If you’re planning on seeing the world someday – what are you waiting for? There’s no better time to fulfill your wanderlust than now. Read More...

Every single time I look at my phone or laptop, I’m amazed by the feeling that the world is at my fingertips. Social media influencers are always sharing stories about dirt bike riding in Moab, wandering the streets of Paris, and backpacking through Morocco. It almost feels like you’re being taunted continuously about all of the amazing experiences you could be having.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

The moment that you become excited about travel and exploring the world outside of your town is the moment that you should travel. And, let’s face it, now is an incredible time to see the world. “Your ‘now’ is whoever is reading (this post) at whatever point in time you’re in, in your life.” Mark Zmarzly.

And, if you decide now is the time for you to travel, you’ll be joining record numbers of Americans stepping outside our country’s borders.

7 reasons why now is the best time to travel the world.

1. Americans Are (Finally) Getting Passports – Due to the recent enactment of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, Americans who would like to leave the U.S. (even to go to Canada) must have a passport. As a result, more Americans than ever have requested and have been issued a passport. Having a passport increases the potential for travelers to embrace overseas travel.

2. Social media influencers share great tips, tricks, and ideas for traveling to different locales around the world. Travel guides are created to make new countries accessible and easy to explore, and even amateur travel videos are designed with the novice traveler in mind. Influencers have made travel to foreign countries feel approachable to people who may have been concerned about overseas travel.

3. Specialized travel communities – If you’re nervous about traveling as a POC (person of color) as a single woman, or a person with physical challenges, there are communities that have been created to help you travel safely in the country that you’ve been dreaming about.

  • Travel Noire – A community created to encourage, inspire, and organize African-American travelers. Their photos on Instagram are drool-worthy.
  • She Roams Solo – A community created for female travelers who would like to connect with other travelers exploring the world on their own or looking for like-minded people to join in the journey.
  • AccessAnything.net – Is a resource to help connect travelers with disabilities with resources related to travel around the world.

4. Travel is More Affordable-You don’t have to be a millionaire to travel around the world. You need a strategy, a budget, and the strength of your imagination. The average traveler can now fly on budget airlines that offer affordable and safe flights overseas. You do have to be careful of the amenities add-ons that can increase the price of your tickets. But, it’s not unusual to pay $500-$800 round-trip to fly to Europe depending on where you live in the country.

5. The Sharing Economy – Travelers no longer have to stay in expensive hotels once they arrive in their new town. They can stay in an Airbnb and other variations of home sharing that keep their trip expenses low.

6. Food Familiarity – It seems like a small thing, but, travel is a lot easier for us because we have a passing understanding of what other countries eat. We may enjoy an Americanized version of the country’s food, but we typically can find something new to eat in the place that we’re visiting.

7. You’re Excited About Travel Now – If you’re reading this post filled with travel tips and other travelers’ experiences, it’s highly likely that you’re excited about traveling NOW. If that the case, it’s the time to optimize your enthusiasm and begin planning your trip.

Bonus Reason – Technology makes it easier for your nervous loved ones to get in touch with you while you’re having an incredible time in a new country. You’re just a Facebook, Instagram, SKYPE, Text, or What’s App message away.

If those seven reasons above aren’t enough to inspire and motivate you to plan your next (or, first trip) maybe the following reason will: life changes fast. You may end up in a relationship with a partner who hates travel, political situations may change, and the once open country you loved may become a scary place to visit Or your student loans are now due, and you have to focus on paying off debt. Life changes faster than you expect and often you have to grab opportunities when they present themselves because they might not present themselves again.

In fact, when I was in high school, I fell in love with the French language. I studied it, belonged to the French club, and even remember going to see Les Miserables at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

It would be safe to say that I fell in love with the romance of the idea of France and Paris in particular. But, at the time I was too young to truly imagine the possibility of being able to visit Paris. Instead, I followed a time-honored tradition and headed to university thousands of miles across the country to begin my first foray into adult life.

I loved it.

As I adjusted to attending a school that I’d never visited before I was exposed to how the other half lived. Let’s face it, I was a hick from Colorado and found myself meeting people who were traveling abroad during school breaks. My classmates would return with tales of adventures in Europe, ski trips, ironically in Colorado, and quick getaways to Asia.

What next?

As I struggled to survive my college experience, working in food services so that I always had food to eat, the urge to travel was forever at the back of my mind – but it wasn’t the right time. Nearing the end of my college career, I found myself completely confused about “what next.”

While I wasn’t the first person in my family to graduate college, I was one of the first to attend in the traditional sense, right out of high school. Upon graduation, I returned home and floated around like many kids who still had no clue what was next. And, it was at that moment that I decided to travel to Europe for the first time.

There was a sense of urgency because I understood that life happens and as a single woman with no kids, the best time to travel the world was ‘now’.

So I did.

I spent months agonizing over what my itinerary would be, how much I would have to pay, what visas I might need and more. I picked up extra work shifts at the retail store where I was working and zeroed in on my goal with laser-like focus. Here are a few ways I stayed focused and excited about my trip:

  • I watched television shows about the places that I wanted to travel to.
  • Believe in Vision Boards? Mine played a massive role in keeping me focused and excited about my upcoming trip.
  • Do you have a journal? I wrote in mine often to work through any doubts that I may have had about my trip.

By staying focused I was able to meet my goal of traveling to Europe, and it was glorious! I lounged on the beaches of Barcelona in the moonlight, explored Amsterdam by foot, and reconnected with European friends.

These tips are helpful to anyone planning their first trip. Especially if you’re surrounded by people who don’t get why anyone would want to travel to a foreign country.

What if you’re kind of broke?

Don’t let being a little short of cash keep you from traveling the world. I spoke with some non-traditional Millennial and GenX travelers about how they strategized their foreign travel with (gasp) kids.

Mark Zmarzly never really traveled. In fact, he never really traveled outside of his home state of Nebraska. He had an opportunity to travel to France for a few weeks in high school and was planning to go until he changed his mind. When I spoke to him, he still seemed a bit puzzled by that decision. Then, his life continued, like lives do. He got married, had a few kids. And, then, one day he and his wife decided to visit Colorado for a week with the kids. Because let’s face it, each state is like its own country.

Then one day, he and his family decided to visit Wisconsin for eleven days. Each consecutive trip became longer as they became more confident about traveling around the world. Mark’s family then had the opportunity to visit Ireland for a month. When I interviewed him for this post, he shared how he and his family had recently returned from living in Australia for six months after he won a business grant for entrepreneurs.

I also spoke with Melissa, owner of the blog Traveling Wallet. She shared her desire to return to Ecuador and El Salvador, the two countries that her family is originally from. Her story is a little different from Mark’s as she visited those countries as a child and lived in one of them briefly as well.

But, life happened.

She went to university, got married, had kids. But, she kept thinking about visiting her family’s home countries. Then, she and her husband decided to move from California back to his home state of Michigan, and that’s when the opportunity presented itself for them to travel.

They decided to add a two month trip to Central America before settling down in Michigan permanently. Here are some things they had to figure out before going:

  • Budget – Their budget including factoring in how long her husband would need to find a new job in Michigan. It took a little longer than they originally anticipated for him to find a new job when they returned to the United States. Fortunately, they had factored that into their budget.
  • Accommodation – They opted to stay with relatives for the majority of their stay while they were in Central America. But, they still ended up covering some accommodation costs.
  • Flights – They were able to travel hack their airfare by opening two credit cards and strategically hitting the spending threshold to earn their mileage points.

Once they figured out their strategy, they began saving their money and enjoyed an incredible two months in Central America.

Lessons from these two families.

There are several lessons to be learned from these two couple’s stories. And, they apply to anyone (single or part of a family).

  • Start Small – Mark made the point that he and his family decided that they wanted to travel, but chose to start small. That small initial trip to Colorado helped them work through the following: figuring out their travel logistics, how to save for a trip, finding accommodation, and building confidence to travel to an unknown locale.
  • What About Work? If you travel for work, make a point of asking if the mileage points accrued can be added to your mileage account. You can then use that mileage when purchasing tickets for your next trip.
  • Business Travel – Add vacation days (if able) to the end of business-related travel trips. Since you’re already out of the office, see if it’s possible to add some vacation days to your trip and explore the town that you’re in.
  • Travel Hack – This strategy to earn mileage points is not for everyone. But, if you pay your credit cards in full every month, this may be a way for you to accumulate miles towards your next trip abroad. Travel hackers spend time looking for credit cards that offer excellent airline mileage sign-up bonuses for new members. Once you’ve added up your points book your trips and go! There are a number of communities and resources that help people with how to travel hack, spend some time doing research to make sure you find a reputable and honest resource.

If now is the time you would like to travel, begin working on your plan. And, if you’re still not convinced that now is the best time to travel the world, here a few more actions that you can take to make your trip around the world happen.

5 more actions to take.

You can take to make your dreams of international travel happen before it’s too late.

  • Join a program! When I was 27 years old, I joined an international cultural program called “Up With People.” It was a multicultural program where we traveled around the world, stayed with host families, performed a musical, and participated in community service around the world. The best thing about joining a program aligned with my interests was that I didn’t have to do any of the trip logistics. All I had to do was pay for the program and show up the first day. They took care of creating my travel experience, my flight details, accommodation, and facilitating my experiences when I arrived in each country.

During that year I traveled to 21 states, Norway and Japan. I’m still in touch with the people that I traveled the world with during that year, and it was an incredible experience for me. No, I wasn’t building my career in a traditional sense, but I was developing my cultural competency which is an area where a lot of business people struggle.

  • Work Abroad – The younger you are the easier it is to find a program to work abroad. There are certain countries constantly looking for English language instructors, and if you’re open to working while you travel, this is a fantastic way to afford your travels. Almost every non-English speaking country has businesses that focus on teaching students to speak English. Be aware that they may prefer British English to American accented English, but, there are plenty of jobs out there.
  • Look for Grants and Scholarships – Don’t leave money on the table. Spend time searching for grants and scholarships created with you in mind. Mark Zmarzly has researched and found three business grants with the most recent one enabling him and his family to live in Australia for six months. There are unclaimed scholarships and grant money waiting for you to find them.
  • Build an Online Business – 2018 and beyond is a fantastic time to build a digitally based business. It’s a pain to grow any business, but online business is great because you can work from anywhere as long as you have decent internet access. Love to write? Become a freelance writer, enjoy being a part of a team? Virtual Assistant work may be where you should lend other entrepreneurs a hand.

There is a ton of money out there waiting for you to find, earn, or claim it. If now is the time for you to travel the world, don’t let lack of money be the reason why you decide not to travel.

Every person’s “now” is subjective.

Traveling the world doesn’t mean that you have to go to 17 countries in 17 days. You could visit one country for a week, and that would count. Or, you could use your typical vacation time and go somewhere new.

You get to decide what your world travel looks like. There are no hard and fast rules. Don’t believe me? I thought I would share some of my past travels and how they were perfect for the moment that I was traveling in.

My first trip to Europe I worked like a dog at a retail store for months and saved up so that I could experience Europe in all of its glory. My trip to Europe was the only thing on my mind. I still made time to live in the moment, but I was focused on one thing and one thing only – getting the hell out of dodge and doing something that felt so beyond my reach.

Traveling to Europe felt like something that only “rich people” did. Not, regular people like myself. I had to prove that I could do this one thing and ended up traveling during different seasons of my life and discovering that each time had its own unique set of challenges.

Each trip was a reflection of a different point in time and a different “now” moment. Here are examples of other trips that I’ve taken, and I noticed that my experiences were similar to Mark and Melissa’s experiences.

  • Three Weeks in Argentina – I used to work at a university and had accumulated a lot of vacation time. As a result, I decided to study Spanish for three weeks in Argentina. That trip was a wonderful break from my regular work life. I partied, ate a ton of Argentine beef at different asados (BBQs) met terrific people, traveled to Iguazu Falls, and lived my “best life” for three weeks in a foreign country. That was the time that I had that year, and I would never change that experience.
  • Three Weeks Studying in France – When the opportunity presented itself I decided to take a French course in Amiens, France. Again, it was the right time for that trip. Again, I increased my cultural competency, met amazing people, and even got to explore Jules Vern’s house (he wrote 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) and crept around in the hidden room that he had installed in his house.
  • Two Months in Australia and Hawaii – Similar to Melissa and her husband, a job change gave me the opportunity to go “Down Under.” I’d always wanted to visit Australia and Hawaii, but there was no way in hell that I was going to go for just two weeks. My career change presented the chance to visit for as long as I wanted to, and I decided to go for two months. It was a once in a lifetime experience, and I’m glad that I recognized that was my “now” moment to travel to Australia.
  • Six Months in Paris – If you’re a Francophile then you must watch the movie “Sabrina” specifically the version starring Audrey Hepburn. There is a moment in the movie when she reflects that “I went for long walks and I met myself in Paris.” I, too, met myself in Paris and I took a lot of long walks around the city. Incredibly, I was about to spend six months in Paris spending a measly $4,000 for everything including studying at the Sorbonne. I even found a job with housing and am amazed at how I was able to make that trip happen in the way that it did.

For each one of these trips, I would have an inexplicable urge to travel. In fact, it felt like I was consumed by the idea. Each time I decide that “now” was the time for me to travel and explore the world that urge became my #1 focus until I was able to complete my mission.

If you’ve been on the fence about traveling abroad because of money, age, or family hopefully the examples shared gave you some encouragement and inspiration on how to travel the world. If you keep daydreaming at work about going somewhere new, meeting interesting people, and experiencing different cultures, stop dreaming. Take action, create a plan, and embrace the world that awaits you.

“Dare to live the life you’ve always wanted.” Unknown

Now is the best time to travel the world. There is never a perfect moment to explore the unknown. Travelers embrace that risk and let the chips fall where they may. Remember that the world begins right at your doorstep.

Start small.

If you’re American, you live in an enormous country made up of 50 very different states. And, each state has its own energy, regional foods, weather, and people. You could spend the rest of your life just exploring the United States, and you don’t need a passport to do it. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few suggestions:

  • Go sand boarding in Southern Colorado at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Home of the largest dunes in the United States.
  • Visit Yellowstone National Park one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. Just make sure that you avoid falling into one of the park’s boiling hot springs-you’ll die. Instead, enjoy watching the buffalo run across the prairie and watching Old Faithful shoot into the sky.
  • Wander around the French Quarter in New Orleans stepping into dark jazz clubs filled with the energy of years gone by.
  • Dance the night away in Miami after a day relaxing at the beach sipping on a refreshing drink.
  • Drive down the Pacific Coast Highway in California and experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the Pacific Ocean as the sunsets.
  • Sample wines in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Yes, New York does have a wine region and it’s beautiful.
  • Eat your way through Portland, Oregon. Home of some of the best food in the United States.
  • Gaze silently at columns hanging in the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and meditate on the tragedy that this memorial commemorates.

Now is the time to travel the world and you can begin seeking out new places one low-cost airfare at a time. So I ask, what are you waiting for? The world is out there. Visit your relatives if they’re not crazy, take a road trip with your best friends, or take the train across the United States.

Couch surf your way to savings, become a house sitter or pet sit someone’s fur baby in exchange for free room and board. Pick up extra shifts at work, find a side-hustle, and ask around to see if someone has mileage points that they won’t be using that you could use. My mom had a fight benefit that I was able to use to fly to London for a $100 round trip. She didn’t work for the airline that long, but it was long enough for me to get a cheap ticket to London.

Eat, Pray, Love your way to self-realization in New York’s Little Italy. Become better connected with your “Wild” self as you hike the Pacific Crest Trail or a trail similar to it that happens to be in your state. Instead of being dreaming about your secret life like Walter Mitty, go out and live your life in technicolor.

Go before it’s too late.

Don’t let your dreams fade as you deal with the boring daily tasks of living your adult life. Now is the time to go because crazy stuff always happens. Countries change leaders, your family has a financial emergency, and then the possibility of travel may slip away.

Don’t let that happen.

Paying bills, going to work, and focusing on your responsibilities will never end. Fortunately, you can be an adult and live your best life. Remember, you’ll only be as young as you are today…today. Dream big, save your money, sell your shit, save your money, and go.

Have some good travel tips? What interesting places have you visited? Let us know in the adultingHALP Facebook community

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Being invited to weddings is great, but all the money involved – not so much. Here’s how to tackle the wedding season. Read More...

You’ve probably already received one. You know what I’m talking about, the beautiful electronic “save the date” announcement for the next set of your friends getting hitched this summer.

And, you’ll be forgiven if the first thing you thought of was how much it was going to cost you. Because weddings have gotten expensive even for those of you who just attending in celebration of your friend’s love. Fortunately, there is still some time to work on a financial plan before attending your next wedding.


That’s the amount that I spent on the last wedding I attended. But, it was in London, I was a bridesmaid, and that included the additional 3 weeks that I stayed to visit the happy couple. In fact, at the time that was around what the average cost for a bridesmaid in the United States. At least I got an international trip for the amount that I paid. And, it was wonderful spending time with my friends when they tied the knot.

Happily, all of my overseas friends have gotten married. But, my American friends are still getting hitched and I’m starting to worry about my wallet. If you’re in the same situation as I am there are several actions that we can take before we derail our finances celebrating love.

Be Honest.

It can feel pretty good getting invited to a wedding. But, sometimes people get invited to weddings that they really don’t need to attend. Here is a list of legitimate reasons why you shouldn’t attend every wedding:

You feel like you’re more of an acquaintance versus a real friend. If you’re not emotionally connected to at least one of the people getting married, you don’t need to attend the wedding.

You hate their significant other. This is always an awkward situation to be in. We’ve all been there at least once, absolutely loathing our friend’s “person.” If you find that you have to fight the urge to “speak up or forever hold your peace” when the wedding officiant asks-you should not be attending the wedding.

You’re Broke. Yep, it sucks to admit that you’re broke, but, going to a wedding and hurting yourself financially will bite you in the ass. And, going into debt in order to pay to attend means that you will spend months or in some cases years paying for that experience.

A couple of these scenarios touch on FOMO and adulting. It sucks to miss out on what could be a fantastic experience and being present for your friends on their special day is important to you, but making the hard choices is part of, ahem, adulting.

Time to Strategize.

After working through the honesty litmus test and making the decision to attend your next wedding, there are several strategic steps you can take to keep the costs under control.First, spend some time creating a wedding budget. Bankrate noted that the closer you are to the couple, the more you will end up spending with the cost ranging between $371-$728. This happens because you’re more likely to be invited to all of the ancillary activities that are connected to most wedding celebrations.

Create a list of expenses that many wedding guests find themselves paying for. Here are some suggestions to help lower the cost of each expense.

  • Clothing-Many people may find themselves needing to pick up formal or cocktail wear. Instead of paying a ridiculous amount for a new dress or suit, check out companies such as Rent the Runway and rent your outfit for the occasion. If you would prefer to own your own outfit check out ThredUP.com which is an online consignment shop for the ladies (sorry guys!). Or, even better, wear what you have.
  • Travel-Hopefully your next wedding is close to home. If it is, maybe you can carpool with other attendees and split the cost. If you have to travel further and need to fly to attend, use mileage points or book a low-cost carrier (look at all of the fine print before booking your ticket).
  • Accommodation-Most couples will typically provide a variety of options for their guests. And, if you’re lucky, they will include affordable accommodation options. If not, there is nothing to stop you from staying at an Airbnb, an inexpensive hotel, or even a nice hostel.
  • Parties/Alcohol/and Food-Nothing sucks more about attending a wedding when you can’t enjoy some of the highlights of the event. Spend some time looking at how many meals will be provided, what you will be paying for, how much you like to drink (let’s get lit!) and then set aside the amount that you deem necessary. In order to play it safe, you may want to add an extra 25% to the amount that you’ve estimated.
  • Gifts/Donations-No one wants to show up empty-handed. Check out the gift registry as soon as it becomes available and buy the least expensive item that makes sense based on your relationship with the couple. Do it fast because other guests plan on doing the same thing!

This is an incomplete list. You may also be on the hook to attend the following activities: the bridal shower, bachelor party, or the rehearsal party.

Save Money and Side-Hustle.

Set up a separate wedding account and decide what is the maximum amount you will be willing to spend on attending weddings this summer. Once you’ve set that number make sure you stick to your guns! If you need extra money in order to make it happen you can pick up a side-hustle (only if you really love these people), or look for ways to earn more at your current job.

If none of these strategies will work for you, remember, you can always celebrate with the couple at a Happy Hour after they get back from their honeymoon. It’s perfectly ok to be clear about what you can and cannot do financially.

Do you have any tips for saving or spending wisely during the summer wedding season? Let us know in the adultingHALP Facebook community.

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Get that paper.

It’s often said (most notably by Dave Ramsey) that you need at least $1,000 saved for emergencies.

In my experience, this is often been the case.

Like when my car finally gave up the ghost and some random belt in it broke. Cost for the repair: $1,300. And, yes, I plan on paying it.

But I don’t have to like it.

What about when my neighbors and I had to replace our roof? Deductible: $1,000.

I’m not the only one, either. A relative of mine needed to get some major dental work done and they had to pay $1,000 towards their deductible.

You need at least an extra $1,000 cash at all times. And, fortunately, it’s not too hard to do once you decide it’s time to get that emergency fund built. (Although there are some circumstances in which it might be impossible for you to reach this goal right now.)

For simplicity’s sake, though, we’re going to assume that most things are going well in your life and that you just would like to make an extra grand for whatever reason.  

An extra $1,000 in a month: set the goal.

It’s amazing how often people underestimate the value of setting goals. Each goal has an energy and a process of its own.

You decide on the goal, then you break it down into workable parts. The idea is to make it manageable over time. It’s not something that you just accomplish immediately. However, having that goal — something to work for — can help you stay motivated and give you focus.

Some people start with the end result in mind and then work backward. This is a great approach that works for many people. By figuring out what the result should be, they can then put together a plan with steps to help them reach those goals.

Personally, I find that a bit confusing. I prefer to work from the beginning towards my end result. When focusing on financial goals like getting an extra $1,000 in your pocket each month there are a couple of things to consider.

First, ask yourself: Could you achieve this goal by changing your job?

Finding a new job may take longer, but once you find a job that meets your “earn more” criteria you’re all set. Nothing more needs to be done. 

What if you love your job and just would like to side-hustle your way to an extra grand each month? Or what if it’s just not practical to get a new job? Maybe you just want the extra money so you can work on financial independence.

If these situations apply, you need to take different steps to achieve your goal.

Decide on your “how.”

You’ve created your goal and now you need to decide how you’re going to make your extra $1,000 per month.

If you’re side hustling, you may end up going down a rabbit hole of choices.

There are a ridiculous number of ways to make money. The most important consideration to keep in mind is the following: you should avoid paying money to make extra money whenever possible.

Next, do your best to enjoy whatever hustle you add to your week.

One of my favorite side hustles is brand ambassador work. I have a friend who runs a team of brand ambassadors for a local brand here in Colorado. The best part about working on her team is that once we’ve run out of whatever product we are tasked with sampling, we’re still paid for the entire shift.

There are times I’m scheduled for a four-hour shift and the work is done in one hour. And I get paid for the remaining three hours. Nice.

But that’s not the only side hustle you can use to get an extra $1,000 a month. Think about what you enjoy. Whether it’s selling stuff on Etsy, driving for Lyft, or pet sitting, think about what you might enjoy that others are willing to pay for. From writing to taking pictures, there are plenty of amazing side gigs that can help you grow your wealth.

For some inspiration to get you started, here are our suggestions on how to Make $200 a Day with These 57 Side Hustle Ideas.

Daily focus.

What are the tasks that you need to focus on each day to attract more money to you?

The way you approach your gigs and your life can make a huge difference in getting that extra $1,000. 

For example, if you’re interested in brand ambassador work and live in a mid- to large-sized city, the best time to start signing up for these gigs is during the months May through October. Each product activation varies by length of time, but typically these gigs last most of the summer months.

On top of that, if you are interested in attending events for free and getting paid, the summer months are ideal for making a little extra money. Event season starts to ramp up — and events need people to work them.

Wedding season is also in full swing during the summer and a well run wedding needs help. You can also pick up clients if you’re a freelance photographer or videographer. It’s a fun side gig and you see people and families at the happiest.

It’s not just about working toward side gigs during the summer, though. Tap into your network.

Maybe you need to tell people every few days that you’re looking to make some extra cash. Share on social media that you’re available to help people by using your talents.

In fact, I just had a friend reach out to me this week who needs help running an event at the school her kids attend. I would have helped for free (she’s a friend) but she also mentioned that they were paying and feeding people. Done.

Time vs. income.

Not all side hustles are created equal, though.

The most sought-after side hustles make a lot of money in as short an amount of time as possible.

There is a reason why people love freelance writing. If you’re a reasonably fast writer and editor you could potentially write for a couple of clients a month and easily make that extra $1,000.

A lot of bloggers focus on creating passive income with this metric in mind. It takes a lot of work in the beginning, but, once you begin making a steady passive income stream, pretty soon that income has its own little money babies.

But you have to be careful. Are you using your time productively? For example, rideshare driving can be a solid way to earn money. But is it worth it to spend five hours driving around (not to mention paying for the cost of gas) only to end up with three fares, making $35. That’s less than $6 an hour.

Carefully pay attention to your return on investment with your time. You don’t want to spend a ton of time on something that doesn’t end up providing you with a good return. Try a few things. But if it turns out to be a dud, you might have to abandon the idea and move on to something else.

Don’t be afraid to try new things to make extra money. But also don’t be afraid to pivot when needed.

Trim the Fat.

You may already have an extra $1,000 in your budget and not even know it.

What if you just need to focus on your spending and monthly expenses?

I cut $13,500 from my annual budget by focusing on my monthly expenditures. I changed my phone service, cut down on clothes shopping, tracked my daily spending, and stopped shopping for groceries like a fool. By taking these steps I averaged a savings of $1125 a month.

While some folks really are already down to the bone, the fact is that many of us might be surprised to really look at our finances and see there’s room to cut back. Be honest as you go through your costs and be ruthless as you cut back on things that aren’t helping you reach your goals.

Replace some of your pricey activities with free or low-cost fun. Look for discounts and free samples on your favorite products. If you can spend a few minutes each week to save some money on your spending, you can enjoy life that much more — and get to your goal much faster.

Start today.

It may feel a little overwhelming to save an extra $1,000 if you’re not in the habit of aggressively saving money.

And, let’s face it, most Americans struggle with building up their savings.

Don’t get stressed out, though. Just start. Maybe you make $200 or $500 extra this month, instead of $1,000. That’s ok. It’s $200 or $500 more than you had the month before.

Start today. Do one thing to help grow your wealth today. Get started. You’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish.

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Warning: this post is a little heavy.

At the time that I’m writing this post, I (like millions of other Americans) have just learned that, yet again, there has been another horrifying school shooting. And, as this is only the second month in 2018.

It was all over social media. It is still all over social media as people debate the causes and solutions — often without doing more than screaming talking points and increasing the negativity in the world.

I find myself wondering how many times we will be alerted to this type of news throughout the year and how many times we’ll go through this cycle.

In fact, by the end of 2017, I found myself dreading the news, social media, and any form of media whose sole purpose was to inform me about what was going on in the world.

Sometimes, you just don’t want to know. And, sometimes, you don’t need to know. By October 2017, I began formulating a plan to take a social media break. One free from the constant notifications, angry comments, scary news, and political fighting. And, in December I managed to stay off of social media for a month.

I was damn glad. It was the most peaceful month of the entire last year.

Wonder how I did it?

First, I had to acknowledge that constantly being “in the loop” was driving me crazy and stressing me out.

On top of that, the stress began affecting my ability to live my life happily. Once I owned the fact that I needed time to not care about anyone but me and that I wasn’t being selfish, the social media break was easy to do.

Plus, social media can be distracting. It’s easy to sucked into a discussion. Before you know it, an hour has passed — and you’ve accomplished nothing to enrich your life. I could have spent much more time on my business and made more money without the time spent on social media.

Of course, my social media presence was a huge deal, so I needed to keep people in the loop.

I began prepping the people in my life who were used to communicating with me via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Each day, I would post a message that would pique my friends’ interest. I kept these messages pretty cryptic so that they would engage with the post.

My friends began asking me questions about what was going on. Those questions gave me the opening to say “Hey-I’m taking a break soon from social media!”

Preparing my friends for this break was important because people take social media so seriously nowadays! You don’t want to unintentionally upset someone who reaches out to you but has no idea that you’re completely offline.

Leave a “bye Felicia” post.

Seriously, leave a post on your social media profiles letting people know that you are on a break. I literally left post letting telling my friends and followers the following:

  • What I was doing: “Taking a social media break” and how that break would affect the people that I typically connect with online.
  • I shared my “why.” This type of post is optional, but I found that by sharing my “why” other people would share that they were feeling the same way that I was and were thinking about taking a social media break too.
  • Share when you plan to return to social media. You’ll find that if you slip and get back on social and your friends notice, they will call you out on it!

Now that you’ve left notices and shared what’s going on, it’s time to take your break.

The logistics.

First, figure out which social media platforms you’re using. Because I run a blog, I am on basically all of the platforms. But you might only be on a few platforms that you use regularly. Identify those.

Next, get rid of the apps. I removed all of the apps from my cell phone. It was that simple. You might be surprised at how easy it is to avoid social media when it’s not staring you in the face on your phone. 

I also decided to stop watching the news. Interestingly, I actually found that to be a little more difficult than breaking up with social media.

Staying away from the news and constantly checking the headlines on my phone was a challenge. However, I didn’t miss the negativity involved with all that news.

What surprised me.

You’ve heard that  “ignorance is bliss.” I  100% agree.

The month of December was a blissful experience of being purposefully out of the loop. And, in just in case you’re wondering, if anything really crazy came up, people were sure to let me know what was going on.

My productivity shot through the roof, my anxiety levels went way down, and I existed in a state of complete calm.

By removing the anxious anticipation of waking up in the morning and wondering “What in the hell happened last night?” Each morning became something that I looked forward to.

And I also stopped checking my phone obsessively throughout the day. In fact, several social media related habits became apparent to me during my break. A few habits included: checking my social media right when I woke up, obsessively reading my feeds to see what was going on, and commenting constantly.

All of these things had been happening when I could have been working on something meaningful instead.

By the end of my experiment, I was surprised to discover how much I used to be involved with checking things on social media and in the news.

Would I do it again?

And, just in case you’re wondering, I am back on social media.

But I’ve become very attuned to how it makes me feel — and the minute it starts stressing me out, I’m taking a break.

The social media break was so enjoyable that I’ve actually scheduled breaks throughout the year and will take the entire month of December off again.

It made the holiday season so much more enjoyable.

You might be worried about what you’re missing by not being constantly connected. FOMO is real. But it doesn’t have to control your life.

In fact, once you go on break, you’ll realize that your FOMO isn’t really that bad after all.

Don’t worry about FOMO — embrace it.

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When I began my debt-freedom journey one of the biggest issues that I worried about was how my life would change.

Now, let’s think about that for a moment.

I was financially overextended, stressed out, and dealing with chronic anxiety from all of the debt that I was dealing with. But, my biggest concerns were:

  1. Would I lose the lifestyle that I had paid too much for?
  2. Would I have a somewhat normal social life during the debt repayment process?

Like many people, I spent a lot of money on going out to eat, trips, fashion, and fun. I thought that paying off debt would mean an end to all of that.

I soon discovered that I could have had all of those things in my life — if I reimagined how those wants would have a place in my life without financing them with debt.

Fortunately for you, I’ve figured out a ton of ways to have an amazing life doing pretty much the same stuff as before for free (or cheap) without affecting the quality of my experiences.

Get free stuff: how this works.

First, you actually have to believe that there are cool, fun, free, and amazing things that you could be enjoying right now!

I continue to be amazed by all of the free stuff that I get to do on a monthly basis. Tequila tasting and class? Check! Mixology class? Check! Professional development workshops? Check! Free travel? Check! I’ve done them all.

Now, you’re probably wondering: where on earth I’m finding all of these free events and resources?

Before I begin looking, I make sure that I am very clear about the free stuff I’m looking for. I’m specifically interested in the following types of free goods and services:

  • Experiences that enhance my social life.
  • Ways to educate myself for free.
  • Professional development opportunities.
  • Travel
  • Delicious meals
  • Classes
  • Clothing
  • Coffee (ahem)

I do not look for the following free goods and services:

  • Fast food-I don’t eat it.
  • Professional services such as hair care. I’ll pay for that or do it myself!

Once I know what I want, it becomes very easy to get free stuff I’m looking for. I will be candid and say that it the bigger the city you live in the easier it is to find free goods and services. However, there are freebies everywhere, so don’t count out your small town.


Your network doesn’t have to be huge, but, it helps to know people.

Spend some time actively meeting new people in your community at least once a month. Volunteer, attend regular meetings, basically be the person who shows up regularly, is helpful and shares cool tips and information with the people that you’re meeting.

Likewise, they will share similar information. I can’t tell you how many great deals I would have missed out on if I didn’t have the network that I do. Just having that network has clued me into awesome musical performances, cool classes, and insider tips and deals.


I’m officially obsessed with this amazing resource.

If you’re not familiar with Meetup, it was created in New York City after the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks. It was a way to create and grow community.

Since then, it has morphed into a way to an incredible community building resource internationally. Here are examples of some of the free things that I’ve attended via Meetup: mixology classes in Denver (and may have gotten really drunk), hiking in the Blue Mountains of Australia, and digital marketing classes for my online business to name a few.

You can even find people for activities like book clubs, board game nights, and diner’s clubs. With meetup, you can find cool things to do and meet interesting people without spending a lot of money.

How does Meetup work? Well, it’s free to sign up for 95% of Meetup groups. Some group organizers will have a small fee to sign up, but I’ve never seen anything over $5.

The wonderful thing about Meetup is that the group leaders get group pricing for the different events that they put together. You get discounts, or even split the bill, making it cheaper for everyone.

In larger areas, for larger meetup groups, it’s also possible to connect with sponsors — like the large whiskey producer that provided the free mixology class that I attended. Free booze and lessons on how to mix up? Score!

Facebook Events.

In the past couple of years, I began paying more attention to the Facebook Events being shared in my feed.

I was amazed to find that there were so many free and inexpensive things to do in my town. I discovered that businesses often create one-off free events to get people to come in their doors and hopefully get enticed into continuing to come back for more.

Some events were to celebrate an anniversary or special event such as the Aspen-Snowmass 50th anniversary. They sold $6.50 lift tickets for a day of skiing. I’m on the lookout for other ski resort anniversaries in the upcoming years.

From live music at a local venue, to lectures in the park, to team trivia nights, to free help with your taxes, pay attention to Facebook Events. When you mark that you’re interested in something, you might be surprised that similar events appear in your feed. Many of these events are free or cheap.

Google it.

Your city probably hosts a ton of local events that you may be unaware of. Spend some time researching free or discounted days at the following places:

  • Museums
  • Recreation centers
  • Libraries
  • Botanical gardens
  • Coworking spaces

Because it’s the beginning of the New Year this is a fantastic time to spend half an hour looking for free fun for the year to come. Put the events on your calendar now!

Plus, Google is a great way to find promo codes. Before I buy something online, I do a quick search to see if I can get a percentage off — or even get free shipping.


I enjoy volunteering as much as the next person, I just think people spend time thinking about the value of their time. Basically, I’m at the point where I want to get paid for everything that I do.

That said, volunteering is a great way to gain access to festivals, sporting events, and more. Want to check out the music festival? Volunteer to help set up the stage, doing some cleanup, or collect tickets. I know EMTs who volunteer in their off-hours to be available about sporting events and concerts. They get free admission and most of the night is usually slow.

However, I encourage you to spend some time thinking about the value of your time and the event that you would like to attend. Sometimes, it’s worth it to just pay the money and have a relaxing experience.

Create an Event.

This year I plan on creating the events that I would love to attend. I would also like to be paid for them as well (we’ll see how that goes).

Depending on the type of event that you’re creating this could be a huge time commitment. Again, don’t do this for free if it’s something that you should be paid for.

But, if you can organize a big enough event, you might be able to get sponsors and others to pick up the cost. Have fun, raise your stock in the community, and maybe get paid, too. That’s not bad for a day’s work.

Have fun.

Enjoy the journey as you find awesome events to attend throughout the year.

I love how I’ve saved thousands over the past year by spending a brief amount of time each week to find ways to continue to enjoy the same quality of life without going broke.

You can, too. It turns into a quest — one you can achieve with a little effort.

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Last year’s finances were rough? No problem. Here’s how to make smart money moves. Read More...

The end of 2017 found many Americans scratching their heads in confusion. A massive tax cut bill was passed at the end of December, and let’s be honest, the whole year was basically crazy.

While it will probably take awhile for you to figure out what the tax bill means for you personally, there are a number of smart financial moves that you can put into place as you work through your next year’s financial goals.

Do a financial audit.

One of the most important financial actions that I take at the end of each year (and the beginning of the new one) is taking the time to do a financial audit. Let’s be clear, a financial audit is not an opportunity to rag on yourself for making financial mistakes. It’s an opportunity to look at what did and did not financially work for you in the previous year.

Financial audits are relatively easy to do but can be a little time consuming if you haven’t been using systems to help you look proactively at your finances throughout the year. I’m currently in the middle of doing my audit for 2017 and one of the expenses that I will be cutting back on is going out for coffee. I love going out for coffee and I typically only order the smallest sized coffee on the menu…and sometimes a little treat.

But, I’ve spent some time really looking at the math and those inexpensive visits added up to the equivalent of paying off a credit card. I average $5 per visit and typically go to the coffee shop five or six times every week. Six visits to the coffee shop equal $30 per week. Multiply that by four and that equals $120 per month or $1,440 spent in coffee shops during a year. That’s a trip to Colombia!

Where’s Your money going?

Besides looking at mindless spending habits, spend some time looking at your expenses. Be candid with yourself about what does or does not serve you well financially. Review the following:

  • Phone service. Is it too expensive? Do you have an opportunity to get the same or similar service for less?
  • Insurance policies. My car insurance policy has just come up for renewal. In my opinion,  it’s way too expensive, so I’m looking to change my car insurance and have begun researching different policies so that I can make the switch.
  • Groceries. This one is hard because you have to eat. Think about your grocery shopping habits. Ask yourself the following: do I go to the store too often? Do I experience a lot of food waste? Am I using my pantry staples and rotating them out? Do I take advantage of savings apps like Ibotta when I go grocery shopping?
  • Subscriptions. Spend time checking all of the services that you’re subscribed to and get rid of the subscriptions you’re not using. Don’t forget to check your apps! You may need to go to the Google store to unsubscribe or change certain app subscriptions.

When working through your financial audit, spend some time thinking about what is important to you financially and what you would like to have happen during the year with your money.

Be honest.

If you love getting mani/pedis, getting your beard trimmed by a barber (for the gents) or going skiing, be honest about that with yourself. As you work on your 2018 finances you may find yourself resistant to making certain financial changes because it feels like you won’t be able to do what you enjoy.

As you work on your 2018 budget, add line items for those activities or services that you enjoy and figure out what you’re willing to spend in a year on those items. Because you’ve worked through your financial audit before this step, you may find yourself lowering or increasing the amount that you’re willing to spend on different parts of your life.

I love going out for coffee and it’s an important part of my social life, but it’s not worth spending $1440 a year. I also love getting manicures and pedicures. But, I only did that once last year in Dallas as a treat. I would prefer to have these every other month if possible, so I’m looking at the cost for manicures in particular because I’m able to do a pretty decent pedicure.

Being honest about what you enjoy in your life will help you avoid overspending because you’ve already practiced honesty in your budget.

Make it mindless.

Sign up for a free money management platform such as Wize-Fi or Personal Capital to help you track your expenses. These platforms help alert users to different trends in their spending habits and, in some cases, may alert users to the amount of fees or interest that they are paying for different loans, credit cards, or services that they’re using.

If you struggle with saving money, set up automatic savings withdrawals. You may work with your human resource department to save more money in your 401k or automatically send money to a hard-to-get savings account.

Set up as many systems as possible to make achieving your financial goals as easy as possible.

Talk to a tax professional.

Given the changes to the tax code that were signed into law at the end of December, it may a good idea to speak with a well-vetted tax professional about what you should expect in regards to your tax situation in the upcoming years.

Set audacious financial goals.

But, before you do, read Overcoming Underearning by Barbara Stanny. Then, set some bad-ass financial goals for the upcoming year that are attainable, but a little scary. Then, as Barbara Stanny encourages her readers to do, take small consistent actions daily to help work you towards achieving the financial goals that you’ve set for 2018.

Good luck taking charge of your finances in 2018!

What are your financial plans for this year? Any specific tool that is helpful? Let us know in the AdultingHALP Facebook community.

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Great idea? Check. Good Response? Not so much. Here’s what to do from here. Read More...

We’ve all been there. One day your boss asks for feedback on a program, project, or concept that your team is working on. You spend hours working on your concept: the wording, why the idea rocks, and how your team can start rocking out your new idea. You’re nervous, but you know that they will love it.

An hour passes by, then two, and then your boss says the following: “I’m sorry but we’re not going to use your idea.” You’ve been shot down and it hurts.

If you’re really emotionally invested in your job, having an idea shot down may feel really personal and you might find yourself wrestling with some self-doubt about your value to the team. Before you go down that rabbit hole of crazy, let’s walk through some of the things you should do to keep this situation in perspective.


Unless your boss truly hates you (and sometimes they do) don’t take the rejection of your idea personally. If there are several people who work on your team, it’s possible that your immediate supervisor may have opted to use a different idea.

Hey, it happens.

You might not be aware of a last minute change to the project concept so you’ve ended up presenting something that is no longer relevant. If you’re defined by the work that you do, the rejection of ideas can feel intensely personal. Keep things in perspective, walk away if you’re feeling hurt or angry – don’t lose it on your boss and colleagues. Never let them see you sweat.

Time to regroup.

Spend some time away from the office regrouping and getting into a positive headspace. Don’t let your ego get in the way of all the hard work that you’ve done previously.

If you find that you’re feeling especially demoralized, watch the movie Office Space and imagine how good it would feel to beat up one of the printers that always seems to jam. But don’t do it. You have an imagination for a reason.

Now that you’ve calmed down and are thinking rationally, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Was I clear about the scope of work?
  • Would what I suggested truly move our project on forward? Or, was it an ego-driven suggestion? (Yes, I went there.)

Then, ask yourself, “Am I clear about the overall goals of my team and department?” You may feel like you’re clear on the overall objectives, but things do change. It’s never a bad thing to ask your team lead, “What is the ideal outcome you would like us to arrive at via our work efforts?”

Again, you might not be aware of changes that may have been communicated from the top down – but, not to you. Your team lead will (typically) appreciate that you’re zeroed in on achieving positive outcomes with any suggestions that you may share.

Is this boss an ally?

If you suggest something to your boss, will they truly be open to any suggestions that you make? Do you have a boss who has basically checked out mentally and just goes through the motions?

They may perceive your suggestions either in a positive light (this employee has ideas that I can piggyback on) or, they may feel threatened and think that you’re angling for their job. And, you could be. Remember that the phrase “office politics” exists for a reason.

Is your boss a little…flaky? Do you find yourself wondering how on earth they got the job? Are they easily influenced or super open to team input? If they are open to suggestions, create a strategy where you share new ideas without being annoying or come across as a brown-noser.

It’s ok to Jedi-Mindtrick your boss…as long as you’re using your powers for good.

Finally, if your idea has been rejected, ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid to have an open and candid conversation with your boss. In fact, I would strongly encourage you to become comfortable asking for helpful feedback from your supervisor or boss.

Creating an open line of communication may also signal to your boss that you’re professional and invested in creating change in your job. Good luck!

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Vacations can make or break a friendship. If you’re going to plan a good one – do it right. Read More...

Recently, the number one movie in America was Girls Trip-a hilariously wild movie all about taking an epic trip with a few of your best friends. I’ve had the good luck to take a number of girls trips with my BFFs (I have more than one) and there are a couple of tips that I would like to share so that you can successfully plan an incredible vacation with your BFF.

Decisions, decisions!

First, you will need to decide on the destination. This decision sets the foundation for all of your additional trip-related decisions. In the process of deciding where to go, you will discover the type of traveler your BFF really is.

You can opt for a traditional location such as a large city with good food and interesting tourist exhibits. Cities such as NYC, Chicago, LA, and New Orleans are typically safe bets.

Then, you begin asking one another the following questions:

  • How safe of a city does it have to be for you to feel safe visiting it?
  • What do you find interesting to do for fun?
  • Do you want to drive around town all day?

Once you’ve worked through these questions, begin discussing the logistics of your trip. Talk about how you like to experience and explore a new city. Are you a wanderer? Do you prefer to follow an itinerary? These are all disqualifying (or qualifying) questions that will help you decide: is this really a person that I would like to travel with?

Do I want to travel with you?

Be honest if the answer is NO! If this is your BFF, don’t put yourself in the position of a friendship breakup because you took a trip that one of you potentially wouldn’t enjoy because the activities and city were ill-suited to their personality.

Friends sometimes want to get super adventurous way too fast when traveling together. I would strongly advise you to avoid doing this and to build up to an epic travel experience by taking smaller trips together…just to make sure.

Time to talk money.

Once you’ve decided on the location, you’ll then need to work on some of the nitty-gritty. What do your budgets look like and how does your budget affect what you can do?

Be candid about your budget-but at the same time be self-aware. Whether both of you are flush with cash or not, come up with a nice balance of activities that provide a wide-range of opportunities to have fun at varying levels of expense. This empowers both friends to choose activities that suit their financial situation.

Have a real conversation about what you can, cannot, or won’t pay for during your travels.

Become self-aware. How flexible are you? Would you lose your mind if there were problems with your accommodations? Would you freak out if you had to share a room or a bed? Are you an indifferent eater, an obsessive museum fan, or (ahem) clingy? Do you need someone with you as you explore town? Or, are you the type of traveler who needs occasional “me” time when you’re on trips with friends? Be honest!

It’s now time for shenanigans!

Some of my favorite trips were taken with my BFFs. Traveling to Las Vegas on a Greyhound bus and freaking out when the blind couple with the fake seeing-eye-dog almost got hit by highway traffic during one of our rest breaks. Fun times!

Going to L.A. with another friend and meeting every single freaky person in California – who just knew that we weren’t from there. They just could smell the Colorado on us.

Going to Breckenridge with my European BFFs and everyone (but me) getting altitude sickness and needing to go to the local oxygen bar for some relief.

I love having these memories and I know that you, too, will enjoy creating new, life-long memories with your BFFs.

I strongly suggest traveling with your friends, just be honest with yourself about what you can and cannot tolerate when traveling. You can be realistic about your friend’s quirks without throwing them under the bus.

Share your favorite BFF travel story in the #Adulting Facebook community!

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Don’t grow bitter and ghost. Here’s how to help your peeps out and keep your sanity. Read More...

I’m sure there are a number of people who read the name of this post and reacted with a, “Oh, HELL NO!” Paying for your friends potentially opens up a can of worms that none of us want to even begin to deal with.

There are a number of ways that you can find yourself “paying” for your friends. And several ways to pay for your friends include exchanges of time, goods, or even services. Has it been awhile since you’ve had to deal with that issue? Good for you! But, it’s a matter of time before you find yourself potentially paying for a friend.

Let’s walk through the moments when it’s ok to pay for your friends and moments when it’s not.

The friend payment tiers.

First, let’s acknowledge that there are different tiers (or levels) that requests for payments may find themselves. Let’s go through a couple of scenarios.

Scenario #1: You and your friends go hiking for the day. Your friend chips in and pays for gas because you’re driving. In this scenario, there is an acknowledgement that the friend is experiencing an expense that the other friend can contribute to.

But wait, there’s more! Before the day is over-you stop for a cup of coffee. Your friend (who gave you gas money) no longer has cash and you offer to buy them a cup of coffee. In this particular situation everything pretty much balances out. This friend normally is pretty good about remembering these types of situations, so you know that a cup of coffee is in your future.

A cup of coffee is usually around $5 or less so this situation shouldn’t upset your friendship.

Scenario #2. I recently had a friend pay for some other friend to attend a Tony Robbins event. My friend paid for everything-because this person CAN. They make around $200,000 a month (I kid you not) and have the ability to give gifts that in no way affect their financial life.

For the rest of us who aren’t making a couple of hundred thousand a month the question you need to ask yourself before paying for your friend is the following, “Will paying for this harm my finances directly or indirectly?”

If the answer is yes, then you should not offer to pay for whatever it is you’re paying for.

Loans vs. gifts.

I don’t loan money-to anyone. And, when you talk about paying for someone else’s expenses, whatever they may be, you’re basically talking about loaning someone money. Loaning money to a friend is a “Don’t Do it” zone.

If you’re the friend who is putting your other friend in the situation where they need to loan to you-not cool. I’ve been the friend who has borrowed money from a friend and it took YEARS to heal the rift that occurred because of it. I was borrowing money because I was broke and so it’s not surprising that I was unable to pay them back. I was a financial mess.

If you’re the friend who is being put in the position of loaning some money-you will have to ask yourself some questions. The most important one is: are you comfortable loaning money? And if you loan it, are you ok with potentially losing that friendship if your friend fails to repay you?

The next question you should ask yourself is: “can I help this friend by giving them a gift versus giving a loan?” Again, I don’t loan money to people. I give money and I typically have an account for family and friend expenses.

These expenses always come up unexpectedly and when it’s inconvenient for EVERYONE. I strongly recommend having a “my friend’s/family member’s money is funny-and I’m not laughing account.” But, the key is to never let anyone know that you have this account.

Hey, you slackers!

Has your friend picked up the tab for you several times in the past couple of months? If you’ve answered “Yes” then it’s time to do two things, pay back your friend and treat them to something nice. And, it’s also time to consider why this situation keeps coming up and your friend keeps paying for stuff for you.

We’ve talked about literally paying cash for things for your friends but we haven’t talked about other types of payments you may find yourself doing for your friends. Here’s a few examples of non-cash payments that you may find yourself gifting to a friend.

Driving your car-less friends around town.You’re basically always the designated driver (sigh). I hate to admit this, but I learned how to drive as an adult. My friends drove me around for YEARS. That means I now find myself (happily) driving people around town and into the mountains because I have YEARS of being driving to make up for.

Yep, I was that girl. I’m absolutely happy to drive people around as much as possible because I appreciate all of the times my friends drove me around town.

Maybe your friend has helped you out with your new puppy, every time you went on vacation, saving you hundreds of dollars in boarding fees. Now, they have a dog. It’s time to offer to puppy-sit their dog and give it the love that they gave yours.

Maybe your friend has babysat your teeny tinies a couple of times. If your friend doesn’t have kids, think about what would make their lives better? A grocery gift card (plus cash). A special experience? If your friend has kids, it’s a no brainer-just babysit their kids and call it even.

The longer you’re in a friendship with people the more your boundaries may get blurred. Don’t take your friends for granted and check in from time to time to make sure you’re both on the same page in regards to financial expectations within your friendship.

Are you usually the lender or the borrower? What boundaries do you have to make sure your choices don’t ruin your friendships? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community.


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Does being single = lonely, especially around the holidays? Not. Even. Close. Read More...

The holiday season is a landmine of expectations, obligations, and self-imposed stress. Getting through the ChrisMahanaKwanzaka trifecta of holiday celebrations and cheer takes a lot out of the average person. And, when you’re coupled up, there are additional obligations that further complicate what should be a fun and happy time or the year.

Enter, single-life.

Many would argue that being single sucks-especially during the holiday season. But, I beg to differ. Being single during the holiday season can be a glorious experience that may include lip-synching to random holiday songs after a couple cups of spiked holiday eggnog while watching rom-com marathons. If you don’t believe me, I’m going to make my case and see what you think!

It doesn’t suck.

Now, let’s be clear, I actually love the holidays. I love the decorations, the songs, eggnog, and every excuse to eat pecan pie. The holidays seem to be the only time that families don’t fight the expectation that they should spend time together…because they’re a family.

And, I love taking every opportunity to spend time with my family. But, I’m going to push back on having to meet certain expectations during the holiday season. And, as a single person, I can lobby pretty effectively why I would like to visit at a different time of year. It’s cheaper, easier, I already have plans. You get the picture.

Avoid the “whose family?” conversation.

One of the potentially most contentious conversations a couple may find themselves having during the holiday season is “your family or mine?” Upon asking this question some additional issues pop up.

What if you only have so many frequent flyer miles and your loved ones live in the middle of some random town in Illinois (like mine do). You then begin the process of selling why you should visit your family vs. theirs. It’s almost like family smackdown-Holiday Edition. May the odds be ever in the least dysfunctional family’s favor.

Not only do you have to negotiate location, you have to negotiate the level of crazy that you would like to deal with. Every family is a little bit crazy, so each couple has to have a conversation that acknowledges that their family is potentially crazy and how much you’re willing to deal with during the holidays. Let the games begin.

Single people don’t have to worry about having this conversation. You can just decide to go wherever you would like to go and even choose to avoid your family until it’s a calmer time of year.

Let’s go to Costa Rica instead.

In fact, one of the best things about being single is that you can choose to skip the holiday crazy. I love Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and basically, any and every excuse to celebrate the meaning behind each holiday and spend time with my family and friends.

But, I’ve found myself turned off by how spending has changed the energy of the holiday season. The rampant materialism is just exhausting. I’m completely disinterested in buying gifts because I’m just not into buying gifts because you expect me to.

So this single person, and I’m sure many others out there, will opt out of the holiday season and go on a fun vacation where I can focus on self-care, have fun, and avoid all the drama.

As a singleton, you can decide how you give back to others during the holiday season. Family traditions be damned. You can create a new tradition for every holiday, every single year. And, with exception of your immediate family, no one is going to judge you for deciding what will serve your needs best during the holiday season.


The best thing about being single during the holiday season is the ability to do whatever you feel like. Want to go to yoga on Thanksgiving and get your Shavasana on? Done! Feel like watching the Westminster Dog Show? Done! Want to sleep in and then plan out your winter travel or your Black Friday shopping extravaganza? Done!

But, perhaps my favorite thing about being single during the holidays is the ability to avoid gift-giving analysis paralysis.If you feel like you suck at giving gifts, not having a significant other gets you out of that tricky obligation. I really enjoy giving gifts, but there is something about giving gifts during the holiday season. So. damn.stressful.

Being single during the holidays doesn’t have to be a downer, it can be as good or as bad as you want it to be. In fact, if you’re single or coupled up, you have a lot more control over how your holiday season should be.

It’s all about perspective.

Always remember, be grateful. There are other people who may be having a harder time than you. This post is being written after watching Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico get slammed by hurricanes and flooding and Northern Californian towns get completely destroyed by fire.

It could always be worse. If you’re missing company during the holidays-throw a potluck, volunteer, help others. Many people think that being single during the holidays means you’re alone. To me, it just means you’re single.

Bring people into your life each and every day. And, if you prefer to skip the holiday shenanigans-do it!

Do you enjoy the single life, especially around the holidays? Tell us why it’s great over in #Adulting Facebook community

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For a limited time you’ll receive our new book, The Best Bank Accounts for Adults, when you sign up!