The reasons I have for being grateful this past week, including being in good company, making a decent dent in my student loans, and more!Hello everyone! Happy weekend!

I’m back at my parents house celebrating my birthday a little early. It falls in the middle of the week, and since R had a floating day off to take due to the holiday last week, he decided to take a three day weekend.

I’m definitely grateful for the gorgeous weather we’re having. We drove down Thursday night and for once, didn’t hit any rain or storms even though it was a balmy 88*!

I don’t have any specific plans for the weekend. I’d like to try and get to the beach, but the traffic is always horrendous.

To be honest, birthday’s aren’t a huge deal to me. I like low-key “celebrations” involving my favorite food and people. And my mom already set that up as she’s making a whole stuffed chicken tonight, and baked ziti tomorrow! As well as her famous chocolate pudding pie. Yum.

So what am I being grateful for this past week?

Good Company

Since I wrote my last post before our 4th of July celebrations, I wanted to say I was grateful to spend time with my parents’ neighbors last weekend.

They invited us all over for a BBQ, and after that, we went to their sister’s house for dessert.

She just bought a house down here for the winter months, and it has a lake view. That’s where the fireworks were happening!

It was a lovely show just like last year. Too short, but can’t really complain about that as I think the residents that do the show pay for the fireworks themselves, which is really awesome of them.

Afterward, it was fun to listen to everyone exchange stories. We actually stayed over until midnight talking! The bonus is that one of my parents’ neighbors is an amazing cook and baker. Her chocolate chip cookie cake was delicious.

One part of this that was interesting was learning more about her sister. Her husband is an accountant and apparently they’re rolling in money. You wouldn’t really know it, though.

She does drive an older BMW SUV, but when commenting on our car, she said her husband loves his Civic. He had an early 2000 model and just recently upgraded to a 2014.

She may have spent $20,000 furnishing the house (which included buying two TVs that totaled $3,500), but it’s because they have the money to do it.

Can you imagine? Having so much money you just…spend it on whatever because you have so much?

I obviously don’t know all the details, but I just found it interesting.

Overall, I was grateful for their generosity as we had kind of surprised my parents at the last second by coming down. It was nice of them to accommodate us!

Helping My Dad

Funny story, when we got to my parents house, it was about 1AM. However, I had had some coffee on the way and wasn’t tired (oops).

My dad and I got around to talking about video games as we sometimes do, and I found out he was having trouble playing a Final Fantasy game on the PC that I had played on the Xbox.

So I went into the game, defeated a boss he apparently kept dying to, and helped him make sense of the combat system.

You’re probably wondering why this matters. Well, my dad is pretty much responsible for my love of video games. I remember being around 4 and watching him play Zelda on Nintendo.

Our pastime together used to be me reading strategy guides to him and helping him get through a game. In a way, it was a little throwback to that!

Making Progress on Student Loans…Again

When I shared last week that we had gotten a “new” car, I had said it spurred me to take action on my loans.

I had mostly been planning on it, especially since the last 3 months have been my highest earning months. When you freelance, dropping thousands of dollars in one shot is a little unnerving.

Plus, I love saving money – parting with it (even to pay debt), not so much. I keep saying I need to change that, but it’s a tough mental barrier to break through. Rationally, I know getting rid of my debt is a better return, but I like having a safety net.

However, I am so sick of these loans hanging over me and I can’t ignore it anymore.

I sent that $1,400 payment through, and I’m hoping it gets applied toward my one loan soon. I hate that I have to contact my servicer to get it set up a certain way, as R can select individual loans to pay, but oh well. Whatever it takes, right?

Writing Around the Web

The Process of Renting an Apartment for the First Time on Frugal Rules – A few of my first posts on this blog were actually about finding an apartment. It was such an annoying process to go through, and since we’ve been through it twice in two years, I wanted to provide some insight and advice to anyone else going through it!

How to Control Your Spending Issues on Young Adult Money – I took a slightly different approach to this that people seemed to like. I highlighted different types of spenders, and then provided solutions for each of them. Not all of us have the same spending habits!

Millennials, Do You Know Your Credit Score? on Wherewithal – I know some people don’t think credit scores matter, but I think it’s worth being knowledgeable about it when you’re younger. I reviewed how your credit score can save you money and affect your finances.

Special Feature

I don’t normally share links to other posts anymore, mostly because I share them on Twitter, but I couldn’t not share this one with you all.

Kara, one of Wherewithal’s amazing staff writers, paid off her student loans recently! I was so thrilled to have her document how she did it on Wherewithal.

I know everyone, myself included, can always use a boost of inspiration and motivation by reading success stories. I’m so happy for her because I know how tough it can be, especially when you don’t make a whole lot of money. There’s proof it’s possible! Go on over to her post or her blog and congratulate her. =)

What are you being grateful for this week? How do you like to celebrate your birthday? Have you ever had to force yourself to pay more toward your debt? 



  1. Traci July 11, 2015 at 8:07 AM

    This week I’m grateful for my pup. I’ve always wanted a dog but didn’t realize until now how connected I would feel to her. Good work paying that much toward your loan!

    1. Erin M. July 11, 2015 at 9:47 AM

      Aww, I’m jealous – I want a dog to complete our little family, but two cats in our apartment is definitely enough. Thanks!

  2. Sarah July 11, 2015 at 9:24 AM

    Hi Erin!! Happy early Birthday!!! :)

    I also like to celebrate my birthday low-key. In fact, yesterday was my 30th birthday! My husband, daughters and I went out to breakfast and on a boat tour of Lake Norman. It was pretty fun, however our one-year-old was pretty crazy the whole time (though, it was during her nap time and sitting on a slow-moving boat for 1 1/2 hours is a lot to expect of a baby). Later, we put the kids to bed and my husband made me dinner. Very low-key and I loved it!

    I’m also just like you in regards to paying off debt. I like saving and love having a large nest egg. I realize paying interest is pointless, especially if you have the money to pay off the debt, but I’d rather spend a little on interest and keep my large nest egg! No harm done!

    Great job on sending in that payment, though!! Hope you enjoy your birthday weekend!!

    1. Erin M. July 11, 2015 at 9:46 AM

      Thanks, Happy (Belated) Birthday to you! Ooh, a boat tour of Lake Norman sounds really nice! We still haven’t been there, but it’s on the list. Having dinner made for you is always nice, too.

      I don’t mind the interest so much on my smaller loan, but my larger one accrues about $45 per month, and that kills me a little bit every time I go to pay it. Hopefully paying off the 2 loans within it (leaving one) will make it less burdensome.

  3. Tonya@Budget and the Beach July 11, 2015 at 9:30 AM

    Happy early birthday, and glad you got to spend it just like you wanted. I gained 10 pounds just reading your post. lol! I’m grateful that it was a low key week here and that my new clients liked the first two videos I submitted to them. It was either going to be a huge hit or a huge miss. Thankfully the former!

    1. Erin M. July 11, 2015 at 9:15 PM

      Thank you! Ha, I know, and my mom had made cheesecake, too. Awful! Yay, I’m so happy to hear that about your freelance work! Onward and upward from there. =)

  4. Kirsten July 11, 2015 at 12:03 PM

    Yay for Kara! I’m sure when ours get paid off, the entire internet is going to know :-)

    1. Erin M. July 11, 2015 at 9:13 PM

      Haha, seriously! I will be jumping for joy when that day comes.

  5. Melissa July 12, 2015 at 11:42 PM

    Erin, happy birthday!! It’s so awesome you were able to drive to see your parents. Family time can be really relaxing :) And congrats on paying down a big chunk of your student loan debt!

    1. Erin M. July 13, 2015 at 12:33 PM

      Thank you! I always enjoy getting to relax by my parents. Their community is pretty quiet and peaceful.

  6. Shannon @ Financially Blonde July 13, 2015 at 7:09 AM

    I hope you’re enjoying your birthday celebrations!!! I love that you play video games with your dad. My brother and I always bonded growing up while playing Mario Brothers or Zelda and now my son loves playing video games with my brother. I am thankful that I did a bunch of work last week so that I could take this past weekend off to enjoy the great weather with my guys!

    1. Erin M. July 13, 2015 at 12:35 PM

      Thanks! I have nothing else planned for the rest of the week – I’m trying to avoid getting older. ;) That is too cute your son likes playing video games with your brother! I wish my dad and I played more multi-player games, but we settle on talking about the games we’ve been playing. That’s actually how R and him bond, haha. Working ahead can be stressful but always worth it when you can take some time away!

    1. Erin M. July 17, 2015 at 2:06 AM

      Haha, that shirt made me smile, thanks! I would love to get some gaming shirts, actually. I think I need to start a Christmas/birthday wish list.

      Most of the time my dad is ahead of me in any games we play together so it was nice to show him the ropes for once. Of course, that didn’t stop him from dying in the game later on…

  7. Melanie @ Dear Debt July 15, 2015 at 1:50 PM

    Happy Birthday, girl! Sending you hugs! You are doing AWESOME with the student loans and being your own #girlboss. :)

    1. Erin M. July 17, 2015 at 2:02 AM

      Thank you! You too, I can’t believe it’s been a year since you left your job already! It goes by way too fast.

  8. kay ~ the barefoot minimalist July 16, 2015 at 3:04 PM

    Happy Birthday Erin! I love these posts of gratitude. They are SO refreshing. Best wishes for another happy and productive journey to saving! :)

    1. Erin M. July 17, 2015 at 2:02 AM

      Thank you Kay! I’m glad you’re still enjoying them. =)

  9. Stephen July 16, 2015 at 10:45 PM

    I like that your father instilled the love for video games in you. When I was young I was always trying to get my dad to play video games, it’d happen once or twice a year but that’s it. He did instill a good moral compass and strong work ethic in me though, so I guess it worked out!

    1. Erin M. July 17, 2015 at 2:01 AM

      Those are definitely good traits to have! As I got older my dad got more disenchanted with console games, so he doesn’t play as much as he used to. He sticks to around 3 games on the PC now. That’s why I like having friends that play!


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