An Easy Way to Invest Spare Change & Grow your Savings

Hi friends! For today’s Friday Favorite, I’m sharing a new, easy-to-use investment tool that Will and I came across recently. For me, investing money has always been one of those topics that seems too complicated and time-consuming to figure out. But now, the investing tool we found is doing the thinking for me. It is too awesome not to share it with you all! It is Acorns, an app that allows you to invest spare change with ease.

Will and I learned about Acorns at a high school reunion, while we chatted with friends about the major expense of education for children. Our friends mentioned they were investing a certain amount of money into Acorns accounts to save for the cost of school for their two kids. They had calculated how much they needed to save based on the average growth of their investment and setup automatic payments into the app. Intruiged, Will and I looked at the app when we got home and decided to give it a go.

How to Invest Spare Change

Acorns provides a simplified, convenient platform that automatically invests spare change by rounding up your transaction to the next dollar. So, the change you would get from a cash transaction goes straight into your Acorns investment account. You can connect Acorns to one or more checking or credit card accounts. Similar to the couple we talked to, you can also setup recurring monthly payments into your Acorns account. The beauty is that you invest spare change that grows with the stock market.

I also love that this platform works automatically once your account is activated. For example, when I bought groceries for $32.43 last week, $0.57 was added to my Round-Up balance, and I did not have to do anything (hooray!). Once the Round-Up balance reaches $5, money is withdrawn from my bank account and added to my Acorns investment. In addition, you can customize which transactions you want to include in your Round-Up amount or make it automatically calculate all eligible transactions.

To really get your money growing quickly, Acorns users can boost the Round-Up amount by as much as 10 times. So that 57 cents from my grocery store purchase, could be increased to as much as $5.70 with Acorns boost options. The recurring deposit our friends set up can also be customized for a daily, weekly or monthly schedule.

Acorns App Found Money Program and Investing Spare Change

Setting up Acorns

Will set up his own Acorns profile first, and then helped me with mine. Once you download and open the app, Acorns takes you through the steps to open a round-up account, connect your checking account, and create an investment account. You choose from a selection of five different reasons for investing:

  1. Long-term investment,
  2. Short-term investment,
  3. Major purchase,
  4. Children, or
  5. General.

With the future in mind, we created accounts as long-term investment vehicles. After your bank account connects to Acorns, you answer questions about your age, income, investment goals, etc. The answers are used to tailor your Acorns investment portfolio from a conservative to an aggressive investment strategy.

Once set up is complete and a bank account is connected, Acorns withdraws an initial deposit for your new investment stream. Below, you can see my Acorns account is currently set up with a monthly $5 recurring payment. I also connected two accounts to Acorns, so I get round-ups on top of my $5. As seen in the chart below, Acorns shows how your money can grow over time. It is pretty enticing to invest more money, right!?

Acorns Fees and Extra Perks

Many investment tools come with hidden costs or fees. For Acorns, there is no deposit or account minimum to get started, no commission fees and no penalties when withdrawing funds. Users pay $1 per month for your first $5,000, or 0.25% annually for accounts greater than $5,000.

If you are a college student, Acorns is completely free. There are no fees on accounts of any size for college students. You must have a valid .edu email address and employment status as a “Student” for up to four years from the date of registration.

I have used Acorns for about a month and have found the platform easy to use. There are a lot of cool features too, like the investment growth program, seen in the projected value chart above. This forecasts how much your money will grow based on your contributions. Also, Acorns has some amazing partners that you can shop with and receive bonus investment contributions, like Nordstrom, Comfort Inn and Apple, pictured below.

If you haven’t invested your money or find the process daunting. like me, I  reccomend trying this platform out. If you want your money to grow, an investment option like this may be a better option for you than a standard savings account. It is awesome how much your money grows when it is properly invested.

If you want to give Acorns a try, click here to start investing and you will get $5!

Now I need to know. Do you use Acorns or a similar tool to invest spare change? Do you find investing money daunting like me? Or, are you a total whiz with money? If you have any advice or thoughts when it comes to saving and investing, please share.

Cheers!

Sarah Camille

 

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An Easy Way to Invest Spare Change and Grow your Savings - Acorns App - SCsScoop.com

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11 Cheap Date Ideas & a New Bag from The Little Market!

Hi friends!

How is your week going? I am still reminiscing over the weekend. Will and I spent in western Virginia. The fall foliage was seriously stunning (see below!) and the fresh air was just what we needed. The weekend away reminded me how wonderful the simple things are in life and how a good time doesn’t need to cost anything. All that matters is that you’re in good company! So, today I’m sharing fun and cheap date ideas that Will and I have done.

11 Cheap Date Ideas for Quality Time - SCSScoop.com

Sneak Peek

First, there’s a little sneak peek for you I need to point out. The photos, courtesy of Joffoto, in this post are from some modeling I did for The Little Market’s newest locals bag for Washington, D.C. We had a blast visiting the local farmer’s market (hello, cheap date idea #1!) and putting The Little Market’s reusable bag to good use. I will do a full post on the blog with more photos and details of the bag and The Little Market soon.

The Little Market DC Locals Bag & 11 Cheap Date Ideas- SCsScoop.comThe Little Market DC Locals Bag & 11 Cheap Date Ideas- SCsScoop.com11 Cheap Date Ideas & a Date Outfit for Inspiration - SCsScoop.comThe Little Market DC Locals Bag & 11 Cheap Date Ideas- SCsScoop.com

Cheap Date Ideas

  1. Browse your local Farmer’s Market.
  2. Volunteer at the Animal Shelter. (Warning: you may end up adopting an animal!)
  3. Play cards or board games, with a side of B&B on the rocks.
  4. Visit the zoo.
  5. Throwback Thursday – take a walk down memory lane together. Give a tour of memorable childhood places, like your school, neighborhood or playground.
  6. Cook together and try a new recipe.
  7. Go on a hike.
  8. Visit a new food truck and have a picnic at the park.
  9. Star gaze at the beach.
  10. Hang out on the swings of a nearby playground, and pretend you’re 5 again!
  11. Go fishing or catch fire flies at dusk.

What I like about these ideas most is that they all give you and your partner time to focus on each other, and really have good quality time with each other. Over the past couple years, Will and I have discovered the difference in being together and truly being focused on having good quality time together. For me, this means putting my phone away and any other distractions!

The Little Market DC Locals Bag - SCsScoop.com
11 Cheap Date Ideas & a Date Outfit for Inspiration - SCsScoop.com
11 Cheap Date Ideas & a Sneak Peek from the Little Market - SCsScoop.com
The Little Market DC Locals Bag - SCsScoop.com

Outfit details: Dress | Vest | Shoes (Similar) | NecklaceWatch | Bag

I think the outfit I wore for our visit to the farmer’s market in DC could be worn for a lot of the date ideas I shared. What do you think? Are any of the date ideas on my list your personal favorites? Or, do you have a go-to cheap date ideas that are not on my list? I would love to hear your thoughts and how you and your significant other maintain a cadence of having quality time together.

Cheers,

Sarah Camille

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11 Cheap Date Ideas for Quality Time - SCsScoop.com

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10 Wedding Registry Tips to Make the Process Easy

When the wedding planning process began for Will and I back in April, I always envisioned registering for wedding gifts would be one of those fun and easy tasks for us. Now, we are less than six months until our wedding day, and we just recently finished setting up our wedding registry. It has taken us over a month from start to finish. The process was much more confusing and time-consuming than I had imagined it would be!

There are so many options of what to register for and so many ways you can register for gifts. In addition to all the options out there, I got a lot of opinions on what was proper or “normal” when it comes to wedding registries. If I could go back and time and give myself some advice before going down the gift registering road, here are the tips I’d share.

10 Wedding Registry Tips - SCsScoop.com

My Wedding Registry Tips

  1. Get inspired. Looking at other couples registries is a great way to start thinking about what you and your partner should register for.
  2. Make a game plan. Start by checking out a comprehensive wedding registry list online. I printed off two of the ones below. Then, Will and I went through individually and circled things we thought were needed. This was a great way for us to start the conversation. We discussed what we should register for, noted what we already have and thought about items that can be upgraded.
  3. Pick a few registries. It is good to register at two to four places because your guests will have their own places they typically shop. Some may also prefer shopping online over a store, or vice versa.
  4. Take your time. Set aside a couple full days on upcoming weekends for you and your partner to focus on the registry together. Going to a store in person was not originally something I thought was necessary, but for certain bigger items it is definitely helpful to see them.
  5. Don’t delay. It is ideal not to put off registering for gifts until too late. Aim to register for gifts before the six month mark. You do not want the process to feel rushed, and as I mentioned it can take longer than you think to figure it all out!
  6. Vary the prices. Don’t register for lots of small things or only a few big things. It is best to have the majority of your gifts be under $100 and then have about 25-30% that are more expensive.
  7. More is better. Register for more gifts than guests. Now, there is no need to register for 400 gifts when you will have 200 guests, but registering for extra things will make gift buying easier because your guests will have different preferences for shopping and gift giving in general.
  8. Check in. Keep in mind that certain products or items you register for could go out of stock. Every so often, and especially a couple of weeks before your wedding, check on your registries. Make sure all the items on your list are available and make any necessary tweaks or additions.
  9. It’s ok to be unconventional. Don’t feel pressured by the opinions of friends or family on what you should register for. Everyone has opinions, but if a certain item will not be used or is not your taste, don’t register for it. Whatever people say, it is absolutely fine to register for unconventional gifts. For some, these can include a honeymoon fund, hammock or a cool bluetooth speaker system. This is your time! Your registry should reflect you and your partner’s tastes.
  10. Keep a gift tracker. Each time you receive a gift, write what the gift is and who sent it. Many registries have an online system that will track it for you. But, if you are registered at a few places, it is much easier to have one master list when you are writing thank yous.

Here is the Wedding Registry Checklist I used, from PopSugar:

10 Wedding Registry Tips -SCsScoop.com

Will and I registered at four places – Macy’s, Pottery Barn, Zola and Amazon. Zola is not as well-known as the other three, but it is a great option to consider for your wedding registry, especially if you would like to include have some unconventional gifts. The bulk of our gifts are from there. They have a huge range of brands and products. There are well-known brands like, KitchenAid, Le Creuset and All-Clad to shop from. In addition, Zola has several  unique brands like Creative Co-Op and Brooklyn Slate.

Zola also makes it more possible to get some pricier gifts, by allowing you to activate group gifting. For example, we registered for a KitchenAid mixer on Zola that is $380. With the group gift activated, multiple guests can contribute what they’d like to gift you’ve picked out. The other great differentiator for Zola are the unconventional gift options I mentioned in my tips. Through Zola, you can create a honeymoon fund, add a fun experience in your city or give your guests the option to contribute to something like a down payment on a house (seen below).

10 Wedding Registry Tips - Pottery Barn, Macy's, Zola & Amazon - SCsScoop.com

Some of the gifts on our registry that we are super excited about include a hammock from Zola, All-Clad pots and pans, Kate Spade wine goblets, a power drill that Will picked out from Amazon and dinnerware from Pottery Barn (pictured above).

For Will and I, getting wrapped up in registering for gifts left us feeling a little self-centered and greedy, but we reminded ourselves that these do greatly help your guests. Not only that but these gifts will play a huge role in turning our house into our very first home as a married couple.

What do you think about wedding registries?

Now, I’d love to hear from you. How do you feel about giving and receiving  more unconventional wedding gifts? Have you used or bought gifts through Zola before?  If you’re married, what were your favorite gifts you received? Is there anything you think ever couple should register for? If you aren’t married what do you look forward to getting one day?

Cheers,

Sarah Camille

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10 Wedding Registry Tips - SCsScoop.com

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Annual Reflections: Navigating Life’s Challenges and Embracing Celebrations

Quote about change - "The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance." - Alan W. Watts

Life continues to be busy for me as I juggle the wedding planning, training for a marathon, work and my blogging hobby. We also just got a kitten from the animal shelter (pictured below)! Her name is Maple and she’s super friendly and getting along quite well with our dog Maddie. Recently, I have been overwhelmed with several time sensitive things on my plate, and have been thinking about how I have been navigating life’s challenges. There has been a lot for me to process in the past year. So, I’d like to take a little time today to share some reflections.

Maple - kitten cuddles

Reflecting on the past seems automatic to me during the Fall. I’m not sure if it has to do with October being my birthday month, the changing weather or the approaching holidays signaling the upcoming year’s end. Whatever it is, I have been doing a lot of reflecting! The past year was characterized by major downs, major ups, a lot of change and a lot of lessons. I would like to open up and share this time in my life with you. I think it is important to not just share all the great things going on in one’s life. So, my hope is that you may relate to some of the highlights, the struggles, the changes or the lessons I have learned. Here we go!

Navigating Life’s Challenges

I am not one to dwell too much on negative things, so I think it’s best to get this part done first. One major challenge I faced earlier this year was watching my fiance Will injure himself doing something he loves — racing his motorcycle. Of course, I did not have the physical pain that Will had to deal with. But, it was very scary and difficult to see someone you love get hurt and not knowing if he was ok. Will broke his collarbone in multiple pieces, which required surgery. I was quickly consumed with trying to help him get better and heal. Will’s recovery has been longer than we expected. I also did not realize just how connected your collarbone is to everything else. It’s been difficult to see him unable to be his active self throughout the past few months.

Now to the other big challenge I faced, which was surfacing this time last year. I was struggling in a unfulfilling job, feeling undervalued at work, applying for new positions and looking for an exit. I was also still holding on to a hope that maybe, just maybe, the internal problems in my work environment would work themselves out.

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Quote about fall and change - The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance." SCsScoop.com

I was wrong. Days before Thanksgiving, I was let go from my job of five years. It was a major blow to my confidence. It was hard to turn around from that and tell job seekers why I would be a great employee for them. I was able to get a new job pretty quickly, but unfortunately it did not turn out to be the right fit. In hindsight, I wonder if I would have accepted that job if I was still employed. I’ll never know. What I do know is that I knew I had made the wrong job choice about one month into the new job. Simply put, the work was not exciting and I did not have the ability to do the type of work I thought I would.

During this time, I had a couple breakdowns, which Will graciously helped me recover from. I don’t know how I would have been able to keep going without him. I questioned my career path. I questioned my capabilities. Eventually, I came to the realization that we spend SO MUCH of our waking hours at work, and I (we all!) deserve to be happy during those hours. With support from family and friends (and some validation that I was not crazy), I began looking for new jobs.

Originally, I jumped into a job at the beginning of the year that was not quite the right fit for me. The day-to-day work was not fulfilling and not what I had envisioned doing in my career. I felt crazy at first for feeling this way, and I wondered if I was just being too picky with my career. I gathered the courage to try for something else, and pretty quickly the stars aligned.

Embracing Celebrations

It felt like the universe was affirming my decision to fight for what I wanted in a job. Someone saw the value I could add to their team and appreciated my skills. Now, my new(ish) job gives me the ability to truly showcase my communications skills and be part of a wide range of projects and goals. While it challenges me daily, it also gives me confidence and reaffirms a lot of the things about myself that I questioned at the beginning of the year. I am so grateful that my career challenges turned into something I can now celebrate. They gave me a better perspective on what matters in a job, and how change can be not only normal, but healthy.

Fall Quote - We all change colors and lose our leaves … then, we bloom again." SCsScoop.com

Now, the most defining and exciting day of the past year is an easy one to choose. It was April 2. On that day, Will and I got engaged. It was a perfect surprise and a truly wonderful way to kickoff our shared desire to build a life together. The happiness that I have experienced with Will remains unparalleled. His steadfast support and encouragement, especially through the low parts of my career changes have been invaluable and reassuring. I feel so lucky and often so undeserving of his love.

Throughout this past year, it has been so exciting to dream about our future together and think about what kind of life we want to have in five, ten and twenty years from now. Knowing he will be there with me through all difficult days, the boring days and the happy days to come makes my heart feel so full. There is a lot to plan still in terms of the wedding, but this is truly an exciting time for us. It has been a lot of fun to share it with our family and friends, too. I am just trying to soak it all up!

Hold it!

I have more to say, but will continue my reflections in another post.  In a few days, I will share the changes I have encountered. I’ll also share the lessons I have learned from all the challenges and positive things going on.

Stay tuned and let me know if you have had similar ups and downs in your life. What’s been the most exciting or most difficult part of the past year for you? I would love to hear all about it!

Cheers,

Sarah Camille

P.S. Here are outfit details for my look in this post.

Vest | Cardigan |Plaid Shirt (Similar) | Pants | Booties | Watch 

Navigating Life's Challenges

 

 

The Ultimate Fall Fashion Checklist

Ultimate Fall Fashion Checklist

Hi friends! How have you been? I feel like fall is zooming by. Is it just me?! I recently celebrated my birthday and was able to sneak away for a little weekend at the beach. Will and I also have our 15-year and 10-year high school reunions this weekend (where has time gone!?).  And now that cool weather is finally setting in to D.C., the time is right to share my ultimate fall fashion checklist.

Fall is my favorite season. I love layering clothes and combining different patterns and cozy textures together as the crisp weather sets in. So, if you love to layer clothes or are looking for some inspiration for your fall wardrobe, this checklist is for you! The items on this list will leave you with endless outfit options for fall and transitioning into winter.

The Fall Fashion Checklist for Ultimate Style

Ultimate Must Haves Fall Fashion Checklist

Now that I have laid out my fall fashion checklist, I will share with you what I own, recommend and love that is on this list. There a few things I am eyeing, noted below too.

Long-Sleeve Striped Tee

Cotton Cardigan

Utility Vest

Riding Boots

Blanket Scarf

Skinny Blue Jeans

Long-Sleeved Lace Top

Flat Booties

Olive Pants

Infinity Scarf

Ruffled, Flowy Top

Crossbody Bag

Chunky Open Cardigan

Lace-up Top

Burgundy Pants

Quilted Jacket

Heeled Booties

While out and about over the weekend, I wore a few of my favorite fall fashion items from the checklist ! So far this season, I have been wearing my utility vest and flat booties the most. My favorite new purchase has been my AG burgundy jeans. They are so soft and stretchy. The high-waisted fit is perfect too. I could wear them all day because it feels like I have leggings on!

Ultimate Must Haves Fall Fashion Checklist

I wore this Levi’s utility vest over the weekend with my go-to skinny jeans and a new lace up top from Target’s A New Day line (p.s. it is currently on sale for $14!). This new line from Target is awesome, if you haven’ checked it out yet. My top in particular is thicker and softer than normal cotton. It is seriously cozy, perfect for lounging on a cold day.

Now, I need to know. Do you have similar go-to items in your closet for this fall? I would love to know if there is anything else you would add to my checklist too. Share with me what you are absolutely loving for fall this year!

Cheers,

Sarah Camille

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See my disclaimer here.