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Everything I Need To Know About Life I Learned From The Gilmore Girls

Are you a Gilmore Girls fan? I love that a whole new generation has gotten to know the weird and wonderful residents of Stars Hollow. I always related to Rory because she was such an academic. She was both firmly rooted by where she came from but at the same time not confined by her small town upbringing. She always knew she could be bigger than Stars Hollow. I also admired the relationship she had with her mother. Their witty bants always made me laugh and also gave me a secret desire to be a part of that too. Maybe I could be Lorelei’s adopted daughter? I never thought much about the fact that one day I would have a daughter and that we would share a similar relationship, but I am thankful for the fact that I do. I wouldn’t say that I learned how to be a mother from Lorelei, but I guess in some ways I did. I can tell you, however, that I did learn nine very important life lessons from watching Gilmore Girls.

 

  1. Don’t give up on your dreams. For years, Lorelei had a dream of owning an inn. She worked her way up from the bottom to the manager of an inn. She continued learning by taking business classes, and finally, she took the big step of buying her own inn. In true Lorelei fashion, it was a huge success. Lorelei passed down that same work ethic and belief in making dreams come true to Rory. From the first day we met Rory, we knew that she wanted to go to Harvard. Rory left her comfortable hometown public school to enter the world of Chilton and spent years dedicated to earning a Harvard acceptance.
  2. Allow for the fact that sometimes your dreams change. Sometimes as we are fervently working to make a dream come true, we realize the dream has changed. Over the years, what we learn and who we are changes. The process of working towards accomplishing your goals changes you. So, it’s ok to realize that along the way your goals and dreams have changed a little. Don’t be so stuck on a path that you are not willing to get off even when you know it is taking you the wrong way. Rory didn’t end up at Harvard. Her dream changed, she ended up at Yale, and her story would not have been the same if she had not kept an open mind.
  3. Always carry a book with you. One of the reasons that Rory was so well-read was that she always carried a book with her. Reading expands your knowledge about the world and helps you to understand a wide variety of cultural and literary references. There are so many times in the day when you find yourself with a spare few minutes that you probably waste playing Candy Crush (been there, done that). If you made a habit of carrying a book with you (a physical book or even an e-book or audio book on your phone or tablet), think about how you could be spending those extra minutes in a more productive way. You may not want to carry a book to a school dance like Rory did on a date with Dean, but the idea is potentially life-changing.
  4. Coffee is love, coffee is life. Coffee was the lifeblood of Lorelei’s energy. How can you be expected to be a fast-talking, witty superwoman without adequate caffeine?
  5. Smart girls rule the world. One thing that was so great about Gilmore Girls is the way it portrayed the female characters as being powerful because they were smart. Sure, Emily was a housewife, but she was also a smart woman who was never shown as being inferior to Richard. Lorelei may have had a certain amount of charisma that came with her looks, but all of her success boiled down to her intelligence. There were girls at Chilton who were pretty and not as smart, but Rory and Paris ruled over them because they were the smartest students in the class. Today we may talk about shows like Big Bang Theory making it cool to be smart, but Gilmore Girls was ahead of the curve when it came to realizing that smart is sexy.
  6. Be confident about your quirks. Lorelei is a very quirky woman, but she is always unabashedly herself. Flashbacks to high school show that even as a teenager, Lorelei realized conformity was not her style. She knows who she is and does not let the outside pressure of her family or any relationship turn her into someone she is not. We could all use more of that self-confidence and self-assurance in our lives.
  7. Live in the moment. Appreciate today for what it is and don’t get lost in planning for tomorrow. Some people call that carpe diem, other will call it yolo. Gilmore Girls taught us about in omnia paratus, or ready in all things. In omnia paratus is the motto of the life and death brigade. While I am not sure I would jump off a cliff holding an umbrella, I try to live my life following the principle that I am always prepared for the unexpected opportunity. Live your life prepared to say yes to new experiences as they come your way.
  8. Life is short, talk fast. One of the things that make Lorelei and Rory’s relationship so entertaining is their fast-paced bants. I’m not saying that you literally need to talk as fast as Lorelei (though I wish some southerners would at least try), but say the things that you need to say. You never know whether you will get another chance tomorrow or how circumstances can change. So, make sure you say all the words that need to be said every day. Don’t be afraid to say them either.
  9. Don’t let a man define your life plan. When she found out she was pregnant, Lorelei could have easily married Christopher and lived an entirely different life. Rory could have easily stayed in Stars Hollow with Dean. Those decisions, however, would have resulted in a very different and less adventurous Gilmore Girls. Society still has this notion that women should be defined by men. As a woman, society expects us to focus on finding a man, taking his name, and having children with him. I’m not saying those are not important things or that there is something wrong with wanting a family. Women, however, should not feel like that goal needs to be a priority at 18 or 20 or even 24. Your life should be defined by your personal strengths, dreams, and desires. Find a man and build a family that fits into that plan. Don’t try to make your beliefs and dreams fit into a mold that someone else made for you.

Five Clever Ways to Save on Back-to-School

clever ways to save on back to school

 

It was weird to see so many first day of school pictures online this morning, but kids around here go back to school this week. Every time I think about this time of the year, I feel a little sick. Not only does it mean my summer break is over, but it also reminds me of the stress and expense of that enormous shopping list. Even though our school supply list is now minimal, I thought I would share some clever ideas for school savings that I’ve discovered along the way.

 

  1. If your child wears basic uniform attire that you don’t need to purchase from a specific store, try to hold off from buying too much right now. A lot of stores are going to have uniform items on sale a couple of weeks after school starts, and you’ll be able to stock up for the rest of the year. Pick up a size larger too if your child is growing like a weed. You’ll be glad you did when you need it and have to pay full price later in the year.
  2. Make a list and check prices and availability across a variety of stores. Get your friends involved and share information with them. If you grab the class supply list and three friends, you can each price check one store and compare. Now you are all getting the best deals.
  3. Don’t forget about quality. You are not really saving money if you buy the 5 cent folders that rip to shreds after the first week of school. The same is true for polo shirts that pill or get holes. Don’t go overboard though. My son used to manage to get holes in the knees of pants even though I got him the good Lands End pants with iron knees. Eventually, I just made him wear shorts. Also, I decided not to spend $35 on those pants when he tore them up at the same rate as a less expensive pair.
  4. Look for coupon savings available through apps like Ibotta or Target Cartwheel in addition to the store’s advertised sales.
  5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. If last year’s clothes, shoes, or gear still fits, God bless you. Make use of those things at the start of school and look into getting something new when back-to-school goes on sale. A new backpack also makes a good birthday or Christmas gift.

 

Bonus Savings Tip: Stay at home. I used to dread back-to-school time. New backpacks, uniforms, sneakers, lunch boxes, loads of expensive school supplies, deposits on back-to-school activities, soccer shoes, tap shoes, ballet shoes, jazz shoes, soccer uniforms, and leotards. Back-to-school could easily run over $1000 for two kids. Plus, the stress of needing to find that exact pencil case or risk being chastised by the teacher. None of that. We are starting our homeschool year next week, and back-to-school has cost me less than $50. I buy things through the year when they are on sale, find a lot of free material online, and choose products that we can use for a long time. I’ve learned to be a lot more efficient over time. I’m not really suggesting that you homeschool just to save money, but it is just one of the many benefits.

Six Ways College Students Break Their Budgets

way college students break budget manage money

 

School supplies are hitting the shelves, and that means a new school year is just about one month away. College students head back to start their fall classes in August, so it’s time to focus on money management in college. Parents, if you are sending your children off to college, make sure they have the financial skills to get started on their own. College students, you need to read this! How many of these mistakes have you already made?

 

  1. The first way to break your budget is by not having a budget at all! So, take the time to make yourself a monthly budget. Consider the income you will get from financial aid, employment, and family. Estimate your monthly expenses for rent, food, and other bills. Make sure you have enough income to pay for all of these expenses. Don’t forget to leave a little padding in your monthly budget for the unexpected trip or opportunity. Try one of these budgeting apps to help.
  2. Grabbing a quick bite to eat or jolt of caffeine in between classes adds up over time. Grabbing a drink and snack at Starbucks can easily cost $10. Get in that habit three times a week, and you’ve spent $30. At the end of the month, you’ve spent $120. Pack some healthy snacks from home in your bag. Carry a refillable water bottle and try bringing coffee from home in a travel cup when possible.
  3. Consider the cost per meal of a meal plan. If you live on campus, you are stuck with the meal plan. You should have a choice, however, about how that meal plan is structured. Typically, you can choose a combination of meals and points or dining dollars. Look at the cost per meal of the plan and how many times you really eat in the dining hall. If you don’t use all of those meals each week, you’ll probably be better off with the dining dollars or points. If you do this, however, make sure to budget and keep track of this money so you are not left starving with a month left in the semester.
  4. Even social events need a budget. One of the great parts of the college experience is going out and having fun with new people. Going out, however, is expensive. Buying a new pair of shoes or jeans to go out adds to that expense. Unless your parents are giving you their credit card and an unlimited budget, you need to think about the cost of going out. Limit the number of days you go out (also a great plan since you need to study!), find things to do that don’t require spending money (Netflix and chill slumber party), and try shopping in a friend’s closet.
  5. While on the subject of social activities, be careful not to get involved with too many campus activities. There are so many new activities and groups to explore on campus, but they usually involve paying a fee for membership dues or group activities. Over the course of a year, these activity fees and expenses can add up to several hundred extra dollars that were not in your budget. All of these activities can really take away from your study time too. Limit yourself to one or two groups for at least the first year of college.
  6. Think about whether you really need to bring your car with you. Parking spots on campus can be very expensive, and many universities make you park your car a mile away from campus anyway. So, having a car can be both expensive and inconvenient. If your campus is part of a town or urban area, a car might not be necessary. Explore and consider the other transportation options before you decide to pack up your car. I went to college in Newark, Delaware and did not have my car with me until my final semester. The campus and town were very walkable, and trains and buses were available when we needed to get out of town. Plus, Uber is available in more locations all the time and makes it much easier to get around without your own car as needed.