My Low Information Diet

I've been appreciating the calmness of a Low-Information Diet.  It seemed like the next logical place to practice minimalism.

How Much I ERN’ed This Year!

Just got back from #FinCon18.  I met a ton of amazing people doing a ton of amazing things, and felt inspired to take on some new projects, but the highlight of it all… OH MY GOSH I MET BIG ERN! So an economist and a mathematician walk into a bar… In a world where feelings trump logic and numbers are ignored in favor of made-up statistics, his blog is a refreshingly straightforward.  If you haven't ventured over, check it out.

My favorite posts from Early Retirement Now:


I had a moment. The "why can't I" moment. The moment of envy from seeing someone's charmed Facebook life.

Wheat Bread 101

I’ve done it!  I’ve (kinda sorta) baked a loaf of bread!  After eating my own garden-grown vegetables last week, I’ll be like the pioneers on the Oregon Trail (except without the dysentery) in no time!  Clearly I’m progressing in the life skills department.  I wanted to share the recipe for all the other baking-challenged individuals out there.

Farmer Kristine?

It’s true! I’ve done it! I’ve eaten a vegetable that I grew myself.

PSA: “Doing It All” is a Sham

I went to a conference on Thursday that was focused on women in leadership.  They had different backgrounds, both professionally and personally.  These women were passionate, driven, successful in their careers, and genuinely enjoyed their work.  Another major commonality among them: They were the breadwinners and had a stay-at-home husband, or they were single/divorced.  There wasn’t much gray area when it came to the household.

I’m Officially Retired!

Well, from my Airbnb hosting duties.  I’ve hosted 74 groups, and over 380 people.  Time to share the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.

My $563 Wedding

It was important for us to share our wedding with family, and to spend quality time with them.  We decided to have a marriage celebration after the wedding to celebrate with our friends.  After all, I needed an opportunity to earn my “Frugal Wedding Badge of Honor.”

Wedding Math: Clothes, Clothes, and more Clothes

Weddings are a joyous time of celebration, and marketers know how to take advantage.  This is especially true when it comes to the clothes.  “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”?  Change up the order and save big, especially on the clothes you’ll only wear once.

Wedding Math: Bridal Party

More and more couples are saying “I Don’t” to a bridal party, and there are plenty of reasons to jump on the new trend.

Wedding Math: A Small Guest List

Our wedding will be small by choice, and it’s not about money.  If money doesn’t really matter, why would we put a limit on the number of people celebrating with us?

Wedding Math: Spending Thoughtfully

First, I’d like to say thank you to my Mom and Stepdad for saving diligently throughout your careers and helping to pay for a large part of the wedding.  Full disclosure: I wanted to elope, but my mom wouldn’t let me.  She was determined to see her only daughter get married, and said she would no longer speak to the Wanderer if he let me go through with eloping.  Since that’s not a good way to start a marriage, we decided we had better do the thing.  So I guess the TLDR of cheap weddings is “threaten to elope.”  How else does one cut wedding costs?

Life Energy for Money: A Fair Trade?

I’ve known my hourly wage since I started working.  It’s a simple salary divided by weeks divided by hours per week, no biggie.  Is there really more to it?  Yes, according to Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez in Your Money or Your Life.  They establish that money is simply a thing you trade your life energy for, and step 2 of their 9 steps to transform your relationship with money and achieve financial independence is to establish your real hourly rate.

Your Money or Your Life

As an introduction to financial independence, and the foundation of what it means to live richly no matter what your income is, the book hits the nail on the head.  Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez have made waves with Your Money or Your Life since 1992.  This is definitely a great book to – in frugal fashion – check out from the library.

Musings of an Outsourcer

As I am sitting in the living room writing this post, my new lawn service is outside diligently edging, weeding, and mowing. And it is glorious.

How much should I be saving?

I always recommend at minimum that you save 15% of your salary to put into retirement accounts, although it potentially means 40 years of work. (If you start at age 25, you can retire at age 65. Fair enough.) Always take advantage of any employee matching programs, and contribute the minimum required to get the full match. There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer for an overall savings rate, so let’s talk about what works for your situation.

Travel Hacking... and Why I Don’t

Travel hacking is the art of collecting credit card bonuses, frequent flier points, and miles to get free flights, hotels, tours, and more.  There are many people busy earning free trips, and googling “Travel Hacking” leads to a gold mine of tips.  It seems like a frugal dream.  Why don’t I jump on that?

Book Review: Meet the Frugalwoods

The one resource you will never get back is time.  Time marches on, whether you’re ready for it to or not.  If you’re unhappy, you can’t expect that you’ll magically find happiness by continuing to do the exact same thing.  Mrs. Frugalwoods learned this lesson the hard way, but shares her insights of her newfound knowledge in a witty, thoughtful story that will likely spare you years of unhappiness and mindless consumerism.

Questions to Ask Your Mentor

A mentor can be a key role for your career development.  Always come to your meetings with your mentor prepared for a conversation.  Be open and honest with your mentor, and always be willing to listen and learn.  Make sure your conversations stay fresh by focusing on the four main types of questions:

Behind the Scenes: Rejection

As you advance in your career, the onus will be on you to call the shots.  Sometimes, that involves rejecting perfectly good applicants from a program they are overqualified for.  In these situations, it’s really important to remember how you felt in the past so that you can help them move forward in the future.

You Should Know Your Love Language

Your deepest relationships will always be the ones where each party feels loved and wanted.  I am a firm believer of “not having to guess” and taking the easy way where possible, and in relationships I’ve found that the easy way is knowing your love languages.

Was It a Frugal Birthday?

I doubt some of my fellow frugal bloggers would call my fancy birthday weekend “frugal,” but rest assured, I finished off my 26th year of life with a splash.

Navigating Negotiation: Airbnb Discounts?

Yes!  A host can send a special offer with a percentage or at a specific dollar amount off of a stay. 

Transmission Failure: Instructions for my Airbnb Guests

There is no way to sugar coat it.  Guests don’t read the house manual provided online, and often they ignore the house rules section, too.  The number one way to combat this is to have instructions in a guidebook at your house (and posted notices as necessary).  Hopefully that gets the point across to the guests who are harder to communicate with than an alien from outer space.

My Hair Nightmare

As I was roaming the aisles aimlessly at Marshall’s, one of my favorite discount home goods stores, I stumbled across a Keratin shampoo and conditioner.  I thought about all the articles I’ve read saying Keratin is great for keeping hair healthy and strong, and the ends of my hair were a bit dry, so I thought it might be worth the $12 per bottle.  Not exactly an expensive experiment, especially since my usual Aussie is $5 per bottle for approximately the same size.  So onward, for science!

Adventures with Engagement Rings

Huge kudos to my partner for nailing my ring.  Having never been engagement ring shopping before, I had no idea of what I wanted.  I like clean lines and delicate details.  I definitely wanted something durable (I’m accident prone, although my partner kindly calls me all-terrain).  Most importantly, I knew that I wanted something custom that represented me.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

 Or maybe dessert, although there isn’t any icing on this silver cake.  I’ve bought myself lovely rings from Tiffany & Co. that I wear on a daily basis (and expect to for quite some time), and the cost per use is dwindling.  I keep the boxes, ribbons and bags lined up on my windowsill in my bedroom.  Although I don’t do it often, I happened to give a house tour to my guests when they arrived for a game night last month.  Later during the Game of Things, “What’s something to be jealous of” prompted a response of “Tiffany’s” and all eyes turned to me.  What?!  No!  Absolutely not me!  There’s no need to be jealous!

Color Your Way to Success

 Part of knowing yourself is knowing your motivations and your strengths.  I’m an “Achiever,” so “checking off the boxes” really motivates me.  Enter coloring projects, where you color one piece of your picture for every time you make a small step toward your goal.

The Talent Code

The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born.  It’s Grown.  Here’s How. by Daniel Coyle was a much-needed and well-timed reminder of how sitting idly by won’t lead anyone to greatness.