Being Grateful: 54th Edition - Journey to Saving

Being Grateful: Fifty-Fourth Edition

Being Grateful: 54th Edition - Journey to SavingHello everyone! Yet another week has gone by, and now there are only 19 days until Christmas. HOW did we get here already?!

Okay, enough about that, as I know no one likes those reminders. =)

Being Grateful for Good Customer Service

Here’s just one small reason I’m being grateful this week – when we went food shopping a few nights ago, we purchased something that should have been on sale. It was marked as such in the circular, but the actual price tags were a little misleading.

Sure enough, once we got our receipt, I noticed it was at full price. This was supposed to be a BOGO free deal, and the total was $9. I wasn’t about to pay that, so we brought our receipt to customer service.

The guy was so nice, and told us that for the price being incorrect, we would get both items for free. He put the $9 back on the card and we walked away happy.

Why can’t every customer service interaction go like that?!

Besides that, a Publix just opened nearby, and I guess they have a policy of doing everything for their customers. A guy emptied our cart, packed our bags, and wheeled the cart out to the parking lot. We felt bad/odd since, well, we’re young and perfectly capable of all of that. But it was still a nice gesture.

Being Grateful for Podcasts

This might seem like a weird one, but on a 3.5 hour drive to visit my parents, they come in handy! That’s about enough time to listen to 3, or 2 longish ones.

Don’t get me wrong, R and I usually enjoy talking to each other, and we have sometimes gone entire trips bouncing from topic to topic. However, there are times I’m just too tired, and would rather listen.

Some of my favorite podcasts are:

  • Shannon’s Martinis and Your Money. It’s always fun to listen to, and it’s also informative. I love the fact that she talks to bloggers most of us know and love, and it’s a treat to hear them outside of their blogs! That sounds weird, but Shannon asks great questions, so listen to it if you haven’t!
  • The Rooster Teeth Podcast I have to credit R with. He started listening to this a few months ago and kept raving about it. Originally, this had the name of “Drunk Tank,” and as you can see, all of them are marked explicit. There’s a lot of funny, immature humor involved, so it’s not for everyone. They do have some interesting discussions, and there’s been a few times where they’ve touched upon some PF topics! (Actually, the most recent says they discuss life insurance, ha.)
  • Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income podcast is a classic. If you haven’t heard of Pat Flynn, you need to check him out. Now. He asks great questions to guests, and even in the podcasts where he’s alone, he provides a lot of value. It’s a must if you’re a blogger, or looking for side gig ideas.
  • Chris Ducker’s The New Business Podcast is similarly awesome – tons of great tips and tricks for those in the online marketing world. Plus, Chris is really funny.
  • Jeff Goins’ The Portfolio Life is also a good one, especially if you’re a writer or a creative. Jeff offers great insight in every episode and it always leaves you thinking.

I have a lot more, so if you need suggestions, just ask!

Being Grateful for Cats

I feel like I haven’t mentioned my cats in a while, so here you go. They’ve been really entertaining lately. Our little one is routinely chasing her tail around in circles, flipping around while doing so. Our older one has decided she actually likes her cat carrier, which is even more strange.

We took them with us on our last trip to my parents, and neither of them had a good time. It was so bad I almost considered turning back an hour into the drive.

Being grateful that my cats like their carriersThankfully, we all made it, and they were much better going back home. I think the problem was that we hadn’t sprayed the “cat calming spray” enough in the car and in their carriers. That stuff seriously works.

Since we knew they would be going back with us for Christmas, we decided to leave the carriers out in the living room. Our little one started staying in there first, and then our older one must have gotten jealous and wanted to prove she could do it, too. (Yes, I’ve made up a ‘sibling’ rivalry between them.)

I’m really grateful for this and hoping they develop a positive association with their carriers. I hate putting them through the drive, but I am not leaving them alone for five and a half days. Since it’s the week of Christmas, I also feel bad asking R’s co-worker (who lives in our complex) to check in on them.

Being Grateful for Our Current Situation

R had a surprise review (surprise insofar as he knew it would be happening at some point this month, not this soon), and unfortunately, there’s no money in his department’s budget for raises. For anyone.

It’s unclear at this point when he might get a raise. It’s unfortunate, as he was told in his interview they would give him a slight raise after 6 months.

Thankfully, R and I had been talking about his future with the company, and I told him to make it a point to ask about advancement opportunities. This way, his boss at least knows he’s interested in growing with them.

There wasn’t anything promising to report there, either, though. There’s a few paths he can take, but there likely won’t be any openings for another year, possibly more. He’s also the newest addition, so his coworkers are ahead of him if anything opens up.

That’s the “problem” with being in a relatively new department, I guess. They aren’t even sure what the future will look like!

While this is a little disheartening, it’s important to remain grateful we’re even here. This position was still a bump in pay from his old one, and he’s had the opportunity to learn a lot more about construction. Neither of us like things being uncertain, but who knows what the future holds.

Lastly, I wanted to add that I had the opportunity to review XY Planning Network’s new “Find an Advisor” portal. Put simply, they’re a group of financial advisors specifically aimed at Gen Y and X, and they’re looking to recreate the field of financial planning in a way that accommodates those generations.

Going through the specialties of each advisor made me realize there’s truly no one-size-fits all approach for our finances. Each of us is in a unique situation, and it’s important to have an advisor who understands that, which is why I’m grateful they exist!

What are you being grateful for this week? What’s the strangest thing your pets have done?

Erin M.

Erin is a personal finance writer and virtual assistant who loves talking about money and how to use it as a tool to get what you want out of life. When she's not obsessing over numbers or working (which is rare), she can be found messing around in Photoshop, laughing at her cat, watching YouTube videos, playing video games, chair dancing, or any random combination of the above.

50 thoughts on “Being Grateful: Fifty-Fourth Edition

    1. I was honestly really afraid of how they would behave on the move. We ended up being in the car for 24 hours, and I was immensely grateful that they were mostly okay the entire time.

      Since then, I’ve gotten more comfortable with the idea of taking them along, and they also love my parents screened-in porch. I would highly recommend the calming cat spray by Comfort Zone (I got it on Amazon).

      Family is always a great thing to be grateful for! Thanks for stopping by.

    1. Shannon’s blog is amazing, and yes, I love PF blogs for the same reason. I’ve learned so much, and it’s opened my mind to so many other methods, possibilities, and ways of thinking.

    1. It is really tough, and it’s something I’ve encountered before as well. I’m really proud that he at least asked, and mentioned his interest in future opportunities.

  1. That’s a great idea to leave the carrying cage open for them to get used to it. Out of all the cats I had, Piglet was the only one who enjoyed traveling like his mom. The rest would have killed me if they could lol! Sorry that R wasn’t able to financially benefit from his good review but as you said, he should continue to express his interest in advancement and see what comes of it.
    Kassandra recently posted: Sunday Sweetness Volume 8My Profile

    1. I have to credit the vet tech I worked with at the animal shelter for the cat calming spray, as I had no idea it existed. I think that really makes them enjoy it more! (Or keeps them quiet.)

      I figure it’s better to have it out there that he’s interested in growing, but neither of us are holding our breath. I would be surprised if we heard anything next year, as lots of things need to get sorted out with their budget.

    1. My mom remembers Publix from when my great-grandparents lived down there. She said their customer service is top-notch. I don’t think I ever ran across any up north, but I did love Shop Rite (if they’re over in PA). They have great sales.

  2. Thanks SO much for mentioning my podcast Erin!! I am glad that you enjoy it!! I love getting the chance to have chats with my friends who are all smart with great stories so I love that people like listening. :-) Publix is an awesome company and if you are looking for a cheap wedding cake, they did our cake for our wedding 11 years ago and it was amazing!!!
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted: Weekly RoundupMy Profile

    1. No problem at all! I hate that I don’t keep up with the episodes as much as I like, but I got through 2 of them on our trip, and it was a treat.

      That is awesome to know, because when we first stepped in, the bakery was right there, and I wanted to eat everything. Their cakes did look amazing!

  3. Wow, those are great podcast recommendations! Now that my parents have moved from far away (2 1/2 hour drive) to basically right around the corner from me, I don’t have any reason to listen to podcasts anymore. I also don’t bring them to work on anymore, as I usually just do classes at the gym. It would be great to fit in podcasts again!

    My cats are absolute nuts. Seriously, they’re crazy. They hate their cat carriers so much – I should check out that calming spray! The cutest thing they like to do is hop in empty boxes (Maru-style). One of them even likes to sleep in empty boxes… instead of her cat bed. Kitties!
    Melissa @ Sunburnt Saver recently posted: Weekly UpdateMy Profile

    1. I wish my parents would move closer (or vist us), but I don’t see that happening at all! My podcast and music consumption went way down when I got a job 5 minutes from our last apartment. Now that I work from home, the only time I listen is if I’m not working on something intense, or if we’re on a trip. I need to fit them in more, too.

      I *just* discovered Maru the other week, courtesy of R. Our little one loves to hop in, well, everything. She gets into bags, containers, boxes…it’s pretty funny, but she is reckless!

  4. I hear you in the customer service at the grocery store. Everything close to is has always had nice and cordial checkers. We chat after I put everything on the conveyor belt. If the checker is alone I’m happy to help bag. I politely decline help to the car because I’m more than capable. Totally different story at the staple store in Mr. Maroon’s hometown!! I walk to the wrong side of the stand because they empty the buggy for you. A sacker is always there to help. And they don’t ask to help you to the car. They just start walking out to the parking lot. Takes me back to a different time when such service was the norm instead of the exception.
    Mrs. Maroon recently posted: Bah Humbug!My Profile

    1. It is interesting, because we never had service at grocery stores like this where we used to live. It makes it much more pleasant, especially for someone like me who hates grocery shopping! Harris Teeter also empties our carts – it’s like Costco, where the cart goes on one side, and we go on the other. I feel bad, though!

    1. You should! An hour goes by really quickly listening to these.

      I haven’t listened to that one! It’s very strange, but I’m not actually into very many PF podcasts. I love Shannon and knew she would be awesome at it, but many of the other podcasts I listen to are entrepreneurial. I’ll have to add it to my list, though!

    1. That’s what they want you to think…our one cat can meow incessantly for minutes on end for no reason. =) From my experience working at an animal shelter, most cats don’t like to be in carriers. They’ll start meowing, but they’ll get over it soon enough. That sounds harsh, but our cats quiet down usually 10-15 minutes into the trip, and then pipe up intermittently from there.

    1. That’s great to know it’s a standard practice! I wasn’t sure if it was a one-time thing or not. Harris Teeter and Kroger are under the same company now, so that makes sense. I’ll have to let my mom know as she goes to Kroger.

  5. I think I might try Shannon’s podcast. I drive so much and I’m sure it would make my daily commute more interesting. I love the fact that you and R are grateful for his position even though you’re not quite sure what’s ahead in terms of his job. I actually have a review coming up this week after being at my job for about 6 months and I totally understand that nerve racking feeling of being unsure about what will happen. But sometimes you have to go out on faith and have an open mind and you might be happily surprised with the outcome :)

    1. You should! If it can make our 3.5 car ride go by faster, I’m sure it will work for your commute.

      I hope your review goes well! R’s review still went well – his boss only had positive things to say – so there’s no use on being upset about it. I completely agree with your last sentence, though! Thanks for stopping by.

    1. I know! I never experienced that kind of service in NY. Everyone is pretty friendly around here, but the further south you go, the more hospitality you get. It’s nice!

    1. Ha! I keep getting annoyed that I never have my phone handy when my cats do crazy things. I end up missing it, and they somehow know when I’m trying to take a picture/video of them, so they’ll stop being entertaining. They’re not very helpful.

  6. I just love these posts, Erin. We are huge cat lovers here too. I don’t often get a chance to listen to podcasts, but I’ll bet they’d be great on a road trip! Love what you said too about being grateful for our current situation. I think about that every time I step outside into the freezing cold MN winters. A heated house here is a blessing beyond measure.
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted: May I Suggest Some 2015 Resolutions for Your Money?My Profile

    1. Thanks Laurie! I get a kick out of seeing how many PF bloggers are cat people, it’s a nice change of pace considering everyone around here loves dogs. (Not that I don’t, but you know, cats have a bad reputation!) I like your perspective there. I’ve been on the cold side, but we’re trying to save on our electric, so I’m glad we do have the option of turning up the temperature should we need to.

  7. I’m not a big fan of my grocery store. More often than not something I wanted from the sale ad is not in stock, priced incorrectly, or never was in the store (not just sold out). I’ve gotten home to find I was charged more than I expected for an item multiple times. I’m glad your grocery store(s) are better about that- it’s the little things, right? Good customer service is so nice!
    We travel with our cat a couple times a year. It’s frequent enough that he’s gotten better about it. He dislikes car rides more than plane rides. Pet ownership is the best day to day, but it is hard for trips and vacations. Ours will be flying with me next week.
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    1. Don’t even get me started there – I totally hear you!! There are more times than not we leave with only half the things we went for because they were out of stock, or the price was incorrect (that’s also why I don’t like Walmart). I really wish more places had price checkers.

      I can’t imagine bringing my cats on a plane, but I can see how it might be more smooth if you don’t hit any turbulence. Good luck on the flight!

  8. There is nothing better than good customer service. It can make people feel so much better about a product or service. I’m sure you will have a positive view of that company for a long, long time simply because of the employee’s small act of great service.

    Our cats don’t do well in their carriers, but I think you’re on to something with having the carriers out. I definitely would do that if we were planning any longer trips with them. We think our 5 year old cat has been moved around a lot so I think he has an aversion to leaving the house because he thinks he’s not coming back. It’s kind of sad to think about. What is this “calming spray”? I have never heard of it.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted: 7 Reasons Why You Should Track Your SpendingMy Profile

    1. Well, their sales could be a little better. =) It does reassure me that if we have any issues, they’ll take care of it. I generally don’t like going to customer service and asking about prices because they’re known to give you such a hard time!

      Aww, that’s so sad! Our one cat fights us on going in, but once she IS in there, she’s okay. This is the spray we use: http://www.amazon.com/Comfort-Zone-Feliway-Spray-Milliliters/dp/B003E71E24. It has something to do with the pheromones – so if you spray it, it’s familiar to them, and they’re more at ease in a new environment.

  9. Podcasts are the best thing the internet has given us, I swear. It’s like they took the best part of NPR, packaged it into an on-demand package, and gave it to us for free. Free? We are a lucky generation.

    I wonder if this is what people thought about radio back in the day.
    Done by Forty recently posted: An Embarrassment of RichesMy Profile

  10. Love this post! I, too, am grateful for podcasts. I live in Los Angeles where I spend way more time in my car than I would otherwise choose to, podcasts allow me to learn new things during my commute :) I always feel productive when I listen!

    I also like your point about being grateful for your current situation – I definitely need to remember to do this more often. It’s way too easy to get caught up in the “should have” instead of appreciating what I do have!

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