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Real Money, Women + Finances

The Privilege of Earning More

“What if you didn’t have access to the Internet?” my teacher asked the class. Most of my classmates looked at her with a mix of boredom and disbelief.

“Everyone has Internet now. It’s 2017. Why does it matter?” asked one of the men in the class.

I silently agreed. It seemed like a pointless question. I flipped open my laptop to check my work email while I waited for her to respond. 

13% of Americans do not use the Internet. 10% do not have access to a connection and even more Americans do not have a reliable Internet connection.”

Every Monday night, I sit in a classroom filled with graduate students working towards their Master’s in Education. There are a lot of things I’m learning, like how to create a learning environment that is accessible to everyone and why cultural backgrounds matter. But I’m also inadvertently learning about something else too: a specific kind of privilege.

The privilege of earning more.

When millennials complain about low wages and a chronic lack of job opportunities, they are typically met with two cheerful words: “Side hustle!”

“Side hustles” can range from driving Uber on the weekends to writing articles for a company after work. You can even get paid to stand in line and buy someone else’s groceries. The tasks are all different, but they have one thing in common.

Whether it’s an app on your (smart) phone that allows you to accept jobs or an Internet connection at home that allows you to send emails, “side hustles” all have one crucial ingredient: access to the Internet.

Throughout the past three months, I’ve been increasing my freelance workload in an effort to save $20,000 for graduate school by August 2017.

As I take on more clients and more work, I’ve often felt frustrated and tired. Freelancing on the side while working full-time and attending graduate school is hectic.

But last week I realized that having access to a side hustle is a gift. Sometimes it’s  an annoying gift that I would like to return, but it’s still a gift.

If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that you’ve been given the same gift. Here are a few tips about how to use it:

  1. Know When to Say “No”

 

Even though it’s wonderful to be able to earn more money on the side, it can also be incredibly stressful and overwhelming. If you’re embarking on a side hustle (or three), don’t be afraid to say “no” and set some boundaries. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you always should. I’ve found it useful to think of my freelance work as if it were a job where I had to physically show up. Because I’m working full-time, I couldn’t handle a part-time job that required more than 15 hours per week. So that’s the amount of time I’m willing to work on freelance work on a weekly basis.

  1. Take it Seriously

There are SO MANY stories of people who started a project on the side and then had it turn into their full-time gig. But regardless of whether or not you dream of becoming a full-time freelancer or business owner, the fact remains that you need to take your side hustles seriously, and the most important way to do that is by tracking your payments, tax forms and invoices. If you’re earning income on the side, the IRS will want to know about it. Do yourself a favor and start tracking all of that now and not three weeks before your taxes are due.

When I got serious about freelancing in January, I decided to sign up for Xero’s Accounting Software and Online Bookkeeping and it has been a gamechanger.

Not only is it $6.30 per month for the “Starter Pack” (!!) which includes 5 invoices, 5 bills and 20 bank transactions, but it’s also so freaking easy to use.

You also get a free 30-day trial, which is awesome cause, you know, free.

Xero has pre-made emails you can send to clients if an invoice is overdue and makes the whole ~getting paid~ part of freelancing so much less awkward.

They also have so many other amazing tools, including expense reporting.

(And after my stepfather gave me a stern lecture about how important it is to track conferences and other “business expenses” for tax purposes,  I’ve never been more thankful to have a platform that makes it so easy and organized.)

  1. Kindness and Other Things

I often struggle to truly put myself in other people’s shoes. It’s so easy to simply pass judgement about someone’s spending habits or earning potential. Whether it’s at my full-time job or at my side hustles, I feel like I work hard for my money. But that doesn’t mean that other people aren’t working equally hard in their own way and using what they have access to. Not everyone can earn more money. Sometimes that’s not an excuse, it’s just a fact.

P.S. If you’re interested in this topic, I HIGHLY recommend reading both Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America and Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity.

 

What do you think? Can everyone earn more?

 

This post may contain affiliate links.

Spending Diaries, Women + Finances

Spending Diary: A Week in Orange County on a $57,000 Paralegal Salary

Crystal tracked her spending over the holidays (ekkk!) yet still managed to have a frugal, relaxing week. Beach runs, short workdays and time with family. What more can you ask for? Want to be part of the next Spending Diaries? Email me: taylor@thefreedomfrommoney.com (You can be anonymous!)

 

Name: Crystal Byrum

Age: 36

Occupation: Litigation Paralegal

Location: Orange County, CA

Annual Salary: $57,200 ($3,520 net a month)

Current monthly expenses: $2,266.15

 

A few of my financial goals for 2017 are:

  1. Max out my Roth IRA;
  2. Save 10% of my gross income in my employer’s 401(k); and
  3. Rebuild my emergency fund to $10,000.

 

Spending Diary for Sunday, December 18, 2016 to December 24, 2016

 

Sunday, December 18th

 

8:00 a.m.

Wake up. Sundays are the only days that I get to sleep in.

 

10:00 a.m.

Nick (the boyfriend) and I have breakfast at our favorite Jewish deli, Benjie’s. I buy a $30.00 gift certificate for my future father-in-law and his wife. ($30.00).

 

1:00 p.m.

Nick and I run errands. I buy Christmas gifts for my grams, dad and stepmom, and Nick’s stepsister and her boyfriend. ($63.88).

 

5:00 p.m.

Workout time! I do a new Zumba workout video I just got.

 

7:00 p.m.

I watch a documentary on Netflix called Minimalism.

 

9:00 p.m.

Lights out.

 

Monday, December 19th

 

5:45 a.m.

Wake up. I hate getting up early.

 

7:45 a.m.

Time for work. I send my niece and nephew $40 each for Christmas. ($80.00).

 

12:00 p.m.

Lunch time a/k/a quiet reading time in my car.

 

4:45 p.m.

Work time is done. Time for my daily phone call with Nick on my way home.

 

5:30 p.m.

I do another Zumba workout video.

 

6:30 p.m.

I watch TV and finish a book that I need to return to the library soon.

 

9:00 p.m.

Lights out.

 

Tuesday, December 20th

 

5:45 a.m.

Wake up.

 

7:45 a.m.

Time for work.

 

12:00 p.m.

Lunch/quiet reading time.

 

4:45 p.m.

Work time is done. Time for my daily phone call with Nick on my way home.

 

5:30 p.m.

I go for a run. I love the way I feel afterwards.

 

7:00 p.m.

I watch TV. There’s not much on.

 

9:00 p.m.

Lights out.

 

Wednesday, December 21st

 

5:15 a.m.

Wake up. I do my weight circuit workout. I’m proud of myself for working out this morning.

 

7:45 a.m.

Time for work.

 

10:30 a.m.

I do a one hour webinar on new changes to filing documents electronically with courts in California. I buy a sandwich from Lori’s Kitchen. ($6.00).

 

12:00 p.m.

Lunch/quiet reading time.

 

4:45 p.m.

Work time is done.

 

5:30 p.m.

Nick comes over and we go to dinner at a new restaurant in Huntington Beach. ($34.95). We get yogurt after dinner.

 

7:30 p.m.

Nick heads homes and I watch some TV before bed.

 

9:00 p.m.

Lights out.

 

Thursday, December 22nd

 

5:45 a.m.

Wake up.

 

7:45 a.m.

Time for work.

 

12:00 p.m.

Lunch/quiet reading time.

 

4:45 p.m.

Work time is done.

 

5:30 p.m.

I go for a run.

 

7:00 p.m.

Daily phone call with Nick.  After, I watch TV and do some reading.

 

9:00 p.m.

Lights out.

 

Friday, December 23rd

 

5:45 a.m.

Wake up. TGIF!

 

7:45 a.m.

Time for work. I hope we get off early.

 

12:00 p.m.

Lunch/quiet reading time.

 

2:30 p.m.

I get off work early! Yeah! I run some errands. I buy some last minute Christmas gifts for Nick’s mom and grandmother. ($53.60).

 

4:00 p.m.

Work out time. I do my weight circuit training.

 

6:00 p.m.

Friday night is laundry night. I relax and watch TV and do some reading.

 

9:30 p.m.

Lights out. I like to get up early on Saturday mornings to get gas and hit the grocery store before heading down to the beach to run.

 

Saturday, December 24th

 

6:00 a.m.

Wake up, get gas, and buy groceries. (Gas: $14.51 and groceries: $45.48 = $59.98).

 

7:00 a.m.

I hit the beach to run. I love doing my long runs early on Saturday mornings.

 

10:30 a.m.

I leave for Nick’s house for the weekend.

 

1:30 p.m.

I take a nap since I’ll be up late tonight.

 

5:00 p.m.

Christmas Eve dinner at Nick’s mom’s house.

 

10:00 p.m.

It’s time for the annual Christmas Eve get together at Uncle Alex’s house. I’ve been doing this for 20 years with my friend’s family.

 

1:30 a.m.

Bedtime finally!

 

Christmas Gifts: $227.48

Gas: $14.51

Groceries: $45.48

Eating Out: $46.95

Total Spending: $334.41

 

What I Learned:

This week was a little unusual in that I had to buy all my Christmas gifts which accounts for most of my spending this week. Normally, I don’t spend that much every week. One thing that helps control my spending is paying cash for things such as gas, groceries, eating out. etc. I’ve found that I spend less money paying for things with cash. Tracking my spending this week was helpful to show me what I spent my money on. Tracking my spending for a longer duration would be even more telling. I work to keep my expenses low so that I can save a good percentage of my income every month for things such as retirement.

Real Money, Women + Finances

2017: Year of Focus

Happy 2017, friends! Before launching straight into the new year, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the one that has passed.

I’m not super great at sharing my ~inner goals/thoughts ~ with the world but I wanted to give it a try this year.

Last year, my financial goals were simple: finish paying off my debt and figure out what the heck I want to do with my life.

Both were harder than expected and resulted in a lot of confusing and often painful twists. BUT I’m happy to report that I accomplished both. My debt is gone and I have a clear vision for what I want to do in my career. Woohoo!

Even though 2016 had some very low lows (ahem, POLITICS) I feel lucky to be able to say that it had some personal highs as well:

  1. I proposed to my partner of 4 years at Disneyland and as a result, became engaged to the love of my life.
  2. We adopted our sweet cat
  3. I became debt-free (!!)
  4. Alex and I spent a glorious summer week in South Carolina on the lake with my parents and I took two more trips to the south to visit my beautiful mom.
  5. We also spent a wonderful week in San Miguel, Mexico with Alex’s parents.
  6. I saw my little sister almost every single day and my older sister 10+ times <3
  7. I had countless adventures with my best friends, including camping in the desert, visiting wineries, hiking, river rafting, going to the mountains and hours of happily chatting with one another.
  8. I went on an epic weekend road trip with Alex and explored Joshua Tree, Salvation Mountain and the Salton Sea (if you want to have your mind blown, watch this documentary)
  9. THE. BEST. CHRISTMAS. EVER. Alex and I hosted Christmas this year and having my entire family in our apartment was truly a dream come true.
  10. Not one, but TWO amazing engagement parties with our favorite people.
  11. Alex and I finally moved in together and created a home we love.

And because this is a money blog, I figured I should share some money highs as well:

  1. Paid off $14,000 of student loans (!!)
  2. Hit $11,000 in my retirement account
  3. Saved an average of 40-50% of my salary each and every month
  4. Used credit cards to get two free flights to Colorado, two free flights to San Francisco and a free hotel stay in Joshua Tree.
  5. After a lot of advocating on my own behalf and refusing to believe every colleague that told me it was impossible, I got a 10% raise at my full-time job (which is a minor miracle if you work for a non-profit like I do)

As I move into 2017, I’ve realized that I have A LOT of things that I want to accomplish.

Normally, I’m too embarrassed to list my goals anywhere outside of the pages of my journal, but here we go:

CAREER:

  1. Get accepted into my dream graduate program and finish the first term
  2. Get a literary agent (ekkkkkk!)

MONEY:

  1. Save $20,000 for graduate school
  2. Become more mindful with my spending AND the things I buy—more on this coming soon (!)

FITNESS:

  1. Run a marathon
  2. Finish 36 weeks of BBG (here’s the link if you’re interested)

FAMILY AND FRIENDS:

  1. Continue to love, cherish and spend quality time with my family, fiancee (!) and best friends while putting energy into new friendships as well.
  2. Marry Alex (!!!!) Not really a goal, but you know I had to add it, hah.

SELF-CARE:

  1. FINALLY FINISH THE ARTIST’S WAY. I’m obsessed with this program but have never done it all the way through. Ready to finally bust it out.

 

That pretty much sums my hopes and plans for 2017. Because there is so much that I’m hoping to accomplish, I decided that my word this is year is “Focus.”  I feel ready in a way I’ve never felt before.

Do you have a word or goal? Or do you plan to opt out of the ~New Year Mania~  and simply live? Let me know!

Money Mentality, Women + Finances

Turning 24, Death and Finding What Matters

In one week, I’m turning 24. I LOVE birthdays (my own and everyone else’s) so there will be a plethora of celebrating: camping with a group of my favorites, a weekend away with Alex, a visit to South Carolina to see my mom and a delicious dinner out. See? I told you like celebrating. *throws a gratuitous amount of confetti*

In some ways, 24 seems like an impossibly young age, but in other ways, it feels ridiculously old. When I was nine years old, I was enthralled by a sixteen-year-old girl on the bus. She reminded me of Britney Spears (from the early 2000’s, duh) and seemed SO COOL. She seemed to encapsulate everything I hoped to become: cool, adult and pretty.

Now, when I think about that sixteen girl, I laugh. Sixteen year olds seem like kids (and I’m sure some of you are laughing because I seem like a kid). But that’s what makes age so tricky. It’s hard to track or quantify because your relationship to it is constantly changing.

But there’s one thing that remains constant: this will eventually end.

Our journeys around the sun will eventually cease and the world will continue without us. It’s a fact that I’ve ALWAYS thought about. In fact, it’s often how I weigh big decisions or purchases. I ask myself, “If someone I love died tomorrow, would I regret doing this/taking the trip/this stupid fight/my actions?” In many ways, death is constantly on my mind because I know it is inevitable. But when I typically worry about death, I worry about being left behind. I worry about losing the people I love and in response to that fear, I try to ensure that I have no regrets.

But what about me? What if I leave them behind? *gulp*

If I had to explain my life motto, it would be simple: people above all else. My mom, sisters, stepdad, partner and best friends are more important to me than anything else. Period. End of discussion. When it comes to the people I love, I will do anything for them. No task is too much and no amount of money is too high and I know that my list of “absolutes” (my forever people) will continue to grow as life goes on, especially once we start having kids (Ekkk!) And I don’t want to ever leave them in a bad financial situation, especially my partner Alex.

That’s why life insurance has been on my to-do list for years. (I’m not joking. I almost signed up for a policy when I was 18 because I worried about my funeral expenses. Totally normal 18-year old behavior, right??)

As the years have gone by, I’ve gotten distracted by life and as a result, life insurance fell off my radar (especially when I was poor AF.)

But now I’m not, and there’s really no excuse. But even if you are poor AF, there are affordable options, so don’t despair.

I have no idea what tomorrow holds. I hope it holds my favorite people, good food and enjoyable work, but nothing is guaranteed, so I’ve promised myself that 24 is my year for life insurance.

If you’re ready to take the plunge with me and invest in the people you love, here’s everything you need to know.

1. Term vs. Whole…Huh?

Term life insurance is best. You buy a policy that can last from 1-30 years (most people buy a 20-year policy) and then you pay a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual premium. If you die during the policy’s “term,” then your beneficiaries are paid. It’s simple, does its job and most importantly, it’s significantly cheaper than whole life insurance (which has a bunch of unnecessary features).

2. Save Money!

I never buy anything without looking at reviews and comparing options. (No, seriously. I research everything I buy) And when I buy term life insurance this year, I’m planning on researching the crap out of it.

The tool I’m going to use? SelectQuote Life because they’ve been doing this for over 30 years and make it ridiculously easy to research the best deal.

After you fill out a few simple questions (that take less than 5 minutes) they prepare a personalized plan that includes the best quotes and they call you within 24 hours to discuss.

selectquote

 

My quotes included a few different options, but the average cost was around $20/month. A pretty small price to pay to take care of the people I love.

3. Younger = Better

We live in a society that is obsessed with youth, and most of the time I call BS. After all, what’s better than life advice from someone who has actually lived for a few decades? But when it comes to term life insurance, it’s better to get a quote from SelectQuote Life sooner than later. If you wait until you’re 50 years or older, the prices will be dramatically higher. But even beyond that, if you get a 20-year term at 25 (or 24 like me) then your term will be up when you’re about 45 years old. This means that you can reevaluate whether or not you want to renew AND you’re not yet 50 years old. (Aka: the prices will still be relatively inexpensive).

But here’s the best part: if I continue to save aggressively and invest, I might not even need term life insurance anymore.

At that point, I might be “self-insured.” (My cash, investments and other assets would be able to take care of my family in case something happened to me.) That’s why it’s really important to get term life insurance while you’re still in the wealth building stage. Because that’s when you and your “forever people” could need it most.

Do you have life insurance? Am I crazy for buying it at 24 years old?

This article was sponsored by SelectQuote but all views, opinions and ridiculous stories are my own.

Extreme Savings, Money Mentality, Women + Finances

I Rented Clothes for a Month, Here’s What Happened

Shopping for clothes has always been a stressful experience for me. Not because I don’t like clothes or I hate fashion, but because it seemed impossible to tell how I would feel about a piece of clothing until I brought it home and wore it. In other words, shopping always resulted in a lot of wasted money.

There were the ripped, acid wash jeans that I saw on the shelf in Express. It was love at first sight. I eagerly tried them on and then brought them home. However, once they were home and had been worn a few times, I realized that they looked exactly like a pair of pants that would be worn by N’SYNC or the Backstreet Boys circa 2001.

After realizing the truth about my beloved pants, I never wore them again. What had seemed stylish and hip in the store now seemed hopelessly outdated. The price of my shopping failure? $50.

However, for every bad shopping choice, I made a good one too. There was the floral kimono-style cardigan that I bought three years ago in Primark (England’s favorite discount clothing store) and still wear nearly every week. There were black flats that I wore until they broke and multiple tops that became so worn out that I eventually had to discard them.

But despite my successes, my shopping average continued to hover around 50%—I would totally nail it half of the time and utterly fail during the other half *deep sigh*

I had resigned myself to a life of fashion hits and misses when I stumbled across Le Tote. Le Tote* is a company that rents out clothing for a monthly fee. It’s similar to other subscription box companies, but the main difference is that you can order unlimited boxes each month. Each box comes with three clothing items and two accessories. You can have the box “styled” for you or you can choose the items yourself.

Once you are done, the box is delivered to your door. It includes a bag with pre-paid shipping for returns. (Yes please!) Similar companies include The Ms. Collection and Rent the Runway. For men, there is The Mr. Collection and the Five Hour Club.

For all of the companies, the premise is the same: you can keep the box as long as you want. Once you’re done, you return the box and you get a new one. ALL FOR ONE MONTHLY FEE.

I was hooked and decided to try Le Tote. It looked the perfect solution to my clothing woes.

No more unfortunate purchases yet a plethora of variety. After Googling for a discount code (#frugal) I signed up. I paid $50 and embarked on my month of rented clothes.

So how did it go?

It was fun. Like super, super fun to get boxes of clothing in the mail. Le Tote has a good variety of cutting-edge brands and styles, so I got to try out a lot of clothes that I wouldn’t necessarily buy in a store.

Like this amazing cape jacket *swoon*

Le Tote Cape

Getting ready for work was an entirely new experience because I had beautiful new clothes to wear.

Is this how fashionistas and shoppers feel all the time?!

LeToteTankTop

I got complements from co-workers and friends alike. When Alex and I went on a weekend trip for my best friends birthday, packing was a breeze because I had ordered a special Le Tote for the occasion. I sent my mom daily pictures of my outfits to show off my daily ensemble. (Did I mention that I have the world’s best mom?) I had a blast.

LeToteDress

 

But here’s the kicker.

Even though it was fun, I didn’t continue my subscription after the first month.

So what gives?

The truth is that my month of renting clothes made me feel more adventurous with the clothes I already owned. After the first few weeks of renting, I felt rejuvenated about clothing and looked at my wardrobe with a fresh set of eyes.

I suddenly realized that my neglected button-up shirt actually looked amazing with my black skinny jeans. I paired a FIDM tank top with a blazer, and my high waisted skirt with a cotton crop top.

Even beyond that, I didn’t want to pay $60 every month and I had a feeling that the novelty of new clothes would wear off quickly and become my normal. (aka: the dreaded lifestyle inflation)

So I decided to cancel the subscription and go back to my own wardrobe.

It was a fun experience and I definitely feel like it was worth the (one-time) cash. It served as a reminder that it’s okay to have fun, enjoy a few material things and still save for the future.

 

Would you ever try a company like Le Tote? How is your relationship with clothes?

 

* This post is NOT sponsored. But, if you’re interested in trying Le Tote, I’m happy to share my discount code so you can get $25 off your first tote. Also, if you’re interested in trying it for FREE, Le Tote allows every customer to giveaway five free “sample” bags, so feel free to email me and I’ll send the invite! (taylor@thefreedomfrommoney.com) I already gave one to my mom and sister…it was the least they deserved after being forced to look at my selfies for a month, lol.

Money Mentality, Women + Finances

Introducing Alex, Life Updates and 2016 Goals

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a post for this blog. In fact, it’s been so long that I didn’t even know what to say.

The truth is that 2016 has been a weird year for me.

I started the year with the ambition of becoming a full-time freelance writer. As I picked up more and more work, I quickly learned that it is NOT the career path that I want. I love my freelance clients, but I can’t imagine doing it full time. I realized that I love having a steady full-time paycheck from my day job while working with clients on the side. Making my side hustle all about money caused it to lose a lot of its joy for me, which was a bummer. Once I decided that I didn’t want to do it full-time, working with clients became what it had always been: a wonderful part-time job that I love.

So yeah, full-time freelance writing was a no-go. Luckily, I discovered all of this while working full-time so the discovery came with minimal drama, but if you are considering a freelance career, I highly recommend that you look (aka: try it) before you leap. I was firmly convinced that freelancing was going to be all my #dreams and it was not.

So once I discovered that, I was left with the question: what the heck do I do now?

After some intense soul-searching and endless conversations with my nearest and dearest, I’ve reached a career decision that I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT.

I’m still figuring out a lot of the details, but I’m planning to share them as soon as possible.

So yeah, there has been a lot of (internal) career drama.

HOWEVER, this year has also included some amazing milestones:

I paid off nearly $14,000 of debt, my net worth has reached $15,000 (!!!) and I got my first ever raise.

As we rapidly move into the end of the year, I have a few very specific goals I would like to achieve for the rest of 2016:

1. Move back in with my partner, Alex (who you will meet down below!)

After doing long distance between London and Los Angeles for nearly 1.5 years, we swore we would never do it again, and yet here we are. For the past 10 months we’ve been commuting back and forth between Los Angeles and San Diego. Even though it’s only a two-hour drive instead of a 10-HOUR FLIGHT, it still sucks and I miss Alex every day that we’re apart.

2. End the year with a net worth of $20,000

This will be challenging because I have some super large expenses coming up but I’m eager to try. Also, just as a disclaimer,           when I calculate my net worth, I only include cash and investments. I never include cars or any other “stuff.”

 

3. Blog 3 times/week

Yep, the person who hasn’t blogged for nearly two months is planning to post 3x/week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) *insert shame face emoji* I’m constantly inspired by so many other personal finance bloggers, I miss the community and I LOVE writing. We’ll see how it goes, but feel free to yell at me on Twitter if I disappear for a month again.

 

So now that we’ve gotten the life updates out of the way, I’m so excited for the best part of this post: introducing my better half, Alex.

Alex and Taylor

 

But before we do that, there’s one more thing: I’m in a same-sex relationship. I realized that I’ve never officially “come out” on my blog, and I’ve gotten a few comments asking if I have a boyfriend, so I thought it might be worth mentioning. I’m really open about it in real life, and if you follow me on social media, you probably already know, but I thought I would make it official and throw myself a little coming out party *throws confetti*

 

So back to the introductions: Alex and I met when I was studying abroad in London (Alex is British) during college at the tender age of 19 (!!!) Well, I was 19 and Alex was 20, but needless to say, we met super young, which I love because it means we get to enjoy the maximum amount of our lives together! Alex complements me in every possible way, including money (Alex is way more laid back about spending and balances my saving neurosis), and I feel so lucky to be in a relationship with my favorite person. And as we approach our 4-year anniversary next month, I can honestly say that sharing my life with Alex is a treat.

 

13918843_10157736461535355_1990450177_o

So without further ado, here is an interview with Alex:

What are you studying and when do you graduate?

Alex: I am studying Fashion Merchandise Marketing at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in LA. It’s my second degree and I’ll graduate mid-September

Tell me about your relationship with money

Alex: I wouldn’t say I’m there yet but I ultimately strive for a good balance between saving and investing and having money to spend and enjoy. I definitely think I’m a little more relaxed in terms of wanting to be able to spend money than Taylor is – I especially enjoy clothes shopping which is probably compulsory as a fashion student! However, I think savings are the only way to truly be financially secure and feeling secure with money is my long-term goal.

What’s it like to date someone who talks about money all the time?

Alex: I actually really admire Taylor’s attitude towards money. I know her journey with it hasn’t always been easy and I think she has handled that in ways that I often think I could not have. She’s a very independent person and that shows with her feelings about money. I really enjoy that Taylor feels so passionately about savings. I was raised to think of savings as important but I’m not the most naturally disciplined person with money, and I think Taylor has taught me how to have discipline within my finances, in a way which ultimately makes me feel better about myself. I love that she always wants to learn more about it and I love that her passion for it is about enabling herself to enjoy her life to the full.

Favorite thing about living in America?

Alex: I really enjoy living in another country and being a foreigner where I live – it kind of feels like you are always on holiday and it’s really exciting and powerful to learn a new culture as an adult. As cliché as it sounds I love the landscapes and huge skies – Southern California’s mountains are beautiful. I also love the popular culture – I’ve seen bands and shows and heard music that I would have been much more unlikely to come across in England.

Favorite food?

Alex: Indian food – specifically mutter paneer.

Favorite travel destination?

Alex: I have to say London because it’s where my entire family is. I could also name countless places I like in the US (particularly Disneyland!) but with England and America aside, I love Italy.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Alex: I am really looking forward to moving back in with Taylor after I graduate school… as well as no longer having to do homework!

Interesting fact about yourself?

Alex: I forget how unusual it is, but I went to boarding school for five years. I absolutely hated it, but obtained the fun British status of being a member of the same boarding house as Kate Middleton.

 

Thanks so much to Alex for answering my random questions and thank YOU for sticking with me and reading this blog. It means so much.

 

Are you in relationship? How do you do money together?