Choose Yourself

orbiting earth


Hope you guys are well and safe and HEALTHY!!

For those who missed it, I turned in my “1 month notice” of blogging last week, and in a short couple of weeks from today I will be officially retiring from the blog after 12 straight years – Eeek!

Super excited and nervous at the same time, but it finally feels “right” and I’m ready to now redirect all that energy into another $$$-related venture :) More on that as soon as it’s live (est. launch date, July 1st), but if you’re interested in seeing who I hand-picked to carry the torch over at Budgets Are Sexy, head on over to this post here: Who the heck is 5am Joel?

This newsletter here will continue going on as it always has, so anytime you ever want to reach out just hit “reply” and I will be here! Or hit me on Twitter where I hang out throughout much the day: @BudgetsAreSexy

Much love,

j money signature


Articles I enjoyed writing recently:

“Finding Money” — An illustrated story by my 7 y/o 😂

Things I learned this week… — There’s a subreddit for “The Financially Challenged”,  you can buy a lot of random things from Japanese vending machines, haha…, theories on why people throw shoes up on telephone wires, what the Michelin Man’s real name is, and more…

Community Fund Update 💙 Batch One of Giving! — We raised a total of $665 and helped 7 different families across the country + Guatemala! Way to go, guys!

The Best Stapler For Coin Collecting — Featured on my newly revived coin blog,! The answer to this question, btw, is the Max Flat-Clinch Stapler (Full Size) 👍

Could you sell your house and all your possessions like Elon Musk? — Musk recently declared, “I am selling almost all physical possessions. Will own no house.” followed by, “Don’t need the cash. Devoting myself to Mars and Earth. Possessions just weigh you down.” Do you agree??


Articles I enjoyed from around the web:

Strive To Wake Up And Do Nothing via Retire Before Dad — “You may not be a manager at your job, but you are the CEO of your household and your finances. So how can you take this management philosophy and apply it to your life?”

The Definitive Guide To Making A Lot More Money At Work via Banker On FIRE — “Most people make a mistake in trying to be perfect at every single aspect of their jobs, toiling away late into the night. Perfection is overrated.  Do a really good job at things that matter.  Ignore everything else.”

Choose Yourself (TEDx Talk) by James Altucher — “If you don’t make the choices in your own life, then someone else is going to end up making them for you, and it won’t be good.”

The Netherlands Pays People To Bike To Work via Huff Post — “Where just 1 percent of all journeys by U.S. residents are made by bicycle, Dutch residents make more than 25 percent of trips by bike – a higher proportion than any other country. Yet the government thinks too few citizens are cycling to work…”

And then lastly, a ditty I caught from @APurpleLifeBlog ;)

bank robbers meme


Pic up top of the Tesla Roadster orbiting Earth via Wikimedia Commons

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It’s okay to laugh.

relative importance in 2020


Happy whatever day it is today! ;)

I know it’s wild out there, but I hope you’re still doing your best to stay sane and healthy! We’ve done exactly 1 hour of school work this week and our walls are completely covered in marker, so it’s safe to say we won’t be getting any Parent of The Year awards any time soon, haha…

But we are still safe and healthy and all bunkered down together, and I hope more than anything that you guys are just as safe as well!

As always, if you ever need someone to talk to I’m only an email away, and in the meantime here are a bunch of stuff you might find helpful/entertaining to help you pass the time in a fun and productive way…

Keep hanging in there! We’re in this together!


Popular articles on the blog recently:

5 things I learned today… — Sponsored by: THE QUARANTINE. “When you’re stuck inside every day, you happen to learn things!” ;)

Fascinating jobs + salaries across the country! — Some of the more neater jobs from Parade’s annual “What People Earn” report. Most specifically – the vending machine hustler!

7 ways to (financially) feng shui your house — If you ever wanted to talk about toilets on this blog, today’s your day!

Direct Primary Care (DPC) – A health insurance option worth looking into? — An idea to consider if you’re frustrated with all the health insurance options out there!

How I got scammed by p2b fraudsters – and how we’re fighting back — A warning about international peer to business lending platforms, specifically Kuetzal, Envestio, and more recently Monethera and Grupeer.

New book + giveaway: “The Money Tree” by Chris Guillebeau — “A compelling story with captivating characters to share its core insight: if you’re struggling with debt, there’s a way out—without giving up your lattes…”


Favorite finds from around the web! — “The first and only dating website for FIRE people.” Haha… And with over 500 users so far it seems to be doing well! ;) Sign up for it so I can live vicariously through you, please!! ;) (It’s FREE!) – “Financial advice, frugality tips, stories, opportunities, and general guidance for people who are struggling financially. No Judgement, just advice!”

It’s Okay To Laugh via Accidental FIRE — “I’ve been blogging for about 2.5 years but have never had anything truly go viral, until now. My infographic post from April 3rd, titled “Relative Importance in 2020, So Far”, has made it’s way around the world in ways I could never have imagined.”

Welcome to Your Retirement Test Drive via Retire by 40 — “I got bad news. Social distancing is your retirement test drive. This is life in retirement, on hard mode*. If you can’t deal with this, you are not ready for retirement. They aren’t exactly the same, but there are many similarities. Let’s go through some of them.”

Six Feet of Separation – A Youth Newspaper via — A purely joyful read including reviews of last night’s dinner, a homemade Mad Libs, and a pencil drawing of a bird sitting on a cat. [Hat tip to for this one out]

Get rich… in Monk Mode via The Escape Artist — “Now is the perfect time to experience what I call Monk Mode. In Monk Mode you work, you think and you rest. Then you repeat. In Monk Mode you spend NO MONEY other than needed for food and utilities.”

Man cheers up his neighbors during lockdown by putting cringey dad joke placards in his front garden via Daily Mail — “The anonymous neighbor, who lives in LA, shares daily quarantine jokes to lift the spirits in his local area.”

5 Months To Retirement: Yes I’m Still Quitting In September via A Purple Life — “As I’ve said before, I’m not afraid to be a ‘failed’ retiree. Even with all the planning in the world, any retirement can fail given the right mix of circumstances… But I am afraid to let my life or the lives of my loved ones pass me by while I sit chained to a desk.”

And then lastly, this great idea from Fritz Gilbert on coming up with enough *fun* things to do when you do finally pull the retirement chord – or even anytime, really!

“My wife came up with an innovative idea, and we’re implementing it in this final year of my working career. Every week, each of us put a note (or two) in a jar we keep for the purpose. On the note is an activity that we’d like to do. It’s typically a low-cost idea, and it can be close to home. For example, she may put in “Kayak down the Toccoa River“, and I may put in “Hike on the Appalachian trail“. Neither of us knows what the other is putting in. After we retire, we’ll pull one note per week from the jar, and do that activity in the next 7 days. This will give us 2+ years of weekly activities, with an even mix of things “He Wants” and “She Wants” to do.”


Hope you get into something fun this weekend :)

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Pass the money

coffee guy

Morning, guys!

I hope you guys are staying SANE and SAFE out there wherever you are in the world!! I know it’s crazy right now, but all things eventually pass! They always do!

In the meantime, here are some articles we posted up on the blog in recent weeks, as well as some of my favorite things I found across the web… I hope they help in some fashion!

And I’m always here if you ever need someone to talk to. Just hit “reply” and I’m all ears…



Popular on the blog:

#Overheard at The Coffee Shops… — A trip down memory lane, now being 3 weeks from my last visit! Not many financial gossips in this batch, but I sure am saving more now not being able to go to them every day! So that’s worth something, right?! RIGHT???!

A Christian’s Perspective on Debt-Free Living — A reader drops by the site to share his journey recovering from debt and what Dave Ramsey’s baby steps has meant for him and his wife.

Quarantine Check-in and Savings— A quick update on how the Money household is going through these quarantine times… (hint: there are doodles all over our walls)

Budgets are Sexy?5 AM Joel shares his thoughts on budgeting during these trying times, and admits he hasn’t been doing that great of a job with it lately! Maybe it’s time for you to reconnect with your long lost one too! :)

New Book + Giveaway: “Keys to a Successful Retirement” – Fritz’s new book comes out! If you’re a fan of The Retirement Manifesto blog you’ll be a fan of this book! And we scored 3 copies to give away before it even hits shelves! (May 5th)

Do You Feel More Prepared Having Lived Through 2008? — Caught a quote a few months ago that said over half of all millennials feel “more prepared” for the next recession having lived through 2008, and now curious if that still holds true?!


Favorite finds from around the web: — A safe visual search engine for kids! — Create a portrait of Abe Lincoln out of pennies!

Guided Meditation Video With Leon via YouTube (NSFW) — Journey into serenity with Curb Your Enthusiasm’s notoriously zen Leon, J. B. Smoove ;)

Free Mindful Budgeting Templates via Cait Flanders — “There are weekly spending sheets, a monthly budget, a monthly calendar to stay organized, and two exercises to help you do monthly check-ins to see how you’re feeling + quarterly check-ins to ensure your spending aligns with values.”

Creating a Walking Map via Prepare 2 FIRE — “In early February, I posted that I was walking each day and to make it more enjoyable I would imagine myself walking across the country. I’m walking for overall better health. While I do enjoy getting out each day, the added incentive to now see where I will end up on a map is making it more fun…”

How The Rich Are Running From Coronavirus via LA Times — “Encased in steel, the bunkers come with a variety of add-ons such as escape tunnels, hidden doors, bullet-proof glass and pepper spray portals. For those with a bit more coin, Lynch and his team will make the bunker feel like a home. “Movie theaters are common,” he said. “We built one in California that has a shooting range, swimming pool and bowling alley.””

Great Love & Great Suffering by Josh Radnor — “There’s something so moving about the millions of people taking the quarantine seriously because it signals a deep belief in community and a respect for the most vulnerable among us. I look at staying in as a civic responsibility, a powerful statement that I am a member of a community, a resident of a state, and a citizen of a country. My life is not for me and me alone.”

Parents Turn Kid’s Drawing on Wall into Framed Work of Art via My Modern Met — “After coming home to find their 6-year-old son had used a green marker to draw a little house on one of their walls, instead of bestowing punishment, they decided to frame it—just like a masterpiece in a gallery.”

And lastly, a fun poem by children’s author Amy Ludwig Vanderwater:

pass the money poem


May all those dollars return back to you as well!

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“You have to look at what you have, not at what you had”

flying heart


Congrats on making it to Friday! :)

Here’s a bunch of my favorite things I caught from around the web, as well as the most popular articles on Budgets Are Sexy lately…

I know it’s scary out there but at least we have each other, right?! RIGHT???!


Popular on the blog:

A friendly reminder… – YOU ARE INVESTED FOR THE LONG HAUL!

An Aspiring Goal to Shoot For – Spending more on *donations* than *wants* every month.

$$$ Jokes For Your Amusement — For anyone needing a smile :)

Some life updates — Including feelings about our minivan, our newish house, our dog (❤️🐶❤️🐶), my blog, my kids, as well as an update on my dear friend Agatha battling some stuff right now…

Joe’s $400k Net Worth + 5 Key Takeaways — “I like to track and look at our budget in terms of daily spending because it really lets you appreciate and understand what you need to do to achieve your long term goals.”

Wondering if YOU ever spend money inside video games? — “77% of respondents have spent money on Fortnite in-game purchases, which was up from 69% in 2018. The average amount spent was $102.42…”


Favorite finds from around the web:

How to Create Gratitude via Raptitude — “This thing you have – this meal, this bed, these clothes, this friend – if it’s possible to have it, it’s possible not to have it. If you take a moment to imagine not having it, the good fortune of having it is no longer lost on you.”

National Parks In America Based On Their Worst Review (16 Pics) via Bored Panda — “I’m an illustrator and I have always had a personal goal to draw all 62 US National Parks, but I wanted to find a unique twist for the project. When I found that there are one-star reviews for every single park, the idea for Subpar Parks was born.”

Panera’s New $9/Month Coffee Subscription is  via LifeHacker — “If you’re always popping into the same coffee shop for a quick cup—and that coffee shop just happens to be Panera—you might want to get a subscription.”

J.Money: Budgets Are Sexy, Accidental Entrepreneur & The ‘Drama List’ via WealthFit — “In this amazing show, we talk about budgets and how they can be sexy. We talk about being an accidental entrepreneur, the drama list and why everybody needs the drama list. We talk about the ride of going from $50,000 in net worth all the way to $1 million and where you can see this each and every year undocumented. We also get into a $40 bottle of water and how that’s even possible.”

Now Is When We All Learn to Darn Our Socks Again via NY Times — “”Visible mending” has been taken up by those who want to protest fast fashion and disposable culture. It’s also thrifty.”

Twitch Streamers Make Thousands Literally by Just Sleeping via Wired — “Over the past few weeks, streamers have been training their cameras on their mattresses as they doze off. In the intervening hours, viewers use Twitch’s donation function to gift them small quantities of money—$2 dollars, $5 there. A couple of streamers cutely refer to them as “slumber parties.””

[How to Make Money in Your Sleep via NY Times – another good article on this]

This App Saves Money On Prescriptions via HuffPost — “We found that frequently the price of the same pills can be double or triple at one store what another store just miles away charges. In some cases, the highest price was more than six times the lowest price listed on GoodRx.”

And then my FAVORITE find this week – cute little fruit savers by Hutzler!


Hang in there everyone! Life is still good despite the disruption!

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Coasting your way to retirement

mystical brain


Here’s a bunch of great reading material to feed your brain over the weekend :) Amazing what you can still learn about money and life even after being around for thousands of years…

Lemme know if you’ve read anything great lately!


Most popular articles on Budgets Are Sexy:

What Haters Are Like — Tell me if you don’t know people like this…

Utterly Useless Facts About Money & Life — Picked up a fact book at my local thrift store and it did not disappoint ;) See if you can slip the facts on wombats or tampons into normal conversation today!

Something ALL stores should do! — Just found out that my favorite local bookstore will accept ANY gift card from ANY place in lieu of cash, so long as it’s active and they can verify how much is on it! How incredible is that??

A cool way to use your tax refunds — “I use that tax return to pay all my bills for a year. I multiply my cell, internet, Netflix, and car insurance by 13 months (I like an extra months padding), then take that amount and add the cost of my contacts and vision exam, dental costs, and life insurance. I then deposit that amount into a Capital One 360 account and pay my bills directly from it.”

New Book & Giveaway: “Don’t Fall For It: A Short History of Financial Scams” — The latest book from Ben Carlson of A Wealth of Common Sense blog fame… You have until Sunday night to enter for one of the 3 copies we have!

Are you cool with stores going cashless?! — Lots of talk lately about stores going cashless and wondering where you stand on all this? Are you a big cash and coin lover like me, or do you say good riddance to it all?!


Favorite finds from around the web:

From Junkie to FIRE via Millennial Revolution — “The thing about being what we call a “hope to die dope fiend” is that you create wreckage in literally every dimension of your life. I had to rebuild everything. My credit, health, finances, living arrangements, familial relationships, and yes, my criminal history.”

12 Shocking Things I Learned by Working as a Butler at the Plaza Hotel via Pocket — “Serving the world’s rich and famous, it turns out, plumbs the depths of an alternative universe that readily embraces the absurd without even batting an eye. And that was only the beginning of what I learned.”

U.S. renters are richer, older, and have larger households via Curbed — “Perhaps the most significant change in the nation’s rental landscape is the shift in just who is renting today. The rental market has welcomed increasing numbers of high-income renters, with the percentage of renter households making $75,000 or more in 2019 hitting 22 percent, the highest level on record.”

Instant Blog Post Index in a Google Sheets Spreadsheet via Spreadsheet Man — “This spreadsheet – which you can see here and get your own copy (use the File / Make a Copy menu) has a simple formula that you don’t even have to change yourself – you can just enter the new blog RSS feed URL on the sheet and the formula will use that! The IMPORTFEED() function does have a limit of grabbing just 250 posts – but it’s still pretty powerful!”

If your cash gets damaged, this Treasury team will make sure it’s not a lost cause via The Washington Post — “Every week, the federal office in Southwest Washington receives hundreds of padded envelopes, boxes and even safes stuffed with cash ravaged by water, fire, shredding machines, insects or a canine’s teeth… Last year, the agency issued checks for more than $35 million to businesses and individuals who had submitted their battered money…”

Warren Buffett says Berkshire is ‘100% prepared’ for his death via Yahoo! Finance — “Today, my will specifically directs its executors — as well as the trustees who will succeed them in administering my estate after the will is closed — not to sell any Berkshire shares… The will goes on to instruct the executors – and, in time, the trustees – to each year convert a portion of my A shares into B shares and then distribute the Bs to various foundations… I estimate that it will take 12 to 15 years for the entirety of the Berkshire shares I hold at my death to move into the market.”

Every $1 You Invest Now Will Be Worth $7.61 in 30 Years via Four Pillar Freedom — “There is actually a name for this investment & lifestyle approach: Coast FIRE. The whole idea is to accumulate enough money at an early enough age that you no longer need to invest any more to achieve financial independence by age 65 (or whatever you define as a retirement age). Once you have enough money invested, you can simply “coast” your way to retirement.” – a randomly awesome site by Neal Agarwal… Here are a few of the simulations off it you might enjoy. Click to check ’em out!

life stats(A showcase of things that have happened since you were born)

printing money(A way to visualize rates from minimum wage to the national deficit)

spend bill gates money(Where you have $90,000,000,000 to blow on whatever you like!)


Happy spending :)

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Will you be my library lover?

check me out anytime

Morning, y’all!

Before we get to it today, I just have to thank you all SO SO MUCH for helping raise over $3,100 for my friend Agatha last week!!

She just messaged me saying she had hit a pretty frustrating – and exhausting – wall in recovery, and then all of a sudden these donations came pouring in and it helped her to push through! So way to go, guys!! I know most of you don’t know her at all, but please know you made a difference in her life and I am beyond thankful for it. This stuff could happen to any of us, it’s so scary!

Now onto some more positive news… :)


On Budgets Are Sexy this week:

Happy Library Lovers’ Day! — If you can’t stand Valentine’s Day, try out this little known holiday today instead ;) Not everyone receives flowers on V Day, but everyone is welcome at their library!

10 Ways to Woo on Budget 💙 — For those who love Valentine’s Day!

Side Hustle #79: Flipping Guitars! — Daniella from stops by the blog to share her experience (and profits!) helping her wife sell guitars online! Making $10,000 alone last year!

Some $$$ Jokes to Cheer Up Your Wallet — Some fun little ditties to help pick your wallet back up… Otherwise known as “Dad jokes”.

New Book & Giveaway: “How Much Money Do I Need to Retire?” — Todd Tresidder, aka The Financial Mentor, recently released the 2nd edition of his book and we’re giving away *3 copies* of it this week! Make sure to enter by Sunday!


Favorite finds around the web this week!

What I learned by hosting an investing meetup via Frugal Wheels — “Unlike Michael Scott’s pyramid scheme, the things I taught were pretty basic, safe investment practices.”

101 Things to do at 5am! via 5am Joel — “I’ve tried almost all of these things over the past 3 years of getting up at 5am. These activities have kept me busy, creative, productive, and enjoying my mornings.”

The American Dream vs. The American Trap via Daily Collegian — “No experience has compared to my encounter with Maria. I will never meet her again, but I will also never forget her and what she taught me.”

Exposed! Mr. Money Mustache’s 2019 Bachelor Spending! via Mr. Money Mustache – “My expenses are really easy to track: I funnel all my spending through a rewards credit card, which saves me about $2000 each year… Meanwhile, I hook up a third party financial app to automatically monitor these transactions, alert me to any unusual activity, and – the best part – automatically categorize and add everything up for me.”

The Economics of Unused Gift Cards via The Hustle — “Every year, Americans spend billions of dollars on gift cards. But what happens to the money when the cards aren’t redeemed?

You Can Literally Sell Your Poop For Cash via Scary Mommy — “I know. I KNOW. Who on God’s green earth would want to donate their dung? Well, according to The New York Times, quite a few people would. And not only are these people making a pretty penny for handing over their chocolate lava, but they are helping to save lives in the process.”

The Shirley Temple King via @chezspence — “Just found this instagram account that’s a kid who calls himself the Shirley Temple King and goes to restaurants and gives brutally honest reviews of their shirley temples. It’s so pure and I love him so much.”

And then lastly, a tip from yours truly:

junk drawer organization tip ******

Happy Friday, y’all! However you feel like celebrating! :)

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The time will pass anyway

pacman food


So I don’t usually do this, but I have a friend who’s suffering from something pretty scary right now (“Complex Regional Pain Syndrome” aka “The Suicide Disease”) and if you wouldn’t mind sharing this or donating a few bucks to help her out I’d be SUPER appreciative:

We raised some good money blogging about it last week, but would love to do one more final push for her to get her closer to her goal of $10k! So anything you could do would be awesome! (But no pressure!)

In other, not-nearly-as-important news, here were my favorite articles from around the web lately, as well as those I published on the blog…

I swear none of them are as sad as that link up there :)


Popular Articles from the blog lately:

19 Things Future Multimillionaires Do… — Stumbled across this listicle and wondered if we’re on the right track or not :) How many of these can you confidently check off?

10 Ways to Get You Closer To Your Best Life — A handful of things you can do to be a better person to others, or yourself :) Both very important!

How Much Americans Have Saved For Retirement — If you’re a millennial and rank in any of these levels outside the first one, place your hand here as you’re already beating out a good portion of everyone else ;)

The Different Wealth Levels and How They Affect Your Decisions — If you’re wondering why you treat money differently now than you did back in the day, this is the article for you. Especially those who have gone UP the ladder over the years.

3 Tricks I Do That Helps Me Be More Charitable — You know what really impresses me? Unicorns. You know what impresses me 10x more? People who naturally think of others before themselves :) Unfortunately for me I’m closer to being a unicorn than I am someone who thinks of others first, but over the years I have learned that you can trick yourself into being a better person just by incorporating a few daily habits.

Saving up for something? Buy the stock first! — For instance, if you’re looking to buy the latest iPhone, buy Apple shares worth that phone and see if you still want to buy the phone… That way, you tend to reduce unnecessary expenses while building a decent portfolio to rely on.


Articles from around the web I really liked this week:

How $39 Changed Our Mortgage Payoff Journey Forever via She Picks Up Pennies  — “On May 28, 2015, I made our first extra payment toward the principal. I paid $39.04. It almost seems cute, but that small amount was so powerful. In so many ways, it was the first domino that led us to exactly where we are now.”

A fun (and highly profitable) psychological trick to try on someone via Quora — “It’s called “The Five Dollar Auction.” You stand up in front of the group, and hold up a five dollar bill. You explain that you will auction this five dollar bill off, and the highest bidder gets it, even if the high bid only a dime. Bidding starts at 10 cents, and goes up in increments of 10 cents or more. There’s just one trick to this auction, and that is that when the auction ends, whoever has the second highest bid also has to pay, but doesn’t get anything.

11 Reasons Not to Become Famous via Tim Ferriss — “13 years, 5 books, 1,000+ blog posts, and nearly 500M podcast downloads later, I’ve learned a few things about the promises and perils of seeking fame…. If you suddenly had 100,000 or 1,000,000 or 10,000,000 more followers, what might happen? I thought I knew, and I was naive.”

The American Dream vs. The American Trap via Daily Collegian — “I have had the pleasure of traveling to about twenty countries and meeting many young people along my travels. I learned a lot about these people through my experiences, but I have learned even more about myself and the country I call home. No experience has compared to my encounter with Maria. I will never meet her again, but I will also never forget her and what she taught me.”

Google Flights — “A super easy way to price flights with filtering for airlines, dates, times and class of service. You can even track flights, see how the cost compares to average, and receive email updates on prices.” – mentioned in 5 Strategies to Improve Your Cash Flow and Savings via XY Planning Network

The Difference Between Getting By and Getting Better via Raptitude — “I decided it was worth getting better at this one small corner of life. So I began to make a game out of having warmer and more deliberate checkout exchanges. I speak up, engage, smile. It amounts to a straightforward switching of intentions: each purchase is now a chance to become a slightly more personable customer (and person), rather than simply the final step of the shopping process.”

Obvious to you. Amazing to others. [VIDEO] by Derek Sivers — “Any creator of anything knows this feeling: You experience someone else’s innovative work. It’s beautiful, brilliant, breath-taking. You’re stunned. Their ideas are unexpected and surprising, but perfect. You think, “I never would have thought of that. How do they even come up with that? It’s genius!” Afterwards, you think, “My ideas are so obvious. I’ll never be as inventive as that.””

And lastly, this reminder to marinate on over the weekend…

Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. – Earl Nightingale


Get that ball rolling :)

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Index and Chill

money shock

Happy Friday!

Hope you ended the week richer and happier ;)

Lots of juicy stuff on the blog and around the web this week, so let’s get to it!


Articles from the blog:

It’s official – I’m a Minivan Dad!! — And boy, do I feel like a dad haha… One of the first things I actually noticed, but it’s kinda cool… I AM a dad, and I’m proud to be one! :)

Did you know you have to pay taxes on all winnings?! — It’s true… Winnings are considered “income” and you can get in some serious doo-doo if you try to hide it and it’s not only applicable to things like winning the lottery or hitting it big on slots.

What are some of your controversial personal finance beliefs? — Here are three of mine: renting is better than owning for a lot of people, buying Starbucks is perfectly fine to do!, and I always tip 20% no matter the service I receive.

When does it make sense to spend more on your looks?! — “Last year I met up with a life insurance agent who cleared $300k last year and he was telling me how he bought these suits at $1k-$3k price points. I was shocked and told myself I would never. Clothes depreciate. What a waste. Then it struck me. He made almost 3x money as me last year! Maybe he understands something I do not.”

Side Hustle #78: Being a TV/Film Extra! [$200+/day] — Another addition to our Side Hustle Series! Peggy Bree stops by the blog to share her experience being in over 200 shows in 6 years, and what you can expect from it all.


Articles from around the web I liked:

Treasure Fever via Hakai Magazine — “Nearly three million vessels lie wrecked on the Earth’s ocean floor — from old canoes to the Titanic — and likely less than one percent have been explored.”

How I Made $39,000 on Wheel of Fortune via Dads and Dollars — “Without going into too much detail, I will point out that the first round was what is called a “perfect round”. The wheel was very, very good to me in that round, and I never relinquished control. Oh, and it was a jackpot round, which I hit, and I got a half-car. And I had been worried I would fail epically on television.”

Taco Bell offers $100,000 salaries and paid sick time via NY Times — “In the increasingly tight U.S. labor market, the company is betting a higher salary will help it attract workers and keep them on the team.”

Lego sets its sights on a growing market: Stressed-out adults via The Washington Post — “The world’s largest toymaker is pitching its bricks as a form of mindfulness. Adults are happy to play along — as long as there are instructions.”

The Other Environmental Crisis via Raptitude — “Human interaction probably isn’t in danger of extinction, but it is quietly losing great swaths of its natural habitat. Technology is making real interaction less necessary at work, home, and everywhere in between, which must mean there’s simply less of it in the world than there was a decade ago.”

Apparel that shows your FIRE pride by Accidental FIRE — “You have it together, you’re investing wisely and getting closer to financial independence every day. Show the world that you’ve chosen to live differently, and on your own terms!”

FIRE t-shirts


Thanks for reading :)

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How To Go Deeper In 2020

magic book

Hey friends!

How are those 409s doing? ;)

Lots of great and inspiring stuff out there this year so far, and as always you’ll find my own personal favorites shared below…

Keep trackin’ and stackin’!


Favorite Articles from the blog lately:

A New Year’s Secret — Most people don’t know this, but I promise it’s true. A fairy once told me, Now I pass it on to you!

A Financial PowerPoint Presentation That Screams “I Love You!” — Remember our guy last year who put together a 19 slide PowerPoint presentation of his finances to woo the socks off his wife? Well he’s at it again this year, and upped the game by adding an additional 15 slides for good measure ;)

8 Money Challenges to Try in The New Year –A handful of great ways to save more and spend less in the new year! Including the 52 Weeks Challenge, $2.00 Bill Challenge, Weekly Craigslist Challenge,  365 “Less Things” Challenge, and the ever popular: $1,000 Savings Challenge.

A Cheat Sheet on “The Automatic Millionaire” — A one-pager on the classic finance book – The Automatic Millionaire, by David Bach. One of my top 3 favorite $$$ books!

Product of The Month –> Debit Card Sleeves with Ledger! — I know not everyone likes to manually track stuff, but if your current system isn’t working too hotly it may be worth giving it a shot… It really is amazing just how much more AWARE it makes you when you’re forced to write everything down, and at $2.75 a pop (with free shipping!) these sleeves are well worth a try.

And if you’re new to the blog, here were the “best ofs” over the past year:

The most popular articles of the blog in 2019
My *favorite* articles from the blog in 2019


Favorite articles from around the web:

Clever Ways to Give Cash via @TwoClawsMedia — “None of the kids wanted toys for Christmas this year, they just wanted cash. Understandable, but cash as a gift, while practical, always feels impersonal, so I made special packaging. Went over well.”

A Financial Independence Spreadsheet from Mad Fientist — Want to take your finances more seriously in 2020? Start tracking your money in the FI Spreadsheet!

How To Go Deeper In 2020 via Raptitude — “Taped to the door of my friend’s apartment, right at eye level, is an Anais Nin quote: “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.””

Keanu Reeves on Money via Medium — “Keanu Reeves rarely talks about money — but when he does, it’s life-changing. Choosing one of these goals as your focus will produce more money than you could ever expect.”

Climbing the Wealth Ladder from Of Dollars And Data – “If I gave you $100, would that change your life? What about $100,000? How about $100 million? Your answer will depend on many things including age, family situation, and your current net worth. More importantly though, how you change your behavior after receiving such money can tell you a lot about your current financial standing.”

Total Cost of Ownership: Tesla Model 3 Compared with Audi A5 and Toyota Camry via EVANNEX — “Using 2019 figures, the new study reached the astonishing conclusion that, when all relevant factors are taken into account, Model 3, which is indisputably a superior car, is slightly cheaper to own and operate over a five-year period than Toyota’s mass-market sedan.”

Why the 2020s Will Be About Making New Clothes Out of Old Ones via Vogue — “What will happen to this T-shirt, handbag, or sneaker when I’m done with it? In the long term, it should ultimately change the way we shop, because we’ll only buy things with legitimate value and a feasible end use.”

‘Kakeibo’: The Japanese Art of Saving Money via CNBC — “Kakeibo, pronounced “kah-keh-boh,” translates as “household financial ledger.” Invented in 1904 by a woman named Hani Motoko (notable for being Japan’s first female journalist), kakeibo is a simple, no-frills approach to managing your finances.”

And lastly, a quote I caught from one of my favorite newsletters I’m subscribed to (5am Joel):

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”

– Shannon L. Alder



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Will this $1,000 matter when I’m retired?

fantasy cat

Hi all!

Hope you’re ready for a fun, holiday-filled week ahead! The one time of the year you’re allowed to NOT think about money at all and just BE :)

So no newsletter next week as I do exactly that, but before we venture off to it all here’s some good reading material from both the blog and other places online.

Hope it inspires you to do something great! And remember – all Fails get erased in the new year, so no more dwelling on them ;)

Happy holidays everyone.


Articles from Budgets Are Sexy this week:

10 Resolution Ideas for 2020 — A list of some good financial resolutions to work towards in the new year, especially for those just starting out on their journeys!

Will this $1,000 matter when I’m retired? — It’s never fun to lose $1k or any number of dollars for that matter, but when you think longer term and what life will look like in retirement, it’s not gonna make too much of a dent in it.

Do you ever USE your Emergency Fund? What for? — We all know it’s smart to have money saved up for emergencies, but what exactly constitutes an “emergency” these days? And do you ever feel bad when pulling from it even when emergencies DO come up? (I do!!)

#156 on the “Million Dollar Club” makes good on pledge! — Another pledger has hit the Double Comma status! Here’s the breakdown of his net worth, along with a MONSTER budgeting/retirement spreadsheet you can download that he uses to track it all.

Are you done with your Christmas shopping already?! — Here’s how we do Christmas shopping in the Money household… Including two *new* rules we’re trying out :)


Items from around the web I liked:

This GENIUS way to wrap a gift!! by @Waterstones –> a public service announcement 🎄 📚 🤓

Budgets Really ARE Sexy! with J. Money via BiggerPockets Money Podcast #103 –“In this episode we cover: J. Money’s journey with money, what his biggest financial regret is, building income on buying and selling blogs, where he got his blog name from, the “no spend month” challenge, his net worth, his advice on starting a blog, the reason why he was called the Miley Cyrus of finances, and SO much more!”

The Ultimate Crappy Gift Guide by 1500 Days — “I’ve tried to persuade family to give up the practice of giving gifts. Instead of buying an object, I’ve suggested that we all use our money to spend time together. In some cases, it’s worked. In others, not at all. To end the battle, perhaps I could come up with some gifts that are so horrible that the practice will be discouraged forever?!??”

Financial Survey Questionnaire by Leblon Blue — “I have used this financial survey questionnaire in order to evaluate my own monetary self-awareness strengths and weakness. This is my plan on how to improve my personal finances skills by studying a colossal quantity of authentic financial knowledge” [PS: I scored 84%. Can you beat me?]

What Moment Made You Feel Most Alive This Year? by One Frugal Girl — “Sometimes the burdens of life keep us trapped in a place of unhappiness. We continue to go to work to pay the bills for the life we thought we wanted to live. When you reflect on the past year ask yourself, ‘Are these the goals I want to pursue? Is this checklist worth completing or are there elements that should be removed?'”

99 Clutter-Free Gift Ideas by Becoming Minimalist — “The reality is that our homes are already overcrowded with clutter. In fact, the average American home has 300,000 items inside it. The thought of adding more layers of stuff on top of it? It’s all too much. What then can we give that won’t add to the clutter problem?”

A new site I came across –> — “I have used spreadsheets for decades – making all kinds of business calculators, fun simulations, data collectors, analyses of business deals, pricing calculators, and everything else you could imagine – and some things you couldn’t ;) … Over the years I develop spreadsheet solutions to interesting problems and I share them here.”

spreadsheet man



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