Tales from the Wallet: When to Dip Into Your Emergency Fund

when to dip into your emergency fundWe’ve talked in the past about emergency funds — particularly where they fit in a money roadmap and where you should stash the cash you’re saving for an emergency fund — but here’s something we haven’t talked about: when is it ok to dip into your emergency fund? How big of a deal is it to you if you need to take some money from your emergency fund to cover a big shopping trip, a vacation, or more? Do you overfund your emergency fund (and keep more than 6-9 months living expenses) so you CAN dip into it if you need it — or do you have a “stop point” where anything above a certain amount of money goes into an investment account? (On the flip side, do you keep a “fun money” or “mad money” account just for these kinds of indulgences — and save money to be spent?)

Pictured at top: I’m not usually a beige wallet kind of person, but this highly rated “tan sparkle lizard” wallet might make me change my mind. It’s $89 at Nordstrom (six other colors, too) (affiliate link).

As we’ve discussed in the past, I’m a pretty aggressive saver who hates to keep money sitting in low-interest checking and saving accounts, so for the most part I clear out our checking account every month and move left over money to higher interest online savings accounts. In addition to retirement savings, I use automatic transfers to savings and automatic investing as often as I can, and I also try to amortize known big purchases (like term insurance and a vacation budget) so that the cost is spread out over the year instead of hitting in one particular month. In fact, I have about 10+ accounts open at Ally right now for various things personal and business, as well as one big account at Ally that we consider to be our “family emergency fund.” But of all my crazy accounts I don’t have a “fun money” account — and maybe I need one for those for times when our credit card bill is bigger than expected, or it’s been a birthday month (or, ahem, a Nordstrom sale month) and more.

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Which Beauty Treatments Save The Most Time For Busy Women?

beauty treatments to save timeTrying to get a minimal beauty routine and reduce the time you spend getting ready? Reader J wrote in with a great idea for an open thread, wondering which beauty treatments save time, and give you the biggest bang for your buck? I’m curious to hear what readers say about this.

Hi there! I have a suggestion for a discussion either here or on CorporetteMoms. I have a pretty minimal beauty and skincare routine, yet I feel like I spend a lot of time “getting ready”. I’m wondering how other readers have used professional services such as waxing, eyebrow tinting, permanent make-up, microblading, and other beauty treatments to save time. Which services are worth the cost and make a real difference in the reader’s daily routines. Thank you!

VERY interesting! I’ve written before about how much I love my laser hair removal and I would definitely recommend it, despite the pain and the expense — it’s been almost ten years since I had it done and I can’t remember the last time I shaved my legs. I would also definitely be on the weekly blowout train if I wanted something sleeker than my wavy/curly hair — I’d much rather spend 60 minutes getting my hair blown out to perfection and rocking the look for 3-5 days rather than fighting for 25-35 minutes on my own and getting a lousy look that didn’t last more than a day or two. (Here are my tips on how to make your blowout last for days!) I also just got a “healthy” keratin treatment on my hair, at the encouragement of a friend who loves her keratin treatments — my initial thought was that it took ten years off my hair (and it went from crazy dry frizzy to only slightly dry frizzy) but I’m waiting until this one wears off and I get my second treatment before I really weigh in. I was also intrigued to see readers discussing eyebrow tinting, specifically using Just For Men to tint eyebrows recently — I ordered some from Amazon and am going to give it a try! I’ve never tried Botox (although I’ve discussed Juvederm with my derm for my “marionette” lines, yay), but I know many MANY readers have given shoutouts to it.  Blue Collar Red Lipstick just did a mini-review of her microblading treatment, and I know Bee at HelloBee has shared that she got her eyebrows tattooed. I’ve been considering doing a Zoom teeth whitening treatment after another blogger I read had it done (I thought it was Wardrobe Oxygen but I can’t find the post now). (The NYT just had a similar article along these lines, about microblading, tattoos, and hair extensions.)

Ladies, what about you — which treatments and services have you considered or gotten in order to streamline your routine? What would you advise other busy professionals looking for beauty treatments to save time? Have you tried microblading, makeup tattoos, laser hair removal, and so forth?  

Picture via Stencil.

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How to Make Your Sore Feet Feel Better

how to make your sore feet feel betterSore feet can ruin any vacation — or the early days on a new job — or heck, early days of a new season while you re-break in all of your summer shoes from last year.  Whatever the reason, there are a TON of affordable products and easy exercises you can use to help soothe tired feet. Today, we round up FOUR great products to help your sore feet feel better, including a few flexion exercises for tired feet and a great general circulation exercise. Ladies, what do you do when your feet are killing you? What work events make your feet the most tired (new shoes, networking events, giving presentations) — or are you in such a happy place with your shoes for work that it’s only shopping, museums, or other vacation-type activities that wear your feet out? 

A few tips at the outset: don’t forget to choose comfortable heels or flats, give the shoe time to air out in between wears (this also helps extend the life of your shoes), and use blister block and other products to help particularly with summer feet.

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Tales from the Wallet: What’s Your Vacation Money Strategy?

vacation money strategy tips and tricksHere’s a fun question for today: what’s your vacation money strategy? What’s your overall strategy about vacations and budgets — how do you plan to budget while on vacation — and how do you pay for vacation? There are a lot of questions here, such as:

  • Overall vacation money strategy: What do you consider getting the most “bang for your buck” — frequent and small vacations, one big vacation every year or two, or something else? From the “time vs money” perspective for vacations, do you gravitate towards the more expensive but all-inclusive cruise, resort, or tour so that you save time at the research phase — or do you prefer (for money or enjoyment) to DIY your vacations? For those of you who go to the same place often (such as spending a week every summer at Cape Cod or the Jersey Shore, or heading to DisneyWorld once a year), how big of a role does budgeting play in that decision?
  • Budgeting while on vacation: do you have ways of saving money while on vacation that you use no matter where you go? For example, bringing protein bars with you so your breakfast is covered, or making sure to hit the “included breakfast” at your hotel and eat a ton so you don’t have to eat a big lunch?
  • How to pay for vacation: Do you save in advance for your trip, or put it on credit card? Does anyone use automatic transfers to savings to set aside money regularly to keep for vacations? Is anyone heavily into airline miles or points?

 

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How to Job Search When You’re Super Busy

how to job search when you're super busyJob-hunting is challenging enough when you have a typical full-time career — but how do you handle looking for a new position when you work long hours in a job that makes it hard to get away for networking and interviews? We’ve talked a lot about interviewing, job-hunting, and networking over the years (and certainly finding time to date when you’re super busy, as well as how to make time for friends when you work a lot), but we haven’t specifically discussed this topic. So how do you job search when you’re super busy?

Recently, a reader asked a question (in the comments on a post) about how to deal with this issue. Here’s her situation:

How do you find time to job search when you are working crazy hours and can’t get away easily, like in ibanking/consulting/law? Any tips from people who have gone through this? When did you let people know anything about your job search? If you used your network did you ask people not to talk about the fact that you are job searching?

She got some great responses that we thought we’d round up for the benefit of others with the same question. Those of you with more advice and experience here, though, please weigh in — what are your best tips on how to job search when you’re super busy and it’s hard to leave the office?

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Tales from the Wallet: Seasonal Spending

seasonal spending budget tipsHere’s a fun question for today: Do you think you spend more in certain seasons? How do your strategies for saving or budgeting change from season to season — and what do you think your biggest money challenges are for each season? For those of you at big law firms and companies with extensive summer intern/summer associate programs, do you actively plan to bolster your savings this summer when there are so many firm-sponsored outings, to take care of things like food/drink/entertainment/transportation?

Pictured: love this floral wallet from Halogen for $89 (affiliate link). 

For my $.02, I definitely spend differently in different seasons, although I’m not sure which season I spend more during. A few ways my spending changes from season to season, off the top of my head:

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