Hi everyone! I have a special treat for you today. Something a little different…

In case you don’t want to watch the video, I’ll be transcribing everything. I don’t want anyone to miss out, especially if they’re browsing at work, or unable to listen.

I’ll only be publishing videos on Saturday for right now. I wanted to experiment and see how you all liked them. If you get a chance to watch, please leave a comment with your thoughts!

What led me to this experiment? FinCon + Melanie. Melanie and I had been talking at FinCon, and she shared with me that she didn’t think her personality came across strongly on her blog. (She’s even more quirky and lovely in real life! Hard to imagine, I know. =))

This is something I’ve been struggling with lately. I think I’ve found my voice, but there’s something to be said for actually being able to hear how I say things. Text doesn’t always convey tone the way we want.

So thanks, Mel, for planting that seed! I also attended a session by LaTisha on making videos for YouTube; she makes it seem like so much fun, I figured I would give it a try.

I have to admit, it was a little weird sitting there talking to the camera. I think it’s going to take me a little bit longer to really warm up to everything. To be honest, I normally analyze everything and try to get it perfect, but I’ve been learning that’s not always the best road to take. So I just went for it this time, and I apologize for the not-so-great quality!

Okay, onto the reasons I have for being grateful this week!

Being Grateful - Journey to Saving

The weather

As most of you know, I love fall, and when I saw that it was in the high 60’s/low 70’s, I was super happy! The apartment was actually 73 degrees a few days ago. I couldn’t believe it.

I got to wear a hoodie and boots for the first time since moving down here! Of course, the temperature is going back up this weekend, but hopefully in 2 weeks it will settle into the 70’s.

The only bad thing? It was cloudy all week. The sun came out today, and I am loving it!


Being Grateful - Cats! | Journey to SavingOne of my friends lives in SC, and we took the opportunity to go a little out of our way to visit him on our way back.

Unfortunately, my GPS was a little off, and we didn’t end up getting there until around 11:15pm. Thankfully he was off the next day! We grabbed a bite to eat, caught up, and left around 12:45am.

The main excuse for visiting was to see his cats, though. They’re part maine coon, and were so big and fluffy!


First, I am very grateful that Melissa from Sunburnt Saver offered to guest post here! I hope you all enjoyed reading her post on how to split the household bills when moving in with your significant other. It was perfect timing, as I was a little busy getting caught up this week!

Second, my first post for Careful Cents went up. I’m honored to be sharing my journey to becoming a solopreneur over there, as it’s an amazing resource for freelancers. Please check it out if you have a moment! I’m not going to be posting any freelance-related topics here; all of that will be over at Careful Cents.

Third, I decided to send in a “Dear Debt” letter to Melanie. It was actually pretty cathartic to write! I don’t talk about debt as much as I should on here, but I knew Melanie’s blog serves as a great outlet. =) If you want to write one, you should!

Mystery shop

I joined a local focus group way back when we first moved here. They pay pretty being grateful - forty-fifth edition | Journey to Savingwell for just an hour or so, and I wanted to take advantage of that. Sadly, they hadn’t selected me…up until now!

You all can laugh, because it’s actually a mystery shop for a beauty store. Ironic, since I’ve drastically cut down on buying cosmetics. I’m doing it later today, so I can’t give you all the details, but I’m happy to be getting paid to shop. That’s the dream, right?

I would encourage all of you to see if there are any focus groups around you, especially if you work from home. Having a flexible schedule can help.

September is almost over

This is a weird thing to be grateful for, but I’m ready for fall to truly begin. September was also a super busy month, and I’m looking forward to calmer days!

I grossly underestimated how crazy FinCon was going to be, along with all the preparation that went into it. I plan on providing a more in-depth post for you all, but I have to second what Kassandra said the other day – plan now if you want to go to FinCon15! I understand if things are up in the air, but at least start thinking about it.

What am I looking forward to? R and I decided to take a day trip to Asheville for now, to see how we like it. The hotels there haven’t gone down in price, and for one night, it’s not worth it. It’s only 2 hours away, so we’re going to suck it up and drive there and back.

My mom also wants to go horseback riding. I’ve never been, and I’d love to try it, so we’re going to fit that in somewhere when they come to visit us.

There you have it! Those are my reasons for being grateful this week. I hope you all enjoy your weekend!

What are you being grateful for this week? Have you been bundling up already? What do you think about doing videos + blogging?



  1. Kassandra @ More Than Just Money September 27, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    Great decision on adding the video because I think you came across pretty well in your debut! You go into more details on each point of discussion than you do in written format and it keeps the listener with you. I haven’t decided if I would integrate videos on my blog but I see the value of doing so.

    1. Erin M. September 27, 2014 at 9:25 AM

      If you can find a way to incorporate them, I totally think you should! (Maybe with your Sunday series?) I’m pretty sure I mentioned it at FinCon, but you have a great personality for it.

      I figured 5 minutes was a decent length to start with, but I plan on playing around with it to see what works best. I try to keep my Being Grateful posts at 1,000 words, and I can fit more than that into a 5 minute video, so we’ll see. Thanks for the feedback!

  2. Myles Money September 27, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    The… pictures… MOVE…!

    This is great, Erin. At last we get to hear you speak, and you did a great job — you came over really well.

    I would like to do some video but I haven’t plucked up the courage yet. We’ren’t you nervous?

    1. Erin M. September 27, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      Thanks Myles! I was a little nervous, but I have to say, after blogging for so long, and then meeting people at FinCon, I feel a little comfortable sharing my thoughts on camera. I know I have an audience, so I just imagined talking to everyone!

  3. Kara September 27, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    I love the idea of a video! :)
    I’m grateful for the wonderful fall weather!

    1. Erin M. September 27, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      I love that there are so many people that love the fall in the PF community!

  4. Melanie @ Dear Debt September 27, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    You did it!! I love it. You did such a great job. What did you use to shoot and edit the video? I have iMovie, but still hardly know how to do anything! I need more patience :) Also, did you have a special lighting situation?

    1. Erin M. September 27, 2014 at 9:21 PM

      Thanks! I used a pretty old 6 or 7 year-old camera my dad had gifted me for my birthday. It has a flip viewfinder which made it easy for me to set myself up in the frame. Absolutely nothing special on the lighting, unless you count a 3-prong floor lamp as special. Close to this one: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-HBT60302FSTCA-Mainstays-Track-Tree-Floor-Lamp-Brushed-Nickel/15706029. The light bulbs are pretty bright!

      I did use iMovie. I normally have no patience, and I won’t lie, it took me a good 4 to 5 hours to edit everything and get more familiar with iMovie. I tried my best to get everything right in one go so I didn’t have to cut a lot out. I looked up tutorials on YouTube, and those were rather helpful. I tend to get caught up in the details and over-analyze everything, so I’m glad I just went with it in this case. You learn as you go! Email me if you have any questions, though. =)

  5. Kate @ Cashville Skyline September 27, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    I enjoyed your debut, Erin! It’s nice to hear your voice, especially since we didn’t have the chance to meet at FinCon. Have an amazing time in Asheville!

    1. Erin M. September 27, 2014 at 9:14 PM

      Thanks Kate! We will have to meet next year for sure. =)

  6. Will September 27, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    Video FTW!!!

    1. Erin M. September 27, 2014 at 9:13 PM

      Haha, thank you for that succinct feedback, Will!

  7. Brooke September 27, 2014 at 5:02 PM

    So great you are putting yourself out there with a video!

    I love the fall as well, it is my favorite time of the year!

    1. Erin M. September 27, 2014 at 9:13 PM

      Thanks Brooke! Clearly we need an “I love fall” club within the PF community!

  8. Kali @ Common Sense Millennial September 27, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    Nice! Love the video and you did a wonderful job. I’ve been wanting to plan a trip up to Asheville too! It’s such a neat place. Durham is another city I want to check out up there :)

    1. Erin M. September 27, 2014 at 9:12 PM

      Thanks! I keep hearing way too many good things about Asheville to not go there at this point. Plus, we’d like to scope it out as a potential place to live. I think I saw a picture of an apartment complex nestled in the mountains there. Um, sign me up for that! It seems like NC has a lot of neat cities to offer.

  9. Alicia September 27, 2014 at 8:51 PM

    I loved the addition of the video platform to your being grateful posts. I totally understand how odd it can be talking to a camera since I’ve done it a few times for work things.

    Glad to hear you made it back from FinCon. Awesome job on the mystery shop. I used to do focus groups semi-frequently for $50+. Great “other money”.

    1. Erin M. September 27, 2014 at 9:10 PM

      Thanks Alicia! Oh wow, I think I’d feel more nervous doing it for work-related reasons. Focus groups seem to be great for extra money, I just wish I had been qualified for more of them. I keep missing the age cut-off for a lot of them!

  10. Kirsten September 28, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    So much to be grateful for – I’m especially excited about following along with your journey on Careful Cents!

    I’ll have to figure out a time to watch your video – I think it’s a lovely idea and will help younger personally connect with readers, as well as open yourself up to a new audience. I’m just always commenting/reading somewhere that I need to be quiet! I’m interested to see / hear if this increases your traffic?

    1. Erin M. September 28, 2014 at 1:34 PM

      Thanks! I think podcasting and videos are a great medium to use in order to connect with people more personally, so I wanted to give it a try. I’m not sure if it will increase my traffic, especially because so few people seem to use video in the PF community. I probably need to work on building a presence on YouTube, but I have ideas for little vlogs here and there to further connect with everyone.

  11. Tonya@Budget and the Beach September 28, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    Nice job with the movie! Boy when you come out of the blog closet… lol! Lots of editing too, so you must have some familiarity with that. I saw in a comment you use iMovie. I don’t know how consumers use it. I edit professionally and think that is a really non-intuitive program to try to learn. Anyway, have fun in Asheville…I’ve heard great things about that place.

    1. Erin M. September 28, 2014 at 1:31 PM

      I love how everyone is making that joke, haha. I have 0 familiarity with editing. iMovie came with my Mac, so it’s what I’m using for the time being, as I don’t want to invest in anything else just yet. It hasn’t been intuitive at all! I’d love to learn Adobe Premier or Final Cut Pro; maybe next year. =)

  12. Lauren September 28, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    Love your vlog! The fact that you went from anonymous blogger to making videos is inspiring!

    1. Erin M. September 28, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      Thanks Lauren!

  13. Shannon @ Financially Blonde September 28, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    WOW!! I am super impressed that you have already implemented a thought from FinCon to your blog so quick! Good for you!! I did a practice video a few months ago for someone else and they are really hard (to me) to make and edit, so I am uber impressed. We had a little bit of fall earlier in the week and then this weekend it felt like summer again, I hated it. I am definitely longing for some fall weather on a consistent basis.

    1. Erin M. September 28, 2014 at 8:57 PM

      Thanks Shannon! I do admit that it was kind of a pain to edit it, but I’m thinking of it as a learning experience because I might be interested in vlogging down the road.

      Yes, exactly! It’s such a tease at this point. I can’t wait for consistent 60 degree weather!!

  14. Cat@BudgetBlonde September 28, 2014 at 9:10 PM

    I love your video! Now everyone gets to see how pretty and sweet you are in person! :D

    1. Erin M. September 28, 2014 at 10:13 PM

      Aww, way to make me blush!

  15. Michelle September 28, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    Love this! I agree with Tonya I’ve tried using imovie and it was really hard! I love how video adds another layer to the post experience. It was wonderful meeting you last week and just wish that we had more time to talk!

    1. Erin M. September 28, 2014 at 10:12 PM

      Thanks Michelle! iMovie seems to frustrate a lot of people, including myself, but it’s all I have for now. I’m hoping I’ll get better with it over time. I enjoyed meeting you as well! If I ever get a chance to swing over to CO (it’s on my list of states I’d really like to visit) I’ll have to let you know.

  16. Untemplater September 28, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    Being paid to shop sounds like a lot of fun! I can’t believe that September is over this week. The days are getting shorter already too! We gotta enjoy these last days of Fall while we can before the winter sneaks up on us. Have a great week!

    1. Erin M. September 28, 2014 at 11:23 PM

      It was interesting! September really flew by, and I am not ready for it to be dark out by 7:30pm, much less earlier. I hope you have a great week as well!

  17. DC @ Young Adult Money September 28, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    I’m grateful that our forecast at work is nearly over. It was my first time going through the forecasting process and it was really busy for a few weeks. I hope that FinCon 2015 doesn’t conflict with my 9-5 job so I can go! It’s the reason I couldn’t make it this year. I think if you are comfortable making videos it’s just one more way to add value, so I’m all for it! I don’t think it’s for me, but if it was I’d be all over it.

    1. Erin M. September 28, 2014 at 11:22 PM

      I’m sure that’s a relief! I hope FinCon15 dates don’t conflict with your job, either. Glad to hear you think videos add value! I didn’t think it was for me, either, but I figured I would give it a try for now. I’m not sure how or if I’ll incorporate it into regular PF-related posts.

  18. Mrs. Frugalwoods September 29, 2014 at 6:51 AM

    Love the video! What a great idea! I hope they’ll announce the dates and location for FinCon 15 soon…I’d love to get a jump on planning. Your friend’s kitties are adorably fluff-tastic!

    1. Erin M. September 29, 2014 at 10:28 AM

      Thanks! I do, too. I never like having things up in the air, even if it’s a year away! I have a feeling it might be another month or two.

    1. Erin M. September 29, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      I’m glad to hear that! You have such a great personality for it; not surprising since you’re an actress. =)

  19. debs @ debtdebs September 29, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    Good for you, Erin, I loved the video! Incidentally, I think your personality does come across they way you write, because I had no surprises about you when I watched the video. Maybe it helped that I already had seen a picture, but still. I think I would like doing videos, but with my current anonymous blog status, it is something that will have to wait for a later TBD date. Great way to incorporate what you learned at FinCon2014 ~ I think you got your money’s worth! Congrats again on the Careful Cents work. Going to check out now!

    1. Erin M. September 29, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      I am glad to hear that! I think we often second-guess how we’re perceived, especially online. I feel like I’m being myself in blog posts, but I can’t always add the personal touch I want to. I have a feeling your videos would be a hoot, but I know you have to stay anonymous. Boo, work! =)

  20. Natalie @ Budget and the Bees September 29, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    I loved seeing your video! It’s fun to put a real voice to a writing voice. I can’t wait to hear about your mystery shopping experience. I’m pretty intrigued by the idea, but haven’t done any myself.

    1. Erin M. September 29, 2014 at 1:56 PM

      Thanks Natalie! It was really nice to put voices to faces and text at FinCon, so I figured I might as well do it here. While it was technically a mystery shop, it was done through a focus group. I don’t think that’s their normal set-up, but I was happy with it!

  21. Connie @ Savvy With Saving September 29, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    I LOVE the video!! I’ve been toying with the idea of using videos but need some practice. It’s awkward speaking to a camera!

    The thought of being paid to shop for makeup sounds awesome. I think I need to look into this :)

    1. Erin M. September 29, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      It was really awkward. My boyfriend was home, so I told him to go in another room this way I didn’t feel more awkward, haha.

      I wish I had more opportunities to do it! They just happened to have a random focus group geared toward women who purchase beauty products.

  22. Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore September 29, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    I didn’t watch the video because I’m browsing at work :-S, but I’ll try to watch it later this evening when I’m at home. I think I’m ready to share a photo of myself on my blog, but I just need to find one I actually like, or get one taken…

    1. Erin M. September 29, 2014 at 1:54 PM

      That’s why I made sure to include the regular blog post! I did a lot of my blog reading when I was at work, too. I’m excited that you’re ready to share a picture with the internet world!

  23. Amanda @ My Life, I Guess September 29, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    I’m grateful that you have text and not just a video post :) I almost always do my blog reading in the living room in front of the tv, with Ryan beside me playing on his laptop, so I don’t usually watch videos, personally. But it is super cool to “see you”. It’s amazing how much more personality does show. And congrats on all the progress you’re making with the freelancing!

    Lastly, it was so hot yesterday that it was 76 degrees in our house (which is the highest its been!) and then this morning we wake up to a house that’s 63 degrees. Oh, fall!

    1. Erin M. September 29, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      Thanks Amanda! I typically don’t watch a lot of videos, either, but my boyfriend has been on a YouTube kick lately, so he has that on more than the TV. But I know it’s not for everyone, which is why providing the text is still important to me.

      Ha, that’s crazy! Our apartment has been holding steady at 77/78, so we’re “back to normal” for now.

  24. anna September 29, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    Aww, I loved your vlog and it was so awesome to put a voice to the words! I think your personality matches that of your blog, though it was such a special treat to be able to see you in ‘action’ so to speak (and in the least creepiest way possible). I hope you continue to do more, and so glad to hear about your newest gig at Careful Cents! :)

    1. Erin M. September 30, 2014 at 10:28 AM

      Thanks Anna! Haha, you don’t sound creepy at all. =) I’m glad to know I’m doing well with portraying myself accurately on the blog.

  25. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank September 30, 2014 at 5:40 AM

    Did I just click the like button of your video? Yes I did. Thanks for the video. Lucky I wasn’t at work when I watched your video. :)

    1. Erin M. September 30, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      Thanks Jayson, I appreciate it!

  26. Holly@ClubThrifty September 30, 2014 at 6:54 AM

    I actually can’t believe that it is almost October! Where does the time go? Great job on posting the video! That is something we always talk about doing but never do =/

    1. Erin M. September 30, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      I know! September flew by. You and Greg should totally do a video!! I have a feeling it would be super entertaining. =)

  27. Tennille September 30, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    Loved the video! Like you I don’t feel that my personality shines through as much as I would like it too. So this was such a great idea!

    1. Erin M. September 30, 2014 at 12:22 PM

      Thanks Tennille! It’s hard to show off who you truly are, especially when you like to make weird faces to get your point across (like I do).

  28. KK @ Student Debt Survivor October 1, 2014 at 8:38 PM

    Love the video. It’s so nice to see and hear you. As I was watching I couldn’t help but think to myself that it’s so funny that I’ve been reading some folks blogs for years and have no idea what they look or sound like. It’s almost like when a good book is turned into a movie. It’s either exactly the way you imagined it, or totally different. You are every bit as sweet and fun on video as I’d, “imagined” you’d be when I read your blog. Keep the videos coming :-)

    1. Erin M. October 1, 2014 at 9:20 PM

      Thank you KK!! I love the analogy – so true! It was really fun to meet everyone at FinCon and see what they were like in real life. =)

  29. Hayley @ Disease Called Debt October 2, 2014 at 3:46 AM

    Erin, it was so lovely to see you on video and be able to hear your voice, you came across really well and I kind of felt like you were just chatting to me, telling me your news what you’re grateful for. Perfect for watching and listening whilst enjoying a coffee! Hope to see more videos soon!

    1. Erin M. October 2, 2014 at 2:35 PM

      Thank you Hayley! What a compliment. That’s exactly what I’m going for. =)

  30. Taylor October 3, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    Great video!!! Wish I had the opportunity to see LaTisha share her expertise on producing videos. And mystery shopping for beauty products?! I’m looking up focus groups as we speak. Make-up is my guilty pleasure.

    1. Erin M. October 4, 2014 at 8:34 AM

      Thanks Taylor! Cosmetics used to be my guilty pleasure, too, so I was excited about the opportunity to do the shop. I’m not sure how typical it is to have that experience with a focus group, but I think they’re still decent ways to make a little side cash!


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