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?



  1. Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom December 6, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    You’re so brave to take your cats in the car. Ours is terrible even on short rides, I can’t imagine an actual car trip!

    What am I thankful for? Cliche: family. There’s a big family party this weekend and it’s so nice to have everyone in one place!

    1. Erin M. December 6, 2014 at 8:47 PM

      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.

  2. Tonya@Budget and the Beach December 6, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    I love podcasts too because there is so much good free information you can get from them, and they are a good way to kick back and relax. Hope you have a good weekend.

    1. Erin M. December 6, 2014 at 8:45 PM

      They are! Loved hearing you on Shannon’s podcast, too!

  3. Petrish @ Debt Free Martini December 6, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    It sounds like you have a lot to be grateful for and that is awesome. I also enjoy Financially Blonde’s podcast and have been learning a lot from the blog. I love PF Blogs because you learn so much about money from people who are just like you. It motivates me to become financially fit.

    1. Erin M. December 6, 2014 at 8:44 PM

      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.

  4. Tre December 6, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Thanks for sharing your favorite podcasts. It’s hard to work somewhere and know you won’t get a raise. I’ve seen companies reward employees who stuck it out well when the situation improves and other companies not reward their loyal employees.

    1. Erin M. December 6, 2014 at 8:43 PM

      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.

  5. Kirsten December 6, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    So sorry about R’s situation. My hubs knows how he feels!

    The strangest thing my dog Biscuit ever did was lean. He gets ally close to a wall or door and then just leeeeeans into it. It’s nails riots, awesome, and weird all rolled up into one.

    1. Erin M. December 6, 2014 at 8:43 PM

      At least both of them have some reasons to have hope!

      Ha! I love the quirky traits some pets have.

  6. Kassandra December 7, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    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.

    1. Erin M. December 7, 2014 at 11:19 PM

      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.

  7. Lauren December 7, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    I love Publix! We don’t have any up here in the Northeast that I know of, but I loved shopping there when I lived in Florida. They were always so friendly and helpful.

    1. Erin M. December 7, 2014 at 11:17 PM

      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.

  8. Kara @ The Daily Whisk December 7, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    That’s a really great idea w/ the cat carriers!
    I’m thankful my daughter has slept through the night…two nights in a row! This hasn’t happened in months!
    Have a nice weekend :-)

    1. Erin M. December 7, 2014 at 11:17 PM

      Aw, I hope you get more sleep and enjoyed your weekend!

  9. Shannon @ Financially Blonde December 7, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    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!!!

    1. Erin M. December 7, 2014 at 11:16 PM

      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!

  10. Melissa @ Sunburnt Saver December 7, 2014 at 9:04 PM

    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!

    1. Erin M. December 7, 2014 at 11:14 PM

      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!

  11. Mrs. Maroon December 7, 2014 at 9:46 PM

    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.

    1. Erin M. December 7, 2014 at 11:12 PM

      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!

  12. Jenna December 7, 2014 at 10:47 PM

    I’ve been meaning to listen to Shannon’s podcast, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Must do it now!

    I’ve been listen to the Radical Personal Finance podcast. Have you tried that one? I like the early retirement/ entrepreneurship bent of it.

    1. Erin M. December 7, 2014 at 11:09 PM

      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!

  13. How To Save Money December 8, 2014 at 5:41 AM

    19 days to go?! December sure is flying by. The strangest thing my pet has done was to jump out of the pond. I own some kois and good thing I was there to put it back to the pond again.

    1. Erin M. December 11, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      Oh no! I’m glad you were there to make sure no damage was done to it.

  14. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank December 8, 2014 at 5:59 AM

    Erin, I am also a cat lover. I love cats because they’re are not as wild and loud as dogs. They are also sweeter, in my opinion. I haven’t got a cat carrier. I just don’t know if my cat would like to be in it. What’s your experience with your cat being in his carrier the first time?

    1. Erin M. December 11, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      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.

  15. Holly@ClubThrifty December 8, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    Our local Kroger store gives you an item free if it rings up wrong. I always check my receipts because of it. It’s really amazing how many things ring up wrong. Good catch!

    1. Erin M. December 8, 2014 at 11:41 AM

      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.

  16. Chonce M. December 8, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    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. Erin M. December 8, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      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.

  17. Andrew@LivingRichCheaply December 8, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    That’s some amazing customer service. I wish more stores were like that. I think they don’t realize how important customer service is…when a store treats you right, they’ll get a loyal customer. I like the Target I go to…some of the employees have gone out of their way to help me out.

    1. Erin M. December 8, 2014 at 1:56 PM

      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!

  18. MyMoneyDesign December 8, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    Cats are the best!

    I second you on those Podcasts. I’ve been doing a lot of listening to them on my commute into work. It’s a good way to stay motivated about blogging and get a lot of ideas I probably would have never read on my own.

    1. Erin M. December 8, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      They are!

      Podcasts tend to be really inspirational for me as well. On our way back from my parents I was taking notes on blog ideas that came to me!

  19. kay ~ December 8, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    If you ever have writer’s block, Erin, just toss on a cat video. That should keep us busy for a while! :)

    Glad you have so much to be thankful for, and thanks for sharing. :D

    1. Erin M. December 8, 2014 at 6:25 PM

      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.

  20. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer December 9, 2014 at 8:41 AM

    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.

    1. Erin M. December 9, 2014 at 9:48 PM

      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.

  21. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life December 9, 2014 at 9:22 PM

    Podcasts are something I still haven’t gotten into (and really should). I might download some of these onto my ipod for my next run (if it ever got warm enough outside here ;) )

    1. Erin M. December 9, 2014 at 9:45 PM

      I love listening to podcasts when I go for a walk! Makes the time go by quickly, and I usually end up with either a business idea or a blog post idea. =)

  22. Natalie @ Budget and the Bees December 10, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    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.

    1. Erin M. December 11, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      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!

  23. DC @ Young Adult Money December 10, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    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.

    1. Erin M. December 11, 2014 at 1:25 PM

      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: 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.

  24. Done by Forty December 11, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    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.

    1. Erin M. December 11, 2014 at 1:22 PM

      Haha! I’ll have to ask my parents, but I do agree. Podcasts are way better than the radio, and the fact that they’re free is awesome.

  25. Lisa December 16, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    I love podcasts! Especially on my long commute and when I’m doing my tedious tasks at work. Please tell me you’ve listened to Serial!

  26. Kait December 17, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    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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