The reasons I'm being grateful this week, including my upcoming trip to New York, the beautiful fall weather (yay hoodies!), and friendship with others.

Being Grateful: Seventy-Fifth Edition

The reasons I'm being grateful this week, including my upcoming trip to New York, the beautiful fall weather (yay hoodies!), and friendship with others.Hello everyone! Is anyone else glad last week is over with? For some reason I had a ton of work pile up and I’m just starting to see the light again…

I wish I was actually seeing some sort of light, as it’s been overcast this weekend thanks to a mix of rain and the hurricane.

Of course, I’m grateful we didn’t really get anything here, but my parents are currently experiencing a little bit of flooding. Nothing compared to what’s happening in Charleston, thankfully, but roadways are closing and people are being urged to stay home.

We were actually supposed to visit this weekend to drop off our cat as we’ll be leaving for New York this Friday, so…I’m not exactly sure what we’re going to do now, but we’ll figure it out.

Anyway, I have a few things I’m being grateful for this week, so let’s get to it!

Being Grateful for Friendship

I had a lovely chat with Melanie last week. She’s been killing it in every way possible lately, and I was so happy to see her at FinCon. She provided a much-needed push in the right direction for me as far as my business goes.

This has been a recurring theme over the last few posts because it’s been weighing heavily on my mind lately. As grateful as I am for all the opportunities I’ve had come my way, I can’t stay stagnant. I have some amazing clients, but as my business evolves, I need to as well, and that unfortunately means making some difficult decisions.

Thankfully, Melanie gave me a great pep talk. I can’t tell you enough how necessary it is to have a support group as a freelancer. It gets downright lonely sometimes, and I made the mistake of isolating myself the majority of this past year. I’m glad I’ve seen there’s no fun in that!

Being Grateful for the Weather

How is this possible when a hurricane is chilling out next to the coast? Well, it got cold here! Somehow, there was a 20 degree difference between here and my parent’s house yesterday. They were in the 80s while we were in the 60s.

Fall is absolutely, hands down, my favorite season of the year. While fall in NC can’t exactly match fall in NY, I will take my hoodie weather whenever it comes. I love getting bundled up and burritoing myself in blankets. (That’s totally a thing.)

I kid you not, I’m sitting here with 2 pairs of socks on, pants, a thermal shirt, a short sleeve shirt over that, and a hoodie on top of that. I’m still a little chilly, and it’s only 70* in the apartment.

But, since we’re leaving in a week, we’re determined to keep bundling up. 70* is not low enough to turn the heat on. I want as low of an electric bill as possible when we come back!

Being Grateful for Travel and a Flexible Schedule

I had said at the beginning of the year I wanted to prioritize travel more, and I’m glad to say we’ve mostly held up to that. We got to visit Austin, TX, and I went and visited NY twice (once in February, once in June).

Since our future residence is mostly unknown, I figured it would be a good idea to make the trip back home yet again, right before the holidays, just in case we don’t get to see everyone for a while.

Plus, one of our friends is obsessed with Halloween and hosts an annual shaving cream party at his house. We’ve only made it to one, and I thought it would be a great idea for our trip to coincide with this year’s event.

I can’t wait to see everyone! While I’m not looking forward to the drive whatsoever, I know I’ll be very grateful to have a car this time around. We’ll be staying there for a full four weeks and the freedom to visit people whenever I want is more important than taking an easy flight.

As a bonus, we also booked a trip “upstate” in NY to enjoy the beautiful fall scenery. R went to college upstate and we’ve been back to visit twice, and I loved it each time. The mountains are just an amazing place to be and “get away” from everything.

Hotel rooms tend to be scarce and super expensive during this time of the year, so I looked to Airbnb instead. On the weekends, rooms were going for $90-$100. On the weekdays? $52. Uh, no question, we’ll take the weekday and extend our trip!

This is what I love most about being a freelancer. I can take advantage of cheaper rates by going to places during an “off-peak” time. I’m hoping the city will be less crowded too, because last time we went, the state park was filled to capacity and there was no parking!

Writing Around the Web

In case you missed it, I had my usual posts on Young Adult Money and Frugal Rules last week. 4 ways millennials can put their finances on autopilot (because who wants to sit there sorting through their finances for hours every week?), and Advice for students worried about future student loan debt (I love that more and more students are waking up to this reality and trying to reduce their debt now rather than after they graduate!).

That’s it for this update! Thanks for reading, and as always, I’m eternally grateful for all of you for making my blog part of your day. ♥

What have you been grateful for this past week? Do you love fall as much as I do? Does anyone DISLIKE fall!? If you work from home, how do you prioritize socializing? 

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It's time for a much needed and overdue reflection on being grateful. This edition is a little special because I have so many people to thank!

Being Grateful: Seventy-Fourth Edition

It's time for a much needed and overdue reflection on being grateful. This edition is a little special because I have so many people to thank!Hi everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend. Oddly enough, it’s been raining here ever since Monday. I think Charlotte misses everyone from FinCon as much as I do.

I know most of you are probably over the reviews and recaps, and I posted my own last week, but I had to do a gratitude post with a twist based on everything that happened last week.

Why? Well, if you read my “life update” before FinCon, you’d know I’ve been feeling a little lost lately. That’s probably putting it lightly. For several months, I’ve felt more and more like life was just happening to me, and that’s never a fun place to be.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t sure how to get out of the rut I was in. And I’m still not fully out, but I have a better idea of how to get there thanks to last week.

Being Grateful for the Connections Made

The personal finance community is like a family, and I’ve always loved that. For the most part, you can comment on anyone’s blog post, receive a comment back, and possibly form a friendship or a business partnership later on.

I’ve made so many connections throughout the short time I’ve been blogging, and the kindness of people never ceases to amaze me. That’s awesome, because we’re all mostly working toward the same goal: to increase financial literacy and inspire people to manage their money better.

But we have so much more in common than just our core financial beliefs. I bonded with people over everything from our mutual love of cats, office supplies, and working, to a shared hatred of student loan debt and super expensive food.

Last year, I walked away with a few friends. But this year, I walked away with a lot of memories, plans for the future, and more of a purpose. And that’s all thanks to the connections I made.

Being around such a crowd is inspiring. I got to witness so many people win awards because of their passion and commitment. Which leads me to my next point…

Being Grateful for Some Direction

I find it incredibly silly to say I’m grateful for our community and the friends I’ve made, yet, I’ve neglected my blog this year. I’ve lost touch with the community at large. I’ve missed out on so many awesome new blogs.

That’s not something I ever wanted to happen, but it’s an unfortunate byproduct of freelancing. Any time I think of a topic I want to write about, I figure it’s better being pitched for one of my staff writing jobs. As a result, it seems like I have nothing left to say here.

At the beginning of the year, I wanted to fix that and find a way to get more personal. But I backed away out of fear instead. I’m not perfect – nowhere near it – but it’s been tough to find words for the struggles I’ve been going through, especially when I’m not the only one involved.

However, I still want to keep my little home here on the internet. I want to reach out to people in the off-chance reading what I have to say helps.

My passion has always been to help people in some way, and staying silent doesn’t help anyone. Sometimes I’m confident people take something away from my writing, and other times I feel like I’m talking to a wall. But I think we all have to work through things to get to the other side, and sitting on the sidelines waiting for inspiration to strike isn’t productive whatsoever.

So that’s exactly what I’ll be doing – working through things, seeing what sticks and what doesn’t. Trying to allow myself some room to breathe on here without being a total perfectionist. We’ll see how that goes.

Being Grateful for Advice

There was no shortage of talking business at FinCon. I was able to speak with a lot people about handling a side hustle or growing a business. We vented to each other, got excited for each other, and gave each other some great advice.

I’ve only been at this for the past year (which is crazy to think about), and I still need all the advice I can get when it comes to actually managing my business. There’s always something more we can be doing, something else vying for our attention. But sometimes it’s as simple as listening to our heart and making sure our business goals are aligning with how we want to live life.

It’s so easy to get carried away saying “yes” to every opportunity because it gives us a chance to grow and earn more. But it’s necessary to stop and evaluate once in a while, too.

This ties back to the whole “letting life happen to me” thing. It’s time to stop that. I have a lot of things I need to change in the next few months, and I’m grateful for the advice I received from people who are a little wiser than me.

Special Thanks To…

Okay, trying to name everyone I met at FinCon is going to be next to impossible, but I might as well try, because I am truly grateful for every interaction I had. If I didn’t include you, please feel free to yell at me in the comments.

Jenna, Kayla, Jessica, Kristi, Choncé, Kali, Holly, Greg, Michelle S., Natalie, Mark, Steven, Pat, Jim, Cat, Tiffany, Mandi, Michelle, Tonya S., Jana, Melanie, Eric, J. Money, Cait, Carrie, Adam, Zina, Tonya R., Sofia, Alan, Hannah, Andrea, Jason, Matt, Paula, Todd, Shannyn, Mr. & Mrs. Frugalwoods, Shannon, Victoria, Kathleen, Joe, Bobby,  Erin, Stefanie, Kate, Will, Miranda, Brian, John, Grayson, Corey, Alexander, Jacob, Kay, and Lauren.

Thanks to all of you for taking a little (or a lot) of your time to stop and chat!

And of course, a big thank you goes to PT for organizing everything and constantly checking to see if everyone was enjoying themselves.

I can’t wait to see what we all end up doing in the year to come, but one thing is certain – I need to get back to creating content consistently on here and engaging with everyone.

Also, if you’d like to read up on more FinCon happenings/takeaways, check out these posts: 10 Practical Tips for Attending Your Next FinCon, Why FinCon Was a Great Investment for My Business, 5 Amazing Lessons from FinCon15, Music Mondays – Happy, Feeling Empowered.

What have you been grateful for this past week? Anyone doing any fun fall activities? Or has the weather been dreary by you, too? 

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Words can't describe how amazing FinCon15 was! I got to meet many more people than I did last year, have the experience working a booth, and party.

FinCon15 Experience: Amazing

Words can't describe how amazing FinCon15 was! I got to meet many more people than I did last year, have the experience working a booth, and party.This weekend was absolutely amazing. I’m going to tell you all right now, there are no words to properly describe the experience I had at this FinCon. I think that’s an accurate representation of how much things have changed for me since last year.

Why? Last year I had no idea what I was in for. I had quit my job to relocate to Charlotte only a few months beforehand. I was finding my footing as a freelancer, and felt insecure in this space. Sure, I had been blogging for over a year, but that was nothing compared to what most people had accomplished.

I also wasn’t sure what my purpose was at the conference. I knew I had to network and find opportunities, but being an introvert, I found it difficult to approach people and strike up a conversation.

Not this year. I took full advantage of the fact the conference was four days instead of three, and tried to meet all the people I wanted to. Being an exhibitor was also a huge change of pace, and it helped ease me into things as I kind of had to talk to people coming up to the booth.

I’ve been at a good place with the clients and work I have, so I wasn’t necessarily there to seek opportunities. I wanted to strengthen existing relationships and form new ones with people I admire and care about, and I think I was able to do that. I left last year with a few regrets, and I think it’s safe to say I don’t have any this year.

Doing FinCon as an Exhibitor

Working a booth is different from being a regular attendee, but it was really cool to be able to talk with so many different people about what they do and how we could possibly work together. Those that stopped by were mostly representatives of other companies – not bloggers – and the dynamic was completely different.

Wherewithal's Booth at Fincon15
Wherewithal’s Booth at Fincon15

That said, everyone that stopped by was really nice, and I’m happy most people were interested in the concept of being able to save money while shopping online (the cash back goes directly into your savings account). We’ll be looking for a group of people to test everything out once we’re closer to launching in a few months, so we’re focusing on outreach right now.

Wherewithal didn’t win the FinTech Startup Competition, but I think all the companies that competed had a unique offering that met the needs of consumers. I love seeing people working toward making personal finance easier or more accessible!

Winners of the FinCon15 Fintech Startup Competition
Winners of the FinCon15 Fintech Startup Competition

I Didn’t Go to Any Sessions

Yes, you read that correctly. I didn’t attend any of the sessions, unless you count Shannon’s live broadcast of Martinis and Your Money (which was awesome, of course) and a few keynotes. Between Thursday and Friday, I was in the Expo Hall at the booth, and Saturday and Sunday were just too crazy with meetups and events.

I wasn’t planning on going to many anyway, and you get a Virtual Pass which gives you access to all the panels that happened. I’m not trying to downplay the importance of learning – I just didn’t find the sessions fit the purpose of the conference for me. There are always amazing people sharing their knowledge and you should take advantage of that if you need it, but I find networking to be more worthwhile.

Martinis and Your Money - Live!
Martinis and Your Money – Live!

Talking Business and Money

There are two huge topics of discussion at FinCon – money and business. I got to talk strategy with so many people and I loved every second of it. I actually met up with a few people over lunch and we talked about saving, emergency funds, and how we spend our money. It was awesome.

I never felt like an outsider. Everyone “got” each other immediately. I think that was well-represented in Grant’s keynote at the end, as it spoke to a lot of us. There’s a certain energy around FinCon that can’t be replicated outside of it.

Carl Richards had a great opening keynote!
Carl Richards had a great opening keynote!

I looked forward to seeing “my people” every day and getting to bond over the most seemingly random things. There’s nothing quite like it, and I hate that we all have to wait until next year to experience it again.

The People

I can’t begin to name everyone I met this year. It was a huge improvement over last year. I got to meet all my clients, even if some meetings were a bit shorter than I would have liked. Each and every person I met was kind and welcoming, and I miss you all so much already!

Here are a few highlights I should mention:

I spent most of my downtime with my fellow “Cat classmates” – we all went through Cat’s freelance writing program and had planned on meeting up. Kayla (Shoeaholic No More), Kristi (Moderate Muse), Jessica (Settle Your Finances), Jenna, and Choncé (My Debt Epiphany) were a blast to be around and I can’t wait to see where these ladies will be next year. They’ve already had such success in a short amount of time and are hustling like crazy to make it work.

The ladies I spent the most time with at FinCon15
Cat is our mama duck =)

Also by chance, we ended up running into Steven (Even Steven Money) on Friday. For some reason, he came back to talk to us crazies on Saturday while we were getting our drink on. I have a feeling he and Will (First Quarter Finance) were just sticking around because of how entertaining and awesome we were. Just saying.

Saturday night was the Plutus Awards, and I was beyond excited to see so many of my friends take home well-deserved awards. Tonya, Shannon, Melanie, Natalie, Michelle, Carrie, Holly – all fantastic women I look up to who are kicking a lot of ass. Girl power. That’s all I have to say.

Winning ladies of the Plutus Awards
Some of the winning ladies!

Things wound down on Sunday, but I was able to hang with my girls for breakfast, go to the keynote, and then meet with some great people for pizza. I spent the rest of my day hanging with Michelle (Shop My Closet Project), who is just amazing. Seriously. Pretty sure she also convinced me I need to visit Denver.

Plutus Awards After Party
Being awesome at the Plutus Awards After Party

Overall, I left feeling really inspired because of everyone I got to meet. It’s safe to say most people in attendance were working toward a greater purpose or had huge ideas. As a collective, us money nerds don’t settle for less. We’re dreamers and planners who reach for greater heights and keep going. We don’t limit ourselves, and I love that.

I’m still trying to gather my thoughts in-between catching up on work, but I’ll be making a Being Grateful – FinCon Edition post this weekend. In the meantime, if I met you at FinCon, please feel free to shoot me an email or message on Twitter. (Or I’ll hunt you down.) There’s no reason to let the connections we made fade over the year as we wait for FinCon16 (which is in San Diego – and yes, I have my ticket already). I’m looking forward to a bunch of Skype/Google Hangout dates!

Love you all, and thank you for such a memorable weekend. ♥

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