The reasons I have for being grateful this week, including family visits, winter travel deals, and being inspired.

Being Grateful: Eighty-Third Edition

The reasons I have for being grateful this week, including family visits, winter travel deals, and being inspired.It seems as though I completely underestimated how crazy the first week of 2016 would be!

So a bit of a belated Happy New Year to you all – I hope it’s off to a great (and less hectic) start for you!

A few exciting things are happening for me work-wise, family-wise, and growth-wise.

These are all things I’m grateful for as I start the year with a clean slate.

If you’re interested in the goals I set for 2016, you can look at my last post which details what I was grateful for in 2015, and what I hope 2016 holds.

The biggest goal is getting my student loans paid off! I can’t wait to be debt free.

A Brand-Spanking-New Podcast

As you might have noticed on my sidebar, the Financial Conversation podcast is up and running! I’m so happy to be a part of this awesome project along with Kayla, Chonce, and Kristi.

If you read my FinCon recap, you’ll recall that we hung out a bunch during the four days of the con and had a great time. We thought it made sense to continue that with a podcast!

Kayla happened to have the domain and during FinCon, she realized it would make the perfect site for a podcast. Inspired by Shannon’s Martinis and Your Money, we decided to give it a try.

It has been a huge learning curve, but we’re so happy and grateful to have it out there. Our hope is that we’ll reach a wider audience than we can with blogging.

We’ve got a lot of interesting things planned for future episodes (a new one is launching this week), so stay tuned!

If you have a free moment, please give the first episode a listen. It’s 37 minutes long and we discuss what our goals for the year are and how we plan to achieve them.

Family Visits!

My grandma had been going back and forth the last few months on whether or not she was going to make a trip down here during the winter. She wanted to take a month (or two month) long trip, but things didn’t work out as she had hoped.

Being that my grandma is 84 and doesn’t necessarily enjoy traveling alone, I couldn’t blame her if she didn’t make it down here, but that doesn’t mean I’d be any less upset!

Thankfully, my aunt was watching for deals, and we were able to snag her tickets for a total of $100 round-trip.

Of course, that’s on Spirit *shudders* so I’m really hoping she doesn’t experience any problems. After the last time I flew with them, I swore I’d never fly with them again.

She’ll be down here later in the month and is leaving in early February, and has already promised to do some baking while she’s here.

Her cookies are pretty much what made my childhood Christmases, so I’ll be noming away when they appear as I’ve been going through withdrawals.

Winter Travel Deals

I had resolved to fly back home if my grandma wasn’t able to make it down, mostly because she’ll be celebrating her 85th birthday later in February. I would have felt guilty for missing it and not seeing her.

While we could throw her an early birthday party here, it’s not the same. And even though I saw my family and friends back in October, it already feels like it happened ages ago.

I flew back to NY in February last year because, similar to the deal my grandma got, Spirit was offering one-way flights for something like $60. It was a no-brainer (besides getting stuck at the airport every time I go to fly back!).

I’ve been monitoring deals and it seems like I could get a round-trip flight for $140 from American Airlines or JetBlue. I know that’s not very frugal of me, but my sanity is worth the extra money.

It’s either that, or I’ll likely be making my way to Austin to scout out areas for the move. If any of you know anything about the city, or know someone there, I’d appreciate any knowledge/connections you can pass along!

As always, I’m grateful that I have the flexibility to coordinate getting the cheapest flights (I saw some $300s mixed in with the $140s), and for the savings to afford these trips.

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Grateful for Inspiration

I have always said that one of the best parts of the personal finance community is how inspirational everyone is. From amazing stories of debt payoff, to incomes being tripled, and all the people making a living off of doing things they love, there’s no shortage of it.

That’s one of the reasons why I love FinCon so much; you can feel the energy buzzing in the air.

If it hasn’t been obvious (as I’ve stated it before), I’ve been lost at sea for the better part of a year with blogging and where I want to go. There have been ideas, but none I felt strongly about.

There has been a lot of rebranding going on with bloggers I look up to, and I’m always amazed by what is possible with “just a blog.” We all started from nothing and had to build our audience, and it’s so exciting to see where people have ended up.

That gives me the hope and inspiration I need to keep going. I love writing, and likely always will. I also love talking about money in hopes of empowering others to make good financial decisions.

But for some reason, there’s been a disconnect, hence this post being the only one I typically publish.

Being Grateful for…Brain Dumps?

I specifically selected “Journey to Saving” because it can involve anything I experience. It’s my journey that I’m sharing with everyone, and the top reason I chose to share it was to inspire others.

However, I feel like I’ve fallen short there for a number of reasons:

  • My journey looks nothing like I thought it would when I started blogging (of course, that’s life, duh Erin)
  • I also started blogging anonymously (anyone remember those days?) and the tone of the blog has changed as I’ve grown and found my voice.

I remember reflecting on this last year, and it led to me change the theme I use for the blog. While I like it, I’m not in love with it, and I don’t think the solution is as simple as that. It’s a bandaid for a bigger issue.

Those of you on Twitter might have noticed I changed my handle to @erinmcreates. I truly felt like @journeytosaving didn’t fit with all I wanted to share/express on there.

I know that sounds absolutely silly, being that I rarely use Twitter in the first place (I’ve been working on that!), but it felt freeing when I changed it.

I’ve been wondering if the same thing is in order for the site, but we’ll see. I just like to keep you all in the loop on my ramblings. ;)

Anyway, let me stop there for this week. Please check out the podcast if you have time (it’s perfect for a commute!), send feedback, and let me know if you have any inside knowledge of Austin. =)

What are you being grateful for this week? How has the new year treated you so far? Do you take advantage of traveling inexpensively during certain seasons?

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I'm wrapping up the year and reflecting on being grateful for 2015 as a whole. So much has happened in such a little time, and I'm looking forward to 2016!

Being Grateful for 2015

I'm wrapping up the year and reflecting on being grateful for 2015 as a whole. So much has happened in such a little time, and I'm looking forward to 2016!We have less than two weeks left in December and I’m stubbornly in denial about where the hell 2015 went. (What else is new?)

I’m sure most of you will agree, but when I think back to 2014, I definitely didn’t know what amazing things 2015 would hold. There’s a lot I have to be grateful for, and I wanted to do a year-end wrap up of it all.

Plus, it’s always nice to take a moment and appreciate all that has happened to get me to where I am today. Especially when the year has gone by so fast! I encourage you all to do the same.

Being Grateful for Opportunity

I received so many different opportunities in 2015! My business was just taking off at the very end of 2014, and it has continued to skyrocket upward.

I’ve had to be pickier than ever with the work I take on, which both surprises me and saddens me. I hate telling people no, but I’ve learned that, at this point, I need to put my sanity first.

Having so many opportunities available to me has been a learning opportunity in and of itself as I figure out what I want to focus on and where I want to go next. I’m grateful for every opportunity I’ve had, whether it has worked out or not, because you can’t know if it’s right unless you try.

While I began freelance writing, I added VA work into the mix shortly after to expand my services. VA work isn’t linear at all, and I’ve learned it requires a lot of experimenting to figure out where your strengths and weaknesses are. Thankfully, I’ve gained a bit of clarity this year.

Being Grateful for Community

I say this all the time, but the PF community is truly wonderful to be a part of. I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t began blogging, and I only started because of the inspiring individuals I’ve been honored to get to know.

FinCon, despite being a crazy whirlwind weekend, was so much fun, and I’m so glad I got to meet new friends and reconnect with old ones. It inspired me to focus on strengthening existing relationships and forming new ones. It has been a rewarding experience, to say the least.

Not that any other community should steal the light, but as some of you may remember, I was privileged to volunteer at a huge convention back in August for a company I love. But the company isn’t the best thing, it’s the community surrounding it.

I am so lucky to be part of not one, but TWO kickass groups of people. I have a tendency to lose faith in humanity fairly quickly (all it takes is turning the news on or driving), but if it ever needs to be restored, I know where to look.

I’m very grateful to have been surrounded by kindness and selflessness this past year, and I think it has also made me a better (and more positive) person. So thank you all!

Being Grateful for the Little Things

I say this a lot, but if you’re having a horrible day, chances are, you can find something to be grateful for, even if it’s just the fact that you’re still breathing.

This year hasn’t been an easy one, emotionally-speaking. It has felt like a roller coaster more often than not.

There are days I wake up and I want nothing more than to close my eyes and go back to sleep. There are times I want to throw a blanket over myself and hide. There have been other days where I’ve cried for no reason at all.

Don’t let anyone tell you self-employment is a piece of cake. A lot of entrepreneurs like to paint a pretty image of their lives, especially on social media. And maybe some of them do have “perfect” days, but no success story is based on perfection.

I’ve learned to come to terms with that. I don’t think any job is ever perfect. Our perspective isn’t always going to be 100% positive. We’re human and that means we have bad days and good days.

The important thing to do is to:

  • Focus on the good when there’s a lot of bad
  • Stop and appreciate how good you have it when things are great
  • Remember that every day is a new start
  • Realize you’re in control of your thoughts and empower yourself to make the situation better
  • Comfort yourself with the fact that without the bad days, you wouldn’t grow as much as a person
  • Forgive yourself, plain and simple
  • Always remain grateful for something, whether it’s your loved ones (that includes pets), health, shelter, food – any basic necessities you have that others may not

Always hold onto the little things.

Being grateful for the little things in 2015

What Does 2016 Hold?

Well gee, I wish I had a crystal ball so I could tell you! Seriously though, while I’m not huge on setting a million goals for myself, there are a few things I want to make happen next year.

Paying Off my Student Loans

Melanie just recently kicked her loans to the curb and I couldn’t be happier for her! She has made such amazing progress and I feel like I need to up my game.

I’ve made a few large (for me) payments toward mine, and they currently sit at $6,300. My larger loan is $4,999 (that was intentional), and my smaller one is at $1,300.

I want them gone. I wanted to pay them off this year, but with barely earning anything in 2014, I took this year to catch up on savings. I did manage to make some big payments toward my loans, but not enough. 2016 is the year I will be debt free, dammit. Please feel free to hold me to that.

Saying Goodbye to Charlotte

Charlotte is a great little city, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not my city. I never felt like I was at home here.

While I don’t want to say goodbye to my parents, I can’t hold myself back, either. I’m 99% sure I’ll be heading to Austin (along with like a thousand other people). The lease is up in April, so I need to get a move on figuring out the logistics.

More Travel

I had a lot of fun visiting my family and friends the three times I went back to NY this year, and I don’t see a reason to stop doing that.

Beyond that, I want to take advantage of the freedom I have and travel to see friends. I’ve already got a trip to San Diego planned thanks to FinCon, and if I somehow don’t move to Austin, I’ll be making it back there for the convention again in July.

If I can somehow score a great deal, I’d love to go overseas for the first time, maybe in celebration of paying off my loans? =) I just have to get a passport…

Prioritizing Self Care and Development

That was one of my goals for this year, and I failed. Completely. In the sense that I fell flat on my face and never got the hell up.

I have put everything ahead of myself this year and that was a mistake. I’ve been riddled with stress, I wake up with headaches 80% of the time, and I get hit with another one at some point in the day. I feel tired and uninspired and just blah.

I need to recharge, and that means not apologizing for putting myself first and actually following through on it. I need to find a way to balance this around work, and I want to incorporate more creative outlets into my life. Expect more on this soon.

Thank you all for such a wonderful and crazy 2015! This will be my last post of the year as I take some time to reflect on where I want to go. Wishing all of you a Happy Holiday/Merry Christmas/Happy New Year/JUST CELEBRATE OKAY?!? *party poppers*

What are you being grateful for as the year comes to an end? What are you hoping for in 2016? Have any major plans you can share? Let me know so I can cheer you on!

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The reasons I have for being grateful and thankful this Thanksgiving.

Being Grateful: Eighty-First Edition (aka Special Thanksgiving Edition)

The reasons I have for being grateful and thankful this Thanksgiving.Hello everyone! Happy Thanksgiving to my US friends and readers! I’m still in disbelief there are only five days left in November.

Being grateful goes hand-in-hand with giving thanks, and there are many things I’m thankful for this year. I like to take Thanksgiving as an opportunity to reflect on all that has happened since this time last year.

I hope you’ll all be inspired to take the time to remember what you’re thankful for today.

Thankful for the Power of Community

I think that sums it up well. Lately, I find myself more and more thankful for people. Which is funny, as my faith in humanity kept going down the more years I spent working with the public. Go figure.

These days, I get to spend time with awesome clients who are doing awesome things, and I also get to connect with fellow awesome freelancers doing equally awesome things. So much awesome!

It still blows my mind that I’m able to write for a living, all thanks to this little blog of mine. There are times I wonder what would have happened had I not began blogging. Do you guys ever find yourselves tracing the dots backwards like that? That kind of rabbit hole can freak you out (in a good way, mostly!).

There’s no doubt in my mind I wouldn’t be in the situation I am today had I not connected with the amazing people in the personal finance community.

I didn’t even know side hustling was a thing. I didn’t know people made money from blogging. And I certainly didn’t think I could earn more than I did at my day job by freelancing online.

I only discovered that through blogging and watching others become successful. I owe so much of my success to the people that inspired me to take action, and who continue to help me on my journey, wherever it may take me.

Thankful for Friendship and Inspiration

On that note, I wanted to thank those who have made a big impact on me this last year:

  • Kali, for being an awesome friend, a tremendous source of inspiration, and for taking a chance on me and being my first client. I definitely wouldn’t be here without your help and you’ve always been so selfless. Thank you for being an amazing person!
  • Cat, for being a kick-ass coach who gave me the push I needed to overcome my fears as a freelancer. I also wouldn’t be in the position I am today without your encouragement, support, and for passing your knowledge onto me.
  • Melanie, also for being a huge source of inspiration (both in freelancing and debt payoff) and friendship. It’s comforting to know there’s always someone I can talk to whether I need to vent, celebrate, or possibly break down.
  • Tonya, for being one of the first people to stop by here and for continuing to support me. There are always great nuggets of wisdom in between the sarcasm and wittiness of your posts, and I’m thankful that you continue to keep it real. I’ve always looked up to you, and I’m glad we’re friends!
  • Kayla, for being one of the first people I spoke to at FinCon this year! It was great getting to hang out, talk more, and become better friends over the course of four days, and I’m happy we get to chat regularly.
  • Chonce and Kristi, for being so welcoming and kind at FinCon (and Kristi for being the second person I spoke to at FinCon!). I’m so glad we’re all getting to “work together” with Kayla and I can’t wait to see how you two grow your businesses next year.
  • Michelle, for listening to me and giving me great advice. You’ve been an inspiration more than you know. Your happiness and attitude toward life is contagious and I know you’ll continue doing great things next year!
  • Melissa, for checking in with me even though we’re both super busy (though I give you more credit as you’re planning a wedding!). You’re always so sweet and I hope we finally get to meet next year!

There are so many other people to list here, but it would take more time than I have. If you’ve ever commented here, shared something of mine on social media, reached out to me via email, or hired me, I’m thankful for you. Thank you for being part of my life in some way!

Happy #Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for the most this past year? Click To Tweet

Thankful for Family

I know I say this a lot, but I’m seriously thankful I have amazing parents. We’ve had our rough spots, of course, but those days are long gone.

My parents raised me in a very hands-off way, and even though they spoiled me (yay being an only-child?), they never forced anything on me. I’m thankful they allowed me to grow into the person I am today, and I’m also thankful for their unconditional love and support.

When I wanted to quit my job and try freelancing, they never suggested I do otherwise. While they didn’t completely understand the concept, they trusted I was making the right decision. And even now, as I contemplate moving hours and hours away, they’re upset, but want the best for me.

Not everyone is close with their family, and not everyone has a strong support network. I’m very thankful I have both; that I have such incredible people I can count on.

Thankful for My Position in Life

I’m thankful for the lessons I learned early on in life (from my parents) that have allowed me to be where I am today, financially speaking.

I made saving a priority as soon as I got my first job, and I never stopped. Yes, I have student loan debt to deal with, but I can sleep soundly at night knowing I can handle most anything life throws my way thanks to my emergency fund.

This has opened the door to so many opportunities. The other day I received an email that one of my favorite groups would be touring next year. Of course, not near me, but one show is in NY. I pretty much already plan on going.

I took a step back and realized not everyone is in that position. In fact, most of my peers are living paycheck to paycheck, and some can barely afford basic living expenses.

Going back to the “retracing the dots backward” thing, there are times I wonder where I would be if I didn’t have any financial know-how. That legitimately scares me. I could still be living with my parents with $0 to my name, not able to take advantage of anything in life.

It’s very easy to cast judgment on others when it comes to money. I find myself dying a bit inside whenever I hear of people wrecking havoc on their financial situation. But sometimes, it pays to have a little sympathy. Had I not grown up the way I did, that person who lets money slip through their fingers could very well have been me.

There are always going to be times when I feel like I don’t have enough. Almost everyone can use more money. However, I’m not struggling, and that’s always something to be thankful for.

Writing Around the Web

I’ve already said I’m not a fan of Black Friday, so I was happy to write about 8 things you can do besides shop this Friday on Young Adult Money.

Going along with the theme of the last section, I shared 5 reasons why I’m grateful I made saving money a priority for GenFKD.

Happy Thanksgiving!

How are you giving thanks today? What’s one of the biggest things you’re grateful for this year? What are your plans for this weekend? 


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