Stats Bomb VI

Stats Bomb VI

stats bomb

What up what up!

Opened an email that rattled off the below stats, and reminded me we haven’t done a good bombing of them in a while…

  • According to Northwestern Mutual, the average American has over $38,000 in Personal Debt
  • According to GOBankingRates, 58% of Americans have less than $1,000 in Savings
  • According to the New York Federal Reserve, over 7 million Americans are at least 90 days behind on their car payments
  • And then according to one J. Money Rockstar, 100% of those who read Budgets Are Sexy will go on to retire a millionaire…

Perhaps one of these were inserted, but it still doesn’t make it untrue! 😉

Sadly the rest has been normalized for years now… Not even shocking anymore 😦

But here are some other fun stats that may tickle your financial pickle!

Those kitties seem to like ’em!


cat robots

“45% of pet owners spend the same or more on their pet’s healthcare insurance than their own” – Lend EDU

HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE??? Health insurance already costs a mortgage or two!

“Men spend more on impulse buys than women.” – CNBC

Now that I believe, haha… When us men fall for it, we fall hard 😉

“20% of respondents said they would never get married or have children if that meant they could avoid credit card debt.” – Go Banking Rates

This makes me sad 😦 Dreams should always be pursued if it’s a true dream of yours, whether it’s kids or marriage or anything you’ve always wanted in life (obviously not everyone wants kids/marriage)… It’s sometimes messy, but life has to come first over $$$!

“Moms are 3.6 times more likely than dads to give their kid a credit card… [but] dads are 3.4 times more likely to monitor their kids’ credit card spending” – Wallet Hub

Haha… Sounds about right 😉 I remember my dad telling me in no uncertain terms that I’ll be in deep doo doo if anything shows up on that thing during college that’s not pre-approved of…  Made it all the way to my senor year until I slipped and bought some chips and beer on it (IT WAS AN EMERGENCY!!)

“1/4 of millennials believe you must make between $251,000 & $500,000 to be considered wealthy” – Lend EDU

This one’s super interesting to me…. I don’t know what I would consider to be “wealthy” per se (I feel like there’s a *financially* wealthy, and then a *lifestyle* wealthy – which is what I focus on lately), however if I had to choose a number it would be certainly tied to a Net Worth vs a salary… Since time and time again we see that it’s not how much you MAKE that matters, but it’s how much you KEEP! And I feel like once you cross the $300,000 or $400,000 mark you already start feeling more wealthy so at that point it’s just a matter of throwing more onto the fire…

“79% of Americans love the sound of their own laugh” – Laffy Taffy

I don’t know how or why I got passed this one, but it did make me smile for some reason 🙂 And even more so finding out there’s actually a “National Let’s Laugh Day“!! (March 19th)

popular laugh types

“58% of millennials would consider banking with Amazon, Facebook or Google” – Marqeta

Nope nope nope…. we already covered this one here and not about to give these places even MORE of my life, haha…

“The most common retirement dream — shared among 70% of American workers — is to travel the world.”- Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey

I can see that one… I don’t know what could top it, other than just NOT WORKING 🙂

“60% of millennials think winning the lottery is a reasonable retirement plan” – Stash Invest

Now pollsters are just making stuff up, haha… No way that can be true, right?? RIGHT???

“14% of (college) students would rather miss a credit card payment than a party” – Wallet Hub

Now this seems more accurate! No way I was going to miss a party back then 😉

me at a party

(Me every night in college…)

“19% of (college) students say their friends would make fun of their credit card purchases.” – Wallet Hub

Haha yeah, that would be pretty embarrassing 🙂 Maybe even now?

“(Credit cards) are the dirtiest with an average germ-score of 285, followed by cash (160), and coins (136). For reference, it is recommended that food establishment surfaces have a germ-score of 10 or less.” – Lend EDU






More: “The dirtiest card we tested had a germ-score of 1,206, which is dirtier than anything we tested for that ATM study, including a NYC park bench, CitiBike handles, and an NYC parking meter.”

“Families with savings of $250 to $749 are less likely to be evicted, miss a payment, or receive public benefits after a job loss, health issue, or large income drop. ” – Urban Institute 

Isn’t that wild?!! A few hundred dollars can make a world of a difference… And increases *confidence* too I’d be willing to bet…

More from the brief: “The economic health of cities and communities depends on the financial health and stability of their residents. Economically secure families are better able to weather temporary income drops independently and are less likely to rely on local services for housing support and cash assistance.”

“Tickets incurred from texting while driving can increase car insurance rates by 23%, which is higher than the average rate increase after getting a speeding ticket (20-22%)” –

Should be 500% higher!

And then lastly… “94% of Americans said they are drinking more craft beer than last year” – C+R Research

The most important fact of the day 😉


And that wraps up this round!

For more past stats, check out our series here:

Go on and impress your friends now!


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Phrases to use instead of “I Don’t Want to Spend Money”

Phrases to use instead of “I Don’t Want to Spend Money”

no posting

Caught this on Twitter and had to reshare!

i dont want to spend money alternatives

Great alternatives!

So many of us struggle with saying “no” to stuff, but it’s not because we don’t care or *want* to do a lot of these things, but it’s simply ’cause we’re trying to keep our $$$ reigned in!

So having an arsenal of lines like this is SMART to have in your pockets for whenever you need to whip ’em out, and even better to master one or two of them so you can really perfect the presentation.

Here are some others I like as well because they divert the attention away from the “no” and instead pull out the curiosity in others which could lead to even better stuff!

  • “Sorry – can’t eat out tonight because I’m trying to hit FIRE” (“Wait what? What’s FIRE?!”)
  • “Would love to attend but I’m not allowed to spend any money this month” (“Huh??! How are you not allowed??!”)
  • “Can’t make it I’m afraid because I just paid off my credit cards and don’t want to tempt myself!” (“Holy $hit – congrats! How did you pull that off??!” (“From saying NO more, just like I’m doing here!” ;)))
  • “How about we do something FREE instead?” (“Oh cool, like what?”)

Any chance you have to spread the good $$$ word, you take it! Haha… Because you know for damn sure your friends and others are struggling with this stuff too!! And maybe your confidence will spark them to take action as well? You could even go on to form your own accountability group together, turning it into a huge nerdfest up in there!!

At least in my corny financial dreams, haha…

But really, if you can just come up with something you’re *super comfortable* responding with time and again, you’ll have won the Game of Freedom. Doesn’t mean you can’t partake in the fun every now and then, but if you say YES to everything you’re essentially saying NO to your future. Choose the stuff that excites you the most and then say NO to everything else!

As Derek Sivers likes to say, if it’s not a “HELL YEAH!” then it’s a “no.”

And of course the more you practice the better you’ll get.

Any lines y’all like to use over there to avoid the awkwardness? Or do you just OWN IT like a rock star and say no and move on?! 🙂

Let’s keep adding to the list!

PS: Never came across that site before – The Modest Wallet – but their social channels are legit. Spent a good 20 mins devouring their Twitter and Insta yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed ’em!


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from Finance

How Getting Sober Changed My Life — and My Money

How Getting Sober Changed My Life — and My Money

deanna - recovering women wealth

[Good morning!!! I want to share a powerful story by a friend of mine, and new(ish) blogger on the scene, Deanna from Recovering Women Wealth, who’s not only found her path towards financial freedom, but freedom from the devil’s work too. A beautiful, and positive!, person putting herself out there in hopes of inspiring others! Thank you Deanna!!! And huge congratulations on it all!!!]


I’m looking at the graph of the pivotal money moments in my life, and it’s clear to me the life-changing events that occurred at each stage.

The story told by my money also tells of my recovery from drug addiction/alcoholism. Since getting sober, it’s not surprising my net worth has gone up.

For this girl, sobriety is sexy.

money chart

My First Relationship with Money

I started doing odd jobs like babysitting and working at the family golf course around the age of 12. My relationship with a steady income started at the age of 16 when I began waitressing. Everything I made went right out of the door on clothing, entertainment, and alcohol.

You see I grew up in a two-parent, Christian, middle/upper-class household where all of my material needs were supplied. Any money I earned was just for play.

I did not learn the value of savings, but I did recognize that money correlated to freedom. However, my desire for freedom was short-sighted as I only wanted to get out of the house (and my skin) in the moment.

When Emotional Stability is Lacking, so is Money Sense

My relationship with my Dad was not healthy growing up. He was doing the best he could and I now understand that, but he was a stressed-out salesman with a short fuse. He wanted to (and did) provide for his family, but his career became an obsession. Furthermore, my Dad grew up in a critical environment and these things have a funny way of being passed down. He didn’t have the patience for kids. I learned to get attention by getting into trouble.

My Mom was loving, kind, and nurturing. Regardless I was scarred by some hauntingly, temper-filled, memorable encounters with my Dad. As a result, I grew up believing some very incorrect things about myself.

I found solace in alcohol in my teen years. When I took that first drink, I became everything I thought I wasn’t – funny, pretty, and smart. I found the courage to be the fun-loving extroverted gal that I am. However, that courage was smoke and mirrors.

When a person is exerting all of their energy to cope with chronic stress and extremely low self-worth, money, at best, is an escape mechanism, and, at worst, used for mere survival.

The Start of Debt as a Lifestyle

Interestingly enough, my parents have always been wise stewards with their money. They saved for retirement and their children’s college education, pay cash for cars, and have no debt. Due to my rebellion against them, I learned none of this growing up.

At the age of 18 I bought my first new car with financing and you can see that dip on the graph. I ended up selling that car at the age of 21, moving to Colorado, and getting a small sum of money. For the first time, I was slightly above the line. This hippie used that money to fund a backpacking trip to Europe. #NoRegrets on that.

However, with an unreconciled past and little money sense, I quickly got back into debt and kept drinking/drugging.

Due to my ability to be high functioning, I went undetected as having a problem for many years. I wanted to appear normal so I maintained an outward appearance that prettily covered up the pain and suffering I was experiencing.

Bigger Debt

I got married at the age of 25. We bought a house, financed two cars, and used credit cards inappropriately. You can see the graph going way below the line in my mid-twenties. My marriage ended at the age of 27 and I was left with a mountain of debt. I filed for bankruptcy but was able to keep the house. Unfortunately, I didn’t really learn any money lessons at this stage.

My drinking/drugging waxed and waned and I even managed to have some healthy years. I kept paying the minimum payments on my debt and vowed to never go back into bankruptcy.

In my 30’s I made my way to graduate school to become a high school mathematics teacher. While my parents paid for my undergraduate education, I funded graduate school 100% with student loans.

The Beginning of the End

I excelled in graduate school but in the process, a man from my past walked back into my life and I unfortunately got back into drugs. While I graduated with a 4.0 and a promising career in education, I walked away from it to pursue a life that allowed me to use these drugs. It still pains me to write that last sentence.

I became the wine sommelier at a country club where I had worked for many years. In case you are wondering, that’s not really the best job for an alcoholic/drug addict. 😉

Sure, I kept up the facade but I was basically getting paid to drink. Additionally, I was addicted to crystal meth so, with the combo of uppers and downers, I walked that lethal tight rope until I eventually spiraled down.

My bottom occurred at the age of 36. It’s no surprise that I was also in the biggest amount of debt of my life. I was bankrupt emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially.

It can be a beautiful thing when a person comes to the end of their rope and there is nothing left to grasp at. After some disturbing visions and the stark reality that I was going insane, I finally surrendered, admitted defeat, and asked for help.

I left the destructive relationship, quit drugs, returned to faith, and committed to a life of sobriety.

Digging to Get Back to Broke

The early years of my sobriety were really about reconciling with my past. Reconciliation includes looking at my part in things, making amends, forgiving others, receiving forgiveness, and healing relationships.

However, in remembrance of my vow to not file bankruptcy again, I made some financial changes. I was able to reduce my expenses, stop adding to the debt, and stay afloat financially.

About four years into my sobriety I wanted to gain complete financial peace. I had peace in every other area of my life, but not yet with my money.

A woman from my church helped me to get on a budget. Then I started listening to Dave Ramsey. He would tell me, over the airways, that I didn’t have to have to keep my debt around forever. I could actually get intense and pay it off, and for some reason, I believed him.

In the process, I did lose my house to foreclosure. The neighborhood where I lived was not bouncing back after the crash of the housing market. It was no longer a safe place for a single woman to live. I stuck it out until some major things broke, at which time I moved into a ministry home. All the while I worked with a realtor to short sale my house. In the end, the bank declined my short sale. Feeling defeated and facing foreclosure, I hired an attorney and it ended fairly well.

Once I bounced back from that, I humbled myself and asked my folks if I could move in with them. They were gracious and said yes. At the age of 43, I moved back in with my parents for further reconciliation of our relationship and to focus on paying off the rest of my debt.

All in all, I paid off $46,763 in about 3 & 1/2 years total on a $40k salary. Near the end of my debt pay off my salary jumped and it’s still jumpin’ today!

I shared my testimony on the Dave Ramsey Show on June 4, 2018 which you can see here 😉

From Addiction to Investing

When I was in debt pay-off mode, some things shifted in my relationship with money. Firstly, I knew I never again wanted to pay for things of the past. Secondly, I realized I value relationships over spending money. This attitude has carried over into my investing life. If I value something, I’ll spend money on it, but I’ve found that spending time with the people I love doesn’t have to center around spending money.

As I was approaching that bright light of broke, I started listening to the ChooseFI podcast per a recommendation from a colleague. I read J.L. Collins’, A Simple Path to Wealth, and realized I could do this investing thing.

I started out 2018, maxing out all of the tax-advantaged accounts I could get my hands on and haven’t stopped yet. Today, I get to walk alongside women in recovery helping them with the same things I’ve gained freedom from. I’m spreading financial literacy to some of the women who need it most.

The Current Breakdown of My Finances:

  • Employer-Sponsored Simple IRA: $33,054.63
  • Health Savings Account: $5,233.65
  • Roth IRA: $6,089.26
  • Traditional IRA: $6,935.92
  • M1 Finance: $385.57 (just getting ramped up on post-tax investing)
  • Between checking & savings: $18,642.51
  • Total net worth: $70,341.54

Closing Thoughts

I’ve learned that it all goes together. Since getting sober I’ve wanted complete healing and transformation, but I’m learning it’s a lifelong process. Some wounds go deep.

I’m grateful for that time with my parents. I was able to finish paying off my debt and get a fresh launching pad. More importantly, I faced and slayed some childhood demons. As a result, my family bond is stronger. People can change if they are willing and able to be honest with themselves and others.

Finally, I’ve learned that valleys are where the real growth occurs. It’s the hard stuff that has chiseled me into the woman I am today, and I am proud to be in recovery.

Deanna blogs at and writes specifically to women. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, please send them her way!

deanna's recovery story


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Tales from the Crust. Portraits of extractive violence and resistance

During a brief encounter with London two weeks ago, i visited as many exhibitions as i could. Only one made me want to write a review.

Ignacio Acosta, Demonstration outside Antofagasta PLC Annual General Meeting. Church House, London, England, 2013

Ignacio Acosta, Satellite views of Chuquicamata corporate mining town, c. 2011. Atacama Desert, Chile. From Miss Chuquicamata, The Slag

Ignacio Acosta: Tales from the Crust at the Arts Catalyst on Cromer Street near King’s Cross St. Pancras is part of a programme of events investigating the politics of extraction across the planet.

Acosta‘s work is the perfect introduction to the topic. The Chilean artist and researcher exposes mining practices through extensive fieldwork, collaborations with both experts and local actors, visual documentation and critical writing. His show at the Arts Catalyst focuses on the social and ecological impact of the extraction of a mineral that is crucial to modernity: copper. Copper is essential to the production of wiring, motors, domestic appliances, plumbing, electronics and of course renewable energy systems and green technologies. Yet, its extraction, refining and production have a detrimental impact on both ecologies and communities.

Installation view from Tales from the Crust by Ignacio Acosta at Arts Catalyst, London, 2019; photo courtesy the artist

The artist travelled to places such as Chile and Swedish Sápmi where social cohesion and the environment are threatened by copper mining. His images and texts focus not only on the damage made to communities and ecosystems but also on the local resistance to ruthless extractivist practices.

“This multifaceted spatial narrative is populated by the overlapping voices of activists, indigenous people and archaeo-astronomers – bringing together a constellation of stances rooted in the distant to recent and present geographies of extraction, exploitation and trauma. Here, filmed interviews, close-ups of resilient landscapes and cartographies of global power expose forms of human and non-human resistance.”

Each of these individual cases studies encapsulates what happens on the global scale when ecosystems and traditional ways of life “get in the way” of corporate greed and the hunt for resources.

Installation view from Tales from the Crust by Ignacio Acosta at Arts Catalyst, London, 2019; photo courtesy the artist

Rock samples and iron material from fieldwork conducted in Chilean and Swedish mining sites. Installation view from Tales from the Crust by Ignacio Acosta at Arts Catalyst, London, 2019; photo courtesy the artist

Installation view from Tales from the Crust by Ignacio Acosta at Arts Catalyst, London, 2019; photo courtesy the artist

Installation view from Tales from the Crust by Ignacio Acosta at Arts Catalyst, London, 2019; photo courtesy the artist

I started the visit with the exhibition room that brings to light mining practices in Chile. The mining sector is one of the pillars of the national economy. The country provides the rest of the world with gold, copper, silver, molybdenum, iron and coal. Copper exports are particularly lucrative for Chile. Unfortunately, the water-hungry industry is concentrated in the arid north of the nation where it is threatening local ecosystems.

Acosta’s research zooms in on one of the communities affected by mining: Los Caimanes, a small agricultural town in northern Chile fighting against mining giant Antofagasta Minerals which operates the Los Pelambres open pit copper mine. The mine piles up its tailings in water contained by the colossal El Mauro dam. It is the largest toxic site in Latin America with an estimated 3,500 million tonnes of waste expected to be stored behind its high walls.

El Mauro dam is located above Los Caimanes where residents claim that the dam has dried up a local stream, contaminated underground water and thus deprived them of the fresh water necessary for agriculture. They now rely on trucks transporting water for sanitation and consumption.

There is also a human cost to the mining activity: the division of the rural mountain community. People whose livelihood depend on farming are (rightfully) irritated by the appropriation and pollution of water. Others, who have benefited from new jobs and investment, accuse the farmers of standing in the way of economic growth and progress.

Interview with Patricio Bustamente, 2019. Installation view from Tales from the Crust by Ignacio Acosta at Arts Catalyst, London, 2019; photo courtesy the artist

The exhibition features a gripping interview with Patricio Bustamente. The researcher and activist was drawn to the issue because the mining activities were threatening archaeological sites. He was particularly concerned about the fate of the El Mauro site. Before the construction of the dam, the place was an oasis with a rich archeological heritage.

He also commented on the complicity between the mining company and the Chilean authorities, highlighting in particular how people having close connections with the company are given positions of influence in the government.

I particularly liked the translucent prints of Acosta’s photos that were covering the large windows of the Arts Catalyst gallery. I’ll only comment on two of them:

Installation view from Tales from the Crust by Ignacio Acosta at Arts Catalyst, London, 2019; photo courtesy the artist

Forest of Eucalyptus planted to absorb contaminated water from Los Palambres mine. From Antofagasta Plc. Stop Abuses! (from ‘Copper Geographies’), Pupio Valley, Chile, 2012 © Ignacio Acosta. Installation view from Tales from the Crust by Ignacio Acosta at Arts Catalyst, London, 2019; photo courtesy the artist

One of the windows was covered with a photo of eucalyptus trees. They are not native from Chile but have been planted near Los Palambres for phytoremediation, a process that involves covering the surface of contaminated sites with plants in order to remove, degrade or isolate toxic substances from the environment. Which looks like a great solution to the degradation of soils caused by mining activities. However, (according to wikipedia and several other sources i consulted), Eucalyptus trees show allelopathic effects; they release compounds which inhibit other plant species from growing nearby. Outside their natural ranges, eucalypts are also criticised for sucking more water from the ground than some native tree species.

Slag heap from Panulcillo mine, now closed. Installation view from Tales from the Crust by Ignacio Acosta at Arts Catalyst, London, 2019; photo courtesy the artist

Installation view from Tales from the Crust by Ignacio Acosta at Arts Catalyst, London, 2019; photo courtesy the artist

Slag heap from the now closed Panulcillo copper mine in the Coquimbo region, north of Chile, occupy another window of the gallery. Copper extraction in the area dates back to the 19th century. The ore extracted in the region was shipped mainly to Wales and smelted in the Lower Swansea Valley. As curator Tehmina Goskar wrote “the Lower Swansea Vallery was a truly transoceanic phenomenon, involving mining/processing complexes on different continents and mobilisation of capital, labour and technology across immense distances.”

Speaking of immense distances, let’s follow the artist to the north of Sweden….

Ignacio Acosta, still from Litte ja Goabddá (Drones and Drums), Jåhkåmåhkke [Jokkmokk], Norrbotten, Swedish Sábme, 2018

Ignacio Acosta, Litte ja Goabddá (Drones and Drums). Installation view from Tales from the Crust by Ignacio Acosta at Arts Catalyst, London, 2019; photo courtesy the artist

Ignacio Acosta, still from Litte ja Goabddá (Drones and Drums), Jåhkåmåhkke [Jokkmokk], Norrbotten, Swedish Sábme, 2018

Ignacio Acosta, Pajala abandoned mine, still from Litte ja Goabddá (Drones and Drums), Jåhkåmåhkke [Jokkmokk], Norrbotten, Swedish Sábme, 2018

Ignacio Acosta, still from Litte ja Goabddá (Drones and Drums), Jåhkåmåhkke [Jokkmokk], Norrbotten, Swedish Sábme, 2018

Sweden’s failure to ratify the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention No. 169 considerably weakens any right the Sami would have over the land they live on.

That is one of the reasons why they are deeply worried about the project to exploit the Gállak North iron ore deposit. Mining exploration company Beowulf Mining PLC has submitted an application for a 25 year exploitation concession for the site. The area they covet, however, is located on the ancestral lands of the indigenous Sami people and forms part of the reindeer winter grazing lands.

A mining permit would have a detrimental impact on the fragile ecosystems, disrupt the reindeer migration paths and threaten the Sámi way of life.

Unsurprisingly, the plans to establish a mine at the site has met with resistance from the Saami people and other local communities. It has raised concerns in regard to the proposed plan to combine hydro power with tailing dam which, a safety research concluded, could jeopardize the provision of drinking water downstream.

Thanks to local resistance, the request to start the exploitation has still not been approved by the Swedish government.

Acosta’s film installation Litte ja Goabddá (Drones and Drums) explores how the Sami are using drones as a way of resisting mining exploration in northern Sweden. Based on research visits and close collaboration with local activists and Sami families, the project explores the link between drums and drones as navigation and communication tools.

Sámi, like many other indigenous communities, live in close connection with with natural forces and have a lifestyle rooted in traditions. The video demonstrates that this doesn’t stop them from using technologies such as drones in their fight against extractive violence on their territory. Diverted from their usual association with vertical control, surveillance and warfare, the drones become as counter-surveillance tools in the protests against the Gállak mining venture.

As for the drums, they are an essential element of Sámi ritualistic activities, and are used to communicate and travel between worlds and have a strong connection to Mother Earth.

Don’t miss Tales from the Crust if you’re in London, it’s a small exhibition but it offers a powerful reminder of the high price other communities are paying for the progress we enjoy.

Ignacio Acosta. Tales from the Crust is at the Arts Catalyst, Centre for Art, Science & Technology in London until 14 December 2019.

Related stories: Edi Hirose: bleak skyscrapers and erased mountains, The scars left by electronic culture on indigenous lands, A bodily experience of man-made earthquakes, HYBRID MATTERs: The urks lurking beneath our feet, Interview with Cecilia Jonsson, the artist who extracts iron from invasive weeds, Home catastrophes, wandering mining hole and limbo embassy. (My) best of the Graduation Show Design Academy Eindhoven, etc.

from Finance

Our Decision on The Benz!

Our Decision on The Benz!

benz emblem

So after many (MANY!!) days obsessing about this and pouring over your thoughtful notes and advice and nudges (you sure didn’t hold back! Haha…) we finally made a decision on what we wanted to do with that Benz offer burning a hole in our brains…

And that decision is…. drum roll please….


And instead, keep going forward with the minivan route as we originally planned.

Something in a million years the old me would have never guessed I’d by typing out, haha, but unfortunately for him there’s a new family guy in charge, and Mr. New Family Guy just doesn’t think it would accomplish the mission… Despite how fun it was to dream about it for a while.

When we sat down to really hammer out what *exactly* we wanted in a new car, the answers just didn’t match up to what the Benz offered.

  1. Extra space for storage and people (it was roomy, but not minivan roomy)
  2. A car for the more *longer* term (would the Benz last two years or twenty years?)
  3. Easy and cheap to maintain (I’m not a DIY’er in the least and 100% rely on mechanics!)
  4. And then most important of all, at least for my minimalist side, something I don’t have to *think* about or *worry* about at all and just gets us to where we need to go in relative joy and comfort. And having driven many a cars in my lifetime, I know I can be just as happy in a minivan as I can in a luxury car so long as it gives me peace of mind! Plus – after hearing all the love some of y’all have for your vans, I’m actually kinda excited to give it a shot now! Haha… It’ll be a new adventure, right?!

So as much as I loved the *idea* of a new Benz to the Money family, it looks like it won’t be happening this time around, but I’d be open to it again later when the circumstances are different. Some of y’all almost had me convinced there for a bit!! Haha…

In fact, the most interesting part of the polling here was the drastic difference in opinions when they were shared PUBLICLY vs PRIVATELY!

I have no idea if it’s purely coincidence or not, but those who shared their opinions publicly on the blog or social overwhelmingly voted for us NOT to buy it, whereas those who shared their opinions privately via email overwhelmingly told us to GO FOR IT!

Isn’t that wild?!

And then when I actually tallied up ALL the answers from across the board, it was split almost perfectly down the middle with 61 yays and 64 nays (as well as a good 40-50 “it depends”). Telling me right there it was indeed a hard call to make and I wasn’t totally being a drama queen up in here 😉 Haha…

It’s been about three days since we sent over our final decision, and if you can believe it it hasn’t crossed my mind even *once*! A sure sign we made the right decision for sure…

So thank you, THANK YOU, thank you for all your thoughts and advice across *all* sides of the table here! And I can promise you that I read every last one and kept an open mind.

It’s funny to think that just this time last week I was completely torn and didn’t know how it would turn out, and then literally just days later it’s all made clear again 🙂 The power of just letting time do its thing right there! Thank goodness the car was halfway across the country, or we very well could have been writing a different post today! Haha…

Now anyone have a minivan they want to sell for $5,000???

PS: Here were a few of my favorite comments from y’all 😉

  • “This is a used car, not a marriage. You can always trade or sell later.”
  • “Quick, call MMM right now so he can punch you in the face!”
  • “No brainer here, you get a solid car AND the fun. Eat the cannoli!”
  • “Once you’ve owned German the rest are vermin.”


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from Finance



one dollar bill

From a newspaper circa 1909:




A dollar gives you confidence,
Five makes you walk on air,
A ten-spot lets you face the world
Without a thought of care.
With fifty large ones right away
You feel your own true worth,
But get a hundred-dollar bill —
Ah, well you own the earth.


Just let a fellow walk about
Without a lonely dime
He feels as though for sure he must
Be guilty of a crime.
And when a copper floats around
He doesn’t want to stay,
Before the shadow of the blue
He quickly fades away.


Without a plentitude of dough
A fellow isn’t one, two, three.
In fact, he only reaches up
Just half way to a cricket’s knee.
But let him stir himself about
And fall heir to a little dot
Of several thousand, more or less,
Then he’s some pumpkins, maybe not.


A dollar gives you confidence
And several other things. For why?
Because you know that what you need
You readily may go forth and buy.
Five, then, and twenty makes things hum,
One hundred gives you quite a thrill;
Where would a man get off if he
Possessed a thousand-dollar bill?


Still pretty accurate over 100 years later 😉

Keep saving!

PS: $1.00 in 1909 would be like $28.19 today. Making that $1,000 bill = $28,193.19! A real note that used to circulate back in the day… (though mostly in real estate deals or interbank transfers)


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from Finance

Julian Charrière. A world that continues without us

One of the most visually seducing exhibitions i visited this year was All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, Julian Charrière‘s solo at MAMbo, Bologna’s Modern Art Museum.

Julian Charrière, Where Waters Meet [3.77 atmospheres], 2019 | © the artist; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany

Julian Charrière. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

Charrière is known for the way he unpeels the various layers of the Anthropocene, revealing the visible, the invisible, the (in)human and the toxic beauty of our world.

“Through a series of videos, photos and installations that cover the story of science, the development of our media culture and the current ecological emergency,” the press material says, “Charrière tries to understand history through his work, looking at the past to imagine what the future holds. Like an archaeologist, the artist gazes into history to understand the future while reflecting on the present.”

Several of the works in the show are set in a microcosm where few human beings venture, a place remote from the rest of the world but which played an important role in human history: the Bikini Atoll. Situated in a far-flung region of the Pacific Ocean, the ‘paradisiac’ coral reef was subjected to some of the most powerful explosions in history—during Operation Crossroads, the U.S. nuclear testing program of the mid-20th century. Since then, the fate of the islands has been largely ignored by everyone. Except by the descendants of atoll’s inhabitants who were forcibly sent into exile.

The artist embarked on an archaeological and geological examination of a landscape that oscillates between our recent past and our distant future. It might be highly toxic to us but it remains magnificent and resilient. And it needs us less than we need it.

Quick walk through some of the artworks on show at the MAMbo:

J.W Ballard’s ‘Terminal Beach’ is a short story set on an island that used to be a nuclear testing site. The island is covered with concrete bunkers and other decaying monuments to the nuclear age. That’s pretty much the scenery that Julian Charrière encountered in the Bikini Atoll (Marshall Islands).

Julian Charrière, Iroojrilik (film still), 2016 © Julian Charrière; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany. Courtesy of the artist

Julian Charrière, Iroojrilik (film still), 2016 © Julian Charrière; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany. Courtesy of the artist

Julian Charrière, Iroojrilik (film still), 2016 © Julian Charrière; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany. Courtesy of the artist

The video Iroojrilik follows the diving excursions Charrière made there together with Nadim Samman.

Charrière’s submarine shootings are interrupted by twilight-dawn images of surface. While these sequences are showing a seemingly untouched paradise, the submarine images are inhabited by shipwrecks corroding on the seabed. They were brought in the area in the 1940s and 1950s when the US-military decided to observe the kind of damages nuclear tests would make on old ships.

The film presents a landscape of friction where dreamy subaquatic views and white sandy beaches cohabit with rotting a submerged Ghost Fleet and radioactive plants.

Iroojrilik shows the aftermath of destruction and the recovery of ecosystems devoid of any human presence. Nature seems to brazenly regain control over the scene. Under the water seaweed is covering the shipwrecks. On the shore, abandoned bunkers are colonized by vegetation. Yet, radioactivity is everywhere, invisible and contaminating the environment for millions of years to come.

Julian Charrière, As We Used To Float, 2018

Julian Charrière, As We Used To Float, 2018

Julian Charrière, As We Used To Float, 2018. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

The video installation As We Used to Float, projected on a huge vertical screen, similarly explores Bikini as a space of fantasy and trauma.

Both Iroojrilik and As We Used to Float are sea-stories for the Anthropocene, portraits of a postcolonial geography we engineered at our own peril.

“The atoll became a place that seems a speculative apparition of the future,” the artist told BerlinArtLink. “You can look at something that no one is looking at anymore because it doesn’t exist, but is still being discussed. In 70 years, nobody has been there, it’s very luxurious. We have the oppressive feeling of the radioactivity and history, which is dark and heavy on our shoulders. Then, we have the magnificent pristine coral reefs or the coconut groves that are re-growing. You always have the sensation of looking into a speculative future. It’s a place that is bound with the past, bound with the future and actually very present in an encapsulated reality. So, while you are there, you can describe yourself as a future speculative archaeologist.”

Julian Charrière. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

Julian Charrière. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

The main exhibition room was set to make visitors feels as if they were submerged under the water too. Somewhere in the Bikini Atoll. A huge diving bell is hanging in the middle of the room, counterbalanced by plastic bags filled with seawater from the Pacific.

Julian Charrière, Pacific Fiction, 2016. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

Around the diving bell are 146 coconuts from the Bikini Atoll. Encased in lead, they form the Pacific Fiction installation. The metal suggests both a protection from further radiation and the possibility of using them as bomb in echo of the colonial violence that scarred the region. Coconuts are a food staple and a symbol of life in the region. They’ve now become a radioactive hazard.

Other work in the exhibition continued the Anthropocene narrative but moved to other shores…

Julian Charrière, 
Polygon X, 2014

Julian Charrière, Polygon XII, 2014

Julian Charrière, Polygon XXIX, 2014

Also known as the Polygon, Semipalatinsk in the steppes of eastern Kazakhstan was the Soviet Union’s main nuclear test site from 1949 until 1989. During these 40 years, they operated 456 nuclear tests, including 340 underground and 116 atmospheric explosions. The extent of the radioactive contamination on the environment and on local population was not fully known for many years.

Charrière travelled to Kazakhstan and used analogue photography to capture the sites. He then exposed the negatives to radiation. The printed images evoke Bernd and Hilla Becker’s documentation of abandoned industrial structures. Only the white spotting caused by the radiation indicate that the subjects of the images have a far more sinister story to tell.

Julian Charrière, Savannah Shed. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

Julian Charrière, Savannah Shed. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

Alligators, like other animals living near the Savannah River nuclear weapons site, bear the physical traces of half a century of nuclear weapons production and the occasional dumping of contaminated waste in unmarked pits that were not secure enough to keep highly toxic material from spreading into soil and groundwater. Every year, scientists capture and test thousands of animals to assess the progress in the cleanup of the area.

Charrière reconstructed the set-up of scientific testing which, according to the artist, took place after an accident in the area in 1964. The researchers released an alligator into the wild, captured it again and then they measured its level of contamination.

Julian Charrière, Somehow, They Never Stop Doing What They Always Did, 2019. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

Julian Charrière, Somehow, They Never Stop Doing What They Always Did, 2019. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

Julian Charrière, Somehow, They Never Stop Doing What They Always Did, 2019. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

Inside each vitrine of the installation Somehow, They Never Stop Doing What They Always Did are pyramids that recall ancient monuments. They are made from plaster mixed with fructose and lactose, plus water that comes (or so the description says) from major rivers such as the Nile, Euphrates and Yangtze. Over time, bacteria grow on them and slowly erode the structures. Just as the ancient civilisations that rose along these rivers declined, the sculptures will eventually collapse.

From the Tower of Babel all the way to the decaying landmarks of the nuclear age, Charrière traces an unbroken line of ingenuity mixed with hubris, destined to fall apart and to follow the rules inherent to the matter that constitutes them.

Julian Charrière
, Somewhere (video still), 2014

Julian Charrière
, Somewhere, (video still), 2014

Julian Charrière
, Somewhere, (video still), 2014

Julian Charrière, Where Waters Meet, 2019 | © the artist; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany

Where Waters Meet is a series of eerie photos of naked bodies diving deep into cenotes in Yucatan, Mexico. Rather than descending into the water filled caves, their bodies seem to float onto a delicate, underwater cloud called chemocline.

Julian Charrière. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

Julian Charrière. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere was curated by Lorenzo Balbi and exhibited at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna over the Summer.

from Finance

14 Wildly Different Allowance Strategies :)

14 Wildly Different Allowance Strategies 🙂

gold piggy bank

So last week we asked how people do allowances since I’m still trying to nail down my own system, and BOY did the floodgates open!

We got messages with all kinds of different styles and theories, ranging from “I pay nothing at all – we already pay for their LIFE!” all the way up to those ponying out $300+/mo whose kids are in charge of a lot more than just their basic chores. (Thank goodness!)

Here’s a look at some of my favorites for anyone else in need of finding or tweaking their own systems. We’ll start with the more humorous ones for all those who couldn’t care less or don’t have kids 😉

Some really interesting ones in here though!! So neat how different we can be!


The Nagging System

A friend of mine has a brilliant method with allowances.  Her kids have tasks that they each have to do each week.  If they do them without having to be reminded (or nagged), the get their allowance.

If they are reminded, they still have to do their chores (their responsibility towards keeping the house going), but they don’t get paid.

– J


The Taxes System 😉

I don’t have kids, but I used to get $1 per chore and when I went to collect my Mom gave me $0.70 because “taxes and social security” 😡 … I’m still waiting on my social security payout 🤣



The Salary System

You might want to sit down for this. My daughter gets $122 every other week. I call it a salary, not an allowance. She has chores, but they aren’t tied to the money.

She is expected to put 10% in give and then split the rest 50/50 into save and spend. Her save isn’t hers to touch yet, I’m not sure when it will be or how that will work. Her spend is split yet again and she has 1 account that has a $150 minimum balance to use for responsibilities (school fees and trips, clothes, gifts, going out with friends, lunch money, etc). This account is meant to mimic always having money available for needs like rent, groceries, utilities, etc so she isn’t ever unable to cover those things. Once that is met, she can choose what she does with any money left over.

I calculated the balance by pulling together what I anticipated I would spend on all this stuff anyway, divided by 26 paychecks a year, adjusted to allow the give and save, and landed on an amount. Each year, she has additional responsibilities added to her list of items that is on her to cover and she gets a raise.

The one thing, as others have mentioned she knows not to ask me for a dime outside of her salary. In my mind, I’m spending the same amount of money I would normally, but I get to avoid arguments like how unfair it is that I won’t buy name brand leggings because she needs new black leggings. She gets to decide if she wants to put money toward that or have money to go out with her friends.

It hasn’t been perfect, but I’ve heard her make several comments that gives me enough data to know she’s getting it.

Financially Fit Mom


The FamZoo System

This is a GENIOUS solution for kids/allowances (summary: loaded debit cards for kids): !!!!!

We pay our kids $1/per their age each week … i.e. our 16 year old gets $16/week IF he completes his chores (and FamZoo allows him to check off each responsibility as he does them so we know he earned the money … then FamZoo releases the money from my FamZoo debit card to his flawlessly!!!!)

If we have special projects for our kids to do like wash the car, we pay them half their age per hour … i.e. our 16 year gets paid $8/hour for anything over and above his chores if he’s trying to earn money for something.

It’s SO easy to designate the allowance to different spend/save/give accounts. This system is AWESOME and you HAVE to look into it as it’s made our lives soooo much easier!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s a great way for them to practice using plastic and watching their budget at the same time. Really cool!

– KH

[EDITOR’S NOTE: I’ve known Bill Dwight, the founder of FamZoo, for many years now and I can attest that he’s a SUPER genuine guy and really pours his heart into this project that he’s tested year after year with his own 1/2 dozen kids 😉 Really great guy and cool system that I always for some reason forget about, haha… Sorry Bill!]


The Rooster Money System

I have a 9-year-old who gets $5/week from me. He has responsibilities every day that he’s at my house (50/50 custody). On school nights he can earn up to 20 minutes of screen time by doing certain things. Two he MUST do (feed the cat and do his homework) and others are optional, up to two more, including things like picking up the toys/dishes/etc from the living room, helping to make dinner, vacuuming, wiping down the bathroom sink, putting away some dishes, etc. He often comes up with creative ideas of how to earn these points…

He gets that $5 through a free app called Rooster Money and I have it set up to automatically divide so that he gets 50% in “spend” and 25% each in “save” and “give”. I did it this way because he was feeling frustrated by how little he got in spend each week at 30/30/30 and I wanted him to stick with this practice. We’ll have a conversation about adjusting it when he’s older.

He finally has about $35 in his “give” pot so he’s been brainstorming ideas of who/what he’d like to give to, which helps him talk about what is valuable and important to his vision of the world he wants to live in.

– Sarah


The Book Report Strategy

Hey J$,

Have you ever heard the back story about Caleb Maddix? Instead of giving his son an allowance for doing chores, his father would give him money for every book he read and wrote a book report on.

Now that kid is a millionaire, published author and motivational speaker! Definitely something I’m considering for my own daughter, although I’m hoping she just loves reading for reading and won’t expect me to pay her 🙂

– K


The Report Card Strategy

I don’t shell out $30/week to any of my kids, but I do reward them handsomely for report cards. $50 for a perfect card and an additional bonus $50 for a perfect year.

Never thought I would actually have to pay it but last year my 9 year old got me for the full $250… Worth it though.

– Paul


The Quarters System

We started with an allowance at the age of 4 but we do half of your age. So he got $2 a week that year and at age 6 he is up to $3 a week.

We provide his allowance in quarters to make it easier to split out. His piggy bank has four sections: save, spend, give, invest. He has to put one quarter into each of the four sections and set aside one quarter for church. He can choose what to do with the remaining quarters.

Unless he has his eye on a specific toy, he tends to spread them evenly across all categories. Which is easier in these even years. At 5 with 10 quarters he would get frustrated sometimes.



The $1.00/Age System

I used the plan from the book Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees by Neale S. Godfrey (looks like it’s been updated/revised in 2006) which I read sometime in the early ’90s when my kids were little.

I gave them $ per age ($6 for a 6-year-old) per week.  I made them put $1 towards charity and $1 for long-term savings.  I think the book might have said 10% but it was easier for me to deal with since I kept the calculations mostly in my head.

She suggested that they get the money in cash, but I hated having to get the right change (lazy much?) so we kept track of it virtually.  At least until they were over 10, it wasn’t likely they could buy anything without me being present.

It worked like a charm.  Every time they asked for something, I’d say “Sure, you have $X to spend.”  It was amazing how rarely they wanted that particular item when it was their money.  The older child never spent the money weekly – he would only save it all up for a big purchase (a trait he continues to this day.)  The other child was a DVD addict so he always wanted to spend it, but rarely had enough to buy one weekly.  He eventually learned to wait for DVDs (eventually blu-rays) to become less popular so that he could buy them cheaper than the original price.  While he still buys smaller items more often than his brother, he also keeps to a budget and is very conscious of all his spending decisions.

The “kids” are now 31 and 28.  Both handle their money much better than I did at that age (when I had just bought a house with my spouse and given birth to the two of them!)  I always recommend this book to parents of young children.  I think we kept this up until they got jobs at 16.

– KV

[Link to Amazon above is an affiliate link…]

The Points System


My wife and I have struggled with this since our kids were little (now 11 and 14).  We’d try to implement an allowance or pay them for chores, but nothing worked as everyone lost interest and the money didn’t add up to much.  We have since found something that works amazing and gets stuff done around the house.

I’ll preface this with the fact I have my own business and work out of my house.  We have come up with a “Commission Chart” where each kid has the opportunity to earn points by essentially doing chores that my wife and I would normally do.  Each chore is assigned a specific point value, so mowing the yard is worth more than putting away the dishes.  If they can accumulate 15 points per week, then they can earn their commission of $15.  If they decide they can’t earn 15 points, they get $0.  It’s like any job I’ve ever had, do the work and get paid or don’t and go home with nothing.

Since setting this up 6 months ago, the kids have never missed a week and my wife and I can sit back and have the kids work for us.  We also make them put all of the money in the bank as savings and they can withdraw a portion if they want to buy something, but that is up to us.  Trying to teach them to save at an early age.  Also since I have my own company, we pay them out of the company since their work directly affects my work environment (like a cleaning service) – saves on taxes as long as I don’t pay them more than $600.  Everybody wins.

We now have kids fighting over who gets to do the dishes while I sit back and watch TV.  It’s been amazing!

– E


The 40/25/25/10 System

I give my son his age in dollars for allowance (7), so it will continue to go up every birthday. He is required to divide it up into:

  • 40% – spend
  • 25% – save
  • 25% – invest
  • 10% – give

He knows invest is for college. In the save jar he has baggies for different savings projects. From this jar of money he has to buy holiday gifts for Mom and Dad, so that’s a constant baggie. Other baggies change, a current one is for a drone. Give is for a project we chose together, although he has also thought just giving dollar bills out to friends randomly was how it should be used. LOL. (EDITOR’S NOTE — Totally something I would do – even as an adult, haha… )

The spend jar is for random purchases like racing cars from the grocery store. He has sometimes chosen to put his spend money in his save jar (yay! message getting through!), but most of the time he blows it on things like $1 toys. Our plan is as he gets older, he will be responsible for buying his own items with his allowance, such as clothing. As we implement this his allowance will increase accordingly. Hopefully we are setting him up for some good finance basics.

– Erin


The Spend How You Want System

My daughter is 10 and we give her $20 a month. We don’t tie her allowance to any performance and we don’t buy any toys, books, or extra things that she wants during the month. It’s worked pretty well as a way of letting her experiment with money and see what works best for her.

When we started she did spend ALL of it every time but then she got into some situations where she couldn’t buy something more expensive that she wanted. Now she keeps about $200 as her base and will save up to that if she’s spent it down or will donate or long-term save depending how she’s feeling.

We were very swayed when we set this up by an article about Warren Buffet (that I can’t find now) he was saying that childhood is when you want them to make mistakes, such as finding out what it feels like to be broke etc, so just let your kids spend their allowance how they want. It’s worked great for us.

– LeAnn


The Montessori Route

Hi J,

I’m a self-proclaimed minimalist, so I tend to try and find ways not to just teach about financial responsibility, but responsibility with ones time, energy, and stuff. Having too much “stuff” has its own consequences, just like having too little. A lot of my belief aligns well with Montessori principles, and thus had a conversation with a colleague years ago that completely shaped my approach with the kiddos:

He grew up going to Montessori through high school and his parents were big believers in the principles especially when it comes to equipping independence. From that stemmed an incremental independence structure they setup for him and his sister. They started at year 0 (Kindergarten), and sat down and created a list of responsibilities they have on behalf of their children and on behalf of their household. Then they juxtaposed cost against those items.

For example, on behalf of young children you buy clothes and wash them, buy groceries and cook them, and prepare their school stuff/fill out forms/etc.

On behalf of the house, they cleaned, did laundry and performed yard work.

They ranked the activities based on complexity, time required to perform, and reasonable age a child is able to manage the activity. They then assigned a cost to those items calculated from things like “what it would cost to outsource this activity, like a maid” and what someone of their education level would average being paid out in the open market. Items that were self serving (buying clothes) were only assigned budget for the items, not for the work of doing it.

Then, each year, starting in kindergarten, they’d give them the activities aligned with the age and the budget required to do it. For example, in kindergarten, they’d give the kid responsibility of taking all their laundry to the laundry room and sorting it, or picking up around the house. Then, at the end of the week, they’d “pay” them for their work. If the work wasn’t completed, they wouldn’t get it.

As they got older, they took on ownership of small budgets, for things like clothing and eventually budget for lunch. My friend’s dad allotted him $300 on jan1 after his 10th birthday and told him that moving forward he would be responsible for planning and purchasing his own clothing. This came from a conversation (argument lol) about a pair of shoes he really wanted. So his dad realized it was time he learned about his clothing budget. He quickly bought the shoes, and ended up spending most of his budget early in the year and when winter came, he had to wear a small jacket bc he ran out of money. Needless to say, he learned very quickly about planning for back to school shopping, and ensuring you have enough money for September, when you’re planning in January.

Anyway, my point of this story is that just like money is a conduit for necessity, the introductions to money should be a conduit to independence and money management. I think save/spend/give is important, but how to spend (budgeting) and how to save, are the key lessons and so much of why so many people have issues with money. They didn’t grow up practicing with small amounts of money, so it became daunting when they got grown up amounts of money.

To conclude the story, by the time my friend was in high school, he managed the family grocery budget, his own clothing and school budget and even began dabbling in investing with his dad (started his first IRA) with his extra budget money. He got a credit card in 9th grade and learned early what would happen if he didn’t pay it off on time. He also learned to manage his accounts because all the money he received was given to him in an account. He also learned about credit card rewards and the benefits of different cards.

He even learned to bargain with his sister for her work, so he would get her money, for activities like school trips and going out with friends. Once he realized there was a cap to what he could earn at home, he realized he had other skills that could earn him money outside the home and he got his first job and started his first business.

I think his dad was a genius by setting up a home economy that aligned with some real world numbers that let the children learn early on how much things are worth, how much effort certain things take, how much time these things take (and in turn respect for their parents and what they do!) and how money is either a tool or a curse depending on what you do with it.

Today he is financially independent at 35 years old, and a senior software dev manager. He lives very minimally with his girlfriend in Seattle, in a one bedroom condo he bought and paid off, has no car, and spends his money traveling, enjoying the outdoors and eating well and giving back what extra he has that he doesn’t need.

Kudos to his dad!!! I’m taking notes for my own kiddos.

– Jenny


The “Just Let Them Have Fun” Route

Give them a couple bucks a week and let them have fun.

Speaking as someone who grew up in a family too poor to give me an allowance, I cannot tell you how many times I was embarrassed to be unable to buy things like snacks and such when out with my friends. It’s a humiliating experience, and sure I saved all the money I got as gifts or from odd jobs, but I could never spend it because I never knew when I might get more.

Five bucks a week isn’t going to ruin them for life. And yeah sure make them earn it with chores, but you cant act like the house they live in and food they eat is its own reward for their work, those are the costs of being a parent, not a debt incurred by a child.

– Stone C.


Thanks for sending all these over, guys 🙂

Lots of good ideas to marinate on!!


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from Finance

The net worth of a 24 year old obsessed with all things finance :)

The net worth of a 24 year old obsessed with all things finance 🙂

net worth graph

[Morning! Here’s a financial snapshot of one of our readers of the blog, Corrine – who also fancies herself a good spreadsheet (or four) like any good finance nerd out there 😉 What a beautiful thing to have your epiphany *early on* in life! Congrats Corrine!!]


Hi J. Money!

I really enjoy seeing these snapshots… they are super inspiring!

I’d like to share my experience tracking money as a young person who is just obsessed with all things finance. I’m 24, and I graduated college somewhat recently (May 2017), but I did work part-time through most of college. I am extremely lucky that I graduated debt-free thanks to my scholarships combined with my part-time work and the generosity/financial planning of my wonderful parents.

I started officially working full time in May 2017 and have been tracking my net worth diligently since December 2017. I currently make $50,000 (up from $38,000 this time last year!) after a recent raise in August and this is the most I have ever made.

I am at a post-tax savings rate of about 27%, with 13% of my post-tax income currently going to my ROTH IRA and the rest going to my other savings goals (future house, travel fund, emergency fund). I also contribute 10% pretax to my company’s SIMPLE IRA with an additional 3% employer match, and I contribute $50 per month to my HSA.

Before tracking my net worth, I had been working part time for 4 years and had only ~$4,000 to show for it (I also had very few expenses in college — I have no idea where all my money went, lol). Once I started really looking at what I was doing with my money, I doubled my net worth in ~6 months. My current net worth is $35,000.

I currently live with my boyfriend of 3 years, and we share expenses such as groceries and rent 50-50. We are planning to rent until we get married and figure out exactly where we want to live long term (we plan to buy a house and settle into a permanent location within the next 2-3 years).

I am a huge fan of spreadsheets and wanted to provide a little explanation of the trackers I use:

financial summary

(click to blow up bigger)

My “Financial Summary” is essentially where I track my net worth at any given time. Anything is green is an asset, and anything in red is a liability… and anything that is black is an account that fluctuates frequently (such as my primary checking) so I don’t include it in my overall calculations.

I keep a balance in my checking (“Spending”) that is always higher than my cumulative credit card balance, since I pay for everything on credit cards to collect rewards. I have never paid interest on any of my credit cards since I have all bills set to auto pay from my spending account.

net worth graph

My “Net Worth Over Time” tracker is really just so I can ensure that I am consistently moving up! I really enjoy looking back at it to see how far I’ve come. I received an inheritance of sorts ($10,000) in October 2018 which accounts for the big jump there which I threw into a 2 year CD for my future down payment on a house. I also got a bonus at work that month which accounts for the rest of the jump, and needless to say, that was a wonderful month!

The only dip in net worth I have had in my entire duration of tracking was when I bought Hamilton tickets for my boyfriend and I in June 2018… it was a pretty big splurge that I dipped into my travel account for, but I have absolutely no regrets since that it what it is there for. Why earn money if you can’t treat yourself sometimes? The other one was when I bought my new-to-me car in April 2019 (and subsequently forgot to add the car’s value to my net worth, lol – I fixed it the next month).

wealth ratio

The “Wealth Ratio” came from you! I saw you do it in a blog post quite some time ago and loved the idea. I’ve been tracking it since and I find that it really helps hold me accountable.

[Editor’s Note: The Lifetime Wealth Ratio tells you how much money you’ve saved over your lifetime compared to how much you’ve *earned* 😉 You can get a quick estimate of this by dividing your Net Worth by your Total Income found on your Social Security Statements. The closer to 100%, the better!]

budget breakdown

I also recently started using EveryDollar to track my spending so I have a screenshot of my budget from there. The only thing that didn’t fit in the screenshot was the $30 (~1%) I donate to a rotation of my favorite charities each month.

I’m currently working on getting my emergency fund to 6 months of expenses and increasing my post-tax retirement contributions to 15%. I would also like to be able to max out my HSA in the next year or so.

That’s it for me, thanks for reading!


Not too bad right? Especially at 24?! I had approximately $4.00 to my name at that stage and couldn’t care less about finances, haha… It wasn’t until 3 years later when it finally dawned on me that I should probably be paying attention 😉

So good job, Corrine! And thanks for sharing with us today!


To share YOUR financial journey with us, pass me a note and we’ll try making you famous too 😉 In the meantime, here are some other snapshots we’ve featured in recent months – hope they help!


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New Book (and Giveaway): “The House Hacking Strategy”

New Book (and Giveaway): “The House Hacking Strategy”

house hacking strategy book


Got another book for y’all that’s about to drop on the scene: The House Hacking Strategy: How to Use Your Home to Achieve Financial Freedom by Craig Curelop of – one of the best online communities for this stuff.

It doesn’t come out until next week, but I snagged a few copies for you 🙂

Before we get to that though, let me announce the winners of last week’s giveaway – the new “Choose FI” book. The two lucky winners there are Amy V. and Margaret – congrats guys!! Hope it shaves off a good 10 years at least from your FIRE journey!

Here’s more on this new house hacking book – though fair warning I haven’t read it as I’m not much of a real estate guy 😉 I know it’s one of the top 3 routes of building wealth though, so I’m sure many of you will appreciate it! And the guy’s bio looks insane…


“The House Hacking Strategy”

By: Craig Curelop

house hacking strategy booksSavvy investors have been using a little-known but clever strategy in real estate for decades… When mastered, house hacking can save you thousands of dollars in monthly expenses, build tens of thousands of dollars in equity each year, and provide the financial means to retire early. In fact, the average house hacker can turn a single-family home or small multifamily property into a cash-flowing investment. You can collect rent that completely covers your living expenses—and then some!

In this book, serial house hacker Craig Curelop lays out the in-depth details so you can make your first (or next) house hack a huge success. Discover why so many successful investors support their investment careers with house hacking—and learn from a frugality expert who has “hacked” his way toward financial freedom!

Inside, you’ll discover:

  • What house hacking is, and why it’s one of the best methods for building wealth
  • The different types of house-hacking strategies you can use—no one size fits all here!
  • The incredible connection between house hacking, wealth building, and early retirement
  • How to get started house hacking—even with low income or low savings
  • Strategies to house hack with a family, spouse, or independently
  • How to find the ideal house hack property—even in a competitive or expensive market
  • Stories from real estate investors all over the country on their house-hacking triumphs, mishaps, and their purpose behind house hacking.
  • Property-management strategies to make ownership a breeze

About the Author(s):

Craig Curelop is the Finance Guy at, a real estate investor, and a huge believer in the Financial Independence/Retire Early (FIRE) movement. At only age 26, he has paid off over $90,000 in student loans, owns 3 cash-flowing properties, and achieved financial freedom through the house hacking method.


And then here’s the first 22 pages of the book if you want to check it out: Intro Chapter (PDF) (they’re also offering a bunch of freebies for anyone who pre-orders it which you can find here if interested – it comes out Oct 17th)

Want a chance to win a FREE copy?

Answer the following question(s) down below in the comments or via email, and I’ll randomly select *THREE* lucky winners by the end of the weekend.

Have you ever owned real estate before?! What’s been your experience so far?

I really wish I loved this stuff more, but sadly it just never sits with me well… But I’m always here on the sidelines admiring and cheering you all on! It really does make sense *logically* if your personality fits!

Good luck!


Winners in the U.S. will receive the physical book, while winners overseas will receive a digital copy


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