Life Lately: Series 65 Edition

December Collage

Tap, tap….Is this thing on? Things have been a bit quiet on the blog, but not for lack of activity. As you can tell from the post title, things have been all Series 65 (or Uniform Investment Adviser Law Exam), all the time. A good portion of my free time has been spent reading the study guide, watching videos, and taking practice tests. Which means I haven’t done much Christmas shopping outside of the North Pole that is Amazon Prime/Mom. Thank goodness for their free two-day shipping! Maybe I’ll share a last minute gift guide later this week. (PS – If you want to sign up for Amazon Mom, here’s $10 for you and $10 for me.)

Speaking of last minute, I finally ordered Christmas cards from Tiny Prints last night (and a few photo gifts from them last week). Yes, that’s after talking it up almost a month ago! Fortunately, I have an extension to get the Christmas cards mailed out since the Christmas season officially starts on December 25 ;) If you’re a procrastinator like me, today is the last day to get an awesome photo gift (think mugs, ornaments, notebooks, calendars, etc.) from Tiny Prints in time for Christmas…at least without paying an arm and a leg for shipping. If you order today, you can still get your order shipped by Christmas Eve, guaranteed in the lower 48 states. But wait…there’s more! Their sitewide sale of up to 30% off ends Tuesday, 12/16 at midnight PT. If you want Christmas cards faster and you order before midnight PT on 12/17, you can save $10 on their super rush shipping. And yes, you can stack those codes!

Here’s how it works:

1. Go to Tiny Prints and choose from their selection of holiday cards. Personalize the cards with your pictures and text.

2. Use the code 30SWDEAL to save 25% on all orders and 30% on orders of $99+.

3. Stack the code SRSAVE10 if your order is more than $100 and you’ll save $10 on their super rush shipping. You’ll get the cards within two business days (if you are in the lower 48 states).

That’s not to say we haven’t enjoyed getting ready for Christmas. John put up Christmas lights this past weekend and we decorated our tree the weekend before. And yes, the bottom third of the tree is sparsely decorated due to a certain toddler. There are only two ornaments within her reach, a personalized BabyJives mini cloud ornament (quite possibly my favorite on the tree) and a blue sparkly sequined ball. She’s also quite taken with the manger scene, particulalry the little baby Jesus.

We’ve also been enjoying some of the flavors of the season. Our favorite thus far is the Christmas Ale bacon from Cleveland’s Pork Chop Shop at the West Side Market. We tried to replicate it over the weekend, but fell short. Ours ended up being a candied dessert bacon, a little too sweet for our taste. I guess that means we need to make it again! Or get some of the original subtly sweet and salty goodness shipped from Cleveland!

How has your December been?


PPS – This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting Fiscally Chic!

Are you ready to become a Pirate of Financial Freedom?

Fiscally Chic is partnering with the Pirates of Financial Freedom to share this post. Opinions are my own.

With gift guides flooding the Internet, you’re probably more than aware that Christmas is only three weeks away. Earlier this week, the Chicago Tribune shared “Smart financial gifts for young adults” and the first item on their list is personal finance books. As a personal finance aficionado, I’ve read a few: Rich Dad Poor Dad; Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem; and the most recent being Pirates of Financial Freedom. If you’re shopping for a high schooler or soon-to-be college grad, Pirates of Financial Freedom is a entertaining way to share those all important personal finance skills.

pirate ship

Pirates of Financial Freedom is a novel geared towards teens and twenty-somethings that combines a pirate adventure story (I mean, who doesn’t love pirates?) with a personal finance self-help book to create financial edutainment:

With his back against the wall, Captain Dailey is forced to make a deal that’s against every pirate bone in his body. In return, his son must save the crew from their financial problems before it is too late. In between gun fights, kidnappings, a blossoming romance, humorous pirate-isms, mythical beasts, and a long-lost treasure so extraordinary that it threatens to tear the crew apart, they must master life-changing personal finance skills.

I finished reading Pirates of Financial Freedom over the long Thanksgiving weekend. At first, the setting was a little I confusing because the hero (Captain Daley’s son) works on Wall Street, but the pirates work on an old ship with cannons, and everyone uses credit cards. I guess I expected the novel to be set in the 1700’s or 1800’s (thanks, Pirates of the Carribean). That being said, it was an entertaining read and our hero is a bit of a Will Turner. There’s also comic relief a la Jack Sparrow.

Even I learned a few new things after reading the book. The one point that really stuck with me is the mindset of earning more to buy the things we want instead of just cutting expenses or taking on more debt (similar to Ramit’s Big Wins Manifesto). I’m in the process of studying for the Series 65 exam to become a Registered Investment Adviser and add investment advice to my financial planning offerings. Registering (and starting a business in general) takes a bit of treasure money, but there’s the potential for unlimited income and ability to become financially free on my own terms.

financial freedom

When it comes to navigating the waters of personal finance, it can feel like you either sink or swim. Fortunately, it’s never too late to change your financial habits. As for teens and young adults, it’s never too soon to learn how to manage money and set the course for smooth financial sailing.

pirates of financial freedom hardcover

If you’re interested in gifting Pirates of Financial Freedom to your favorite teen or twenty-something, you can get $5 off your purchase through December 15, 2014 using the code “TreasuredMoms”. The book is available in hardcover (currently $24.99) and as an eBook (currently $19.99). You can also read the first half of the novel for less than a doubloon dollar!

gift code POFF

Who else is ready to grow their booty and retire on a tropical island??

Christmas Cards and Matching Outfits

This past weekend, John’s family got together to take pictures for Christmas cards. Admittedly, I fretted a bit too much about what our little family would wear. When you take photos, does everyone match? Or at least coordinate? I just purchased that Banana Republic plaid shirt; so I planned the outfits (in my head) around that. I ran to the mall over lunch to buy Monica that red skirt. Unfortunately, I wasn’t clear in my intentions to coordinate, so John wore his favorite argyle sweater. The one he’s known longer than me and wears to a majority of holidays. It’s neutral in gray, brown, and tan, and didn’t clash with my plaid, but it didn’t match my overall Christmas card vision. As I said, I thought a little too hard about this.

Christmas card roundup

All cards can be found on Shutterfly!

As for the photos themselves, wrangling three 17 month olds was no small task. Thanks to a little Miss Nina playing on the iPad and a myriad of other distractions, all families were able to take Christmas card-worthy photos. Now the tough part will be deciding which Christmas card to order!

Fortunately, Shutterfly is running some great promotions right now! ALL customers are eligible to save 40% on everything with promo code “SHAREIT” through Monday November 24, 2014. In addition to ordering Christmas cards, I might take advantage of the promotion to buy a few photo gifts for doting family members (I’m looking at you mugs, magnets, and more!). If you’re a new customer, with every 50 cards purchased, you’ll receive an additional 10 free of the same size with promo code “SCORECARDS” through Wednesday November 26, 2014.

Do you send out Christmas cards? This will be our first year of doing it (officially). Thank goodness Shutterfly and all the other online greeting card sites can address, stamp, and mail the cards for you!

(PS – This blog post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting Fiscally Chic!)

my favorite marriage tip

My New Favorite Piece of Marriage Advice

Back in September, I heard a great interview with Mary DeTurris Poust on Relevant Radio. In it, she talked about marriage and the Catholic faith. Seeing as it’s the date of our anniversary (our anniversary is September 13) I want to share this wonderful piece of advice with you, as expanded up in her blog post Marriage: It’s…

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10 habits of rich people

Are You Practicing These 10 Habits of Rich People?

Last week, my friend Andy shared this post from MarketWatch on the “10 things rich people know that you don’t.” Naturally, I wanted to see if I knew these 10 things. Mom and Dad – I’m happy to report that your good financial habits rubbed off and I’m aware of all 10 habits. The bigger question…

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Fall 2014 Collage

Life Lately

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Pool Safety Starts With Swim Lessons

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DIY Trick or Treat Tote

DIY Halloween Trick or Treat Bag

With Halloween two weeks away, I’m finally starting to get in the spirit of the season. Which is an improvement on last year when I made Monica’s dinosaur costume only a few days before the big day. And yes, this year’s costume is still a work in process. However, I found the time to sew…

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royal blue fall wedding guest dress

Dressing for a Fall Wedding with Rent the Runway

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marble potatoes, herbs, and onions

Herb Roasted Potatoes and Onions

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wedding photo

On Holding Each Other Accountable

Over the weekend, John and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. It was a low-key day as we donated blood in the morning and later went out to dinner with Monica. In past anniversary posts, I shared discussion points and tips for merging finances and wedding planning tips. This year (with #FinCon14 happening now!) I can’t help…

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quick refrigerator dill pickles

We Can Pickle That

A couple weeks ago, I shared that we’ve been trying our hand at pickling. Each year, it seems like we have an over-abundance of one vegetable. The first year, it was zucchini. Last year was tomatoes. And 2014 is the year of the cucumber (and dill). One weekend we picked 14 cucumbers! We’ve probably picked…

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how to start saving for college

How to Start Saving for College

Last week, Monica started in the toddler room at daycare. And while we’re several years away from paying for college, we also started to make some progress on her college savings fund. Up to this point, any money given to Monica sat in her savings account, accumulating a few pennies of interest income at a time….

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