Book Review: The Infographic Guide to Personal Finance

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One of my goals for Q1 of 2020 was to focus on learning more about the financial industry. I do work in finance but my degree is in marketing so sometimes I feel a bit behind in learning everything there is to know about finance. I saw The Infographic Guide to Personal Finance by Michele Cagan, CPA and Elisabeth Lariviere on Instagram and thought it would be a fun read to help explain some of the basics.

Even if you aren’t interested in learning about finance I would recommend this book. It has so many helpful tips on debt, budgeting, investing, buying a home, etc. These topics relate to pretty much anyone and it’s not a boring read. In fact, I read the whole thing in under an hour and it really did help me understand some of the basics better.

Summary:

Balance your budget, plan for your future, and breeze through confusing details with this easy-to-follow illustrated personal finance guide.

Get your finances in shape! In The Infographic Guide to Personal Finance, you will learn all the skills you need to make good financial decisions and grow your personal wealth. Full of colorful descriptions organized in an easy-to-read format, this book contains infographics such as:

-Choosing your bank
-Building an emergency fund
-Choosing a financial planner
-Where your money is going
-What not to buy
-Health insurance
-Property insurance
-What federal taxes pay for

With the help of this guide, you’ll learn how to make good investments, save for big things like a house or college tuition, budget, and more!

Review:

Personal finance can be such a confusing topic and isn’t always taught to you while in school. It’s easy to get a credit card when you’re young and later find yourself digging your way out of a pile of debt. This is such a great resource if you have questions about how the financial industry works and how to get involved in your finances.

I’ve always been interested in money but even if you aren’t this is a great read! I promise it’s not a boring finance book! I found helpful information for my everyday life as well as tips for saving for retirement, paying off debt, and finding the best insurance.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

For a quick read, this book had so much great information for people of all ages! I think this would be a fantastic graduation or wedding gift to help those just starting out on their financial journeys. I’ll be hanging onto my copy to use as a reference.

This isn’t your average book because it contains hundreds of graphics that explain the ins and outs of personal finance in a way that will really help you to understand the topic. There are colorful charts, graphs, and images on every single page!

Have you read any good books lately?

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5 Ways I’m Staying Sane in Quarantine

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Happy Monday, my friends! This is the day that I dread all weekend long. For some reason I never want to go back to work after the weekend. It’s not terrible now that I’m working from home but it’s still hard.

As an introvert, this stay at home order should be a dream come true. I love working from home and not leaving the house. However, it is hard because I do enjoy grocery shopping and browsing the aisles at Target. I also live close to my parents and am used to seeing them every week. I have a lot of anxiety about not being able to leave the house and it’s caused me to have quite a few panic attacks.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about ways to keep me calm and sane during this period of social distancing. From what I’ve been seeing on social media I’m not the only one who has been feeling this way so I thought it might be beneficial to share the ways I’m keeping myself sane during this time.

  1. Creating a routine. I felt really lost when I first started working from home. I was used to working 7:30 am to 4:15 pm but once I started working from home I would end up working 7:30 am to 5:30 pm with no breaks. I felt like I had to prove that I was working and available at all times which was exhausting. Since then I’ve started working around 7:45 am and logging off right at 5 pm. I also try to take a break for lunch everyday but I know I need to be better at that.
  2. Eating meals together. When Brett and I first moved in together we didn’t have a dining room table so we ate on the couch while watching tv. This became our habit and we rarely even ate dinner together at all. Since I’m home all the time now I make dinner and wait for Brett to get home from work so we can eat together. We eat at our dining room table and talk about our day. It seems simple but it’s something I look forward to all day.
  3. Embracing my skincare routine. Skincare is something that I have been passionate about since I was a teenager. I’ve always had bad acne so having a skincare routine has been super important for me. Now I have all the time in the world to spend on my skincare routine and it feels amazing. I’m testing out new products and loving my tried and true Murad products.
  4. Having coffee dates with co-workers. As you know, I’m an introvert so it’s kind of surprising to me how much I miss my co-workers. We are used to working remotely so we have great technology for virtual meetings. We have scheduled times to just sit and drink our morning coffees together which has been really nice. I don’t drink coffee but I love to sit and chat for a few minutes. I would recommend this for co-workers or friends and family as a nice way to catch up with each other while remaining apart.
  5. Checking in with friends. This has been big for me because I’m pretty bad at texting and calling. I’m typically just texting my mom, sister, and Brett but I’ve tried to make myself reach out to friends and family. My work made this a goal for us to check in with a few people every week who we don’t normally talk to and I’ve tried to continue this in my personal life.

There’s no easy way to get through this time but we will make it. I hope to look back at this period of time and cherish the memories Brett and I made together. Before this quarantine we didn’t see each other a lot. Our work schedules are different and he has a very active social life with his friends. I’ve loved spending time with him and I hope we can continue when this is over.

What are you doing to stay sane?

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Good Reading Habits Tag

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I was tagged by Becky at Strikeouts & Sprinkles in the Good Reading Habits Tag! Thanks, Becky!

The rules for this tag are pretty simple: discuss your good reading habits, tag back to the original creator, and tag a few friends!

Read book reviews

One of my favorite ways to keep me interested in reading is to read book reviews. I especially love reading the book reviews by my favorite bloggers. By reading these reviews I often am introduced to books that I’ve never heard of but am interested in reading. Which leads me to my next habit.

Keep a TBR list

Once I find a book I’m interested in reading I immediately add it to my TBR list. I personally keep my list on my phone for easy access. I will also add books to my Amazon Wishlist if it’s near a holiday or my birthday so Brett has some idea of what to get me if he needs to buy a gift.

Read a little each day

Sometimes I really don’t feel like reading even though I know I will enjoy it once I start. I set a goal to read a little bit everyday and sometimes that little bit turns into half a book in one night.

If you don’t like it, don’t read it

If I’m not enjoying a book I won’t force myself to keep reading it. I give all books a fair chance but life is too short to read a book that you don’t enjoy, in my opinion.

Kindle Unlimited

I originally started with a free 2 month trial of Kindle Unlimited with the intention of cancelling after the 2 months. I actually loved it though and found myself reading so much more. I decided it was worth the price for now and have enjoyed my membership!

My Tags:

Lauren

Tiffany

Maysa Rose

Chanelle Hayley

Thanks for reading!

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2020: Second Quarter Goals

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2020 has been crazy and I’m unsure what the rest of the year will bring. Quarterly goals are really important to me so even though I don’t know what’s going to happen I still want to create some sort of road map for myself.

It’s hard to tell what the rest of 2020 will bring so I struggled creating my goals for Q2. I honestly don’t know what I want my goals to be or what I want to accomplish in the coming months.

  1. Finish some house projects. It’s the perfect time to get some house projects checked off of our to-do list. We have most of the supplies at home already so we don’t even have to worry about leaving the house.
  2. Learn 2 new recipes. I have been loving cooking lately which is really weird for me. I used to only cook a couple of times a week out of necessity. Starting Keto taught me so many new cooking skills and I’ve fallen in love with cooking meals for our family and sitting down with Brett to eat together everyday. I want to learn at least 2 new recipes to add to our meal rotation.
  3. Read 3 books and write reviews. I’ve actually read quite a few books already this year but none of them have been that great. Having this opportunity to stay home and read good books is something that I don’t want to take for granted.
  4. Stay home and stay safe. I’m a homebody so staying home for long periods of time doesn’t bother me at all. Right now the best thing to do is to stay home and stay safe.
  5. Spend at least 30 minutes outside everyday. I feel so much better when I get outside and go for a walk. Working from home and staying home all the time doesn’t mean that I can’t go outside. Brett and I like to eat meals on our back deck if the weather is nice and Oscar is always excited about a walk through the neighborhood.

I know that times are weird right now and will be for awhile but do you have any goals for the quarter?

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Five on Friday #18

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It’s finally Friday and I couldn’t be happier! This week was so busy for me, mostly because it was the end of the month and end of the first quarter so work was incredibly crazy. I’m happy to be busy though because I’m not feeling bored while quarantined.

Without further ado, here are five random things for your Friday morning.

  1. I received my spring FabFitFun box a couple of months ago but I just started using the Gravity weighted sleep mask that was in my box. I think many people were disappointed with this product because we have seen a few eye masks from FabFitFun already. However, I am a big fan of eye masks because they are really helpful when I have migraines and need to block out all the light. I’ve been sleeping with this one this week and the weight is so comforting! It sounds weird but wearing this eye mask is soothing and I fall asleep really quickly!
  2. This was my first full week of being quarantined and I think it went really well. I have my normal work setup at home so it’s not super difficult for me. We have a great phone system that allows us to work remotely and have video conferences easily so that hasn’t been an issue at all. How are things going for you?
  3. I’ve been loving cooking dinner lately! I’m trying to be more creative with meals now that we are exclusively eating at home. I got a few Keto cookbooks for Christmas from my mom this year so I’ve been using those in addition to just making recipes up as I go. My favorite Keto cookbook is this one by Amy Ramos which is usually under $10 on Amazon!
  4. If you knew me in real life you’d know that I pretty much always have a Sparkling Ice water in my hand. I’ve loved them for years and drink at least one a day. I don’t eat sugar so these are my sweet treat and a great substitute for soft drinks. When I was visiting my sister in New Hampshire I tried the Sparking Ice + Caffeine waters and they were a game changer! I don’t drink coffee but every once in awhile I need a little caffeine. I can’t buy them at any stores around me but I did find them on Amazon. The Blue Raspberry is my favorite!
  5. I have been loving watching YouTube lately. For three years Brett and I only owned one TV which was fine by me but I got used to not ever watching the TV so instead I’d watch YouTube. I like to play videos when I’m cooking, cleaning, writing, etc. I recently discovered Jen Chapin and I love her grocery hauls, meal prep, and day in the life videos. She really inspires me to create a healthy work-life balance.

I usually share my weekend plans in these posts but these days I have nothing going on. I have to admit, I am enjoying my one-on-one time with Brett. It feels like everyday is a date while we are eating our meals together and watching movies. I’m really glad to have some time to just spend with him.

Do you have any plans for this weekend? What are you loving lately?

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2020: First Quarter Goals Recap

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I think we all can agree that the first quarter of 2020 didn’t turn out exactly the way we expected it to. I already threw out my 2020 goals for my professional life but these personal first quarter goals still seem relevant and I want to keep track of how I did.

You can read my full 2020 Q1 goals post here.

  1. Take better care of myself. I think I did okay at taking care of myself but I’ve never been good at it. I always tend to put others first and that really hurts my mental and emotional state. Q1 was really stressful and I didn’t make time for friends or prioritizing “me” time. I’ll try to learn from this and do better the rest of the year.
  2. Spend less time on my phone. I stayed really busy in Q1 so that helped keep my screen time low. However, I did watch a lot of YouTube videos and listen to music and podcasts which I count as phone time.
  3. Listen to more podcasts. I was hoping to listen to a ton of podcasts at work in Q1 but this was before I started my new role which didn’t leave any time for podcasts. It’s hard to listen to anything while training in a new role so I failed at this one but that’s okay.
  4. Focus on learning and growing at work. Ugh. It’s so funny that I added this as a goal! I went into 2020 feeling so confident about my job and ready to take on the world. I have to laugh at how hard that got thrown back in my face. I learned a lot but I feel a lot less confident and happy in my role. I’m questioning everything and wondering if maybe it’s time for a change of career. We will see how the rest of 2020 goes career wise.
  5. Finish 3 months of Keto. I successfully did keto for about 10 weeks and lost 15 pounds! I have fallen off the wagon a little due to the pandemic and being unable to have access to meat and vegetables the way I used to. We are trying to eat from our pantry and freezer but I’m still super mindful about what I’m eating and feel really good! I’m looking forward to continuing with the ketogenic lifestyle.
  6. Spend more time tidying and less time cleaning. Yes! I am counting this as a success! My house will never be perfect but I feel really good about the amount of time I spent cleaning this quarter. I used to spend the whole weekend deep cleaning my house and it was so stressful. This quarter I focused on tidying as I went so I could relax more on Saturday and Sunday.
  7. Schedule all of my annual health appointments. I failed at this but I had my reasons! First of all, I felt like I couldn’t leave work the way I used to because I was training on such a tight schedule. Then I finally made my appointments for after my sister’s wedding and we came home and Michigan shut down so all of my appointments were cancelled and re-scheduled. I’ll try again in Q2.

I’m not beating myself up about the failure of Q1 and I hope that the rest of 2020 is better. We are living through such a weird time right now and we just have to give ourselves some grace. Things are not going to go according to plan and we have to accept that.

Setting quarterly goals has never been about being so strict with myself that I can’t enjoy life. I set these goals knowing that I will have to be flexible and just go with the flow. I want a good balance of accountability and flexibility.

How were the first three months of 2020 for you? Did you set any goals for yourself?

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Love in the Time of Quarantine

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A few years ago my family lost someone very important to them unexpectantly. The loss came out of nowhere and we carried our grief for a long time. I had so many regrets swirling around inside of me about what I wish I would have said to this person. How I wished that they knew that I cared about them and believed in them. But it was too late and I couldn’t say any of those things.

From this loss I learned a really important lesson. Always say how you feel and always say “I love you”.

Brett and I have been together for almost nine years, married for almost three. He’s my person but sometimes he’s also the person who annoys me most in the world. Our marriage isn’t perfect but I learned the hard way to always, always say “I love you.”

Every morning when I leave for work I make sure it’s the last thing I say to him. That’s how we end every single phone call. He texts me that he’s leaving work and I text right back “Drive safe. I love you!” Those are the last words I hear before falling asleep every night. Even if we are mad at each other we always make sure to say “I love you” and mean it.

My family has always been very loving. Every phone call with my mom or my sister ends with “I luhhhh you, boo boo”. There will never be a question on if we loved each other or not.

In these scary times I think it is especially important to let people know how you feel about them. I am very aware of this and try not to take any day together or conversation for granted. We might not be able to leave our homes right now but we can still call, text, or facetime our loved ones and check in on them.

Have you told someone that you loved them today?

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