Are You Required To Find + Follow Your Calling?

Do you have to find your calling? Do you 'have to' follow your bliss? I don't think so. Click through to find out why.

I was pawing through my suitcase, grumpily looking for a Clif bar, when I heard my phone bleat. I’d been traveling for 15 hours, my computer wouldn’t connect to the hotel’s wifi, and I was pretty sure that was a text from my Lyft driver, asking where I was.

I flicked open my email in a huff and saw this message from one of my students:

“Sarah, I’m only on module one of your course and I’m floored. This is so helpful and so many people need this. It’s clear you’ve found your calling.”

Isn’t that lovely? I’m not telling you this because I want you to sign up for Put Your Money Where Your Happy Is (though it’d certainly be cool if you did). I’m telling you because that student email was the first time anyone has ever told me that I “found my calling.”

And though I was very flattered by my student’s kind words, it reminded me of one of my more, uh, controversial opinions.

I don’t think you have to make your calling your full-time job.

Should you spend eight hours a day doing something you hate? No. But is it fair to expect your job to check every box on your Personal Fulfillment List? Also no. Don't put all your happiness eggs in the 'career' basket. It's not fair to you OR your career. Click To Tweet

It is so, SO great if you can find a way to make your passion part of your job! I know people who thank heavens every day that they get paid to pursue their passion. I also know people who thank heavens that they have enough energy and money to pursue their passions outside of office hours.

If you’ve spent anytime on the internet or if you’ve ever read a self-help book, you’ve probably been lead to believe that you’re not living your Best Life unless your career and passions are one and the same. We’ve been taught if we do work we love, we’ll never work a day in our life. We should follow our bliss, etc etc etc.

So when we’re doing work we merely ‘like’ or work that ‘just’ pays the bills and provides security, it’s easy to feel like we’re doing something ‘wrong.’ Surely a well-lived life would include pursuing our calling eight hours a day, five days a week, right?

If that’s the tape that’s running through your head and you’re looking for permission to push pause, this is it. In case you need these reminders:

You don’t have to monetize your passion or do it professionally

You don’t have to build an ecourse around your passion. You don’t have to get so good you can teach other people. You don’t have to quit your day job and do it full-time. You don’t have to become a sought after expert. You don’t have to make it into a ‘side hustle’ with a website and a newsletter and social media accounts.

You can follow your calling just for fun

You can just play in a rec league. You can take beautiful photos, print them out, hang them in your living room … and that’s it. You can take voice lessons and never perform. You can write a novel and never show it to anyone. You can create culinary masterpieces for your 8 year old niece who 100% doesn’t appreciate them.

You can follow your passions badly

Just because we’re passionate about something doesn’t actually mean we’re, uh, good at it. But that shouldn’t stop us from doing it.

You can follow your passion without ever putting it on social media

Hello, this reminder is for me. Self, did you know you can follow a passion without telling the entire internet about it? Whaaaat?

Did you know you can make a poached egg without putting it on Instagram? It’s similarly possible to throw elaborate parties or redecorate the living room or perfect a new cocktail without putting it on Facebook. Following your calling quietly + privately is as legitimate as following it loudly + publicly. Click To Tweet

You deserve to find and follow your calling and your passions. You’re not required to make them your career.

P.S. This is what you’re really seeing when you see ‘success’ 

The Cheapskate Guide To: Tijuana

Want to travel cheap in Tijuana? Like, EXTRA cheap? Click through for a local's tips on $28 Airbnbs, $4 Mexican pizzas, and free readings from famous actors –
Did you know that Tijuana, Mexico is only 35 minutes south of San Diego? And you can take a trolley from San Diego to the border and then walk over?! Today, lifelong Tijuana resident Nicté Trujillo is telling us about $24 hotels, $4 tlayuda (aka ‘Mexican pizza’), and free art exhibits!


True Story: I’m A Black Muslim Woman Living In Trump’s America

How does it feel to be a black Muslim woman in America right now? Sagirah shares her story.
Our new president recently created a travel ban preventing Muslim refugees (who have been vetted for longer than any of his cabinet nominees) from entering the U.S. He also wants to change the focus of the government’s counter-extremism program to focus exclusively on countering Islamic extremism. Refugees from the seven banned countries have carried out exactly zero fatal terrorist attacks in the U.S.

So how does it feel to be Muslim in America right now? Sagirah tells us.


Web Time Wasters

How was your week, friends? I spent most of the week with friends in Florida, hanging at the beach, taking selfies in front of hedges, and attempting to read the news slightly less than normal. This was …. somewhat successful? I mean the not obsessing over the news part?

Also! I’m running two free, live classes this week! The class is called 5 Ways To Add More Money & Happiness To Your Life and, uh, NOT TO BRAG, but last time I ran this, one attendee quite literally used the hashtags #iclapmyhands #impeccabletiming and #mylifeischanged to describe it. See?! Register here

Links for you, dear reader.


How To Argue About Money Nicely & Productively

How do you manage money as a couple? Do you fight about money? This couple money advice is super doable and super helpful!

It’s 2009 and I’m standing in the tiny galley kitchen of the ‘garden’ (read: basement) apartment I hate, fighting back tears as I stare into the fridge.

Two days ago, I splurged on an expensive ball of fresh mozzarella. Today, where there was once fresh mozzarella, there is now a plastic container of cloudy mozzarella water.

That cheese cost $5. At the time, I was earning $16 an hour as a teacher at a non-profit. After taxes, the cost of that cheese = 30 minutes of my life. And my boyfriend ate it. My earns-three-times-what-I-do-doesn’t-have-school-debt-wants-to-split-everything-50/50 boyfriend ATE MY SPECIAL EXPENSIVE CHEESE.

It will not surprise you to know, dear reader, that what followed was an all out, raised-voices fight about money.

It also won’t surprise you to learn we did not remain boyfriend/girlfriend much longer.

If you’ve ever shared a living space and expenses with someone, you’ve probably had a similar experience. In fact, 57% of people who divorce cite money as the reason for their split.

Of course, money is complicated. We all spend it in different ways, for different reasons. These five basic steps can help you argue much, much less.

5 ways to argue about money nicely and productively 


‘Put Your Money Where Your Happy Is’ is open for enrollment!

I’m standing at the front desk of a palace-turned-hotel, sipping on a cocktail, as ceiling fans turn slowly overhead. I’ve been traveling for 8 months already and I’ve been in and out of dozens of hotels, but even I can admit this one is special.

“Breakfast is served at 8:30, Ms. Von Bargen. May I help you with your bags?”

If you had to guess how much money I was making when the above exchange took place – what would you guess?

$100,000? $85,000?

Nope. When I checked into that hotel in Laos, I’d just wrapped up two years earning $16 an hour and paying off $50,000 of school debt.

With that less-than-great financial situation, I managed to save enough for a 10-month international trip, pay off my car, and live in a cute apartment.  All without help from my parents or partner, credit card debt, or giving up my occasional $5 latte.

Sounds impossible, right? It’s not.

If you believe that you need to earn dramatically more to have the life you want, I’m say: You don’t.

If you believe that life-on-a-budget has to be all ramen noodles and deprivation, I’m here to tell you: It doesn’t.

This is exactly the kind of stuff I cover in my 6-week course Put Your Money Where Your Happy Is. Enrollment opens today!

Life after you start putting your money where your happy is:

  • You know what makes you happy and don’t get hung up on other people’s expectations.
  • You’re confident and calm when you log into your bank account. You know exactly what you’re going to find and why.
  • When you fill your shopping cart, it’s with things you know will bring you joy – no more purchases you regret once you get home.
  • Your life is filled with meals with friends, fulfilling hobbies, delicious food, and trips to interesting places.

This is the second session of Put Your Money Where Your Happy Is and my students have some very kind things to say.

I’ve taken every financial and budgeting course imaginable, but none of those courses got to the root of why I was making poor financial choices. This course has helped me change my thinking so I can design a life I want to live and spend my hard earned money funding that life. This course has more than paid for itself – and it is so fun!! I’m truly excited to begin my newly designed life. – Alanna M.


This course helped me realize how much money I’ve wasted on ‘close enough’ purchases, especially when something pretty is on sale. It really made me think about the ways I was wasting money, even though I thought I was good at intentional spending. It even helped me learn how to change those behaviours! – Kate A. 


What you’ll gain from Put Your Money Where Your Happy Is:

  • An understanding of why you spend money the way you do.
  • An understanding of what really makes you happy.
  • A new relationship with your money.
  • A plan to make your day-to-day life happier.
  • For many students, this course pays for itself in a month!

After you sign up, you’ll have immediate access to

  • 6 self-paced modules
  • 24 video lessons
  • 26-page workbook
  • Our private Facebook group filled with videos, live chats, and shared insights

Money and happiness are such important topics and they affect every area of our lives! I’m so, SO proud of this class and how much it’s helped my students. I hope you’ll join us! Doors are open through February 11th!

I was skeptical going in that spending money would help me save money, but it was totally worth it. Sarah is the first person who’s ever encouraged me to look at my budget and ask “Does this make me happy? Does my budget match my values?” I feel really optimistic that I can finally get a handle on those miscellaneous, regrettable purchases that have always sunk my budget. – Sarah C.