting Line

Posted on June 9, 2013 2 Comments

Today I was scheduled to race in the Espirit de She women’s sprint distance triathlon in Naperville, Ill. It would have been my fourth time on this course in the past five years. Unfortunately, I’m still getting over a nasty case of bronchitis and laryngitis and still on several medicines, with loads of upper airway and head congestion, so I bailed on the race. It’s the first tri I’ve ever bailed on, and I’m pretty bummed about it. It’s so disappointing to be in good physical condition but to be not functioning at 100 percent.

My concern was the swim; I couldn’t chance having a coughing fit or asthma attack in the water without access to my inhaler, and I also worried that with my ears being so congested (so odd and annoying), any water that lingers could easily turn into an ear infection. I do not want to be sick again, and I do not want to be on antibiotics again, so I stayed home while my friends completed the course.   Read more

Category: Life
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A week of spending

Posted on June 1, 2013 1 Comment

Generally, I seem to go through cycles where I spend very little, and then one week I go out and spend a lot. Last week was that week. When I go shopping, I don’t do enough damage that I go into debt; it’s all within my monthly budget. But sometimes I wonder if I could be saving more if I was a little more disciplined. Let’s take a look.

The Teva Wedge Sandals I bought for work. Super comfy. Waterproof. And expensive.

The Teva Wedge Sandals I bought for work. Super comfy. Waterproof. And expensive.

Here are a few random things I purchased last week. Read more

Category: Money

Advice for College Graduates

Posted on May 24, 2013 3 Comments


This morning, a student group came in to talk with me about communications careers and social media. It got me thinking about advice I would offer to the graduating class of 2013. I can go on for hours about careers in communications, but instead, here, I’ll focus on financial advice for your future.

  • Don’t spend what you don’t have. Plain and simple. Step one to being independent is setting up a budget and sticking to it. Sounds simple, but you’d be amazed at how often adults fail at this. Buying on credit is spending what you don’t have. Learn to live on what you earn, no matter how little. Learn how to say no. And learn to be comfortable living within your means.
  • Save, save, save. Adopt a frugal lifestyle, no matter how much you earn. Sock money away before you ever see it with automatic deposits. Invest in a retirement fund. Yes, in your 20′s. It’s important to develop good saving and spending habits at this stage in the game, rather than be someone else’s mess later on in life.   Read more
Category: Money
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