April Recap

April was a weird one. It's kind of crazy to see how still the world is right now. I've been loving the quarantine to be honest, but I know that I'm one of the few. My heart goes out to everyone who is struggling through this time. April was a very calm month for me. I spent time with family and finished putting our apartment together. I was patently waiting for one more decor piece to come in and when it finally did I started filming an apartment tour! I've been very active on Instagram @michelekatsaris so you should definitely follow me on there. Today I'm sharing my purchases, links I love and more!

April Recap
April Recap
April Recap
April Recap
April Recap
Speakeasies Are Just As Cool Today As They Were In The 20's

Imagine having to be secretive while walking into a bar. You're not able to stand out or bring any attention to yourself as you slide into a back alley and knock on a hidden door. Very different from todays bar scene. The term speak easy comes from a bartenders lingo when ordering alcohol, you were literally suppose to "speak easy" and use code words for everything. Speakeasies are just as hidden in the big cities today as they were in the 20's and I'm here to share some of my favorite hidden gems with you today.

DIY's To Do During Quarantine

While we're still being quarantined we need to find a way to keep ourselves busy. We now find ourselves with all this free time on our hands and what a better way then to fill your hands with some crafts. Step away from the computer screen and do something a little artistic and creative. Here are some of my favorite trendy DIY's that I've seen going around lately, and even I've done some of these.

Quarantine Playlist

Isn't it odd that I find myself not listening to podcast or rarely even music now that I'm not driving to and from work. I'm not someone who plugs my headphones in while in the house so anytime I'm playing music it's either when I'm cooking or cleaning. I have found that I really enjoy certain songs though (some old, some new) and I've made my ultimate quarantine playlist. This is my perfect playlist of songs and just puts me in such a mood.

Quarantine Playlist
Quarantine Playlist
Favorite Things During Quarantine

You can look up any "tips for working from home" or "things to do during quarantine," but today I'm share the honest truth about my favorites (aka: the things keeping me sane) during quarantine. This is not an inspirational list or a motivational pep talk, this is the truth. In this photograph (taken on Easter) is the first time I've worn jeans in a month, I haven't had a consistent workout schedule and I'm pretty sure Netflix should be paying me for how many hours of streaming I have consumed. These are physical items that have been keeping me entertained and if you're bored or need somethings to buy, let me help you out.
I Interviewed Best-Selling Author, Jeff Bethke
Photo: MadisonDianephotography.com

Sharing another interview I did at the end of 2019 and in the beginning of 2020. I got to interview best-selling author, podcaster and influencer, Jeff Bethke, not once, but twice! Originally I had interviewed him for the February 2020 issue, but then his best-selling book "To Hell With the Hustle" was released and I knew I had to reach out to him again. I'll be sharing both interviews in separate posts, but for now enjoy the first interview.. He is the best person to interview. He had a clear and direct answer for everything. He was funny and very, very passionate about his life and work. I highly recommend picking up his book "To Hell With the Hustle," it's a great read! You can listen to my first interview with Jeff Bethke by clicking the link here and click here to listen to the second interview by clicking the link hereEnjoy my interview with Jeff Bethke!

*Disclaimer: To start off, I work at Salvation Army National Headquarters in the publications department. The magazine I work on is called War Cry. I will be doing a post later on about my job and what it's like working for a non-profit, but that post will be later on. I do feel I need to add a disclaimer here, I am not a religious person so when I took this job I did my research and made sure that my personal values and opinions weren't being compromised. I can proudly say they are not (don't let one idiot skew your opinion of the millions of people who work for a company) and I'm pretty proud of the work and accomplishments I've made while working here. I am the Assistant to the Editorial Director, but I do so much more than an assistant's work. My managers have really entrusted me with a lot of responsibility and anything I can do to enhance my skill set and build my portfolio I take the opportunity to do so. Though I am not a religious person, the people I do interview are and the questions recall faith-inspired answers.

First Interview: Q&A With Jeff Bethke

Jefferson “Jeff” Bethke is a New York Times bestselling author, YouTube star, podcaster, husband and father. His new book, “To Hell with the Hustle: Reclaiming Your Life in an Overworked, Overspent, and Overconnected World,” teaches readers how to resist the “hustle culture” and embrace the slowness of Jesus.

In an interview with millennial writer, Michele Katsaris, Jeff talks about his new book and the impact of the “hustle culture.”

WC: Tell us some background about this book. Why this topic specifically?

Jeff: A lot of the inspiration actually came out in the first chapter of the book. The story about me and Alyssa [Jeff’s wife] getting into an argument and hitting this point in our life where we felt like we were living “the American dream,” doing all the things we should have been doing such as getting married, buying a house and starting a family. Yet we felt so busy, overworked, tired, burnt out and lonely. It made us go back to the drawing board of like, what is this, why is this and kind of compare like cultural value system with the Lord and what He has for us.

WC: Was it difficult writing about this? Or was it fairly easy once you started writing?

Jeff: Writing a book is never easy at some level, that’s for sure, but I think what made it easier was just knowing about the subject. There was some life circumstance that definitely made it feel easier too because I was writing what I was learning.

WC: You talk about your fight with Alyssa in the first chapter and how you are complete opposites. You’re one to say, “yes, yes, yes,” while she says, “let’s slow down and think about this.” How do you find a balance between the two?

Jeff: I think the balance is just to enjoy each other. That is one thing I always tell people, especially in a marriage, you have to see each other’s weaknesses as their actual strength because that is what they are. There are ways that God wants to round you out and make you a fuller, newer person and we have definitely applied that in our marriage.

WC: You mention in a part of your book where you talk about finding a job that people want to find jobs that meet their parents’ expectations yet is cool enough to tell their friends about it while fulfilling what they want as well. How did you feel that type of pressure growing up?

Jeff: Good question! That was actually a quote, from a Buzzfeed article called “The Burnout Generation” and I recommend people to go read that article all the time. They reference how the standards are impossible now because we have to please our parents, it has to be a cool enough job for our friends to think it’s really cool and then also like be fulfilling for us. These standards weren’t really around fifty-years ago. No one cared if their job was “cool” as much as they do now. It’s just a lot of pressure from everywhere.

WC: And on the other side of that you’re also a parent yourself– how has your knowledge of the hustle culture influenced how you raise your children?

Jeff: I think the biggest thing is no one ever does anything loving, kind or gentle when they are hurried. We don’t tend to live in a gracious way when we are really hurried and hustled, and I’ve noticed that the more I can step in Jesus’ pace, into His cadence and His way of doing things, the more that I will be able to lean into just being a better and loving parent.

WC: At what age do you feel like your “hustle” started?

Jeff: Definitely right after college. There’s this timeframe where you feel pressure pretty powerfully, and instead of trying to figure out what we want, we start to do a bunch of things and not really realizing that we may be overdoing it. I think that is the time to realize like, we are not really created for this.

WC: Do you feel that is the time that people start their “hustle” because school doesn’t really prepare them for the outside world?

Jeff: I think so. I think our culture is different and it’s not that we’re not prepared for the outside world, I actually think we’re not prepared for the inside world. We don’t prepare ourselves for what it takes to live stable, healthy and flourishing lives. We do prepare for the outside world by doing this and doing that, but we’re not anchored enough. We’re not finding enough meaning in our relationships. Then we become out of sync and out of tune with the external part of who we are and that’s where a lot of the disillusions come from.

WC: Do you think social media affects this new wave of “hustle culture?”

Jeff: Yeah, I do. I don’t think social media is wrong or bad, just like our phones aren’t inherently bad. It’s not inherently evil, but we do have to ask ourselves what they are doing to us. That is the question I put in the book a lot is, “Who am I becoming by the practices I am doing?”

WC: In your book, you mention that people worship these celebrity icons as if they are “Gods.” It’s hard to compare yourself to a celebrity though, there’s only one Beyoncé, and there’s only one you. What is your biggest piece of advice to the younger generation to avoid this “hustle culture” all together?

Jeff: Yeah, that is where the second half of the book comes in. It’s like, “Man, we have to have resisting practices like Sabbath, silence, all these things that are actually actively pushing against it and that is what I think it becomes really, where then you can live in it, but not of it.

WC: To the other end of that, in the same chapter, you mention attending events such as Coachella and how events like this can be misleading, but what if someone genuinely enjoys those things?

Jeff: I think there’s a spectrum, you know. You have to ask yourself why you want something and what you think it’s going to give you at the end of the day. You can totally enjoy a music festival but know that there will be some crazy and not-so-good things going on, but if you can stay true to yourself and enjoy the music and friendships that come with it, then you’ll be fine.

WC: The Salvation Army work with a lot of people who are close to or already in poverty, and kind of don’t have another choice but to work and hustle just to survive. What is your advice to those who can’t really “take a break?”

Jeff: I get it. I was raised by a single mom who had to work multiple jobs, welfare and food stamps so I totally understand that, I was born in it. You have to hustle just to eat. I think it is reductionist to say, “you know just take breaks and rest more.” There is a level of that which is true, but at some level, but it’s really more in your heart. You focus on the production of your identity and your work, but where is your trust in the Lord? Do you believe that if God told you to stop, that He will take care of you and feed you?

Community allows us to live in rhythm even if we are living in a really or dire circumstances. And Israel itself. I mean Israel was like almost like a peasant farming community thousands of years ago and they were commanded to take a year off from their farming. That’s crazy, right? These were people of privilege. These were not people with a lot of money. These are people that could take break. They had to legally farm the land to eat and God says take a year off. But as an act of trust and worship. I think all of us in our own circumstances certainly, but we have to be willing to wrestle through this in a spirit empowered resistance against the culture.

WC: And when you guys are going through all of that, how much does your faith help slow you down and guide you?

Jeff: I think that’s the whole point, is to slow down and rest on Jesus by asking Him what He cares about and what He wants. I think that is the main thing that forms everything else. When you start to slow down and actually walk with Jesus at His speed and His cadence, then you can start to see a bunch of things through. And I think that is really the whole purpose of it all. And whatever you point your eyeballs at, whatever you point your heart at, whatever you point your life at, you begin to become like that. You begin to be formed in that image. You begin to be formed to that cadence.

And so, it’s no coincidence that social media’s fragmented, splintered, and fractured stuff also basically works to describe our hearts now because you become what you like and become what you worship. I don’t think it’s wrong, but I do think it starts to kind of be really problematic in the long run.

WC: What was your favorite chapter of the book?

Jeff: I believe it was chapter 6 or 7, it was a fun one to write. It was the most vulnerable and hardest one to write. I think that is just a really fun conversation that not a lot of people are having so that was one of my favorite chapters.


CONNECT WITH JEFF


I Interviewed Best-Selling Author, Jeff Bethke
New Apartment Haul

I shared that we moved recently and rather than waiting for the new apartment tour going live on the blog, I wanted to share in advance some new items that we purchased for the new place. My boyfriend and I sold a lot of our big furniture and other various items, so we had more purchases this time around. I can't wait to share the apartment tour with you all, but until then I wanted to share a sneak peak with an apartment-themed haul.

New Apartment Haul

I Interviewed Author & YouTuber, Dulce Ruiz

Gearing up for 2020, I had a lot of interviews lined up for my millennial pages. I decided to kick off January 2020 with my interview with best-selling author, YouTuber and influencer Dulce Ruiz!! I was so excited when we connected because I have been following Dulce since I was 16 years old. She was one of the first YouTubers that I watched and this was before YouTube was really a "thing," if you know what I mean. This was the most high-profile I had done and was very nervous, but she was so sweet. It was like talking to a friend and it was a very powerful interview. You can listen to my interview with Dulce Ruiz by clicking the link hereEnjoy my interview with Dulce Ruiz!

*Disclaimer: To start off, I work at Salvation Army National Headquarters in the publications department. The magazine I work on is called War Cry. I will be doing a post later on about my job and what it's like working for a non-profit, but that post will be later on. I do feel I need to add a disclaimer here, I am not a religious person so when I took this job I did my research and made sure that my personal values and opinions weren't being compromised. I can proudly say they are not (don't let one idiot skew your opinion of the millions of people who work for a company) and I'm pretty proud of the work and accomplishments I've made while working here. I am the Assistant to the Editorial Director, but I do so much more than an assistant's work. My managers have really entrusted me with a lot of responsibility and anything I can do to enhance my skill set and build my portfolio I take the opportunity to do so. Though I am not a religious person, the people I do interview are and the questions recall faith-inspired answers.


I Interviewed Author & YouTuber, Dulce Ruiz
Photo from Dulce's Instagram @dulcecandy

Dulce Ruiz is a first-generation Mexican American, author, United States Army Veteran, content creator and proud mother. Her journey to find her place in life, her purpose and her faith is a unique one and though nothing was handed to her on a silver platter she has turned that platter into a buffet filled with lots of adventures, laughter and most importantly love. War Cry talked to Dulce about her being a mother, her creative job and her process using IVF.

I Interviewed Author & YouTuber, Dulce Ruiz


WC: How did you career of being a content creator start?

Dulce: I was born in Mexico, but I grew up in Oxnard, California. After high school, I enlisted in the US Army and after I came back from deployment in 2008 is when I discovered YouTube and I fell in love with just connecting with people talking about makeup, beauty and life. It really became a great way for me to share my interests with other people.

WC: In your book, “The Sweet Life: Find Passion, Embrace Fear, and Find Success on Your Own Terms,” you mention that during your deployment that a truck you were on was attacked?

Dulce: Yes, this was during a fifteen-month deployment that I did in Baghdad. I was the driver for a convoy team, and we escorted high-ranking officials from camp to camp. During one of the escorts an insurgent shot a rocket propeller’s grenade towards the truck I was driving. Thankfully he had misfired, and it landed next to my truck and ricocheted, it pivoted the truck to the side, but if he wouldn’t have missed, I think we all would have been blown up. It was really scary, but I thank God that didn’t happen.

WC: When did you meet your husband?

Dulce: We met because we were both stationed in Fort Hood, Texas and we actually deployed together because we were in the same unit.

WC: While building a career you’ve also been very open about your journey and your faith.What are some of the best and worst parts of being so open about your life online?

Dulce: Some of the best things is that you’re able to connect with other people who relate to you and also that I hopefully inspire younger generations to take risks and reach for their dreams. I love expressing myself in a creative way so it’s really cool to be able to take anything that comes from my heart and share it with others. The worst part, which isn’t even that bad, it’s just the least fun part is the politics of the business I’m in. But overall, the good outweighs the bad.

WC: What inspired you to write a book about your story? What was the most important message you wanted to share with others?

Dulce: I got inspired after making a video on YouTube called Draw My Life and I shared major points of my life such as immigrating to the United States, my military career and other experiences I’ve been through. I shared a lot of facts that people didn’t really know about me and a lot of comments came rolling saying that I should write a book. I never thought that I had a story to tell and it’s not until later and now that I’m an adult that I realized that all the things that happened to us that we don’t understand at a young age, but they create the story in who we are today. My hope for writing the book was to inspire young women out there to not let their life circumstances define who they can be and what they can achieve later on their lives.

WC: You and your husband at first were considering adoption, but now you are moving into the IVF (in vitro fertilization) process, is that correct?

Dulce: Yes, yes, yes! I’m actually now [in October] six weeks pregnant!

WC: Congratulations! What made you guys decide to do IVF?

Dulce: It was always an option for us, but it was such a big financial, physical and emotional step that we knew we’d have to take if we decided to go down that road. Once I figured out why I can’t have another baby physically, the IVF process was a nice safety net that we were lucky to have. It’s been eight years and now, we’re here. We’ve been waiting a long time, but I feel like there’s always hope and there’s always a way.

WC: And how is it going? It’s a very different and still relatively new way to have a child. What are some of the best and most difficult moments from this process?

Dulce: I do feel that moments where I feel a little overwhelmed with medication and my emotions. It’s very physical. You get a lot of shots. They’re somewhat painful. But, honestly, it’s nothing that we, women, can’t handle. It’s definitely worth it though, because I just think about my baby and the fact that I need to take these medications so my baby can continue to grow, and I can complete a full-term pregnancy.

WC: What is some advice you would give to other parents who are considering IVF?

Dulce: I think it’s really important to have a support group of other women who have gone through it or are currently going through it. It’s great to have support from family, friends and even your partner, but it’s a different level of connection when you’re being supported by other women who has gone through it too. They know what you’re feeling and can validate your feelings for you. 

WC: Is there anything you would have done differently throughout this process? Is it something you’d be interested in doing again?

Dulce: I don’t think I would have done anything differently, not just yet anyways since I’m still in the middle of it, but I would definitely do it again. We actually have two more embryos so we’re going to continue the process in order to have more children. It’s not the easiest process, but again it’s nothing that we can’t handle. Everything we go through as women to have children, oh my gosh, it’s so much, but I love it. I really am just enjoying the journey.

WC: And you have an eight-year old son named Izek. How did you bring this up to him? How do you keep him informed when explaining to him that he’s going to have a little sibling?

Dulce: He has always wanted a sibling and I want him to have that bond with a brother or sister. I want him to have people in his life that are always going to be with him and to be there to support him. So, this is a huge blessing and that he’s been involved in every little detail. He holds my hands when Jesse [Dulce’s husband] gives me my injections and he’s so motivating when he says things to me like, “Think about the baby, Mom.” I just keep him involved and aware of everything

WC: That’s amazing and because he’s still young does he ever have questions?

Dulce: Yeah, he does and the best way I keep him informed is by showing him educational videos. We were actually watching some last night and he understands why we’re going it this way instead of the natural way. He seems to understand, but I answer all of his questions for him.

WC: That’s amazing and when you and Jesse first started dating, was a faith a very important factor in your relationship? 

Dulce: We were so young when we first started dating, we never discussed our faith or religion at all, which ended up being sort of an issue later on when we had Izek. We were both raised Catholic, but we ourselves aren’t Catholic and when it came time to deciding if we should baptize Izek we weren’t sure what we were going to do. I feel like if I could just go back in time or if I could give advice to any young couples, it would be to discuss your faith and your belief and what you plan on doing with your children, because it can be a big issue down the line.

WC: You grew up Catholic, but it sounds like you found a relationship with God later on, when was that?

Dulce: Oh my gosh, honestly it was so recent! I’ve always been on the search for something, but it was probably a year ago that I realized that by being in a religion or believing in what other people around me believe in, I felt like I was in a little box and I have to follow certain rules and it didn’t sit well with me for a long time. I didn’t like the idea that if did this or did that than I was going to Hell. I was so lost, and I wasn’t sure what to believe in because I was just trying to please everybody instead of finding that relationship with Him for myself. I do have to say that I’m really grateful for my parents for giving me the foundation because they did show me God’s love and I’ve known about God’s love since I was a little girl. It wasn’t until I had this huge realization that my relationship with God is a hundred percent personal and nobody has to understand it and I don’t have to explain it or validate it or prove it to people. It’s very, very personal. That’s why I don’t openly talk about it anymore because I felt like before, I was trying to fit in or be accepted by certain religions and I feel completely different now. Especially at the end of last year, I was just going through a hard time with my feelings, emotions and my beliefs and I just started following what I felt was right. This led me tothe purest, most authentic connection that I ever had with God ever in my life. It brought me to tears and it was during meditation, and I never felt His presence so deeply in my heart and I knew that what I was doing was right.

WC: Do you have any advice for younger people who might be struggling to find their own relationship with God?

Dulce: I would say just do what feels right for you. For me, meditation was a huge thing and there are a ton of religion-based meditations out there. During these meditations you connect deeply to Jesus and it’s beautiful. Just find alone time with your thoughts, feelings and emotions in talking to God. Cultivate that relationship between you and who you believe in.




CONNECT WITH DULCE
Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Purchase her book “The Sweet Life.”

Stay tuned for more interviews and articles of my work that I'll be sharing 😝! Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see behind the scenes of me at work @michelekatsaris.
My Amazon Subscriptions

I've always loved going to Costco because you can buy things in bulk. Why not buy a years worth of toilet paper in one trip? It just makes the most sense. The thing is, living in an apartment doesn't make Costco trips as fun as they used to be. Enter Amazon *cue angels singing in the background.* Obviously you can order anything you need off of Amazon, but did you know that you can get all of your home essentials sent delivered right to your door the same time every month? With Amazon's subscribe & save service, I never have to leave home and I'll always have the essentials stocked up. I don't even need to make multiple trips to my car because it gets delivered right to my door.

My Amazon Subscriptions

Lazy Girls Guide To Fashion

I liked wearing comfy-stylish clothes before it was cool. I am all about comfort and when you can put together a killer outfit without wearing pants, that's a win in my book. I'm sharing my tips for how to have a fashionable look while still being completely comfy. Consider this.. the lazy girls guide to fashion.

Lazy Girls Guide To Fashion


Sharing another interview I did back in November of 2019. I got to interview Jonni Parsons, blogger and influencer. She was so much fun to talk to and had some great advice. Even I was taking notes on things she was saying. She is also one of the most humble people I've spoken to and now we follow each other on Instagram! It's really cool when you get to make a connection with someone through your job, it's like you're bonded for life after that. I also write an online article that month called "5 Apps to Help You Earn and Save" click the link here to read it. And you can listen to my interview with Jonni on this podcast by clicking the link here. Enjoy my interview with Jonni Parsons!

*Disclaimer: To start off, I work at Salvation Army National Headquarters in the publications department. The magazine I work on is called War Cry. I will be doing a post later on about my job and what it's like working for a non-profit, but that post will be later on. I do feel I need to add a disclaimer here, I am not a religious person so when I took this job I did my research and made sure that my personal values and opinions weren't being compromised. I can proudly say they are not (don't let one idiot skew your opinion of the millions of people who work for a company) and I'm pretty proud of the work and accomplishments I've made while working here. I am the Assistant to the Editorial Director, but I do so much more than an assistant's work. My managers have really entrusted me with a lot of responsibility and anything I can do to enhance my skill set and build my portfolio I take the opportunity to do so. Though I am not a religious person, the people I do interview are and the questions recall faith-inspired answers.


Photo by Instagram @Carolinethephotographer

Like a lot of college freshmen nowadays, Jonni Parsons didn’t know what she wanted to major in. All she knew was that she loved to write, but she felt like she was stuck in a creative box. After interning in the marketing department for Nike Sports Camp, Jonni applied what she was learning to her own Christian blog. That’s when she started to see a growth in her following and when other people started to request for her marketing assistance. This prompted Jonni to launch Sunday Morning Marketing during her senior year of college. 

With Sunday Morning Marketing becoming a growing and successful company, Jonni had to quickly learn the financial responsibilities of owning a business. Jonni recalls when she first started transitioning from college to adulthood, “Bills, credit cards, building your credit, taxes, insurance, deductibles, rent, student loans and everything in between—it was just all so overwhelming after I graduated. Even though I was really passionate about doing it the right way, I didn’t want to get myself into a ton of trouble right from the start.” Jonni shares her story about balancing financial responsibility and lessons she learned along the way. 


WC: When did you start to notice growth with your personal blog? What do you think made you different from other Christian bloggers at the time?

Jonni: I think a lot of it had to do with just the transparency aspect. I realized that I was kind of the only one or one of few that were talking about just really difficult subjects. I talked about the current struggles of everyday life and I feel like that got a lot of people interested in what I was posting about. And all of my posts are pointing back to Jesus, ultimately.

WC: Something we noticed on your blog was your statement that you discuss topics that were “ignored by the church.” What are some of those topics that you discuss, and do you ever get criticism talking about those topics?

Jonni: I don’t think that these topics on sexuality or mental health are actually ignored intentionally by the church. I think that a lot of churches tend to just lean towards comfortability. It’s not always a bad thing, but it doesn’t leave a lot of room for topics that involve tension. I realized that I needed to be transparent about my struggles because I what I was dealing with was a lot of purity struggles while I was dating. I was trying to look to Christian influencers or Christian authors that were really transparent and vulnerable in areas like this and that’s when I discovered that even they weren’t really posting or publicizing their own struggles. That’s when I decided I would post about my struggles and that’s when a lot of young girls were messaging me going through heartbreak, wrestling through purity, questioning their faith and fighting through this anxiety. I wanted to be that voice for them and to show them that they’re not alone at all. The logo on my website says, “There’s power in transparency,” and it’s true, it’s absolutely true. And yes, I do definitely get criticism for some posts. But that’s just because I didn’t grow up my whole life saved. People think I’m crazy for being so vulnerable and open about my relationship with Jesus online, but to be honest, most of the response has been respectful and positive.

WC: That’s interesting that most of your criticism comes from you being open about your relationship about Jesus rather than criticism for being honest about your struggles.

Jonni: Absolutely. Most Christians are very accepting about my past just because the people that have followed me or are following me have a path, too. I think that they can relate to me which is why they gravitate towards my blog.

WC: You talk about the day you were saved as being very transformative. Can you tell us about that day?

Jonni: Yes! I was saved on August 31st, 2012. It’s been about seven years and actually every year, we celebrate my salvation day as my birthday. We get balloons and a cake, and I just really relish in the fact that Jesus saved me because it’s just such a miracle. I was 16 years old when I came to Christ. I was in such a rut for so long and it was exhausting every well, I guess you can say, around me and they were just all broken cisterns. I couldn’t get any water from them. I couldn’t get satisfied by them. And Jesus was kind of my last thing to try. I finally said, “All right, I have nothing else to try.” I’ve tried the boys. I’ve tried the partying. I’ve tried the music. I’ve tried getting money. I’ve tried everything but nothing satisfied me. So, I tried Jesus and I haven’t looked back since.

WC: Wow, that’s an amazing and vulnerable story. Through all of that is when you decided to start your marketing company Sunday Morning Marketing. Starting a company is a huge financial responsibility. We see that the younger generations have a different relationship with money nowadays. What was your view of money when you started to transition to adulthood?

Jonni: I am actually super passionate about the subject of finances! I published a free e-book on my website jonninicole.com and it’s all about finances and growing up. My husband is a CPA and he’s given me a lot of advice along the way as well. But most importantly, I came from parents that were particularly not responsible at all when it came to money. So, my family and I suffered a lot financially. As a young girl, I knew that I wanted to have a different life when I grew up. I remember saving all of my birthday money as a kid and I just loved seeing my savings grow.

WC: What is some advice you’d give to people who are struggling to save their money?

Jonni: The first thing that’s really important is to just sacrifice those little things and be able to save up for the big things. For example, I never bought expensive coffee when I was in college. I would just grab the free coffee in my cafeteria. I sacrificed a bit of my time to cut coupons and cut my receipts in half. And then instead of going out with friends each weekend, I try to just lay low and do some free fun activities like go to a museum or have a lunch in a park. 

The second thing I would say is wait at least a full 48 hours before making a big purchase. I even made this mistake once or twice and I had to learn from it. I saw an influencer with a ton of makeup products and without thinking about it, I just bought them. It was over a hundred dollars’ worth of makeup and I hardly ever used it. I tell all of my friends to wait at least 48 hours. Then after the 48-hours passed, I realize I don’t even need that item.

Lastly, the third thing I would say is just to get accountability. I make sure I put enough in my savings account and I could only withdraw so much from there before I got fined from my bank. I also made sure that I was on a strict budget, because I wanted to enter adulthood with a really good amount built up. Those are kind of the three little tips that I would get somebody. To sacrifice now, wait a full 48-hours before a big purchase and then get accountability.

WC: What’s one mistake you learned while managing your finances? What’s something else that young adults should make sure they pay attention to that go hand-in-hand with financial responsibility?

Jonni: One of the hardest lessons I learned involved my credit score. I never even knew what a credit score was! I had this credit card and I would just always pay it. It was fine. Then one day I saw there was still a balance, but I thought it was a mistake. I didn’t think that I had to pay it, but I winded up being wrong and it affected my credit. Except I never checked my credit, so I didn’t know it had affected it! It made me lose my mind because I worked all my life basically to have this good credit and then just one little mistake can destroy all of that. Track your credit score. I know those two words are kind of scary, but it’s really important in adulthood.

WC: What are some of your favorite tools and apps to help manage your finances?

Jonni: My husband and I use Excel to keep our budget intact, but the other app that I love is Mint. It’s a free app that helps you set money aside for everyday expenses and if you begin to go over that amount it gives you a warning letting you know you’re spending too much. I also like the “keep the change” program that most national banks have. When you make a purchase, your bank will round up to the nearest dollar and put that extra change in a separate savings account for you. You don’t realize how quickly that extra change adds up!

WC: Do you see the younger generations contributing to charity as much as other generations? Do you think they give back in a different way?

Jonni: Yes! It’s easier nowadays than ever before to give back. I think the most important part is to just know where your money is going. Tithing to a church and donating to a charity are very different. I see tithing as a command in the Bible and I take that very seriously, but donating is strongly encouraged in the Bible and in scripture, but it’s not a command. I do believe though that if we’re running our race and trying to resemble Jesus that we’re going to give out of love for those in need. And I think donating is really all about finding a ministry or a charity that we’re passionate about and where you can see your money actually going and becoming fruitful. Social media makes it a little hard with donating to charity because it’s so clogged right now with everybody trying to ask for money and we have to be about who and what we choose to give money to. You can give back in so many different ways though. When I was younger, I knew I wanted to give back, I just didn’t know how. I started to put a little bit of money away to buy people Bibles. I was so thankful that I had found God at a point where I was so lost in the world that I wanted other people to feel that too. So, if I had to take a few dollars out of my bank account to buy them a Bible for them to get that revelation, then it was worth it to me.

Follow Jonni on Instagram and Facebook at @jonninicole.

I Interviewed Blogger, Jonni Parsons

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