Getting a driver’s license is pretty easy, right? (Many years ago) In Phoenix, Arizona I read the driver’s booklet, passed my written test, then demonstrated basic driving skills for the practical exam. I have been a licensed driver ever since.
So, why would I be nervous or hesitant to become a licensed driver in Puerto Rico? All the paperwork and instructions are in Spanish (which I barely read, and am learning to speak). Driving in Puerto Rico can be a challenge. And multiple trusted people and websites told me how difficult it is to get a driver’s license in Puerto Rico.
THEY WERE WRONG!
It was easy and quick to get a Puerto Rican Driver’s License (for licensed US Citizen). Continue reading “How to Get a Driver’s License in Puerto Rico, 4 Easy and Quick Steps”
You’re Pregnant? Congratulations! I’ll call you in 15 years.
Many of my friends went into Mommy Hibernation when the first Baby was born. This is the reality that your entire life is now focused on feeding schedules, naptime, and poop. This phase can last a few years, or in rare cases it can be permanent going from helicopter Mommy to helicopter Granny.
At first, it was really emotionally hard to lose my friends. I did not realize it was a hibernation, I thought it was permanent! I tried to stay connected, making the effort. I endured horrific Baby showers, Smash cake for 1 year olds, and overall lack of topics for conversation. I tried to look interested in the latest diaper genie and poop disposal systems, but it was obviously not a topic that I could contribute to. I enjoyed shopping for pretty dresses and cute tee shirts, but it is hard to feel engaged over a few outfits. Every time I was shown Baby pictures, I eagerly whipped out cute photos of my Dog, apparently it is not the same. Continue reading “Tale of Mommy Hibernation”
5 easy steps for doing your own taxes, plus advice on when to hire professionals.
When I started filing taxes decades ago, it was a tedious process of convoluted tax tables and writing the information on the correct tax forms by hand. There were separate instructions on exactly how to staple the W-2 income statements correctly to the exact page. Annual returns were manually entered into the IRS system, introducing another person to make a mistake. I remember double checking everything I had written before sealing the envelope, mailing my return, then waiting weeks and weeks for my refund check or correction letter. While attending University for my Finance degree, I took many accounting classes, and worked for several accountants over the years, including an independent tax firm. Admittedly, I have a complex tax return, and I pay a professional (after I have completed a preliminary return on my own) to file my taxes. Continue reading “5 Easy Steps for Income Taxes DIY or Hire a Professional”
What does frugal living mean to you?
Recently, we downsized to a smaller home and made other frugal lifestyle changes. I like the The Dollar Stretcher statement, “Frugal is Using Money Thoughtfully”. Spending money (or not) should be a well thought out decision, rather than merely a reaction or just picking the cheapest option.
First, the difference between being frugal versus cheap. While attending University, I was broke and the cheapest options were the only way to keep food in my tummy and a roof over my head, in order to not incur massive student loan debt. I lived in the least expensive (and terrible) neighborhood close to campus and made every sacrifice in comfort. When you are broke, often the only choice is whatever is the lowest price option or do without when that is even too much money. After graduation, my career took off and I left cheap behind! To me, being frugal is all about priorities and choices, cheap is settling for what is left. Like most people, my lifestyle was cheap due to my own decisions and priorities. I could have lived in a beautiful apartment for the same price as my tuition!
Being frugal is searching for the best value option, while cheap is the sacrifice of quality and value.
My current frugal lifestyle is extravagant luxury compared to those years in school. I eat very well, travel, buy nice cars, and can afford activities like scuba diving. I still consider myself frugal, and consider how and why I spend money. Paying off all (interest bearing) debt was a priority for me, and here is how I paid off all of my debt. I do not owe creditors, and I certainly do not pay interest to borrow money.
- I look at frequency of my spend (weekly habits really add up) and reoccurring expenses. Monthly cable bill is a luxury that I do not need and more savings ideas here.
- I do not clip coupons or worry about a few pennies here or there, the payoff is not worth my time.
- I stock up on my regular items during a sale, and I buy non-perishable (toilet paper and consumables) items in bulk for cost savings.
- I join rewards programs for grocery stores, food, clothing, hotel and travel, and “regular” purchases, even if only once a year.
- Then I stay informed on perks and promotions from those loyalty programs to score my airline upgrades, free hotel stays, bulk sales, clothing discounts, and other money saving offers.
- I compare prices. When out shopping I will double check prices on Amazon and eBay compared to in store. Sometimes Target really does have the best price, and I can take it home immediately! Whatever the item, I buy with confidence that I got a good deal.