The reasons I have for being grateful this week, including walking, getting a new pair of comfortable shoes, and a surprise birthday present!

Being Grateful: Seventy-Third Edition

The reasons I have for being grateful this week, including walking, getting a new pair of comfortable shoes, and a surprise birthday present!Hey everyone! This week went by extra fast somehow. It doesn’t feel like we’re halfway through July, but I know I keep saying that. I’m starting to wonder if working from home just makes time move faster because everything tends to be a blur!

Anyway, like I said last week, I didn’t do anything for my birthday. This actually felt like the most un-birthdayest of birthdays, if that makes sense. That’s okay, though – I’m grateful I’m still here even though I’m in denial about getting older. ;)

What I’m Being Grateful For: A New Monitor

For starters, my parents surprised me with a new 24″ monitor for my birthday. My dad had asked what I wanted, and I jokingly said I’d like to upgrade from my 19″ monitor. However, because I’m spoiled and have two monitors, there was really no reason to upgrade.

My old one was around 6-7 years old and the screen didn’t look great next to my other one, but I could deal. It wasn’t a “need” and other things are more important right now.

While I don’t like that they spent so much on a gift for me, the bigger monitor is handy when I’m working with Photoshop, and it’s a widescreen, so videos look great. It’s honestly still a little overwhelming to me because my other monitor is 21.5″, and now it looks really small in comparison. I would love to eventually have two of the same monitors for consistency, but these work just fine!

Really, if I had more desk space, I’d use all three. If that sounds crazy/wasteful to you, I just have one word: efficiency.

Getting Outside

To gear up for my trip to Austin where I’ll be on my feet for 14+ hours a day for 4-5 days straight, I’ve been getting outside and walking 2 miles. This hasn’t happened every day, especially since rain loves to roll in randomly, but it’s been nice to force myself to get outside and away from my desk.

I know it’s simply about prioritizing my time and what I want to do, so I’ve been trying to work it into my schedule. R comes home and goes running, so I don’t leave myself any choice but to go with him.

Lately I’ve started alternating running and walking a la Couch to 5k, which I had started (embarrassingly) almost a year and a half ago, but given up on. It’s slow progress, and of course, I’m not going to become a runner overnight. But it’s been nice to be proud of the progress I’m making. Hopefully I can keep it up this time, especially since I’d like to go hiking more this fall.

A Little Shopping Trip

What?! This sounds weird to be grateful for, right? Well, the truth is, I hate shopping for myself. I guess that’s a good thing because I’ve never had a spending problem when it comes to clothes or accessories.

I don’t like malls, and if I have to be in a store, I want to get out as soon as possible. I hate trying clothes on because barely anything fits right and I just can’t be bothered. I have a closet full of clothes I already know work well, so why get more?

Well, I wanted to get a good pair of shoes for Austin, as I know all the standing and walking is going to take a toll on me. Flip flops aren’t going to work. Besides that, I also needed to get a dress for a charity auction I’ll be attending while there.
new shoes saucony

Last weekend, my mom, R, and myself went to the outlets. Every store was a bust as far as dresses went. I didn’t find anything remotely worth the effort of trying on. However, my mom and R ended up with the majority of the spoils, which was amusing.

My mom has back problems, and she picked up a comfortable pair of shoes for work, as well as a comfortable pair of sandals. R actually needed sandals, too, as his only pair had a hole in the soles. Both were 40% off and around $20 – not bad.

Then we came across simple v-neck shirts for R at Banana Republic for $9. He’s slowly been replacing his old shirts with new ones, and he picked up 3.

Finally, I was able to find shoes at our last stop. I got a pair of Saucony shoes that literally feel like heaven. They’re like slippers, and they’re adorable. They weren’t cheap, but there was a BOGO 50% off sale happening, so I picked up a nice pair of flats along with them for that charity auction. I have one other pair of flats I first got when I started working, and they’ve been worn down since then.

I was mostly concerned about the shoes and I’m very grateful I actually found a pair. My feet are really weird – one foot is bigger than the other, so shoe shopping is truly a pain.

I’m also really glad my mom was able to find a good deal on shoes. In the past, we’ve cheaped out and gone to Payless, but now that I’m aging (ahem), I think a good pair of shoes is worth the price, especially when you have back problems.

Writing Around the Web

Should You Mix Family and Money? on Frugal Rules – Lately I’ve been hearing conflicting stories about family and friends lending money to other relatives, and the results seem mixed. I go over potential issues and what you should consider before being generous.

How to Improve Your Credit Score on Wherewithal – Last week I talked about why your credit score is important, so I thought it was only fitting to give tips on how to improve it!

Why You Shouldn’t Let Your College Major Define You on Young Adult Money – A lot of graduates aren’t working in the field they studied in college (I’m not!). It can create a lot of inner turmoil when you’re paying back your student loans, but it’s important to think about what else your degree gave you.

The Ultimate Guide to Side Hustling on Young Adult Money – A two-fer this week! I put together the best posts YAM has ever published on side hustling and compiled them into one handy guide. Give it a look if you want to earn more!

That’s it for this week! Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend. ♥

What are you being grateful for this week? When’s the last time you went for a planned shopping outing?

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The reasons I have for being grateful this past week, including being in good company, making a decent dent in my student loans, and more!

Being Grateful: Seventy-Second Edition

The reasons I have for being grateful this past week, including being in good company, making a decent dent in my student loans, and more!Hello everyone! Happy weekend!

I’m back at my parents house celebrating my birthday a little early. It falls in the middle of the week, and since R had a floating day off to take due to the holiday last week, he decided to take a three day weekend.

I’m definitely grateful for the gorgeous weather we’re having. We drove down Thursday night and for once, didn’t hit any rain or storms even though it was a balmy 88*!

I don’t have any specific plans for the weekend. I’d like to try and get to the beach, but the traffic is always horrendous.

To be honest, birthday’s aren’t a huge deal to me. I like low-key “celebrations” involving my favorite food and people. And my mom already set that up as she’s making a whole stuffed chicken tonight, and baked ziti tomorrow! As well as her famous chocolate pudding pie. Yum.

So what am I being grateful for this past week?

Good Company

Since I wrote my last post before our 4th of July celebrations, I wanted to say I was grateful to spend time with my parents’ neighbors last weekend.

They invited us all over for a BBQ, and after that, we went to their sister’s house for dessert.

She just bought a house down here for the winter months, and it has a lake view. That’s where the fireworks were happening!

It was a lovely show just like last year. Too short, but can’t really complain about that as I think the residents that do the show pay for the fireworks themselves, which is really awesome of them.

Afterward, it was fun to listen to everyone exchange stories. We actually stayed over until midnight talking! The bonus is that one of my parents’ neighbors is an amazing cook and baker. Her chocolate chip cookie cake was delicious.

One part of this that was interesting was learning more about her sister. Her husband is an accountant and apparently they’re rolling in money. You wouldn’t really know it, though.

She does drive an older BMW SUV, but when commenting on our car, she said her husband loves his Civic. He had an early 2000 model and just recently upgraded to a 2014.

She may have spent $20,000 furnishing the house (which included buying two TVs that totaled $3,500), but it’s because they have the money to do it.

Can you imagine? Having so much money you just…spend it on whatever because you have so much?

I obviously don’t know all the details, but I just found it interesting.

Overall, I was grateful for their generosity as we had kind of surprised my parents at the last second by coming down. It was nice of them to accommodate us!

Helping My Dad

Funny story, when we got to my parents house, it was about 1AM. However, I had had some coffee on the way and wasn’t tired (oops).

My dad and I got around to talking about video games as we sometimes do, and I found out he was having trouble playing a Final Fantasy game on the PC that I had played on the Xbox.

So I went into the game, defeated a boss he apparently kept dying to, and helped him make sense of the combat system.

You’re probably wondering why this matters. Well, my dad is pretty much responsible for my love of video games. I remember being around 4 and watching him play Zelda on Nintendo.

Our pastime together used to be me reading strategy guides to him and helping him get through a game. In a way, it was a little throwback to that!

Making Progress on Student Loans…Again

When I shared last week that we had gotten a “new” car, I had said it spurred me to take action on my loans.

I had mostly been planning on it, especially since the last 3 months have been my highest earning months. When you freelance, dropping thousands of dollars in one shot is a little unnerving.

Plus, I love saving money – parting with it (even to pay debt), not so much. I keep saying I need to change that, but it’s a tough mental barrier to break through. Rationally, I know getting rid of my debt is a better return, but I like having a safety net.

However, I am so sick of these loans hanging over me and I can’t ignore it anymore.

I sent that $1,400 payment through, and I’m hoping it gets applied toward my one loan soon. I hate that I have to contact my servicer to get it set up a certain way, as R can select individual loans to pay, but oh well. Whatever it takes, right?

Writing Around the Web

The Process of Renting an Apartment for the First Time on Frugal Rules – A few of my first posts on this blog were actually about finding an apartment. It was such an annoying process to go through, and since we’ve been through it twice in two years, I wanted to provide some insight and advice to anyone else going through it!

How to Control Your Spending Issues on Young Adult Money – I took a slightly different approach to this that people seemed to like. I highlighted different types of spenders, and then provided solutions for each of them. Not all of us have the same spending habits!

Millennials, Do You Know Your Credit Score? on Wherewithal – I know some people don’t think credit scores matter, but I think it’s worth being knowledgeable about it when you’re younger. I reviewed how your credit score can save you money and affect your finances.

Special Feature

I don’t normally share links to other posts anymore, mostly because I share them on Twitter, but I couldn’t not share this one with you all.

Kara, one of Wherewithal’s amazing staff writers, paid off her student loans recently! I was so thrilled to have her document how she did it on Wherewithal.

I know everyone, myself included, can always use a boost of inspiration and motivation by reading success stories. I’m so happy for her because I know how tough it can be, especially when you don’t make a whole lot of money. There’s proof it’s possible! Go on over to her post or her blog and congratulate her. =)

What are you being grateful for this week? How do you like to celebrate your birthday? Have you ever had to force yourself to pay more toward your debt? 

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It's been a year since I switched from office work to freelance writing. I've doubled my income and what I offer to clients, but I didn't do it on my own.

A Year of Freelancing – Where am I Now?

This post is a part of the Get Paid to Write for Blogs Course Launch! Get Paid to Write for Blogs is a brand new course created by Cat Alford of Budget Blonde. Cat makes a full time income from writing for blogs, and this course will teach you how to do the same.

I am long, long overdue to update you all on how self-employment has been going for me. While I write about it on other blogs, I don’t share a lot about it here.

When I heard Cat was launching her Get Paid to Write for Blogs course, I thought it would be a good opportunity for an update. After all, I would not be where I am today without Cat’s guidance.

While I had started freelancing on a very small scale last summer, I knew I had to push myself outside my comfort zone. I was getting stuck on reading about what to do, and not taking any action.

Cat changed that.

Get paid to write for blogs ecourse

Having a Coach is Invaluable

I was very lucky to get the opportunity to be one of Cat’s students last year. Though Cat has changed from individual coaching to offering an online course, you’re still getting amazing value. Cat has so much insight and experience, and she straightened me out after our first call.

Even though I’ve identified as a writer my entire life, I never thought I would get paid for it.

I have no issues writing here on the blog, in a journal, or elsewhere. But when it came to pitching potential clients and accepting payment for my words, I froze up. I didn’t think I was good enough.

Thankfully, I was able to push past that, and going to FinCon also gave me a lot of opportunities. It’s coming up in September(!), and if you’re booked to go and want to try your hand at freelancing, completing this course beforehand will prepare you.

Where am I Now?

A year of freelancing updateIf you go to my “work with me me” page, you might notice I have a diverse array of services I offer clients.

I started out freelance writing, but to be honest, I couldn’t handle just writing all the time. I needed to do other things.

I love helping people, so naturally I decided to offer virtual assistant services as well (which Cat also helped me with!).

Thanks to my amazing network, I have wonderful, consistent work from great clients.

These past few months, I’ve effectively doubled what I was earning back when I worked full-time in an office.

That’s insane to me. Insane. Granted, I wasn’t making much, but I never thought I’d be earning this much. Certainly not on my own. I had sentenced myself to a life of low-paying office work.

Don’t make that mistake if you’re in the same position I was. There are so, so many opportunities out there. You just need to take action to take advantage of them.

I get to work from home, at any time. Being a night owl, that usually means anywhere from 11am – 2am. I’m able to take off to visit my family in NY while my fiance stays behind because he doesn’t have enough time off (sorry, R!).

I’m able to volunteer at an awesome convention for a week next month. I never have to worry about my “time off” being approved.

Most importantly, how much I earn is up to me. I have a few clients with never-ending to-do lists. I could work an entire 40 hour week with them if I wanted to. But I can also choose to raise my rates and work less.

The flexibility is amazing. Even though it’s often a double-edged sword (I feel compelled to work a lot more), it’s been an amazing learning experience. I have so many more skills now than I did a year ago. I don’t regret it for a second.

Want to Become a Freelance Writer, Too?

Okay, are you interested in pursuing freelance writing full-time now? Then let’s get back to the course.

There’s a total of 29 videos and 8 modules included in this course. Cat worked her butt off creating the course material, and it shows.

This course isn’t just about how to become a paid freelance writer. Cat’s a savvy businesswoman who constantly amazes me, and it’s no surprise to see “confidence and rejection” (hello! that’s what I needed), and “running a successful and legitimate business” as modules (gotta love quarterly taxes).

There are 3 levels to the course (very common model, in case you’re wondering) – which are $197, $297, and $497. You get access to different materials based on the level you go with.

Bottom Line

I realize the price tag of $497 for the master level course might seem high to you. Let me assure you, it’s not. I’ve paid more for other courses and felt pretty dissatisfied. Plus, if you use my link (which is an affiliate link), you’ll get 15% off, bringing the price down to $422.

You all know I love to research my options to death when deciding to purchase something. I wouldn’t be recommending this if I didn’t think it would help you.

Let me put this another way…after I completed my coaching session with Cat, I made back what I paid for her services within a month.

It absolutely pays to invest in yourself and your business if you need to. I make well over $500 a month from one writing client alone, and that’s because of Cat’s expertise.

Also, you’ll get access to a private Facebook group for the course. All of Cat’s past coaching students hang out here, and we’re all more than willing to help. Cat is a constant presence there, and we often share extra resources and jobs there.

You’re getting a built-in network with your purchase. That’s super, super valuable. If I have to pass on a gig, guess who I recommend?

You also get a 7 day money back guarantee. If you purchase the course, look it over, and decide it’s not right for you, you’ll get a refund.

I know the road ahead can seem scary and uncertain when you’re thinking about side hustling, or transitioning to self-employment. It terrified me. But you can’t let it paralyze you. This course will help you get on the right track from the start.

Invest in yourself if it makes sense. You’ll be thanking yourself in a month or two!

Are you a freelance writer? What was your toughest challenge and how did you overcome it? How have you invested in yourself?

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