It’s OK to be a Financial Hypocrite

I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m saying that it’s okay to be a Financial Hypocrite…or at least I assume so, because you clicked the link and here you are.

Photo courtesy of JP Valery Photography

I know and everyone that tolerates me knows that I can get a little obsessive (#OCDftw) when it comes to finances. There is a reason for my madness though, and the reason is that I grew up in a lower middle class family who thought they were the Joneses; for example, we couldn’t afford food, but they’d have no issue going to Best Buy on a whim and charging a $1000 television for a room that no one uses. No child should have to learn from her mother how to field off collection companies when they call, and how to lie to family about how we “don’t go to check into cash”. I knew early on that I never wanted to be like that. It makes a little more sense now, right?

So here I am, this crazy financial person freaking out over saving pennies, and that’s been part of my identity; in a sense, I’ve been proud of it. This is who I’ve been for my entire adult life, until recently.

Recently, I’ve realized that my quality of life matters more than a paycheck.

Recently, I’ve discovered that I would be happier as a poor person than as a person who can buy whatever I want.

Those realizations are not easy for someone like me. These realizations are difficult and they are life-changing. You know what else they are? They’re worth the change.

So yes, it’s okay to be a “financial hypocrite”. Life gave you lemons and you had to make lemonade. So take a deep breath, realize that it’s okay to sometimes just have to charge it on a credit card, for your sanity.

Courtesy of Lisa Fotios Photography

It’s okay and everything will work out that it’s supposed to.

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Growing Your Own Food: The Ultimate Food Savings

Photo Courtesy of Stocksnap.io via Brad Stallcup Photography

I’ll admit it…I don’t have the biggest green thumb. I’m also that person that hates grass but still, for some unknown reason, wants to live on a farm in the middle of nowhere; and hey, did I mention I’m like ‘My Girl‘ level allergic to to bees?

Photo courtesy of Stocksnap.io via Studio 7042

So yeah, this girl, has decided to grow her own food. This means I had to do a lot of researching…a lot. I had to find fruit trees that would grow indoors without the need to be pollinated by bees, and needed full sun, due to where I have to put them inside.

I went to my local Tractor Supply Co. and picked up two trees that I hope to feed me within the year. They deliver the trees to my house for free. I figured it’s worth spending $50 total on two trees, and be able to get years worth of fruit.

My research led me to:

  • Meyer Lemon Tree: The Meyer Lemon Tree is a common lemon tree – but I’d say mine will look more like a very large, tall lemon shrub.
  • LSU Purple Fig Tree: The LSU Purple Fig Tree will provide a lot of figs and grow to be almost as tall as my ceilings. Fig jam anyone? I’m starting to collect recipe for the figs now because I don’t know what else to use them on, so if you have anything, let a girl know!

I’m also looking at what food (vegetables, maybe some strawberries, garlic, herbs for tea?) I can grow in small containers to save money. If you have any ideas I’d appreciate it.

Photo courtesy of Stocksnap.io via Studio 7042

Have you grown your food indoors? What was your experience like?

Challenge Series: The Dishwasher Challenge

Challenge Series: The Challenge Series is a money saving challenge that I have found online, and challenge myself and you to do, in an effort to save money.

Photo Courtesy of StockSnap.io via WDnet Studio

It costs roughly $60 a year for the electricity usage of your dishwasher, if you use it daily. Did you know that the average dishwasher uses 6 gallons of water, per cycle? If you wash dishes everyday in your dishwasher, you’re also using 2,184 gallons each year. Lets not even get into how much gas you’re using to heat the water, if you have a hot water heater…

The Dishwasher Challenge is a challenge where you only wash dishes once a week. So, instead of using 2,184 gallons per year, you’d use 312 gallons.

Photo courtesy of StockSnap.io via Catt Liu

I have to be completely honest: I am nervous about this challenge for multiple reasons. I am nervous that my dishes sitting around will begin to stink; and, I am nervous how intentional I will have to become with my meal planning and my dish usage.

I will be keeping everyone up to date about this challenge: Will I see a difference on my electric bill? Will I see a difference on my gas bill? Will I see a difference in my water bill? I hope so. I hope it’s enough to make it a permanent change, and make all the work worth it.

Do you think you could hack it?

Sprint Reward Series: Free Class with Shaw Academy

Sprint Series: The Sprint Rewards Series will be similar to the Amazon Series, where, as long as you’re a Sprint Rewards user, I’m going to show you how to utilize the Sprint Rewards app to get free items, rewards, cash back, and enter to win vacations and cash prizes. Let me show you how to let your phone “pay for itself”.

Everyone wants something free, right? Well, if you’re a Sprint user like I am, you can get free items each week with the Sprint Rewards app. As someone who loves to get a deal, I take advantage of all of them.

Over the last year, I have received free gift cards to Coldstone Ice Creamery, Pizza Hut, iTunes, Amazon, Krispy Kreme, Lenovo, Papa Johns, and many, many more, all ranging from $2 to $10.

This week my opportunity was to redeem a coupon for a 4 week free course through Shaw Academy for a professional diploma – worth $49.95! You know your girl wasn’t turning down that opportunity. Shaw Academy has classes on everything from Financial Investing to Wedding Photography to Digital Marketing.

I chose the Professional Diploma for Social Media Marketing course. I was able to choose which times I take my class based on my schedule, and I’m very excited that I am going to get a professional diploma that I can add to my resume.

As always, a successful week in the land of the Sprint Rewards App. Along with the cheapest unlimited everything plan I’ve ever seen, I’m happy this business also rewards it’s customers.

Sprint Rewards Series: Free $50 Cash per line each year

Sprint Series: The Sprint Rewards Series will be similar to the Amazon Series, where, as long as you’re a Sprint Rewards user, I’m going to show you how to utilize the Sprint Rewards app to get free items, rewards, cash back, and enter to win vacations and cash prizes. Let me show you how to let your phone “pay for itself”.

Well, this post is actually little different. It’s not exclusively through the Sprint Rewards app, instead it’s a reward for being a Sprint user as well as a Credit Union member. As long as you belong to a credit union anywhere in the United States, you will get a yearly deposit of $50 into your credit union savings or checking account, courtesy of Sprint and Love My Credit Union. I have my auto loan through a credit union, so I use that account as my membership verification, and they pay $50/year, or $4.16/month to my car payment. It’s not a lot, but it’s $50 less I have to pay on my loan each year.

Also, this $50 per year? It’s not per account, it’s per line. So, on a family of four, you’re getting $200 back each year, not $50.

Sprint and Love My Credit Union also currently have a deal that if you don’t have Sprint, and you switch to them and get $200 for free in addition to the $50 yearly deposit, as well as getting the 3rd, 4th, and 5th lines added to your account for free.

Amazon Series: Why You Need the Amazon Credit Card

The Amazon Series: I am an avid shopper of all things Amazon, and I live and breathe my Amazon Prime account. I’m here to show you how Amazon can save you a lot of money too.

I know what you’re thinking – a Credit Card??!?! Why are you encouraging people to get a credit card?! Here’s what I’ll say to that: as long as you will pay it off each month, this card will be extremely helpful to you in an insane amount of ways.

To start, any time you use your card anywhere, you will get a reward back in the form of redeemable Amazon points (literally Amazon gift cards) that are credited to your account monthly. There’s nothing more that I hate with my bank credit card, where my rewards are only given to me quarterly – they’re also not giving me as much money back anyway.

Members of Amazon Prime with the Amazon Credit Card can also buy items completely interest free (you will not be eligible for point rewards on these purchases), or with monthly payments, or both. I completely redid my home office doing the interest free monthly payments, and had it completely paid off in 4 months. $56 interest free per month is much easier for me to manage than $225 as a lump payment with interest, as I would imagine it is for almost anyone.

You will earn 5% cash back anytime you shop on Amazon or at Whole Foods, with this card. You will earn 2% at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on everything else. There is also no annual fees – that’s right, $0 – and no fees if you use the card in a different country.

Since I drive so far to work now that I’m a homeowner, I make sure to always use my Amazon Prime Credit Card for gas, as well as redeeming my weekly receipt for gas on CoinOut, ReceiptPal, iBotta, Fetch Rewards, and trunow. With this process I’m getting back at least $1 each time I fill up, which equals out to $52 back over the course of a year, or two weeks of free gas.

As long as you can make sure you always pay your bill, I absolutely recommend the Amazon Credit Card, as it will help improve your credit score, as well give you rewards in the form of free gift cards each time it’s used, anywhere it’s used.

Sprint Rewards Series: Free FandagoNow Rental

Sprint Series: The Sprint Rewards Series will be similar to the Amazon Series, where, as long as you’re a Sprint Rewards user, I’m going to show you how to utilize the Sprint Rewards app to get free items, rewards, cash back, and enter to win vacations and cash prizes. Let me show you how to let your phone “pay for itself”.

Everyone wants something free, right? Well, if you’re a Sprint user like I am, you can get free items each week with the Sprint Rewards app. As someone who loves to get a deal, I take advantage of all of them.

Over the last year, I have received free gift cards to Coldstone Ice Creamery, Pizza Hut, iTunes, Amazon, Krispy Kreme, Lenovo, Papa Johns, and many, many more, all ranging from $2 to $10.

This week, my free reward was a digital film rental with FandangoNow. I didn’t realize that Fandago had a ‘Netflix style’ option or site, and was very impressed with the quality. I was very excited to get this free reward, as it was worth $5.99.

I redeemed my certificate to watch the film Aladdin, which I had wanted to see in theaters but did not have it in my budget to go see. It was nice and stormy, I cuddled up with a blanket I knitted with free yarn, and turned on my laptop to watch the show, along with some chips and homemade garden-sourced salsa. It was a great, frugal way to spend an evening.