Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category

Under Construction!

Put on a hard hat, we are doing some construction! My Pretty Pennies as you know it will no longer exist.

(pause for reaction)

A bit dramatic, but it’s slightly true—I will be moving to a self-hosted site which means any link to this one (wordpress.com) will have to be transferred. Sounds like a big headache, no? It will be and that’s why I’ve got some help from Mrs. Micah. In the meantime, thanks for the patience as weird things are happening!

Oh and I almost forgot to mention–HAPPY FRIDAY! This weekend I plan to catch up with busy friends and drug-up on allergy medicine so I can enjoy the gorgeous outdoors. Hope you have a great one!

Read Full Post »

Naw, I kid. I’ve been on Facebook since 2004 but this is a new step for my little blog because now you can find My Pretty Pennies on there! What what! Welcome to 2010, MPP.

Please feel free to add me as your friend, write on my wall, send me delightful photos or links or whatever. Can’t wait to “meet” some of you!

Read Full Post »


Exactly one year ago I started this blog, ignoring any insecurities and fears I had about sharing my thoughts to a public world. It’s cool going back and reading my very first blog post because I remember those fierce feelings of hope and ambition to change my financial life… and it is amazing how far I have come in one year. Thanks to this blog, I’ve been able to achieve awesome goals, meet some amazing fellow bloggers, challenge myself in things I never thought I’d be able to accomplish, and {almost!!} get out of debt.

To all who have commented on my blog, subscribed to my RSS feed, or follow me on Twitter, thank you for joining me on this journey! I look forward to another happy year as I continue to log the progress of my pretty pennies.

Read Full Post »

I just got a comment from a reader and thought I would turn my answers into a post in case anyone else has the same questions. Thanks to all the readers out there! It still amazes me all who have joined me on this journey. Also, I started a formspring page if anyone else has any other questions for me.

Question #1:

Do you keep your funds in bank accounts, high-interest accounts, or just in envelopes at home?

I hardly ever use cash because I lose track of the receipts. Usually I just use my debit card. I will occasionally put large purchases on my credit card, but that is only to gain points and I always pay it off the next few days.

As for where I keep my funds, I’m a bit of a bank account slut and tend to have an account open for each of my savings goals. Dividing up my goals within accounts gets tricky for me. Here’s how they’re divided:

Bank #1: Bank of America
-Regular checking account
-Car Repair Fund savings account
-Credit Card

Bank #2: Credit Union (because it has great rates)
-Gift Fund – regular checking
-Emergency Fund – money market account
-Wedding/Future Fund – money market account

Other Institutions:
-401(k) – invested
-Roth IRA – invested

Question #2:

I am trying to get out of debt in this year, and I need to get some ideas. Do you think that is OK to build an emergency fund while paying debt or paying debt first and then build your emergency fund?

First off, it is definitely okay to build an emergency fund while paying debt. In fact, I recommend having a small E-Fund before you start paying debt so that if emergencies happen, you’ll have some money to cover it instead of credit cards (aka: instead of going further into debt).

After you gain a small savings (recommend at least $500-1,000), then I would decide which you are going to focus your efforts on: paying debt or building your savings. Ideally, you would be doing both at the same time with more aggression towards one… and that really depends on your situation. If you have a really high interest rate on your debt, I’d pay that first. However, if you have a mortgage and kids, then you may want to beef up your savings before tackling your debt.

I chose to focus my efforts on my debt, but that is because the majority of it is to my parents, so I wanted to get that paid off ASAP. However, that didn’t stop me from saving extra money during the process. I’m about to pay off my debt (!) and have about $4,500 in liquid assets. I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone, but since I am single, newly out of college, and have minimal living expenses, this plan worked best for me.

I also advise you to create a budget and spend the first three months tweaking it and trying different savings/debt goals and see what works best for you. Don’t be too aggressive or else you may give up altogether, but make sure that your goals are achievable and can be reached with a little bit of hard work and perseverance.

If any other PF bloggers want to chime in or link back a similar post to share their experiences, please feel free to leave a comment! If you have any other questions (PF related or not) please ask below or on the formspring page.

Thanks again for reading! I can’t promise that I have the best advice or experience, but I’ll definitely share if anyone has questions! :)

Read Full Post »

This year I was asked to participate in a Holiday Blogging Swap and of course I said YES! Kaileen Elise, Chelsea Bea at Pencil Skirt & Pearls and Carolyn at Hang on Little Tomato organized it, three lovely bloggers you should definitely check out. I had the privilege of getting City Girl Lifestyle to send a gift to and receive from! CGL is a blogger who writes about all things lovely, including beauty, fashion, cooking, and of course city life! She lives nearby so there’s no surprise that my favorite posts are when she mentions Life in DC.

The purpose of the Blogging Swap is to spread holiday love through Warmth, Sparkle, Cheer and Sweets. Here are the delightful things I received from City Girl:

SPARKLE: She knows I’m about to go on a holiday cruise, so she gave me delightful little lotions, soaps, shampoos, etc. for my journey. So thoughtful. :)

SWEETS & CHEER: These sweet sure did cheer me up! As soon as I opened the package, I went straight for those Sea Salt Caramels. Yum yum yum.

WARMTH: I wish that there was some way you could smell this gingerbread coffee and feel how soft this scarf is. Oh my.


Wow, I feel so blessed to have such wonderful gifts and be in touch with so many fantastic girls across the web. A huge thank you to City Girl Lifestyle for the thoughtful and perfect gifts, and also to the organizers Kaileen Elise, Carolyn, and Chelsea Bea! Check back with Kaileen Elise in the next week to see the rest of the gifts among the Holiday Bloggers! :)

Read Full Post »

One of the sweetest, nicest things EVER happened to me yesterday.

To preface, one of my goals for next year is to become a better cook. I absolutely love baking and trying out different recipes, but with cooking I know a handful of meals and that’s where it ends. I think it’s because baking has clear, concise instructions on what to do. But in cooking? There are no rules! There is no structure! Anything goes! It’s a bit intimidating for me.

Anyway. I randomly visit Groupon, a coupon deal of the day website for specific cities. Yesterday they had a fantastic deal: Nova Personal Chef’s Cheap and Easy in the Kitchen. For $35 (regularly $70), you learn how to cook three meals under a fantastic chef at The Washington Club. Saweeet.

Of course being the social networking expert I am (ha!) I went to Twitter and tweeted about the deal, hoping someone else may be able to use this fantastic offer. About an hour later I come back to the Twittersvere to find this:

Forest, a fellow blogger, bought me that class. Can you believe it?? I received a confirmation email and immediately my eyes filled with tears. It was quite possibly the kindest and most generous things anyone has ever done for me. And what a testament to how awesome the blogging community can be!

So here’s my public thank you to one of the kindest bloggers out there. I promise to use the generosity you showed me to bless others around me.

Merry Christmas!

Read Full Post »

As an anonymous blogger, I rarely get the chance to practice my financial dorkiness awesomeness. You just can’t sit down with friends and openly ask them about their Roth IRA or whether they’re finished with funding their Emergency Fund. I mean, sure you can, but I don’t. I pretty much keep that information to my closet life: to this blog and twitter.

Well, last night my worlds collided: I attended my first ever Personal Finance Blogging Happy Hour! I met real bloggers in the flesh!

There are many amazing bloggers in DC and I got the chance to meet up with five of them last night. Let me just say I was nervous as all get out. I got off the metro, walked up the street to the bar Recessions (appropriate meet-place, huh?), and realized that I had no idea what anyone looked like. I walked into the bar and saw a handfull of small groups across the place, cursing myself that I hadn’t emailed the group something like “I’ll be wearing a black jacket” (like everyone else in this city). Finally after deciding not to shout out “PF Blogging group?” to the entire place, I approached a table thankful to find my fellow friends.

In attendance:

Small Budget, Big Style To be honest, I didn’t get a chance to talk to her much! I was on the opposite side of the table, but I have recently started following her blog about two things I love: finances and style.

Debt Hater Like SBBS, she was also on the other side of the table from me. I’ve chatted with her some on Twitter and it was so nice to meet her in person. You should also know she has an adorable blue jacket I was lusting after.

Mrs. Micah This girl is as nice as her blog and twitter posts–seriously. In addition to her brilliant financial and website knowledge, I learned a few other things about her… like her profession, her comic book interest, and where she lives close enough to throw a rock at.

Brian Schuer @ My Next Buck What a genuninely nice guy! He certainly knows the ends and outs of the blogging world and put me to shame with his extensive knowledge of how to market your blog. After hearing about his crazy busy schedule, I was touched that he made time to come to the HH… and learned exactly where and when he makes time to write his posts.

Craig @ Budget Pulse Also an awesome guy! Craig works at Budget Pulse, a site that provides budget software for free. Not only is he a great guy to share blogging tips, but also to share a beer, a metro ride, and a similar opinion on the Twilight series.

I have received a few questions from readers about creating your own budgets. I recommend checking out Budget Pulse: it’s free and it’s 100% secure.

All in all, a delightful evening and a great first PF blogging happy hour. Looking forward to the next!

Oh and you know I’d have to report: I bought a beer and crabcakes for $10.80 with tip. :) Yum and yummier.

Read Full Post »

Today’s To Do List

I feel like I need a weekend to recover from my weekend! Anyone else feel that way? Here’s today’s to do list. I’m going to update later this evening what I accomplish.

Edited 12/01 at 10:26 am

Blog/Money To Do:

  • Catch up on Google Reader
  • Comment on posts I like/have an opinion on
  • Update my weekend spending report
  • Update November budget and goals
  • Create December goals
  • Figure out budget for December
  • Make sure all payments are scheduled for this week
  • Figure out babysitting dates next month
  • Update blog header to something more festive

Life To Do:

  • Go to the gym or do yoga at home Did yoga.
  • Put up Christmas decorations in the living room YAY!!!!!
  • Get presents organized for Christmas/birthdays
  • Clean Apartment: vacuum, wash dishes, put away travel clothes, go through all mail
  • Make a list of all the cards I need to send this month (birthday/holiday) and then organize when to send, etc.
  • Return library books
  • Go to the store for shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, body wash
  • Figure out meals for the rest of the week and/or visit grocery store
  • Watch How I Met Your Mother Oops, it wasn’t new.

Work To Do:

  • Check off all of the items on my Work To Do list!

Whew, busy day! I promise to make the next post a little less chore-like.

Read Full Post »

Changes to MPP

Greetings Friends!

If you’re reading this post via RSS feed, you may want to pop over to the actual “My Pretty Pennies” to see what the title and the rest of this post is all about. I promise you won’t have to click through ever again. (Unless of course you want to, and in that case, welcome!)

Change #1: The Header.
While I loved my European train ride picture through Germany, it’s time I put some “pretty” into this site, eh? Here’s my tribute to autumn with four things I love: DC row houses, beach bikes (that’s me!), brunch with girlfriends, and of course PUMPKINS.

Change #2: The Blogroll.
It seems daily I discover a new blog that I fall in love with. I’ve taken off the “Link Love” as a page and added it back to my sidebar for all to enjoy. There may still be some that I need to add, but at least here’s a start of what delightful little blogs I read daily.

Change #3: My Goals.
I’ve updated my goals a bit and reached a few that were notable, but I didn’t feel like broadcasting in a post: I’ve contributed $700 to my Roth IRA and reached my goal of earning an extra $2,009 in 2009. I’ve also updated the sidebars so there are fewer under savings.

Change #4: Advertising.
I promise not to clutter-up the site, but I may incorporate some advertising on the page. If anyone is interested being featured, please email me at myprettypennies[at]hotmail.com for ad opportunities and rates.

What do you think?
Now, a chance to ask you all if there’s anything you’d like to see. Do you get annoyed with my weekly spending reports? Think I talk too much about shopping, less about saving? Do I write too much about myself?

While I do blog firstly for myself (it’s a GREAT accoutability tool!), I also care about the relationships I’ve made via blogging and value your feedback. So please, let me know.  :)

Read Full Post »

Progress Bars

I’ve been asked by Bank Gal (and a few others) about how to add the progress bars to the side of your blog. When I was a new blogger this was one of my first questions after looking at many delightful blogs I admire and wanting some progress bars of my own. In order to avoid reinventing the wheel, I’m going to refer you to Stacking Pennies who details it a little more carefully. Click here to read her instructions.

The basic gist of it is:
1. Customize your code.*
2. Add a text-link widget to your site. This is the WordPress name, I’m not sure if there is a text widget for Blogger users.
3. Copy and paste your html code. Save. Voila! You’re done.

*My code for the “Debt Left” bar to the side is below: :

<div>Goal Date: June 2010
<div style=”width:140px;height:16px;background:#EEE;border:solid 1px #555;”>
<div style=”padding-left:5px;height:16px;background:#FFCCEE;color:white;width:61%;”>$8500<br />
<a href=”#” title=”$8500″>61%</a></div>
<div style=”width:140px;text-align:right;”></div>
<div style=”width:140px;text-align:right;”>$13,800</div>
<br />

The “FFCCEE” is the pink background.You can find other colors by viewing html color codes here. Let the progress begin! :)

Updated: In addition to Stacking Pennies’ post, check out these two others that SS4BC told me about:

1. Clever Dude
2. Knitter’s Progress Bars

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »