just for u = more money for me


> Not excited about having to download another app on your phone?
Sorry, make room, this one is worth it. Don’t have time to wheel-n-deal & coupon?
Me neither. This app is amazing…


> Everyone has grocery store cards. If you don’t, how are you living your life? save2
NUMBER ONE: It is just crazy to buy grocery store things at regular price.  

If you’re like me, you don’t ever carry grocery store cards, gym cards, coffee shop punch cards (geeze why so many cards people?) so you can just have your grocery store card linked to your phone number.  I’ve tried a bunch of couponing apps like Ibotta, which is awesome. It just hasn’t stuck with me yet…maybe I didn’t try hard enough. I’d love your comments on this!

HOWEVER, I find that the “just for u” app more than pays for the gigabytes of space that it takes up on my phone. Grocery stores are always having sales and most stores just ask that you have a card to receive the benefits. Safeway has one-upped their commitment level from you by asking you to download their app. They make it worth the effort! Promise. The crazy good deals they offer to only ‘just for u’ appers (is that a word?) on things you actually buy, like eggs, cheese, cereal, breakfast bars, veggies, everything is real money.


> Wait, actual free stuff? YES!!!! Occasionally there are FREE items. Yes, totally free. All you have to do is add it to your account (by tapping the item in the app) and then as you check out (under your phone number) when you scan the item, it just comes right off. I got a whole box of FiberOne bars ($4) for free. Thanks for the free breakfast last week Safeway! 


save3Not in Colorado, no Safeway? NO worries. They have sister stores everywhere.
Vons and Albertsons also have Just for U. Even when I travel, like to California, I can just open the “Nearby Stores” function on the app and see what stores in my current area are offering deals. Yay for travel saving!!!


Safeway App



> But the point of this article is not just to get you to download this particular app; it’s to foster an awareness of deals. Even if you’re a MAXI-minimalist, you still have to buy food, so finding hacks and ways to get deals on groceries is so helpful. Try some apps out for yourself! It can’t hurt to download a few, try them out and see what happens! If it doesn’t end up saving you, you can always delete it. More great saving apps coming soon! 


> Drive? Then save money on gas. Even if you don’t buy items on sale, ever dollar you spend at the store goes toward saving you real money at the pump. 



> Get really crafty and buy gift cards on the app.
If you see a gift card for a store you regularly shop at, or you know you need to buy as a gift for someone, tap it on the app.  Not only is it free money back in your pocket, but it’ll go towards your gas rewards! 



save6> Go through the app before you walk into the grocery store. Even if you only take a second, sitting in your car when you park. This is really helpful for so many reasons. By pre-selecting items on the app you are planning and not spontaneously buying. Spontaneous purchasing is one of the biggest killers of saving money. Don’t buy something just because it is on sale. You won’t end up using or liking it.

Sometimes phone service in the store is slow. I’ve had three different carriers and for some reason I always have slow data in grocery stores! Sometimes your phone battery is low and your phone will die as you’re walking around trying to get deals (talk about frustrating!) Finally, don’t be the person walking around the store staring at your phone getting in everyone’s way (ugh, move over!)


safeIf you see an item in the store with the special “just for u” savings tag on it, and you aren’t sure you have it added to your account, don’t worry! You can scan it! Yes, pull up the home page on the app and find the Scan function on the second row. It’ll pull up a camera which you just hold up to the scew on the item. It’ll find it and add it for you. Ahhhh, so easy.



> more on all of these later! Also, I would love if you share your own faves! 

CARTWHEEL – for Target! Similar to “just for u” in that the deals on the app are ONLY available if you have the app and you add them to your account

IBOTTA – my friend swears by this one. I haven’t really made much on it yet, but I’m a casual and sloppy user. 

EBATES – We’ll get to EBATES later…TONS of potential, but my verdict is still out. 


“My new more realistic goals include getting a solid double axel, finding more friends,
losing weight, and in the future hopefully getting a business degree,
become a wedding coordinator and furthermore be in the wedding….the bride!

–Jana 17 years old, December 31, 2005

A decade later, only one of those things happened.
Ever since I was a teenager I take time on the last day of the year to reflect and plan.
I never got a solid double axel; I weigh more now than I did when I was 17; I didn’t go to business school; I’m not interested in wedding planning; and I’m not married!

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 8.50.26 AMTo this day I’m incredibly disappointed that I never got my double axel consistently. However, I look back with a new appreciation for how good I was at skating even without a sweet jump like that.

I was so skinny when I was in high school. I spent so much time worrying about how much I ate and what I weighed. It was oppressive. I’m thankful that I have a healthy attitude towards my body today.

Graduating from journalism school opened up an imaginarium of possibilities for me. Who knows what would have happened if I had majored in business, but I don’t really care!

Wedding planning didn’t work out, but I have a new opportunity that is the perfect marriage of my love of fairytales, weddings and writing. I can’t wait to share more about it with you!

I’m not married but I am so thankful for my relationship with James. I am blown away by all that I’ve learned about myself as I’ve learned how to love him better every day.

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Today I do have so many more incredible friends than I could ever have hoped for when I was seventeen. I’ve kept up a couple friendships over the last 10 years. Those relationships are so precious to me. It is sad how difficult it is to stay in touch with people, both near and far. Other friendships have developed in the last few years! I’m so thankful for the opportunity to have so many inspiring, beautiful people in my life.

“Bet my life on it
Made my bed, gonna lie on it
Made up my mind that I won’t get just by or get lost in it
I won’t listen to your rumors, I won’t listen to your doubts…
I want it all.”
Cam “Want It All”

My favorite album of the year “Untamed” plays through the bluetooth speaker on the counter. Christmas lights line my bedroom door and cast a cheerful glow in my new apartment. My lifelong dream of living in downtown Denver came true this year. I said goodbye to my roommates, packed my little sister’s blue truck, and drove down to the city.

Saying that ‘my dream came true’ is misleading. That phrase might lead you to believe that I was lucky and I had a great opportunity open up. Granted, I was very lucky, but I put in the effort to make it happen. I found a super affordable one-bedroom apartment in the most ideal neighborhood I could have dreamed of. Denver is one of the hottest, craziest housing markets in the country. Finding the situation I’m in should have been impossible. It only happened because I made my mind up and then I searched tirelessly. I weighed hundreds of different options, and then made the impossible happen.uptown
Lesson: decide what you want, set your budget and go. You have this thing that no one before in the history of humanity has ever had, the Internet. Make the most of it.

This year at work there was more than one Monday that I showed up a minute or two late with a sour attitude. I’m sure there were also a couple times that I jetted out the door at 4:59:38 on Friday to get the weekend started.
But something happed to me this year. I became more responsible. Seems like something that should happen on a birthday, or when you graduate from college or some special date like that. My change happed so gradually; it wasn’t until I woke up for work at 6:45 on a Tuesday morning in October with an excited attitude for work that I realized I had changed. Or maybe it was one random summer Thursday night when I stayed an hour late to get something done, without having to be asked or told, that I realized something in me had changed. That sense of dread walking up the red brick steps to work and that feeling of loathing upon seeing my grey swivel chair was gone. It has been replaced by a sense of ownership.
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Nothing materially changed in my situation to bring about this change. I’m not even sure what to attribute it to. Maybe maturity is just an age thing finally catching up to me, or maybe I have gained it from the wisdom I have gleaned form the 600 plus hours of podcast listening I logged on Stitcher this year. All I know is that I’m excited to see where my new attitude is going to take in 2016. Even if I don’t make any huge new accomplishments, this attitude will make whatever I do and wherever I go a heck of a lot more fun.

I’m not going to review every detail of this year. You’ve seen my Facebook, kids. Things happened. I capture so many great moments and share them on the interwebs. I’ve spent a lot of this year recognizing that so many of the best moments cannot be ‘hearted’, and some of the most liked moments were just manufactured for the camera.

Two non-Instagrammed 2015 moments especially give me pause.

There is one trip I took that is incredibly special to me.
It was a secret. I booked my ticket. I packed my backpack hours before going to the airport at midnight on Friday and then flew to the future all by myself.

The first revenue-generating passenger jet, United Airlines flight 1474, arrives at Denver International Airport from Colorado Springs, Colo., early Feb. 28, 1995, the first day of operations at the new airport. The airport that was supposed to keep America's flights on time in any kind of weather failed the test during its first blizzard late Sunday night Oct. 22, 1995. A storm that dumped a half-foot of snow crippled the new Denver International Airport. Water leaked through the tower roof andfell on computer equipment. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

I will always remember the feeling of the humid air sticking to my skin while standing on the curb of my destination airport terminal. It was 5:34 Saturday morning. I had slept for one hour on my redeye cross-country flight and my Uber was pulling up to take me to the beach.
The next 36 hours were illusory. I used my backpack as a pillow to sleep on the beach, rode my rental bike 2 miles in the driving rain to return it in time and I paid more for a drink at a bar than I paid for my entire flight.

When, in the history of ever, could a girl like me get on an airplane after work on Friday and end up in a different world the next morning?

I learned two things about travel on this trip:

  1. Travel is so much easier to do than we make it. It is cheap, it is fast and it is simple. If you want to go, stop saying no. Every time a new excuse pops into your head as to why you can’t or shouldn’t CATCH IT and put it in the trash. Turn your no’s into yes’s. Its 100% up to you. It has nothing to do with how much time, money or responsibility you have. If you really want something you will find a way to make it happen. Stop letting yourself off so easy.
  2. Traveling is not about the new places you get to see. It is about the way it changes your soul. This is something that I cannot write about. It is inexplicable. If you’ve experienced this, you’re nodding your head right now in understanding. If you haven’t, see point number one.

I also had a couple close calls this year.
The other morning I was driving to work and hit some black ice while getting on the interstate. I wasn’t texting, driving too fast or being irresponsible in any way. There is no reason I should have done a 180 turn like that. Even more sobering, there is no reason that the truck behind me didn’t smack into the back of my car. The moment your car is sliding towards a wall and there’s nothing you can do is petrifying. You don’t have time to think about praying and asking God to save you from certain catastrophe. I’m waiting for the crunch of metal when my car slows to a stop and the oncoming traffic I’m now facing has stopped. There is nothing you can say to convince me that God is not always looking out for me.



I leave this year of MMXV:

Thankful for my family. 
Amazed by my friends.
Overwhelmed by God’s provision.
Excited for the next…



brMy problem with writing is that I care too much about what other people think. For years I’ve wanted to write a book. I’ve even started a few but I’ve never gotten past the first chapter. A lot of people start something great, but most never finish. I confronted this idea in Jess Walter’s book “Beautiful Ruins.” There is a character who makes a special trip to Italy every summer to write a book. He does this for years and all he writes is one chapter.

I don’t write because I’m scared that I’ll run out of things to say. I’m afraid that people won’t like my book, and that all my efforts will be for nothing. I look at the masses of books that are published every year and think, ‘Why would anyone read a book that I wrote when they could read one of these 10,000 books?”

I listen to a lot of podcasts and interviews of great writers and they always say the same thing: to be a writer you have to write. So what did I do when I heard that? I read more books and listened to more podcasts…

Before I could start on the path to my dreams I thought I had to dig into my soul. And I did, for a while. But you can only read so many books and spend so many hours thinking before its time to do something.

waSteven Pressfield talks in depth about the hurdle we face when trying to do something important. He calls it RESISTANCE.

Resistance was winning. Knowing that didn’t stop me from succumbing into its claws. My form of submission was trying to figure out why I was resisting.

“Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no Resistance” – Steven Pressfield “The War of Art”

4wwMy resistance continued and I read more books.

These books are life-changing and everyone should read them:
The Four Hour Workweek – Tim Ferriss



vbVagabonding – Rolf Potts 




The Art of Non Conformity – Chris Guillebeau


Since reading these books, I have not been the same. My outlook on life has transformed. Not in the sense that I’ve changed my desires, but that in that my dreams now seem achievable.

After finishing each book, my mind would go crazy thinking of all the things I wanted to do. More importantly I had ideas about how to get those things. Then after a day or so of brainstorming, the flame would fizzle. Before I knew it, a couple weeks had gone by and my life hadn’t changed for the better. Why was I reading these great books if I was going to just sit around and think about stuff?

Actually it isn’t true that I was doing nothing. That was resistance taking on another form: discouragement. I had started taking steps toward my goals. For example, I was being more careful about my spending so I could save money for big trips and I had applied for a passport.

When you read a book about someone transforming their life from being a cubicle-sitter to a world-traveller you watch their transformation unfold in a period of a few hours. My real-time life experiences were moving at a glacial pace in comparison. I stopped myself and counted all of the positive steps I was taking and realized that progress was being made. Sometimes the apparent lack of progress can be debilitating. Make sure you give yourself the credit and encouragement you deserve when you are taking steps forward.

Knowledge CAN be the preventer of achievement. Gathering data is super important. You have to know what you’re getting into and determine if its something you really want.

BUT At some point you have to start doing. Even if you’re not 100% prepared you will learn as you go. The mistakes you make will be the most important lessons that shape your character and give grit to your success. And I don’t mean stop reading! Learning from others is always less costly than learning things in the school of hard knocks. Just make sure that you’re reading AND working.

So I’m writing! I don’t know where this is going but I’m doing it. Even if it’s just a blog a day, I’m putting in work and THAT is what matters.

Clearly this idea of breaking down resistance extends beyond wanting to be a writer to whatever discipline you’re interested in. As Pressfield says,

“Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work.” -Steven Pressfield

Don’t give in! Successful people are not excuse makers. Some struggle less than others, but there is no formula.

Start and don’t stop.