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how to manage your money1

This is part three in a series on using money as a tool, not a goal. Read Part One here and Part Two here.

Once you know your values, it’s pretty easy to establish your financial goals. If family is important to you, your goal might be to provide your kids with a college fund. If you value your career, your goal might be to save up money so you can pursue a certain career path. Of course, you can have multiple values and multiple goals, too.

Giving your money a purpose is the fun part, though. After that, it’s time for the legwork. Once you figure out what to use your money for, you have to learn how to use it. Here are a few things that have helped me most in using money to reach my goals and keep my spending in check. Think of it as a mini user’s manual.   Keep reading…


how to start investing with qplum
This is a sponsored post from 
qplum, a digital investment platform. I only publish sponsored content when I completely agree with the mission behind a company, service, or product. And I wholeheartedly agree with and support qplum’s mission to make investing more accessible for everyone. I also agree with their view of money in general, which we touch on in this post. The following is a Q&A with Mansi Singhal, qplum’s co-founder.

Tell us a little about qplum and why you launched it.

qplum is an online wealth management service. It’s like my second baby.

how to start investing with qplumBefore starting qplum, I spent many years working for big banks and trading firms as a portfolio manager. It was my job to increase their profitability and I had a lot of success with it. However, I wanted to make a real difference in the way real people manage their money.

Institutions approach investing with a flight plan. They say – Ok, this is the financial place that I’m in, and this is where I want to end up. What’s the best strategy for getting from point A to point B? It’s all very thought out and methodical. And they expect choppy weather – market volatility.

People don’t invest like this. In most cases, they throw some money into a basket of products, then walk away. They don’t have a plan in place for choppy weather, so when volatility strikes…well, their planes get battered, then crash and burn. And the investor is left completely traumatized.

Like my friend: let’s call him Joe. A highly intelligent guy, and a banker. Before the 2008 crisis, he’d managed to save and invest a decent bit of money. It was somewhere in the ballpark of 350K. Then the crisis hit and the market took a dive, and Joe’s portfolio went down with it. In the blink of an eye, half of his savings was gone. So he freaked out (understandably) and jettisoned the rest of his holdings. Bye bye baby. To this day, he refuses to invest because the experience was so horrifying.   Keep reading…


This is part two in a series on using money as a tool, not a  goal. Read Part One here and Part Three here.

In Part One of this three-part series, I talked about my own realization that money itself is not the goal. When you make money the goal, you don’t accomplish anything meaningful, aside from accumulating more money. Which is fine, I guess, but without a purpose, money is just paper. What’s more, it’s hard to figure out how to reach that goal, because it’s vague.

If you want to learn how to manage your money, you should start with a goal that’s specific and meaningful. For example, in Part One, I mentioned it was once my goal to simply keep my apartment. I had a low-paying job, I had to pay tuition (I had a scholarship and a student loan, but they weren’t enough), and my finances were stretched to the max. I could move back home, or I could crash on a friend’s couch, but I was determined to keep my apartment because I wanted my independence. This gave me a specific amount to shoot for in my earnings, and it was meaningful, so I was motivated. My money had a purpose, and so did I.

Even when you’re broke, it helps to give your financial goals (or priorities) a purpose. It makes them digestible. Actionable. Realistic. But to get more out of your money and use it better, you first have to define what’s important to you. Some priorities are obvious, but if you feel financially aimless or overwhelmed, here are a few strategies that can help you figure out what matters to you most.

Keep reading…

how to manage your money

In the next few posts, I’m going to discuss how to use money as a tool, not a  goal.
In next week’s post, I’ll discuss how to define your values so you can make your money work for you, not the other way around.

I grew up in a small town outside of Houston, and like most Texans, I have a fair amount of state pride. Still, by my mid-twenties, I was ready to get out of dodge. There was a whole world out there, and I wanted to see it. Specifically, I wanted to go to Italy. Even if they didn’t have Whataburger.

There was something in my way, though: my pesky student loan.  Keep reading…

shower thoughts

Creativity is a fickle little beast. Sometimes the harder you try to harness creativity, the farther away you push it.

Some of my best ideas happen when I’m not trying to think about anything at all. Like during a commute. In fact, that’s what I miss most about working in an office: driving home in the afternoon. It was relaxing, and somehow it got the creative juices flowing. Some people feel the same way in the shower or while they’re cleaning the house. Either way, the idea is the same: your actions become automatic and your mind wanders. It’s an unintentional break. And breaks are powerful.

The Internet refers to the creative autopilot phenomenon as “shower thoughts,” but psychologists use a more scientific term: The Default Mode Network.  Keep reading…