Posts filed under ‘Things I Bought That I Love’

Financially Familiar at 25: How I Did It

I have a ridiculous habit of buying books with good intentions, and then letting them sit in my bookshelf until I find an extra half hour to start them. The habit then continues, as I make it about halfway through the book and then never pick it up again.

suzeormanSuze Orman’s book, Young, Fabulous & Broke*, was no different. But, it didn’t matter. Only reading half of this book gave me the goods I needed to make financially sound decisions in my post-college life.  The thing is, Suze designed the book as a guide, offering advice, lists and online resources every step of the way. You don’t have to read the book cover to cover, pages 1 through whatever in succession. You read the sections that apply to you.

I love the fact that there’s a game plan for setting priorities and achieving goals, and after assessing your own personal situation with her corresponding online action plan, you will get a step-by-step game plan outlining what your next best move is – be it investing, paying off debt, or saving for a large purchase or life change.

For instance, at any one time, my financial situation can revolve around a car payment, school loans, a mortgage and a 401k (and in moments of weakness, a little bit of credit card debt – damn you J. Crew). Even though the book is a couple years old, the online action plan stays up-to-date (and offers addenda to the print edition) and recently told me that – with our economy being the way it is – my best course of action was to scale back on my 401k contributions. DISCLAIMER: I am not advising you to scale back on your 401k contributions. It was simply the best move for ME.

Especially these days, it’s easy to be wildly confused about how (and where) to save money, whether or not to bother contributing to a 401k, and how to successfully merge finances with your fiance (a fun tlittle ask that we’re still figuring out).  The best thing about this book is that Suze speaks in our language. We’re not financeers with years of knowledge and we’re not complete idiots that hide cash in our mattresses, so learning from this book is easy and actionable.

*not to be confused with the ugly and wildly expensive (despite the name) Young Fabulous & Broke fashion line

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May 23, 2009 at 10:56 pm Leave a comment

Things I Bought That I Love: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Extra Power

Holy crap. If you have a tough, stubborn stain or grimy surface anywhere in your house, go to your nearest drug store, WalMart, Target or grocery store and get Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser Extra Power. Stop reading. Go. Now.

I’m not opposed to cleaning, I just hate having to spend a lot of time doing it. Dusting doesn’t happen unless it’s causing a weird glare on the TV and any spot that requires a lot of elbow grease usually gets the cover treatment. Meaning, I find something to cover it. Then I found this little gem, which has overtaken Lysol 4-in-1 Disinfecting Wipes as my new favorite spring cleaning product:

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Extra Power

I bought this after a number of recommendations on how to get rid of cooked-on rings on our ceramic stovetop. Our stovetop can get grooooosss, and those rings put my sponges and arm strength to the test. But, the rings seemingly wiped off with the bald man’s magic eraser! So, I thought “hmmm what else can I use this on?”

The rust stain on the countertop from the metal paint tray when we were painting the kitchen? Gone. The fricken pink spots from Crystal Light’s Raspberry Ice when it splashes on our white lenoleum countertop (literally, it stains within seconds)? Not a problem.

These erasers save my life. It might seem a little weird at first because they don’t get soapy when you wet them, but as long as they’re damp, they’re the best thing to tackle your cleaning list with.

May 2, 2009 at 9:08 am 1 comment

Things I Bought That I Love: Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells

One thing becomes abundantly clear when you buy a house: you immediately have no money for anything. You instinctively look for ways to cut costs, and suddenly your $75 cell phone plan is astonishingly high. One of the first things to go for both me and Shawn was our gym membership. That doesn’t mean we were sacrificing health and fitness, but we realized it’s just as easy to get a great workout at home. The best (BEST) purchase we made (okay, they were a Christmas gift – thanks Dad! – but still an amazing product) were the Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells.

bowflex selecttech dumbbellsNow, you might be thinking “ehh, weights?”. If that’s your reaction (and you’re a girl), stop reading this blog and pick up The New Rules of Lifting for Women by Lou Schuler and Cassandra Forsythe. I never really got why women would want to lift weights until this book spelled it out for me. I won’t go into detail, but do yourself a favor: stop running and start lifting. Anyway, once I was mentally prepared to start lifting weights, I needed the equipment. But, we didn’t have the room or the budget for a large collection of dumbbells.

When we saw this set by Bowflex, we knew it was perfect. Each dumbbell combines 15 sets of weights into one. All you have to do in order to change the weight is turn the dial at both ends of the dumbbell, to go from 5 lbs to 52.5 lbs. Admittedly, they can be a bit clunky for certain moves, but for the most part, it’s a great investment and well worth the $400+ pricetag (it’s easy to say that when they were a gift). To save a couple bucks, you might want to consider buying these during the holidays. Dicks Sporting Goods offered to throw in the weight stand for only $100 (it’s usually $150) and the weights themselves were $350.

April 5, 2009 at 3:41 pm Leave a comment

Things I Bought That I Love: Sleep Mate Sound Conditioner

It makes sense to introduce you guys to a few things that we’ve purchased that have really helped make our condo our home, one of which is the Sleep Mate Sound Conditioner. I never grew up with a set sleeping requirement – lights on, lights dim, lights off, all was good. The glow of the TV, a soft hum of Delilah, I could sleep through it all. But, it wasn’t until Shawn and I started having sleepovers that I became adjusted to his sleep routine.

When we first began dating, he was a senior in college and lived in a house full of people. To drown out the sounds of music, yelling and late-night rowdiness, he would crank his window fan on high, which created a nice white noise to fall asleep to.

sleepmate-sound-machine

Over time, we replaced the fan with a Sleep Mate. Okay, it’s not the cutest device, but sleeping soundly is worth the eyesore. I actually find myself tossing and turning when I don’t have it, so we might need to look into a travel version, if that even exists. Actually, come to think of it, that’d be great for our visits to Long Island, when late rowdy nights are inevitable. If you have trouble falling asleep quickly or live in a noisy neighborhood, definitely look into it.

March 29, 2009 at 7:40 pm 1 comment


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