Candy Bars and the Taste of Business

Two things fascinated me as a kid: candy and the thrill of building something of my own.

I would spend my days shoveling gummy bears into my mouth while simultaneously planning out my next big project. Building a treehouse, making bicycle storage cart, collecting aluminum cans to cash in, anything was possible.

One blazing hot day in the summer 2006, I found myself staring down at my hand. $7.00 dollars. Laying in my hand, slightly crinkled, was $7.00 dollars. My weekly allowance. Not different from the last week, but for that week, something didn’t sit right with me about it. I wanted more money. 

I loved books and I loved video games. Books and video games costed money and I knew I wouldn’t get a lot with $6.00 dollars a week. It would take weeks to save up for something, then I would spend the money, and then what? Have nothing once again. It didn’t sit well with me. So I set out for something more.

In summer 2006, I opened up my first business, a candy counter store inside of my mom’s assisted care facility. At the tender age of 12 years old, it felt like a huge deal to me. I had spent around $30 (a month’s worth of pay!) on signage, decorations, menus, and so on. Using Microsoft Publisher on the computer at the library, I designed menus, logos, and other materials for the business.

Colin Ashby cafe
On June 23,2006 Colin’s Cafe was born.

I sold a variety of candy bars, chips, and sodas in the little room I called my business. Every few weeks, when the town grocery store would have the candy bars marked down to 3 for a dollar, I would rummage a bunch together and buy them. My pricing at the cafe was 0.75 cents for candy bars, 0.75 cents for 12.oz soda, and 0.60 cents for a bag of chips.

With the business up and running, I started to bring in money (which, as a 12-year-old, I thought was good money). My brothers, sisters, and parents one by one started to ask me what I was going to do with the money I had. My mind would reminisce back to the thought of the copious amount of books, video games, and other gadgets I could buy. Instead, staring down at the cash, something changed and instead I put the money aside. I opened up my first savings account (or as I liked to call it at the time, my business account). Every week, after tallying up the costs and money made, I would take all of the profits and deposit them into my savings account.

Now, at age 21, I can see why I was so keen on wanting to save my money: because everyone else around me wasn’t.

Looking back on growing up, I remember all the things people around me bought. New cars, pricey home renovations funded by credit cards, wasting money on junk food. It was weird. Me and people my age were told we needed to go to college or else we would be destined to living a life of burger flipping. Buy a new care was rationalized by saving it was being used to build one’s credit. Going to graduate school, no matter what the price tag, was seen as being able to further one’s career. People bought big houses, ones they could barely afford, because bigger was better.

While all of this was going on, I rarely ever heard discussion about retirement planning, budgeting, emergency funds, or investing. As a senior in high school, soon to leave for college, I and everyone around me was told to not worry about student loans because we would just get a job after college and be able to start paying it back.

Colin’s Cafe, my first business endeavor, gave me my first real experience with managing money. Looking back on that experience and the experiences of growing up and going through college, I noticed a lack of basic financial literacy among many people. They didn’t know how to properly save, budget, and deciding between needs and wants.

I’m not a whiz on the aspect of personal finance. So far the only things l really know are about saving, emergency funds, and using side hustles to make more. Investing, IRAs, index funds, and so on, I still have a lot to learn. And that’s the exciting thing, I want to learn more about it, and I want to share it, write about it, and help people become more knowledgable with their money.

Most of all, I want to help people take charge of their money and their life. It’s all about getting started.


photo via Unsplash 

2016 Words, Inspiration, and Thoughts


It’s the first post of the year for this little site! I’m excited about it. Throughout 2015, my posts were sporadic. There was a reason for that and I explain it more in detail in the next few weeks. For now, all I can think about is everything I want to accomplish this year.

I’m not one of those anti-resolutions people but I also don’t like to make lofty goals and not make much of an effort to fully reach them. Seeing as how I have lots of goals (professional, personal, general), I knew I needed a way to organize them all. I picked up this nifty little think called The Passion Planner. I’ve been using it for the few weeks and love it. Little sections for doodles, spots for appointments, goal setting and outlining boxes. All Type A’s and people looking to get their messy life together rejoice.

Things have been getting tweaked here and there on this site (I removed the sidebar! added buttons! haha). In all seriousness, things have been changing a lot. In that feel-good indie movie flick kinda way. I’ve talked previously about how 2015 was a year I got really inspired. I got more into the writing community, creative community, and discovered the personal finance community.

Right now, I’m getting around to reading Mindy Kaling’s second book, Why Not Me?. In addition to being really insightful and humorous, it got me thinking about the different things I want to accomplish this year.


  •  Contribute to Roth IRA ($3,500 by end of year): You ever heard of a Roth IRA? If you had asked me this time last year, I would have scratched my head and gave an I don’t know shrug. After reading up on a 5-part series on Roth IRA’s, I was ready to take action. Last month I set one up. I’ve put $275 in this month and really hope to get it to $3,500 by the end of the year. Retirement planning is important! Being 21 years old, compound interest is on my side!
  • Get students loans to under $7,500: Student loans. Just saying those two words makes me shiver. Currently I have $16,200 in loans. Last year, I read up on a lot of personal finance bloggers who were able to pay off their student loans a lot faster than what they normally would have been able to, by taking on side hustles and extra money making opportunities. Making extra money, in addition to full-time job work is going to be essential to shrinking my student loan debt.


These ones are the ones I really want to accomplish.

  • Publish 1st novel: I’ve talked (albiet briefly) about my first novel I was writing. It’s taking a nap right now and I’m working on my 2nd novel. Currently on the 1st draft and I am already loving where this story is heading. Publishing my first novel is on the top of the list for a goal I really want to meet this year.
  • Start sending out an email newsletter: I’m thinking about doing a monthly newsletter. I like the idea of email newsletter and vicariously read a few of them. Weekly and even bi-weekly newsletters are too much for me (who has that much to share?!). No pop-up and/or drop down opt-in forms are going to be making any appearances on this site. It will just be on the sidebar in the blog page. The goal is to let me someone sign up if they want to, but not be too pushy about it.
  • Do a podcast: This is another thing that has been on my mind for awhile. Listening to Jen Carrington’s Make It Happen podcast and Kayla Hollatz’s Power of We series furthered my interest in doing one even more. I have a rough idea of what I want the podcast to be about. The goal is for it to be a one-time thing with 8-10 episodes. Can’t reveal too much more as of now, but stay tuned!
  • Guest post: I need to do more guest posting on other sites. My writing has been on The College Tourist and Kory Woodard’s blog. This year I will do more of it. Not sure of how to measure this, maybe one guest post per month? Still deciding.


These are all of the goals I can remember off the top of my head. My planner has a section for monthly reflections, so I’m going to be using it to stay more accountable and measure each goal. What are your goals for this year? Anything big? Let me know!