Friday, February 28, 2014

Finance Fridays: Moving

Moving is hard. Plain and simple. It is stressful, detailed, and chaotic. Oh, and to top it off, it is expensive. 

List of expenses you should encounter when moving:
- security deposit on new apartment or earnest money & down payment on new home
- packing supplies (boxes, blankets, dolly, tape, bags, etc.)
- truck rental
- release of lease on apartment or sale of old home (various expenses here)
- change of address and possible lost mail

What you should NOT pay for:
- Fee for a moving broker, someone who helps you find a realtor or apartment. If you are selling your house, you will pay your broker a commission (5-7%). A broker finding you a new home will not be paid a commission by you; she will receive a cut of the selling broker's commission.
- Phone company fees to change your phone number. They always want to charge you for changing your number, but you should threaten dropping them all together. Watch that fee disappear.
- Apartment cleaning fees, AKA your original security deposit. Don't lose it, so thoroughly clean your apartment before you leave. This includes wiping everything down with dishsoap and water in a spray bottle, replace your stovetop drip pans ($6 at Walmart), and vacuum.

What things are you doing to make moving easier for you?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Finance Fridays: Apps

They are addictive, fun, informative, challenging, and trendy. I'm talking about apps. Since having an iPad, I've noticed the free apps I download tend to have something to buy, especially in the case of games. I love games and I don't mind calling myself a gamer. However, I only play for free - only free. The game makers make it simple to have ads and power-ups pop up in the middle of your game when you can easily click it and end up with a purchase.

To avoid this, do not store your credit card information on your iPad, iPhone, or other smartphone or tablet. Never, never purchase anything. Your financial information will be saved, and these apps are highly suspectible to hacking. 

If you absolutely have to purchase something in a free app or purchase an app for that matter, use a very low balance credit card. I have a $200 maximum balance card that I got a long, long time ago. I keep it because I use it at sketchy places, like my favorite gyros restaurant and an international grocer. I also use this card for online shopping. IMPORTANT NOTE: Pay off the card in full each month.

How are you keeping free apps free?

Free Printable - Daily Journal

I journal everyday. I jot down a few sentences or bullet points that help me set the tone for my day, and then I reflect on my day. It creates self-awareness and motivation. It helps me understand what is really important to me.

I have been through a rough few months due to a job loss that, which was really a blessing to lose. I was bullied excessively by a manager for 11 months. It took a lot of strength for me not to quit and stay motivated. This journal is what helped!

Download here!

1. Visit link.
2. This is a PDF. So, print page 2 in color (or black and white), double-sided. That will give you four days of journaling per page. Print as many pages as you want. I printed 90.
3. Print the cover page as the cover of your journal.
3. Three-ring hole punch or spiral bind hole punch the top of each page.
4. Bind in three-ring binder or spiral binding.

Journal page


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Duffin Recipe - Cinnamon sugar doughnut in a muffin tin

I found this eggless recipe on and it seemed easy enough. Plus, I had all the ingredients. If you have a doughnut tin, by all means use it. Since I don't, I used my regular muffin/cupcake tin. Mini muffin tins work well here too. If you use a regular muffin tin, fill 12 halfway.

Yield: 18 mini muffins, 12 regular muffins


1/2 c granulated sugar
1/4 c unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg or cloves
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 c all-purpose flour

Sugar coating:

1/4 c unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Grease muffin tin. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Set aside.
4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and sugar.
5. Add spices and vanilla, whisk well.
6. Add milk and whisk again.
7. Add dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
8. Fill the muffin pan.

9. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 17 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of each muffin comes out clean.
10. Cool in pan for 2 minutes, transfer onto a wire rack.
11. Prepare the coating: melt butter in a small bowl; in another small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon.
12. When muffins are completely cool, dunk each one in melted butter and then roll in cinnamon sugar. 13. Return onto wire rack and let cool for few minutes.

Featured on:

Friday, February 7, 2014

Finance Fridays: Luxury at Home

I don't want to suggest that you do not splurge on anything. A spa or mani/pedi day is great when you really need it. However, a financial burden arises when it becomes a habit.

1. Get in the habit of picking 1-2 hours per week on a certain day each week to pamper yourself at home. This includes a facial, nails, and even long bath. I choose Sunday evenings as the perfect time to do all the above. I purchase my face masks and nail polishes at CVS.

2. Say "no" to massages. I get at least two coupons each week for $45 for a 30-minute massage to a chain massage parlor. I have had massages, and I know how soothing they are. However, I suggest soaking in hot bath or even having your spouse give you a massage. These massage parlors are a huge cash-suck.

3. Do not purchase salon products at the salon. Instead of buying Aveda products at an Aveda salon, look for those or similar products online or at Ulta. Salons provide huge mark-ups on their goods. It is tempting when the stylist pushes a product at you, but just say politely, "I will think about it and come back."

4. Scents! There are hundreds of studies related to scents and the emotions they evoke. Lavender, a wideily use scent, is available in potpourri, candles, and everything in between. Also, citrus scents, especially lemon and orange, are used by expensive salons to evoke cleanliness and freshness. All of these scents do it for me. Find your favorite one and light up a candle at home to help soothe you.

5. Musical sounds of luxury. I always here light jazz or mellow harp music when I go to a spa or salon. Use free online radio, such as I Heart Radio, and find just the music to help you relax. Play it low and in the background.

I urge you to enjoy your home more. Do not spend the money on spas and salons for what you can do at home.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Simple soup

I use a very simple soup recipe to get a soup starter on the table before the big meal. I also eat it alone with crackers for lunch. De-lish!

4 cups of water
1 cup pasta (macaroni or ziti works well)
2 chicken bullion cubes
2 large carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 Tablespoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all in a pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes to keep pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

That's it! So simple. I keep all these items in my pantry as staples.

What simple recipes are your go-tos?