Graduation Tips, Gossip, and Investing Like Snoop Dogg

Happy graduation weekend everyone!!! Big changes for many of you out there – woo!

We’ll be celebrating ourselves while my wife walks up to get her PHD, and it’ll be the first time I’ll attend a graduation in like 10 years :) But so so proud of my darling wife. 7 years of studying, teaching, writing, and then finally knocking out her big dissertation which all leads to this beautiful day. All while producing two beautiful boys and putting up with the antics of yours truly. She’s a gem, alright! Haha…

And hey! We’ll get to use her $200+ graduation gown for two whole hours before having to return it back to the shop – what a privilege! NOT. (Remember when “NOT” was popular btw?? I so miss that…)

Anywho, a new chapter opens up when you graduate from school, so I thought I’d share some parting wisdom to any of those undergrads reading this right now, or those soon not far off. And you should listen to me since I’m old and wise and rockin’ a mohawk still at 35 ;) That alone should give me some street cred, yes? Maybe? I should have left it in the 80’s? Damn you…

Things to keep in mind as you graduate college:

  • This is the best time to take risks and follow dreams!!
  • It’s also the best time to start investing – even just $10/mo
  • As well as the best time to CHALLENGE THE NORM
  • And to lock in a simple lifestyle before society tries creeping it up
  • And, most importantly, the best time to hustle your ass off so you don’t need to hustle until you’re old and gray or even 35 like me. Set the plan into motion NOW and get to live The Dream similarly to how one Mr. Money Mustache did when he figured out the system. It’s much easier to adapt now then when you’re set in your ways, and there’s no rule that you have to work 40+ years like everyone else if you don’t want to.

So pretty much this is the best time to just kill it while you have all the time in the world without much responsibility. Sure you’ll have pressure from those around you, but remember this – this is YOUR life and the goal is to live it on your own terms. Take some risks and see where it goes!

Personally, I only hit 2-3 of those tip above after graduating. Mainly the taking risks and following my dreams route as I packed my bags and moved up to NYC to be a rock star partier and best graphic designer / art director ever! Only to get a reality check and have to make due with minimum wage and drinking on a budget ;) But still – I did it! I moved my ass up there and even traveled the world while working for the airlines. Something I can’t even consider now with a family and responsibilities in tow. So believe me – you want to have fun and go after your goals in full thrust now while you have the freedom. You’ll settle into your own later once you’ve figured it all out.

The only thing I wish I would have paid attention to more was my money and investing. And particularly my work ethic. I did enough to get by, but I never really put myself in overdrive to really get the ball moving. I guess we all figure it out at some time (hopefully!), but it would have been nice getting that $$ compounding a few extra years earlier to really jack it up. Time is SO on your side when you’re young! You have to take advantage!!

Anyways, congrats to all the graduates out there, and even more to the ones reading this blog right now :) It already shows you’ve got money on your mind, and this will forever help you out. You only need to learn it once and you’re set!

Here’s how this week went in my finances…

  • Digit saved me an extra $48.31
  • Acorns invested me an extra $8.07
  • Ebates sent my wife a check for $50.35! And not just any ol’ check, but a “Big Fat Check,” haha…ebates big fat check(For those unfamiliar w/ Ebates, it’s one of the more popular places to go online for cash back reward shopping. You don’t earn millions, but it def. adds up. And I believe first time signer uppers get a $5.00 credit too which is cool.)
  • I found a new Dell keyboard and mouse for $2.00 at a yard sale! The letters of my old keyboard had been completely worn off from all the typing action over the years, but being the frugal (and lazy) person I am, I hadn’t gone out of my way to pick up a new one. And it’s a good thing too as I randomly came across a perfectly good keyboard/mouse combo for the sexy sum of just $2.00! It was so good I didn’t even have it in my to bargain! Haha…
  • I’ve helped liquidate a coin hoard for a friend of mine for $1825 so far. It’s not money I can keep myself, but I do get a small commission and some free coins to add to my own collection for helping :) It’s a collector’s DREAM to sort through a long lost box of coins from an attic! Which reminds me – always be on the look out for quarters and dimes and half dollars in your spare change dated 1964 and under. They’re full of silver before the gov’t stripped ’em and are worth a lot more than face value. Though I can’t tell you the last time I found a half dollar roaming around :)
  • The one big nasty loss this week: $456.54 for that dermatology work for my wife… The bill finally arrived and was a doozie, ugh… Good thing we have emergency savings!

Stuff that went down in blog land…

rockstar finance logoI officially brought on Cait Flanders to help me manage Rockstar Finance! Many of you will know her from, but I know her as a loving, awesome, wonderful person and even harder worker out there. I needed a new partner to keep Rockstar going as it started taking up a good chunk of time, and I was more than excited when I found out Cait was open for collaborating and believed in the mission. So tell her thanks the next time you see her online! She’s making my life a lot easier and has already helped grow the site in the brief amount of time on board. I’m excited, Cait!

I’m hosting a coin giveaway on the 3rd best site online: Coin Thrill! My coin collecting blog :) It’s in partnership with the Royal Canadian Mint up north (yeah Canada!), and in celebration of 75 years of Looney Tunes. Which is just mind blowing. They sent me a coin to review and give out, so click here to learn more and the enter to win! There’s hardly any entries so far, so you have a really good shot of winning, haha… It retails for $100+.

looney tunes canadian coin
Gretchen from Retired by 40 is hooking bloggers up with Pinterest help I was a bit hesitant when she offered me up some pointers, but I’m actually really glad she did. I’m learning a ton on how the Pinterest world works and is just so “out there” for me since I’m not much a pinteresty type person myself. Def. a good person to reach out to if you want to have more of a presence there, and she can actually help you manage your own account there as well for a fair price.

Jeff from Sustainable Life Blog launched a new service to help bloggers grow their newsletter list. We, too, started working together and he’s given me some pretty good tips as well, I just haven’t stopped to put them into action yet which is the most important part – hah (and just goes to show that we ALL suck at taking action sometimes). You can ping him here at his new site if you’re interested in learning more:

Stefanie from The Broke and The Beautiful Life came out with a book! I may be a few months late here in sharing (sorry Stef!), but it doesn’t mean her book isn’t less awesome ;) It’s a down to earth read that encourages people to “redefine their relationship with money and approach budgeting as an exciting and sexy tool to transform from broke to beautiful while enjoying every step along the way.” If it sounds interesting, you can learn more here ($9 Kindle / $15 paperback): The Broke and Beautiful Life: Small Town Budget, Big City Dreams

broke and beautiful life book

Some $$ companies that came across my desk this week…

These are the guys that looked interesting, but not enough for me to do a full review on them since I only do those for the ones I really love and connect with myself. But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t be perfect for your situation! Which is why I continue to list them here in case they help out. — A place where you can compare repayment options with your student loans. As well as play with some nifty calculators. Probably something good for you recent grads to do! Gotta get that debt-slaying plan in action before it starts pissing you off! (Or is it too late? ;)) — A new brokerage company/app that let’s you place stock trades for free. How? By being “built from the ground up to be as efficient as possible, removing a lot of the human touchpoints that lead to high cost structures at other brokerages. By cutting out the fat — hundreds of storefront locations, manual account management, expensive Super Bowl ads, etc.” But here’s my favorite part – some of their investors include Snoop Dogg, Jared Leto and Nas! HAH! They’ve also raised $16 Mil from big players like Google Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz too, but I found it hilarious that rappers have jumped in the game too… Though not surprising since they’re BEASTS at business. Especially Jay & Dre. Anyways, you can now invest like Snoop Dogg ;) — This one was brought to me by my good blogging bud Jim Wang of Bargaineering fame. I haven’t spent much time poking around it yet just cuz I’m one of those “set it and forget it” type investors, but if you love staying on top of this stuff and getting into the research and what not, you might want to get on their waiting list for when it launches. It’s basically an app that uses crowdsourced data to help you understand and compare your portfolio. And they’ve got some good buzz already going on in the tech world.

And lastly, if you thought YOUR day was bad…

funny apple stock tweetHappy weekend y’all… Keep those wallets close by! :)

[Hat tip to Millennial Money Man for sharing that hilarious pic up top. I miss Game of Thrones since nixing HBO, though I am onto the 3rd season of Friday Night Lights courtesy of NetFlix… That Tim Riggins is something else!]

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  1. Chris @ Flipping a Dollar May 15, 2015 at 6:41 AM

    Woohoo! Congrats to your wife. The fact that she was able to do this while dealing with 3 children (I’m counting you in there) really makes it more impressive!

    1. J. Money May 15, 2015 at 10:09 AM


  2. Jason@Islands of Investing May 15, 2015 at 6:42 AM

    Huge congrats to your wife J-Money! Such a huge accomplishment, hope you celebrate accordingly!!

    And that’s some pretty great advice for college graduates – I only really ticked the investing box, but its amazing how obvious that advice seems in hindsight when you’re a little older!

  3. Brad @ May 15, 2015 at 6:52 AM

    I love these posts with all the random links — so helpful! I’m getting in touch for Pinterest and conversion testing help and definitely signing up for!

    Congrats to your wife, that’s fantastic!!

    Do you help “liquidate” sports cards and comic book collections too? I have tens of thousands of these things in my attic from when I was a kid and I’d love to get rid of them. Side hustle??

    1. J. Money May 15, 2015 at 10:11 AM

      oh man, I would have a BLAST trying to liquidate those!

      unfort. time is not my friend these days for this stuff, but you’re on once I’m financially independent and retire all my project outside of BudgetsAreSexy ;)

  4. Mrs. Frugalwoods May 15, 2015 at 7:26 AM

    Congrats to you wife–enjoy the celebration! I like your graduation advice, especially the idea of taking risks and following dreams. I too packed myself off to NYC (from Kansas) right after college and am glad I did it. And, I’m also so glad I started saving money immediately too. It’s tempting to buy, buy, buy once you get that first “real” job, but it’ll pay dividends if you save and invest instead!

    That’s awesome that Cait will be working with you on Rockstar! Excited for you both!

  5. Jon @ Money Smart Guides May 15, 2015 at 7:40 AM

    Great tips for new grads. Like you, I wished I had hustled more right out of the gate. But here I am at 36 and couldn’t be happier with where my life is and where it is heading. Sure I figured it all out a little later than ideal, but I still figured it out.

    The biggest lesson is to challenge the norm. You don’t have to work until 65. You don’t have to buy a new car and have a house with a white picket fence. Question things and figure out if they make sense for you. If so, great, go for it, if not, you just saved yourself a lot of time and headaches.

  6. maria@moneyprinciple May 15, 2015 at 8:02 AM

    Enjoy the graduation (and take the boys with you; even if they don’t remember it they’ll be looking at the picture a feel proud of their mum). Congratulations to your wife and good luck job hunting. Btw, where was Snoop Dogg in this post? Have you invested in what he did :)?

    1. J. Money May 15, 2015 at 10:17 AM

      oh yeah – they’re coming with for sure. I’m going to have my hands full :)

      (Snoop Dogg was mentioned in the Robinhood app blurb. He’s one of their investors along with other rappers – hah! And I presume he scoops up all his stocks through them too. Like a true OG)

      1. maria@moneyprinciple May 18, 2015 at 10:22 AM

        Yeah, I noticed but had pressed the ‘submit’ button already. You know he invested in the ‘Dope Uber’ start up as well, right?

        1. J. Money May 20, 2015 at 12:03 PM

          oh wow – I did not! he’s one smart dogg! ;)

  7. Kate@GoodnightDebt May 15, 2015 at 8:50 AM

    Congrats to your wife!! Take lots of pictures to get your $100+/hour’s worth.

    Somehow with the juxtaposition of this post, I realized I have a coin nerd side. My mom gave me a handful of pre-1964 quarters for my birthday a few years ago and the Royal Canadian Mint is awesome. I went to the one in Winnipeg and had a blast. It also made me sad that here I was collecting coins from all my travels around the world and most of those coins were made in the Winnipeg facility. Oops!

    1. J. Money May 15, 2015 at 10:19 AM

      HAH! that is too cool!

      I would love to take a year off and just travel to every major coin mint in the world – how bad ass would that be? Do a nice write up on each with behind-the-scene pics and what not? I wonder if I could get sponsored for that? Hmm….

      Anyways, my impression of you just raised a few notches. Happy collecting! ;)

  8. John @ Frugal Rules May 15, 2015 at 8:54 AM

    Huge congrats to your wife J$, that’s awesome!

    I’m with Brad, do you help “liquidate” baseball cards that someone stupidly bought too many of in their younger years?! ;) I’ve heard quite a bit about Robinhood myself, though need to take a more serious look at them myself. You can’t beat free…especially when it comes to making it easier to invest.

    1. J. Money May 15, 2015 at 10:20 AM

      If they’re Micky Mantle’s and tobacco cards – YES!

      If they’re Ken Griffey Jr’s and Jose Canseco’s – no ;)

  9. Kalie May 15, 2015 at 9:03 AM

    Congrats to your wife! And it’s great to hear you’ve brought Cait Flanders on. I really enjoy her work. Great tips to new grads, too. Locking in a simple lifestyle is so important. We always say to keep living like you’re on a college budget until you pay off college debt. And if you can do that, you’ll probably want to maintain a frugal lifestyle after the loans are paid. The idea that we should imitate our parents’ lifestyle immediately after graduating is unique to our generation, and is unrealistic and undesirable (IMHO).

    1. J. Money May 15, 2015 at 10:21 AM


      Everything thinks they “deserve” the world these days. Best to be in check early on so you can really GET the world in the future! Freedom!!

  10. jestjack May 15, 2015 at 9:17 AM

    Congrats to your DW and hope she finds that “dream job”. I share your pain with the dermatologist. My DW just had a “ride down crazy lane” with the GP and dermatologist with exams and labs. About $1K went into this exercise only to discover that she has eczema. And that $1K is WITH insurance. AND the most effective treatment for the eczema? A $4 topical cream applied twice a day….just crazy…Enjoy the graduation!

    1. J. Money May 15, 2015 at 10:22 AM

      oh jeez!!!!!

      I mean, at least it’s good it’s nothing horrible! And that you at least now *know*! Though what a way to figure that out – ouch.

  11. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life May 15, 2015 at 9:42 AM

    So pysched for you, your wife, and fam- such an exciting time and looking forward to hearing what’s next! Thanks for the book love :)

  12. EL May 15, 2015 at 9:42 AM

    Damn Ronald you should have been a buy and hold investor. Congrats to the Misses, that’s a great feat. I’m digging the free services by loyal3 and Robinhood, it just makes investing easier by having 1 less barrier.

  13. Cait Flanders May 15, 2015 at 9:53 AM

    Huge congrats to your wife! Consider today an experience that just happened to cost $200, because at least it’ll be a great memory for y’all to have. :)

    And yay for the announcement! I’ve loved working on Rockstar and seeing all the ways it helps the PF community. Can’t wait to see where we take the site. See you in a couple weeks, friend! Have a great weekend!

    1. J. Money May 15, 2015 at 10:22 AM

      You too, friend. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you!

  14. Tonya@Budget and the Beach May 15, 2015 at 10:19 AM

    Congrats to your wife! What an accomplishment, and glad to hear you brought on Cait to help you. Have a great weekend J!

  15. Emily May 15, 2015 at 10:37 AM

    “And to lock in a simple lifestyle before society tries creeping it up”

    If I had learned about minimalism when I was 18, I would have went for it and saved myself a TON of money over the past twenty-five+ years!

    Adding my congratulations to your wife – esp. since she had a family while she was at it! Talk about rockstars! :)

    1. J. Money May 20, 2015 at 11:58 AM

      She’s enjoying forcing us to all call her Dr. now ;)

  16. Chris May 15, 2015 at 10:42 AM

    Good advice.
    About looking in your change for silver coins: on Wednesday when receiving change for breakfast, I heard that tell tale sound of a silver coin as the cashier scooped out quarters. Sure enough, I ended up w/ a 1962 quarter.

    1. J. Money May 20, 2015 at 12:00 PM

      woah – nice find! I have yet to find a silver quarter in circulation. I did find 61 cents the other day on a walk which was pretty epic, but silver would be killer!

  17. Jeffrey @ Student Loan Hero May 15, 2015 at 11:05 AM

    Thanks for the mention, J$! We’re happy to help any recent grads or anyone repaying student loans. If anyone has questions, feel free to ask us and we’ll do our best to answer!

    1. J. Money May 20, 2015 at 12:01 PM

      Rock on – thx man! I’m gonna forward them all to you as I see any come in :)

  18. Fervent Finance May 15, 2015 at 11:49 AM

    Congrats to the wifey! I saw that GS Elevator Gossip tweet and the first thing I thought of was “that 10% ownership would definitely have been diluted down during future capital raises” – us accountants are a wild bunch.

  19. Janine May 15, 2015 at 1:03 PM

    Congrats to your wife! A PHD is something to be incredibly proud of!

  20. Kayla @ Femme Frugality May 15, 2015 at 1:54 PM

    I hope you enjoy the graduation a little bit before you return the $200 gown, haha. Have a great weekend J$

  21. Gary @ Super Saving Tips May 15, 2015 at 3:21 PM

    Congrats to Mrs. Money on her hard-earned degree! That’s some great advice for all graduates, especially the simple lifestyle part. It goes hand in hand with staying out of consumer debt which is where so many get themselves into a hole. I don’t know if I took enough risks back when I graduated, but it’s not too late for me to follow some dreams now.

  22. Melanie @ Dear Debt May 15, 2015 at 5:36 PM

    Congrats to your wife! That is so impressive. I can’t wait to see what is next for you guys. And smart move hiring Cait. She’s awesome!

    1. J. Money May 20, 2015 at 12:04 PM

      I have my moments of brilliance :)

  23. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank May 15, 2015 at 6:32 PM

    My brother just graduated last Wednesday. He is filled with excitement and so determined to work to earn money as much as he can. I encouraged him to invest and I think he is planning to invest. Welcome to the financial journey!

  24. Master Nerd May 15, 2015 at 6:41 PM

    Congrats to the wife! I’m in the process of ploughing through my Master’s program, so I know the feeling. Shooting for a thesis defence before Christmas! Then it’s on to a PhD. My partner just told me he want’s to consider doing a Master’s as well, so that could make things interesting for our finances haha! Fortunately, things are slightly easier since our “children” have 4 legs and a tail. I mean who would want pesky real-life children around ;-)

    Also looking forward to Cait’s contribution to the site.

    1. J. Money May 20, 2015 at 12:05 PM

      You two must pretty hella smart :)

  25. Brittney @ Life On A Discount May 15, 2015 at 11:11 PM

    Great resources provided and I love the links to other great blogs as well. Also, I agree, I wish I had been more intentional about investing after graduating from college. Looking back, I had started saving toward retirement, but also spent a fair amount of my discretionary income on things I don’t even own anymore. But, the past is the past and I am focusing on the present and future. We are much more intentional about our budgeting and financial planning now.

    1. J. Money May 20, 2015 at 12:06 PM

      thx for the link! going now to check it out… love reading about this stuff

      just read – FASCINATING! And bad ass he’s now selling rare coins, haha… though apparently not enough to make that $$$ :(

  26. Prudence Debtfree May 16, 2015 at 8:21 AM

    Congrats to your wife : ) What you say to graduates is SO true. When I was that age, unfortunately, I knew it all – so I didn’t listen to the advice of aged 35-year-olds. Here’s hoping there are some new grads out there with a lot more wisdom that I had who will actually take what you say to heart.

  27. M/M Kash May 16, 2015 at 9:09 AM

    Congrats to the Mrs. It is a great accomplishment for anyone getting their degree, but to do it with kids and responsibilities of being an adult is incredible….got to give her props. :).

    Great advice…I wish I had been focused on the big picture with money. I understood and knew I didn’t like debt or owing anyone. For example, my first car…I paid it off in 16 months vs. 5 years…which was the length of the loan. But once that was done, I never thought about saving it….and investing, what was that?! I think I blew it on clothes and beer!! No one around me….family, friends, etc ever talked about money, let alone what to do with it. It’s amazing how much money you could have stashed, if you just saved a couple thousand a year when you’re young. I hope the lessons we teach Kash, Jr. helps him to not have to work past 30-40 and do some serious traveling or whatever his heart desires.

    1. J. Money May 20, 2015 at 12:17 PM

      It would be interesting if we had the internet/$$ blogs around then too and if that would have knocked more sense into us? Or would we still blow our money cuz it only matters if you *care* enough to then go searching for advice/info?

      probably the latter ;)

  28. Chris May 17, 2015 at 10:22 AM

    J. Money! Awesome stuff, especially your wife putting in the effort and graduating w/ a PhD. I can’t even spell PhD (that looks wrong). I’m checking out the apps too- thanks for the tips. Make sure you’re using the HSA for those doctor visits – TAX FREE $$ is always awesome. Boom

    1. J. Money May 20, 2015 at 12:18 PM

      I know!! That’s one area we’ve slacked on big time… Hoping to change that as soon as the Mrs gets her job and the influx of $$$ comes back. Barely hitting our maxing out goals of our SEP and ROTH so the HSA is 3rd on the list.

  29. Eazy May 17, 2015 at 7:39 PM


    I’ve been using Robinhood for a little over 8 months now and gotta say it’s been a game changer for me. I’ve always been interested in investing but didn’t want to pay the transaction fees so I never got started. Slightly biased review since I’ve never used any of the other services. Robinhood is easy to use and straightforward. My only complaint is the amount of time it takes to get money into your account (3 business days). Which could be the standard but seems slow for people trying to get in on a stock in a small timeframe.

    As always love your work man. You’ve helped me and the family get more aggressive with our savings and tracking.

    1. J. Money May 20, 2015 at 12:19 PM

      Rock on man – thanks so much for dropping this! I’m sure it’ll help the others who stop by and read too. I’m glad you’re investing now and getting those stacks building!!