2020 is almost here!

Holy Cow! How is it almost 2020?? It feels like we should be riding around on spaceships or something…of course, there is such a thing as self-driving cars so maybe we’re not that far off.

This year has flown by. The biggest thing I was involved in this year was my new job. I left my former job in December of 2018 so 2019 was busy spent trying to figure out everything in my new position. I just had my one year anniversary and I still feel like there is so much to learn. Continue reading

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No-show November

I know, I know, I’m sure my 13 loyal readers were probably very worried about me in November. Don’t worry, I’m back and motivated to get busy working on this blog and a product I’ve got in development.

So where was I? Well, work was a tad bit busy and there was that holiday thrown in there but mostly I was busy writing like a mad woman. Um…Holly…we just discussed the fact that you didn’t post one single time in November. That’s correct and that’s because I was busy writing 50,000 words towards a novel. Continue reading

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Why Is She Writing a Personal Finance Blog??

I know that’s what you’re thinking!! And it’s okay…it’s a legit question. I do have an accounting degree but I am not a finance professional or offering financial advice in any professional capacity. (That’s my disclaimer in case you missed it!)

Current situation:

45 years old, single (widowed actually), two kids in college, still paying off my own student loans, and too much credit card debt.

Wait, wait, wait, don’t give up on me and click on Dave Ramsey or some other expert that has their financial stuff all figured out. It’s true, if you’re looking for someone that can give you financial advice on what to do with your millions of dollars just sitting around, then you’ve stumbled on the wrong site (but hey, we can still be friends!) Continue reading

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Take It or Leave It and Advice I Agree With


There are a lot of personal finance experts out there. Some are popular and some are not. I’m a definite money nerd, I love to read anything regarding personal finance. As with most things in life though I rarely agree with anything or anyone 100 percent. I prefer to evaluate the “experts” stance and decide for myself what knowledge or advice they offer that will apply to my situation. Below are some of the more popular personal finance gurus and the advice they offer that I believe in. Continue reading

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Stop With The Excuses!


lady on computer wasting time

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I’ve been lazy lately. Okay, maybe not lazy. I go to work every day, I also try to always be available when friends and family need me for something, and I keep my son’s cat alive while he’s away at school. Guess what I’ve not been doing? I’ve not been working on what’s important to me, which is my writing.

I’ve got plenty of excuses though…

Continue reading

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My Spending Fast Isn’t As Cool As Anna’s…

cat with the Debt Free Living book

It’s been an expensive few weeks in our household. And when I say expensive, I mean we’re about to hemorrhage some money. Let me just give you the highlights. Continue reading

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4 Tips for Dealing with a Chronic Illness

Diabetes supplies

September 22, 2009 is the day our world changed drastically. My oldest son, Michael, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes that day. It was two days before his 13th birthday and we had taken him to the doctor with a stomach ache.

Our doctor originally diagnosed him with a virus but when I casually mentioned how thirsty he’d been lately she decided to draw some blood. Ten minutes later she walked back into the office, told us to pack a bag and head to our local children’s hospital because his blood sugars were over 500. We were lucky, children often end up in the intensive care unit before they are properly diagnosed. We were in the hospital a day and a half before they sent us home to our new lifestyle. Continue reading

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I’m Debt-free!


credit card

DEBT-FREE!!! No…not really…not even close!!

Sorry to fool you but you got excited there for a minute didn’t you? I did and I knew it wasn’t true. Achieving debt-free status is a high priority on my life to-do list. I’ll be honest though, it’s not nearly as easy getting out of debt as it is getting into it. In an effort to combat Frugal Fatigue, I like to daydream/plot out what life will look like once I am debt free.

My debt is comprised of the following items: credit cards, student loans, car loan, and mortgage. Part of this debt is stupidness on my part like buying too much house my first time out, subsidizing vacations with credit cards, etc. Some of the debt is medical debt because diabetes is a stupid, crazy-expensive disease. And some of the debt is just a result of years of a modest income not stretching far enough in the land of single-parenthood despite my best attempts at living a frugal life. I’m ready to dump this debt once and for all though. Continue reading

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Listen Up Graduates!

Photo by Tai’s Captures on Unsplash

It’s that time of year… graduation announcements are probably flooding your mailbox like they are mine. I have one son about to embark on his senior year of college and another starting his junior year. It’s hard to believe in two short years they should both be finished with their schooling (hope I’m not jinxing them!) and out in the real world. As someone that has been in the real world for quite awhile now and has made loads of mistakes, I thought this was a prime time to compile a list of best practices for my boys and anyone else that might be graduating to the real world. Continue reading

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Single Parenting-20 Years Later

Photo by Benjamin Manley on Unsplash

20 years ago today I became a single mom. My 35-year old husband woke me up saying he was having chest pains again and within a few hours he was gone, leaving behind a devastated wife, a two year-old and a six-month old.

That day and, truthfully, many weeks afterwards were a blur. I was 25 years old and never imagined I’d have to deal with things like planning a funeral for my husband, or dealing with the multitude of documents and hurdles to settle life insurance claims, or figuring out how to explain to a two year old that daddy wasn’t coming home. The only thing I knew with complete certainty is that I could not possibly raise these two baby boys by myself. I was both wrong and right about that.  Here are a couple of things I’ve learned over the years.

As a single parent, you are ALWAYS the bad guy

This definitely sucks. Two parent households have the advantage of being able to play good cop/bad cop on occasion. What? You want to go on Spring Break unsupervised at 16? Sorry, I’d have said sure but dad said no. Whoops, guess that doesn’t fly. Guess what? They’ll get over it.

One income supporting the household sucks

I’m going to put in my disclaimer here that I was fortunate to have Social Security payments until they graduated from high school. This helped to be sure but I can assure you that Social Security payments didn’t make up for my husband’s income. I quickly learned the importance of setting a budget. It’s essential to have a budget if you’re a one income family.

You need a village

If you don’t have a village to help you out then find one. I was/am blessed with family and friends that have helped me immensely over the years. Financially, logistically, and emotionally you’re going to need people to lean on.

You have no idea what you’re actually capable of until you’re thrust into it

I said earlier that the only thing I knew with complete certainty is that I couldn’t raise our boys by myself. Guess what? Michael is 22 and a year away from graduating college with a business degree. Nicholas is 20 and will be a junior in college this fall, working on a marketing degree with a minor in sales. Both have worked part-time jobs, sometimes multiple jobs, since they were 14.  They have been involved in sports, and junior firefighting programs, and charitable causes over the years while making stellar grades. They are polite, hard-working, and just good guys.

Buy Life Insurance

Everyone should buy life insurance. We were young and healthy and invincible until life proved us wrong. We had a small life insurance policy Rick’s company provided but a larger policy would have made our financial life a lot easier. Life insurance is not terribly expensive, especially when you’re young. If you’re a single parent, it’s ESPECIALLY essential. Make sure your family has one thing they don’t have to worry about if tragedy strikes. You can read our story about this here.

It’s Worth It and You’re Enough

There will be tears, and tantrums, and melt-downs. And the kids might behave badly also at times… lol. You will doubt yourself and you’ll be convinced you’re ruining your kids lives more times then you can count (usually when they’re busy telling you that). My kids are in their 20’s now, they’ve not brought me onto Jerry Springer yet to tell me how their childhoods were ruined though so I’m going to say we’re doing okay. Trust yourself and know you’re enough and I will bet that once they’re grown your kids will realize how hard you tried and maybe even appreciate and respect how hard you worked to make their lives great.

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