Being Grateful: 53rd EditionHello everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying a lovely long weekend (if you’re in the US), and that you had a Happy Thanksgiving.

I know, I posted my little one-year anniversary edition of this series on Wednesday, but since that was more of a reflection upon how the last year has gone, I figured I’d post a little on what I’m currently being grateful for.

I promise I’ll be back next week with personal finance posts (namely, my budget!). I already have the posts drafted. =)

Free Food and Leftovers

When I went to my parents house last week for our little Thanksgiving celebration, my mom made lasagna and chicken soup.

My grandma used to make chicken soup all the time in the winter, and I’d always take some home and have it for lunch. Needless to say, I’m pretty happy my mom is continuing with this!

I know I could make it myself, but it’s just not the same.

So we came home with about 6 slices of lasagna, and a whole container of broth. While I know lasagna is not the healthiest thing to be eating, we’ve been eating it here and there, and that’s what we decided to have for our actual Thanksgiving dinner. (Because I was too lazy to cook.)

We also got to take home some waffles, and you all know how much I love those. Besides that, as I think I mentioned last week, we had chicken, stuffing, veggies, and mashed potatoes.

I’m always grateful that my mom is still willing to cook for us after all these years, and I do realize she spends a little more on groceries when we visit. Thankfully, she still stayed within her budget for November!

Since we’ll be staying there for Christmas, I think I’ll be getting her a gift card to Kroger. =) Some people think gift cards are being lazy, but we all need to go grocery shopping, why not essentially give someone free food? I know I appreciate it.

Free Trials

Is there a theme here with free stuff? (Yes.) While I was at my parents, I needed to download Photoshop for a few things. That’s the one bad thing about being reliant on a program that’s only installed on my home PC.

I got a free version of CS2 months and months ago when it was still being offered – before I had my laptop. It appears the offer is no longer. =(

However, Adobe offers a free 30-day trial for their products, so that came to the rescue! Besides that, I was actually interested in seeing what had changed. CS2 is probably about 10 years old by now, if not more.

Short story – a lot has changed, and I’m really impressed! You can actually completely erase objects in a photo, or move them around. I was watching a few video tutorials and was blown away, so I had to try it for myself. It’s like magic! Take a look (you might want to click the images to make them bigger):

The "before" image Moved people using photoshop's content aware move tool

Of course, my mind got to racing on how I could turn this into something profitable, but photo editing seems to go hand-in-hand with photography, and let’s just say my interest in graphic design and photo editing has always surpassed my interest in actually taking photos.

While I would love to eventually dabble in photography, I know my limits, and right now it’s not something I can dedicate the time to learning.

Who knows, though. I could always try editing unprofessional photos that people take themselves.

I had mentioned a little while ago that I was thinking of upgrading and paying $10/month to have the current version of Photoshop, and this has slightly pushed me in that direction. (Downside to free trials, right?) It runs a lot smoother on my computer, which is also a bonus.

My Relationship

Melissa kindly pointed out to me that I had forgotten to mention “getting engaged” on the list of things that had changed this past year.

Melissa's Comment on how I forgot about getting engaged!

Um, that’s a pretty big “oops”, right?

Thanks Melissa. =)

Of course, I am grateful for that – as I said in my response to her, it still hasn’t quite sunk in yet, and I think that’s mostly due to the fact that we’re not in planning mode.

This is probably not typical for most women, but thoughts of the actual wedding have not been crossing my mind at all.

That doesn’t mean I’m not continuously grateful for R! It just means we have other priorities right now.

Regardless, we heard some news about one of our friends’ siblings – they’re possibly getting a divorce after only a year of being married.

It really kills me to hear these things, but I guess it shouldn’t be surprising given the divorce rates that are reported. There are too many people who don’t take marriage seriously, and only focus on their fairytale of a wedding. They simply hope it will end happily ever after.

I think most of us here are smart enough to know that the reality is much different. Relationships take a LOT of work and commitment.

Getting married doesn’t make it any easier. It doesn’t magically erase any problems that existed beforehand. And it means you’re in it for the long haul. You can’t just get divorced by sending a break-up text (let’s not get into how tacky that is).

It would be foolish to go about planning a wedding when you’re not 100% invested in the relationship. I know circumstances and people can change, but one year is such a short amount of time. I’m not trying to cast judgment, but I felt the need to do a little PSA on the subject. Rant over. :P

So with that said, I’m grateful to be in a relationship with someone who has taken it seriously from day one. R and I have had lots of ups and downs, but we both realize the gravity of getting married, and we also appreciate just how expensive it can be not just for us, but for others involved.

Today is actually our “monthly anniversary” that we don’t really celebrate anymore, but it’s been three years and two months, and time has flown by!

What are you being grateful for this week? What’s the last free trial you tried out? Have you had a free meal recently?



  1. Kirsten November 29, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    i don’t know much about Fiverr but maybe you could put some Photoshop goodness there? Hubs got Photoshop 10 years ago and retouched our wedding pictures (we hired a photojournalist who wasn’t into that. Cheap. And hubs was already into photo editing).

    People are always oohing and aahing over his work. One year, he took and old black and white photo of my grandparents, scanned it in, and added color back to it (guessing of course). That was my aunts’ Christmas gift and they were in shock. Loved it.

    Will you get rich? No. But it might be fun money :-)

    1. Erin M. November 29, 2014 at 9:48 PM

      That’s so cool your husband likes to edit photos and made some gifts out of it! I’ll probably touch up our wedding photos, too. Way to keep it cheap!

      Fiverr is a possibility down the road if I find myself wanting to lean toward that. Apparently you can have presets/filters in Lightroom, which means you can just apply them to every picture. Makes it quicker!

  2. Kara November 29, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    We just got two free meals on Thanksgiving and tons of leftovers! Score! :)

    1. Erin M. November 29, 2014 at 9:43 PM

      That’s awesome! Have fun eating it all and not having to cook. ;)

  3. Tonya@Budget and the Beach November 29, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    I just did a free trial on the new Premiere because I had to for a client. I’d still rather edit in FCP. The soup thing from your grandma made me really miss my grandma’s hungarian cooking. Wasn’t good for my waistline, but it was so good. I’m actually avoiding most free food this month because last month I got a lot and I had some tummy troubles, so unfortunately free doesn’t (always) mean good, at least to my body. :)

    1. Erin M. November 29, 2014 at 9:41 PM

      At least you know you prefer FCP now! I’m always open to other alternatives just in case, and there’s definitely no shortage of software out there.

      Aw, I’m sorry to hear that! I can relate – I’m pretty weary of what I eat because my stomach is really sensitive. I wish I had an iron stomach, as it can be a pain to deal with.

  4. Petrish @ Debt Free Martini November 29, 2014 at 7:00 PM

    Congrats on your engagement…and yes it’s a big deal. Wish you the best!

    Leftover lasagna is my favorite. For some reason it always taste so much better than the fresh batch.

    1. Erin M. November 29, 2014 at 9:37 PM

      Thanks Petrish! I agree with that – I’m not always the biggest fan of leftovers, but lasagna still tastes great days later.

  5. Melissa @ Sunburnt Saver November 29, 2014 at 8:51 PM

    Erin, my comment actually posted!! This is truly something to celebrate :) Divorce rates are insane – many of my friends are married now, and all are still going strong, but wow… sometimes the ups and downs are tough. That’s why I’m always so surprised that (usually older people, like aunts or uncles) encourage people to ‘just get married’ after a year or so of dating. B and I have been together almost 5 years, and people are constantly asking ‘when is he going to propose??’ like it’s the goal of dating…

    Whoa, Photoshop is way cool. I’m not even really that into photos (or photo editing), but even I’m impressed! You should be their spokesperson ;)

    1. Erin M. November 29, 2014 at 9:36 PM

      Yes, exactly! My family has been asking for the past year or so, and again, we just hit our 3 year mark. While in many ways, it does feel like we’ve been together much longer, why does there have to be such a rush placed on getting married?

      It’s the same reason why I was so perplexed as to why we needed a date for our wedding within days of getting engaged. You better be prepared beforehand! :P

      Doing Photoshop tutorials would actually be fun, but it’s really saturated right now. There’s some great classes offered on that I’d like to look into.

  6. Alexis November 30, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    Congrats on your and R’s engagement! Free meals, especially with the holdiday season, is always nice (and budget friendly). My school frequently does free lunches and gives us leftovers this time of year. I got free soup last week as well as sides to take.

    1. Erin M. November 30, 2014 at 2:19 PM

      Thanks! That’s so great you’ve gotten some free meals and leftovers from the school. I do have to say, the one thing I miss working in an office is all the free goodies we always got. Then again, I’m probably better off without all the cookies and chocolate. =)

  7. kay ~ November 30, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Oh my goodness, leftover lasagna! I love it so much! :P

    Well, I can tell you that Jay and I split up about 7 years into our marriage for about 2 months. It was tough, but it was a BIG lesson. We’ve been together for 30 years now and married for 29. I think that rough patch, while not necessarily a “good” thing, taught us how much we loved each other and how easily we could have lost each other forever. Being too close to extended family was part of our issues, so that’s partly why we choose to abstain from much family contact. Our relationship is our priority.

    Do what’s right for you, Erin. You’ll know what that is. You have a terrific head on your shoulders! :)

    1. Erin M. November 30, 2014 at 2:18 PM

      30 years is amazing though, Kay! Taking a break doesn’t work for everyone, but it can give you some much needed clarity. I was with my ex for 2 years when I decided to step back and re-think things, and I’m glad I did, as I realized it wasn’t worth continuing on. 7 years into the relationship is also much better than 1! Ah…family. While I’m lucky to have some great relatives, R is not as lucky, so I can understand that. Sometimes R and I don’t see eye-to-eye there, either.

      1. kay ~ December 2, 2014 at 12:24 PM

        30 years is indeed a looooooooong time. You can never really be sure, but like that bowling boyfriend I told you about and like the ex you told me about, ya have to look into your future and see whether the one you’re with is really the “one”. Sure, a crystal ball would be easier, but, you work with what you’ve got! Imagining your future with that person. That’s the key.

        1. Erin M. December 3, 2014 at 12:32 PM

          It is really hard to know! My ex and I had been making plans of getting married and starting a family once I graduated from college. I’m so glad that didn’t happen! I’ve always had a much better feeling about R. ;)

  8. Brooke November 30, 2014 at 6:42 PM

    Glad you remembered poor R to be thankful for! We actually turned up free food for Thanksgiving (in a another state) in order to stay at home and cook ourselves. Lots of factors led to that — a work trip scheduled at the last minute and surprise snow being the two biggest factors! I made a delicious homemade apple pie, yum!

  9. Amos December 1, 2014 at 7:15 AM

    I hope you all had an awesome thanksgiving. We had a lot of leftovers but I tried to keep it minimal by making sure all edibles are eaten the next day.

  10. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank December 1, 2014 at 7:23 AM

    Erin, you seems to be adept in using photoshop. There is a free download of Adobe Photoshop CS5 on torrent. It might more help you with editing photos as it comes with other creative and more useful tools. Before when I was really into photoshop, I made some money out of it. I edited my brother’s wedding picture. You know there were a lot, so I was paid much. This side hustle is really profitable, but I have to leave because I have other side hustles.

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

      My dad actually originally got a copy that way, but I’m not trying to pirate any software. =) Prioritizing side hustles can be tough! That’s why I’m not delving into it right now. I’ve got other things on my plate. =)

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

      Indeed. Takes me back to my college days – there were so many events with free food! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

  11. Shannon @ Financially Blonde December 1, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    I am thankful that I hosted a gluten free Thanksgiving that also tasted good. It was exhausting, though, and it took me a few days to recover and fortunately I have and I am back on track ready to get things done. Although, I can’t believe it’s already December!!

    1. Erin M. December 1, 2014 at 6:42 PM

      I can’t imagine how exhausting it is to prepare Thanksgiving! I’m glad you’re back on track. I can’t believe it’s December already, either!

  12. No More Waffles December 1, 2014 at 9:24 AM


    I completely missed your engagement somehow, so congratulations! Hope you two will be very happy together. :)

    Also, don’t eat too many waffles…

    Best wishes,

    1. Erin M. December 1, 2014 at 6:31 PM

      Thank you! I think you have a waffle-sensor; whenever I mention waffles in a post, you seem to arrive. =)

  13. Natalie @ Financegirl December 1, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Sometimes it’s the little things that I’m so grateful for just like the big things. Free food is way up there, like you said! Along with coffee and chocolate. :) This post is a fresh reminder of everything I’m grateful for – thanks for sharing!

    1. Erin M. December 1, 2014 at 6:30 PM

      Oh yes, chocolate is amazing! I love that these posts remind people for the things they have to be grateful for.

  14. Mrs. Frugalwoods December 1, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    That’s a lovely list, Erin! And, you make a great point about marriage not making problems disappear. So true! We have a few friends who are already divorced and it really is sad. Sounds like you and R are destined for success though :)!

    1. Erin M. December 1, 2014 at 6:22 PM

      Thanks Mrs. FW! It is really sad…I (foolishly) like to think that all my friends and family that get married will stay together forever. When my aunt and uncle got divorced a few years ago, it was a shock for all of us.

  15. Kate @ Cashville Skyline December 1, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    I actually pay $21.00 a month for a Photoshop subscription and I consider the expense well worth it. I need to keep my (minimal) graphic design skills sharp for work and I use it all the time! I’ve been thankful for so many things lately – health, family & friends, and the opportunity to change careers. I’m also incredibly grateful for the super cool and supportive personal finance blogging community :)

    1. Erin M. December 1, 2014 at 6:19 PM

      It’s a little overwhelming how much has changed! I know it’s probably bad to say, but it’s a lot easier paying monthly for Photoshop, as I was always blown away at how much it cost to buy. Those are all great things to be thankful for!

  16. Liz December 1, 2014 at 9:06 PM

    Wedding planning is a ton of work. Don’t take it on until you are ready! If I could go back and do it again we would have done a beach wedding in Mexico or something with very few guests and very little planning to be done.

    1. Erin M. December 2, 2014 at 1:34 AM

      Eloping seems like a good idea the more I think about it. ;) I would love to take the easy way out, but there are a few things at play which is making me second-guess that. I’ll be sharing it in a post soon!

  17. Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore December 3, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    I’ve been a little behind in my reading lately, but I’m so glad you’ve had so many positive changes over the past year. That is amazing!

    1. Erin M. December 3, 2014 at 1:42 PM

      Thanks! It is pretty crazy to think about how much has changed between this year and last year, but it goes to show you what’s possible!

  18. Lisa December 4, 2014 at 6:10 PM

    First of all, free food is probably one of my favorite things in the wooooorld!

    I love this: “There are too many people who don’t take marriage seriously, and only focus on their fairytale of a wedding.” AMEN! When people say their wedding is the “best day of their lives”, I keep thinking they’re doing it wrong. It’s all about the marriage afterwards!

    1. Erin M. December 4, 2014 at 11:30 PM

      I like your thinking, Lisa! The wedding day is just the beginning. That’s why I’m not too worried/focused on making it extravagant.


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