Christie Post - The Penny Hoarder

Forget pen and paper for your to-do lists -- chalkboard paint is so trendy right now.

However, buying it can be expensive and it only comes in a few colors.

So do it yourself!

You can create a sleek and stylish chalkboard for your home for under $10.

Nook and Cranny DIY Studio showed me how to make it by hand in minutes. All you need are these five items, which you can get at any craft or hardware store.

[caption id="attachment_46234" align="aligncenter" width="1668"]Diy chalkboard Christie Post/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

Once you have everything, follow these directions:

1. Mix the paint and grout together, little by little.

2. Apply paint with brush to the cut-out shape. Do several coats as needed.

3. Dry quickly using a hairdryer.

4. To condition, rub the side of a piece of chalk over the entire surface.

5. Wipe off the chalk and any dust.

6. Start writing!

[caption id="attachment_46236" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]Diy chalkboard Christie Post/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

This is by far the easiest DIY ever! Plus you’ll never forget anything again.

Your Turn: Share your favorite DIY projects in the comments below.

Christie Post, social media video producer at The Penny Hoarder, is always finding ways to make stories visual. You can see her live broadcasts on our Facebook page. Give her a shoutout @christiepost.

Every year it’s the same old thing: You toss back a glass of champagne and toast to new beginnings.

The number one New Year’s resolution people make? You probably guessed it -- losing weight.

With so many temptations around the holidays, it almost seems like you’re setting yourself up for failure.

In fact, you are. Only 8% of people succeed at keeping resolutions of any kind, according to the University of Scranton’s research.

Tired of starting over? Need some fitness inspiration?

My grandpa Jack Houser -- or “Papa,” as I call him -- will inspire you to make 2017 your healthiest year yet.

This 92-Year-Old Man Works Out Every Day -- No Gym Required

[caption id="attachment_45367" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]Fitness inspiration Instead of going to the gym, Jack Houser works out at home. Christie Post/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

For as long as he can remember -- and that’s not an old person joke -- he’s been exercising seven days a week.

His motto?  “A good exercise program is better than any medicine you could ever take.”

Papa can do pull-ups, push-ups, leg lifts and sit-ups without breaking a sweat. You have to see it to believe it (and you can in the video below).

His fitness routine is simple. Three days a week, he lifts weights in his garage. The rest of the week he walks outside or focuses on floor and balancing exercises.

One hour a day, every day.

“People are really amazed that a man at my age can do what I do,” he says. “To tell you the truth, I am amazed by myself. Even my doctors don’t believe it.”

To Papa, age is just a number.

“The age fitness test is a good way to tell how healthy you are and I always test 10 to 15 years younger than I am,” he said. “My primary doctor says I will probably live to 113, if he takes care of me. My dad lived to 100, so there is a good chance I’ll make it.

You may be asking: How did he get started?

He served in the military for three years during World War II, which taught him a lot about fitness.

He also owned several jean stores and managed women’s shoe stores. If you know anything about retail, you know that type of work involves a lot of time on your feet. He knew building muscle would give his body the support it needs.

Papa’s Advice for Getting Fit -- No Matter How Old You Are

[caption id="attachment_45368" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]Fitness inspiration Jack Houser still lifts weights at the age of 92. He doesn't plan to stop anytime soon. Christie Post/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

Now retired, he wakes up with determination and goes to bed with satisfaction. Occasionally that means eating pie. I mean, he deserves it at his age, right?

You could do the same.

“If I can encourage anybody to keep their activity level up, they’re going to feel better about life, they are going to feel better about their body and their mind will be affected by it,” he says.

Papa suggests taking small steps to start.

First find a workout that’s right for you. The internet is filled with cheap or free tutorials. You can also build a home gym for under $100.

“You don’t have a big investment, but you have a great return,” he says.

The hardest part is getting off the couch.

“Have clothes that you enjoy exercising in and keep those clothes out in the morning,” he says. “So when you get up, you will know you are going to exercise.”

Papa says he sees himself still moving 10 years from now.

“I feel like I am going to do this forever,” he explains. “As long as I’m here, I want to be healthy and strong. So I will exercise.”

I know I definitely want to follow in Papa’s footsteps -- or at least hope I have a handful of his genes.

Your Turn: What’s your New Year’s resolution?

Christie Post, social media video producer at The Penny Hoarder, is always finding ways to make stories visual. You can see her live broadcasts on our Facebook page. Give her a shoutout @christiepost.

A long time ago in a city far, far away, two friends began an epic adventure...

In 2015, Alfred Smith and Santiago Martinez started SaberCraft -- a lightsaber combat choreography class in Miami.

Smith had mastered his skills at New York Jedi and Golden Gate Knights, the top lightsaber academies, and passed his moves on to Martinez. Now the pair teach other aspiring Jedi.

You could say they’ve unleashed the Force within.

Lightsaber Classes Becoming More Popular

[caption id="attachment_44282" align="aligncenter" width="1199"]lightsaber combat Alfred Smith and Santiago Martinez are instructors of SaberCraft -- a lightsaber combat choreography class. Christie Post/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

In less than a year, the classes have increased from eight students to 35, with one class per week at the Miami Scottish Rite Temple. Occasionally they host workshops, which draw about 200 attendees.

Each class is $15. Students learn SaberCombat, which combines dance, combat, yoga and of course, a love of “Star Wars.”

Costumes aren’t required. However, you may want to BYOL (bring your own lightsaber). Students can buy their own for $55, or borrow one from the instructors.

Magic City Knights is an advanced program catering to those who want to go a step further toward mastering their lightsaber skills. It costs $50 a month.

Despite the cost -- these businessmen make sure no student is left behind.

We have several students that find it difficult to pay, so they help us with things like photography, volunteering at [conventions], posting for social media and baking cookies for class,” Martinez says.

After helping others, paying rent and insurance, Smith and Martinez make about $10,000 a year.

So for the time being, they'll stick to their day jobs. Smith is marketing director for an airline and Martinez is an IT professional. Both hope, however, this side hustle turns into a full-time gig.

Using Yoda’s advice -- “Do or do not, there is no try” -- they plan to conquer their goal.

A Higher Purpose

[caption id="attachment_44286" align="aligncenter" width="1204"]lightsaber combat Students in a yoga pose during a SaberCraft class, Miami, Fla. Christie Post/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

But it’s not all about the money. Smith and Martinez realize their business has become a part of something greater than themselves.

“This isn’t just about swinging sticks,” Martinez explains. “This is about you -- why you are here and what it is you want to improve in your life.”

Recently, they were asked to fulfill a 7-year-old boy’s wish for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida. The boy, Brady, spent much of his life fighting tumors that attacked his body.

Smith and Martinez wrote a script, and with the help of “Star Wars”-themed not-for-profit groups like the 501st Legion and the Rebel Legion, produced a live scene from “Star Wars” for Brady.

The senior students learned choreographed combat, and then, dressed as Jedi, they took Brady on a journey to face down Darth Vader and the Empire -- all while hundreds of television cameras, the Make-A-Wish production team and hundreds of people watched.

“This is live. This is one-shot,” Martinez said. “Most importantly, for the boy and his family -- we were to play a role and not break character even for an instance.”

And just as Brady found his inner hero during the show, students at SaberCraft learn to do the same.

“Even if for only two hours a week during our class, it gives them that time to truly look at themselves, reflect and feel like they are bringing something positive into this world,” says Martinez.

You can be certain this group will never go to the Dark Side.

Your Turn: Would you try a lightsaber combat class?

Christie Post, social media video producer at The Penny Hoarder, is always finding ways to make stories visual. You can see her live broadcasts on our Facebook page. Give her a shoutout @christiepost.

Time to Abe your pumpkin!

The Penny Hoarder is launching The Great #PennyPumpkin Carving Contest and the grand prize winner gets a $30 Amazon gift card. Do you have what it takes?

Download the stencil below, carve it and share your jack-o’-lantern on social media using #PennyPumpkin. We’ll announce the winner on Halloween.

Download your stencil here.

Good luck!

When Pam Lunn lost her high-paying corporate job in the ‘90s, she bought a goat as a pet -- long before it was cool.

Lunn calls her goat her “mid-life crisis.”

“Just like a dog they stick [their] nose underneath your hand,” she says. “They love cookies, Doritos, Tostitos.”

It’s not just Lunn’s goat that’s particularly friendly -- new research from Queen Mary University of London suggests goats are just as clever and affectionate as dogs.

Goats: From a Pet to a Small Business

[caption id="attachment_37415" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Heather Comparetto / The Penny Hoarder A volunteer milks a goat at The Dancing Goat in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, July 8, 2016. Heather Comparetto / The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

With milk prices reaching nearly $4 a gallon in 2001, Lunn had a “Eureka!” moment: Why not drink the raw goat milk to save money?

Lunn’s young children begin to drink it and they liked it, too.

So she started The Dancing Goat in Tampa -- on a budget of less than $100.

Her farm grew and so did the number of goats. Her latest count after starting the business 15 years ago? Eighty.

The goats are named after coffee, flowers, animals and even the people who helped birth them.

“This is Mochachino and her daughter Frappuccino,” Lunn says as she walks into her barn, where she’s greeted by two of her goats.

Lunn treats them like lap dogs. Kneeling down, they give her kisses one by one.

“All right girls, you happy?” she says. “I love you.”

Goats: Not Your Typical Pet

[caption id="attachment_37416" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Heather Comparetto / The Penny Hoarder A goat plays in the playground at The Dancing Goat in Tampa, Fla., on Friday July 8, 2916. Heather Comparetto / The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

This isn’t your typical pet. Dogs are expensive -- raising a fur ball could cost you $3,000 in the first year, according to the American Kennel Club.

At least a goat can make you money -- as Lunn has found out. She sells goat milk, soap, cheese and yogurt at farmer’s markets and local stores.

It’s not easy, though -- it takes an army. Lunn’s farm has 35 team members, most of whom are volunteers and students from local chapters of the Future Farmers of America.

Her team helps tend to her goats. Each goat needs to be milked twice a day. Teamwork makes the dream work!

“We work on peanuts and praise,” she says, laughing.

I wouldn’t call the price of raw goat milk “peanuts,” though. Customers pay $12 per gallon. I know -- sticker shock!

The farm has regulars, but you never know who will show up to buy some. While I was at the farm, Joshua Maria, a traditional Catholic missionary, rolled up on his scooter -- long robe and all.

Maria found the farm on realmilk.com. He has strong feelings about store-bought milk: “You are better off drinking white paint.”

Lunn claims it takes $85,000 a year to run the farm, and she makes close to $10,000 in profit.

Even though her farm makes money, Lunn says, it’s a challenge to make ends meet. Her husband is on disability, which brings in some extra income.

Lunn says thankfully the family had paid off their home before she lost her job, which makes it possible for them to operate the farm.

She survives by following this motto: “Recycle, reuse and repurpose.” Once a week she goes to Goodwill to buy used restaurant and milking equipment. She also barters with her veterinarian, grocery stores and farmers for hay and other supplies.

Occasionally she’ll receive donations. The best one so far? A restaurant-grade cooler for the milk.

Got (Goat) Milk?

[caption id="attachment_37423" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Heather Comparetto / The Penny Hoarder Baby goats say hello at The Dancing Goat in Tampa, Fla., on Friday July 8, 2016. Heather Comparetto / The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

A dairy goat costs about $100, according to Mother Earth News. The goat’s raw milk can keep you healthy. In fact, it can be much more easily digested by some people than other forms of milk.

And you don’t have to have an entire goat farm to reap the benefits of this relationship. Just one goat can provide your family with raw milk for a couple of years.

It saves you money because you don’t have to buy the milk yourself. Plus you can sell the excess milk. Hello side gig!

If you have overgrown weeds, problem solved! Goats are living weed wackers. Their chompers can cut through grass like a lawnmower, improving the soil and decreasing the risk of fire.

Are you the outdoorsy type? Your new friend can carry your belongings.

And children can learn from raising the animal as a 4-H project.

It’s an investment that pays off and loves you back.

The Next Generation of Farmers

[caption id="attachment_37418" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Heather Comparetto / The Penny Hoarder Pam Lunn holds chickens at The Dancing Goat in Tampa, Fla., on Friday July 8, 2916. Heather Comparetto / The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

Lunn mentors the next generation of farmers, including the FFA students who volunteer on her farm. Someday she hopes her children, who are now adults, will take the reins.

Until then she’ll keep milking. Her favorite part?

“Just walking out and being loved in the morning,” she says.

“Our milk is pretty good, too,” she adds.

Your Turn: Would you buy a goat to make extra money?

Picture this: The snow-capped Rocky Mountains are right outside your window, you drive past buffalo on the highway and go snowboarding at 12,000 feet above sea level.

Oh, you also collect a paycheck.

Vail Resorts is Hiring Thousands of Seasonal Workers

Vail Resorts -- named one of the world's 50 most innovative companies by Fast Company-- is hiring thousands of seasonal workers across the country.

The company owns 12 resorts: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in California; Park City and Canyons in Utah; Afton Alps in Minnesota; Mt. Brighton in Michigan; and Grand Teton in Wyoming.

Open positions range from baristas and ski instructors to lift operators and even snowmakers. You name it, it’s probably listed.

The resort’s ideal candidate is described as ”someone who pushes boundaries and challenges the status quo. You’re brave, ambitious and passionate in everything you do.”

Sound like you? If so, you can apply from the comfort of your home.

Pay starts at $10 per hour. The company says many employees stay for a career and can become senior managers or directors, making upwards of $80,000 per year, according to Glassdoor.

Many of the jobs require little to no experience, and all training and certifications are provided.

There’s a lot of potential to reach your peak.

Perks of Working in the Mountains

Living in the mountains comes with a price tag. I mean, those picture-perfect views have to be worth something.

Good news, though: Employee housing is available for full-time winter employees. However, you need to act fast because only a limited number of apartments are available.

If you live outside the resort, it may cost between $600 to $1,000 a month. So, plan accordingly.

You also could save money by ditching your car. It’s quite easy to get around the resorts. Buses run regularly and some are free, while others are available at a discounted rate.

Now, let’s talk benefits.

Obviously, you get a free ski pass -- and that’s just the beginning.

Full-time employees are eligible for health insurance and paid time off. Plus, there are tons of employee leadership training opportunities and a special foundation for employees in need of grants for things like education.

All employees -- including part-time! -- are also eligible for a 401(k). Currently Vail Resorts matches 50% of the first 6% contributed by employees.

Those with less than five years of service also receive four $60 discount lift coupons for friends/family.

Sounds awesome right? There’s more. You can also get tuition assistance, child care services and discounts on pretty much everything, even LASIK procedures. (Yeah, that’s a weird one.)

Interested? Get Your Application Ready

If you’re near a resort, there’s a national hiring event on Nov. 5. Applicants will receive an interview and a possible job offer on the spot.

But no matter the season -- Vail Resorts will call or email to schedule a phone interview.

The older I get, the more I realize we were born to wander. So take a leap of faith and let this be your next adventure.

Your Turn: Does this sound like a dream job?

Christie Post, social media video producer at The Penny Hoarder, is always finding ways to make stories visual. You can see her live broadcasts on our Facebook page. Give her a shoutout on Twitter @christiepost.

When you walk into PJ’s Oyster Bar on St. Pete Beach, Florida, you’re greeted by the mascot, PJ -- a live parrot in a cage.

Then you see the thousands of dollar bills plastered on every wall, covered in signatures and doodles.

And every one of them has a story.

Restaurant patrons post $1 bills to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, family trees and first dates.

“There was a couple who had a blind date [here],” remembers manager Beverly McGahan. “They’ve now been married for eight years. They come in every year, sit in the same booth and put their dollar bill up.”

Celebrities know the drill, too.

Former Chicago Bears offensive lineman Tom Andrews signed a dollar in 1985. It’s still there, next to his picture. Singer John Prine left a bill for his fans. Even Batman has left his mark.

Every so often, when the walls are full, staff take down the bills. And that’s where things get interesting.

Where Do All Those Dollar Bills Go?

Over the years PJ’s has collected more than $10,000 from its walls, according to McGahan. The bills may be covered in permanent marker, but the money is still good!

The restaurant donates every dollar to the Ronald McDonald House of Tampa Bay. The nonprofit’s four houses offer a home away from home for families whose children are receiving life-saving medical care in Tampa Bay area hospitals.

The donations have covered the cost of at least 125 nights’ stays, so parents can focus on their children’s recovery rather than on finding and paying for a hotel room.

“We are totally dependent on our community, because we do not get any government funding,” explains Joo Hooi Albritton, manager of the Ronald McDonald House.

“Without them, we cannot care for these families who come to us in the most difficult of circumstances.”

Fortunately, the donations will continue as long as the tradition does at PJ’s.

As the most recent dollar bill on the wall reads, “The story has just begun.”

Your Turn: How are you celebrating National Dollar Day?

Christie Post, social media video producer at The Penny Hoarder, is always finding ways to make stories visual. You can see her live broadcasts on our Facebook page. Give her a shoutout on Twitter @christiepost.