Instant riches

I was overwhelmed by green when I saw bills flying out of money cards on the night of my graduation. I thought, ‘I wonder how rich I would be if I could graduate every year.’

Then my Discover card statement came in the mail and the aroma of my quickly inherited riches subsided. Just when I thought that I had every penny imaginarily spent on Kate Spade wallets, a dose of responsibility hit me harder than the Discover bill.

I am now entering a land of sole financial responsibility and sacrificing food and water for a Henri Bendel bag isn’t going to keep me alive.

To combat my newfound riches with a large amount of budgeting, I have found the top five budget and finance tracking apps for iPhone.

mintMy favorite one is Mint, which is for free! I have allowed Mint to email AND text me when I am dangerously close to being over budget, and it allows me to digitally store my income and expenses that links safely to my bank account. Maybe not Mint, for you? Check out the other promising four!

Gratitude at the post-office

photo-9It took me 2 hours of relentless organizational skills to compile my list of ‘thank you’ cards to  express how grateful I was for everyone who celebrated my collegiate success. 

Between differentiating the 4 gift cards to one store (it’s official, everyone knows that I’m a sucker for Kate Spade) and determining which gift came from who, I now feel relieved to have sent off my gratitude at the post-office! 

Sending cards of appreciation that are thoughtfully hand-written is imperative after graduation! It can become confusing when different people give the same gifts, so here are some tips for how to divide and conquer your letters of gratitude:

1. Have someone, such as a parent, make a check list of who contributed what when you are opening gifts.

2. Have a safe place that you can keep all of the cash, checks and gift cards until you have access to the bank (I used a large Kate Spade wallet to keep everything enclosed). 

3. Tailor each ‘thank you’ card with a very personal message that relates to the gift you were given, even if it’s cash and/or check. For example:

‘Dear Aunt Karen,

Thank you so much for celebrating my collegiate success at my grad party! I especially liked the blouse that you gave me, I have worn it already!’ 

4. When sending the cards, use a label maker or software system that allows you to create your name and address on a sticker to put on the top left side of the envelope. This gives you the perfect professional look on your postage!

5. Last but not least, begin your investment in a lifetime supply of stamps! It won’t be the last cards of appreciation that you send 😉 

Grad party mannerisms on a budget

gradgift2It’s safe to say that I have been able to skip grocery shopping this week after attending several grad parties filled with feasts bigger than any holiday dinner! However, as post grad, I should know better not to enter a party the same way that I enjoy it: empty-handed.

But as any post grad knows, gifts and store-bought cards can be expensive. Here are some ideas on how to bring the celebratory presents to your friends on a budget:

  • Wooden frames from JoAnn Fabrics or Michaels with acrylic paint or fabric that is mode-podged, including your favorite photo of you and your friend (Wooden frame $1.99, Fabric $.99 ranging to $9.99, Acrylic paint $1.99)
  • Cards purchased in bulk, rather than individual cards, can be used for all celebrations! Target has some of my favorites starting at $3.99 (check it out)
  • Splitting a more expensive priced item that your friend has been eyeing with more than two other people (my gift was a Kate Spade wallet split by 4 of my friends and I loved it!

Hope this helped! Below is one of my favorite grad gifts:

gradgift