My Favorite Type of Podcast Episode

More than any other type of podcast episode, I love listening to interviews from “regular people” doing incredible things. During these types of episodes, you can tell that the interviewee is checking all the #adulting boxes without even know that financially speaking, they are exceptional.  

The podcast episode with Crystal Barnett, Esq. was one such interview, and it was an absolute pleasure speaking with her.  The most special part was that her two girls, 14 and 12 years old, actually helped with the setup and execution of the interview!  Crystal (and Co.) is a mom worth learning from!

Who is Crystal Barnett, Esq.

Crystal Barnett is a new attorney in the Virginia area.  She is also the mom to two young ladies, and wife to a Naval officer.  The thing that makes Crystal so special to me is that she is a long time friend of mine! Unbeknownst to me or her, Crystal was doing all sorts of FI “hacking” activities well before “Hacking” was even a buzzword. She was the first person to use credit card arbitrage, the first person I knew that qualified for the southwest companion pass, and she is my go to person to learn about teaching or homeschooling your kids, which can be useful tool within the often traveling FI community.  

All About Alternative Schooling


stack of books


Crystal’s first daughter started in a Montessori school in Connecticut, and they both loved it. However, because of the age rules in CT, when her daughter turned 4, the school district tried to send her into kindergarten! This seemed too early and age to Crystal.  She decided to take her daughter out for just the year, and teach the basic curriculum herself, instead of push her into full-time school.

When her husband came back from military service, the family was forced to change locations, leaving the school behind. Once her second child was on the way, it became clear that they needed more flexibility in educational options!  Honestly, who wants to search for quality schools every time you move?

What started out as a short term solution (teaching the young kids herself) eventually extended to 9 years of Mommy-daughter(s) learning.  

Did you know?… When you have your own homeschool, you get to name it!!  The Barnett family named their school The Candid School of Independent Learning!

But Wait, What About Socialization?

House of fi - empty classroom

This question,  “What about Socialization?”  is the number one question that their family receives.  It is a complete misperception about the homeschooling community!  In fact, a great point that Crystal made (and that I have personally witnessed) is that the kids actually get to socialize not just with kids their age but with people of all ages!  

I’ve personally experienced this, so I can relate to this idea.  This summer, my daughter was able to socialize with freshman high school students.  It was an awesome experience for her to learn from kids of different ages- not just from other 10 year olds who have a similarly limited scope as hers!

Here is a question for the listeners – do public schools teach socialization, or are they teaching institutionalization?  

The Flexibility of HomeSchooling

Alternative schooling offers something that is useful to those pursuing FI with families.  The first time Crystal and her husband realized the benefits was in the 4th year of homeschooling.  They were able to take an impromptu Disney cruise for a lower rate! Why? Because all of the other kids in the US were in school!  

Homeschooling tip: You can really take advantage of that time between holidays to take a cheaper vacation!

Homeschooling Questions We Covered

Listen to the episode for more details.  

We got great tips on the following questions:

How to Homeschool FOR FREE?

How to decide on curriculum, how to research it and choose it?

What’s the difference between online schooling and traditional textbook?

How to choose between religious and secular texts?  Also traditional vs. kinesthetic formats?

How can a person find other homeschoolers/families?

What is a good homeschooling budget?

What are the requirements for proof of learning?  

What type of testing do the learners have to take?

What type of discounts can you get for being a homeschooling teacher?


Here is a website to check out that offers decent options and pricing: Home School Buyers 

Mastering Travel


Family at disney world - house of fi podcast

Crystal is not a “travel hacker” in the normal definition of the term, but she does use points to travel!  Since her family uses Delta and Southwest more than other airlines, they focus their credit card bonuses and spending towards those cards.  They do the same with hotels!

Listen to the Podcast to learn how they use the Southwest Companion Pass to fly to Disney 5 times for FREE!  

And what about learning during all those Disney Trips? Year round schooling lends itself to lots of vacation time!  Add that to autonomous learning and you’ve got yourself the perfect family schedule!

For more tips on credit card rewards, a great site is Travel 101.

Law School For FREE

house of fi podcast law school for free

While pursuing her Master’s degree in Education in 2013, Crystal was encouraged by her professor (also a lawyer) to attend law school.  She didn’t pay it much mind at first, but the professor encouraged her again!

Eventually, she decided to look into it, and eventually began to study for the entrance exam.  

In this episode she goes over what she did to qualify for scholarships, and gives motivating advice for others looking to go to law school for free!  WHAT!!  Wendy and I paid over 6 figures combined for all of our schooling – we needed to hear these details! 

Crystal on the final questions:

  • Know how much you are spending, we aware, but remember money can be replaced, but memories can not.
  • You may have learned a lot about finances, but never stop trying to gain more knowledge about money!  There is more to learn. 
  • Crystal’s life hack for parents – Teach your kids to cook using Hello Fresh!  Crystal gets the boxes delivered and now her 14 and 12 year old cook dinner for the family twice a week!  Sounds GREAT to Wendy and I!
  • Crystal most recent favorite purchase?  A new pair of her favorite running shoes!
  • Wanna see the business Crystal’s daughter started?  go to

Stay Tuned For Our Next Episode…

Kara from Bravely Go on House of fi podcast

We will be talking to Kara Perez on next week’s episode!  Kara is the founder of the financial education company Bravely GO and is also the co host of award winning show, The Fairer Cents Podcast with her friend Tanja Hester. 

We talk about graduating into a recession, side hustling to stay afloat and all about the basic items millennials need to focus on to get their finances on track!  Awesome discussion. Don’t miss it!


What is something you learned about home-schooling today? Has your view on it changed? Let us know in the comment section below or continue the discussion in Our Facebook Group!

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*While this podcast episode features a lawyer, the information contained within this podcast episode and show notes post in no way represents legal or financial advice.  Please contact a lawyer of financial professional in your state for any legal or financial advice.