Reaching Out For A Little Sunshine

It’s the middle of summer and I’ve really been enjoying the beautiful weather lately, lounging at the pool, visiting friends, and that sort of thing. I’d fallen a bit off on my quest for a healthier diet and more exercise, which is incredibly important for my health these days. So with some gentle encouragement from my doctor and my wife, I’ve gotten back to the program with some good results. Can’t let the lazy days of summer get too lazy!

Reaching Out For A Little Sunshine

Meanwhile, back at the blog, I’ve been trying out some topics that are a littler further out of the “saving money” box than before. Rest assured, I’ll continue to post about how to save money (it’s a passion of mine!), but building your financial wealth and living the good life involves a lot more than that.

Community and the Sunshine Blogger Award

As most bloggers know, it can be difficult and lonesome to get a blog off the ground without the help and friendship of others. When I started blogging last year, I was pleasantly surprised to find a great community of personal finance bloggers out there who are both friendly and helpful. I’m so pleased to say that one of those wonderful bloggers, May at Messy Money, has been kind enough to nominate me (along with some other great blogs) for the Sunshine Blogger Award.

The Sunshine Blogger Award isn’t so much a traditional award (for that, you could always nominate me for a Plutus Award 😉 ), but a way of bloggers to get to know each other, recognize one another’s work, and pass along some good vibes. It’s also a great way for readers to get to know more about your favorite bloggers and find new blogs to read.

The Rules

In accepting the award, I agree to:

  • Thank the person who nominated me
  • Answer the questions from the person who nominated me
  • Nominate some other bloggers for this award
  • Write the same amount of questions for the bloggers I have nominated
  • Notify the bloggers I have nominated

Questions for Me to Answer

Here are the questions I was asked:

Is blogging what you thought it would be? Why or why not?

Yes and no. Yes, it created a new enthusiasm in me to use the knowledge I’ve learned over my lifetime to help others. It’s also helped ease my transition into retirement and give me a little structure. But on the other hand, now that I’ve been doing it for over a year, selecting topics to write about has become more challenging. But it’s a good challenge! I’ve also learned so much about what goes on behind the scenes, and it’s a whole lot more than I first imagined.

Describe something you have done recently to save money.

While I don’t churn credit cards for travel rewards (at least not yet), I do look out for cash rewards and cash back deals. Recently I opened a new credit card which rewarded me with a $200 credit after spending $500 within 3 months. I put my semi-annual auto insurance payment on there, and basically got $200 off for less than 5 minute of effort. This is a great way to save money, but it’s not for everyone. You need a decent credit score, discipline not to charge more than you can pay off when the bill comes, and you don’t want to charge extra just to reach your minimum spend.

What is your favorite book?

It would definitely be Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation. It’s about my parents’ generation who made so many sacrifices during the Great Depression and World War II. What they went through set the stage for Baby Boomers like myself to grow up with safety and prosperity. It’s sad to me that we are losing that history as they grow older and pass away, so it’s important to keep it alive through literature.

I’m also a big fan of one of his other books, Boom!, which chronicled the sixties. I was a teenager during that time, so it’s like taking a stroll down memory lane and reading about the shared experiences of everything from Kennedy to the Beatles to the civil rights movement.

Can you tell I was a history major? I also like biographies and science fiction.

Tell us about a personal extravagance or indulgence that is totally worth it, as far as you are concerned.

Travel. I need my vacations and side trips, whether they’re relaxing by the beach, gambling at the casino, enjoying new experiences, or soaking up another culture. So far, my favorite trip was to Cancun, Mexico when we stayed at the Sun Palace, an all-inclusive couples resort (we traded for it with our timeshare). While we did a little sightseeing, the main goal of the trip was to relax and enjoy. Mission accomplished!

I think everyone needs to get away once in awhile to rest, recharge, and just get out of their daily lives. If you’re having trouble fitting it into the budget, there are always driving destinations and staycations.

Favorite spice?

Cinnamon. I like to sprinkle it on my oatmeal, and it helps people with diabetes like me to manage their blood sugar and cholesterol.

My Nominees

And now for the nominations:

Questions for My Nominees

Here’s what I’d like to know about you:

  • If you could live anywhere on the planet, where would it be?
  • What was the most dangerous, or most exciting, thing you’ve ever done?
  • What’s your favorite movie and why?
  • What is your greatest piece of advice on how to save money?
  • What is your favorite meal to eat or to cook?

Thanks again to May at Messy Money for the nomination!

Looking Forward

While I’m enjoying the summer while it lasts, I am looking forward to September. I’m very excited to be attending FinCon for the first time, which is a peer conference for the financial blogging community. I’m sure I’ll get the chance to meet and network with many of the bloggers I read on a weekly basis and I can’t wait to get there.

So how’s your summer going? Is there something you’re looking forward to?

Image courtesy of samarttiw at (with changes)


  1. Alexandra @ Real Simple Finances

    Thanks for the nomination, Gary! I’ve had Brokaw’s book recommended to me before, but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. I might have to add it to my pre-semester bucket list for the next few weeks!

  2. May

    Enjoy FinCon – I wish I could go. I might celebrate it virtually again this year. (Last year we did a blog party #FinConFiesta) I can’t wait to see the nominees and if any of the blogs I follow make the list. Thanks for accepting the award and now I have more blogs to read. Cheers.

  3. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank

    Congrats Gary! Based on your answers, it is like I got to know you better! By the way, I love that book of Tom Brokaw. The story was just about doing the things not for fame and recognition but it’s the right thing to do.

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