in DIY Projects to Save Money

5 DIY / Low-Cost Valentine’s Gifts for Millennials

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With Valentine’s Day only a few weeks away, this is probably a good time to start thinking about what you’re going to get your significant other. If you’re looking for gifts that won’t break the bank, maybe you’ll have some luck here.

Full disclosure; these are not the most romantic gifts. I’m not a very romantic person, but you will be able to tweak most of these to make them more suited for Valentine’s.

Also note; this post may contain affiliate links. It in no way changes my opinion of the item.

in Technology, Uncategorized

How I Read any Books I Want for Free!

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I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

This post contains affiliate links. This has had no impact on what I have written below, everything below is 100% my opinion and experience.

I Haven’t Paid for a Book in Over a Year

in Splurge-Worthy, Technology, Uncategorized

Websites I Check Everyday for Great Deals!

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Great deals come and go, and often without our even knowing! We don’t want to fill our inbox up with constant e-mails from Kate Spade, Zulily and Groupon – but sometimes it’s the only way we hear about fantastic deals.

Some of these websites will e-mail you almost daily, but it may be far more worth your while to actually visit the website. The e-mails might not show you all they great deals. Instead, they’ll just show one or two “featured” deals. I’ve made a list of sites that will save you money in the long run – but there’s a catch! You have to add them to your bookmarks and check them daily. Checking these sites will only take you about 5-10 minutes unless you get really involved.

I’ll tell you a little rule of thumb I like to implement. If there is something I really want but don’t necessarily need, I like to give myself at least a week to think it over. I’ll start to check these websites, because more than likely at least something similar is going to go on sale. If I still want it by the end of the week, then I probably found a good deal for it! If I don’t still want it then that money stays with me.

It’s all just money in the bank, baby.

in Basics of Budgeting & My Experience

Where to Start Budgeting When You Don’t Know What You’re Doing

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“Where did my money go?”

We’ve all been there. You open up your bank account and see an awful small number staring back at you. Your first thoughts might be, “My account’s been hacked,” or “But I just got paid.” Double-checking your transactions, you see the costs start to add up. $9 at Starbucks, $38 at eBay (what did you even buy again?), a risky glass of wine for $11 last night at the bar. You find that your account hasn’t been hacked and yes, you did just get paid.

in Basics of Budgeting & My Experience, Goals & Progress

Progress Report: January 16th, 2017

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About halfway through every month, I’m going to review my goals and progress in terms of finance & health. I believe that reviewing your progress every once in a while will get you motivated and ultimately help to keep you on track. As you may know by now, I track everything through Excel spreadsheets. This wouldn’t work for everyone, but I like to micro-manage my finances and see the entire year at once.

So let’s review goals:

1. Stay Within Budget (Keep Spending <$1,292)

in Budget Meal Plans, Health-related Finance, Uncategorized

1 Week of Fresh, Clean-Eating for $30! (Shopping List & Meal Plan Included)

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$30 – 100% Clean, (Almost) 100% Fresh Eating for 1 Week! Try the challenge with me!

I love clean-eating. Since I’ve changed my overall diet to cleaner foods, I’ve benefited in many noticeable ways. My skin is clearer, I’ve lost about 22 pounds, I have more energy and stamina and my mood has improved. I feel better than ever before and I no longer want to nap after every meal.

1-Week, Clean-Eating, Fresh Food Meal Plan & Grocery List for $30.

When people ask me what the trick is, I tell them to just “eat clean.” I often hear this in turn:  “it’s too expensive.”

This will be said by the same people that will order pizza for lunch or buy two boxes of Chips Ahoy! cookies for home.

“I can’t afford it” is not a viable excuse for most people anymore. Yes, it’s better to eat organic and grass-fed, but if you can’t afford that then non-organic vegetables and non-grass fed meat is better than highly-processed, packaged foods. Two packages of Chips Ahoy! cookies will set you back about the same as a pound of non-steroid, non-antibiotic chicken. The same price could get you 3 pounds or more of lesser-quality chicken.

My point is – you don’t need to have a lot of money to make a lifestyle change. Still need the snacks in the home? I stopped craving all of that junk over time, and you may too.

in Budget-Friendly Travel, Technology, Uncategorized

How to Get the Cheapest Flights to Europe!

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When I see a really great deal, I have a habit of obsessing over it a little bit, especially if it’s travel-related. My boyfriend and I are going to Switzerland and Vienna in May for $1,000 each! I obsess about it (and all the other places I want to go) everday. Today, I almost bought flights to Norway for later in the year because I found what I believe is an amazing deal. A little rooting around has shown me a major hack that I think very few people have realized.

in Basics of Budgeting & My Experience, DIY Projects to Save Money, Uncategorized

4 Side Hustles I Did Last Year & How They Worked for me

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While I was reviewing my budget from last year,  I noticed quite a few things. Not only did I save myself over $3,000 just by tracking my spending, but there have been a few side hustles that I’ve tried that have failed miserably and a few that have worked out in my favor.

I value my time highly and do not want to spend much time on one avenue when the payoff is poor. I work a full-time job already, and anything that takes away from my off-time has to be worth it. That’s why I don’t do any extreme couponing – because of the amount of time it can take. I would rather just shop smart and live beneath my means – which is why I made this blog. I want to be able to share my techniques (which should be realistic) with the rest of you. So, let me tell you what I tried in 2016.

in Health-related Finance, Saving Money & Getting Healthy!

How I Lost 20 Pounds Without Going Broke!

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Weight is a difficult thing for many to talk about. I know so many people that tell me they’ve tried “everything” to shed some weight. They’ve tried Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig (is that even still a thing?), Nutrisystem, the 21-Day Fix, Atkins Diet, Garcinia Cambogia pills, Shakeology, Thrive, Teami, Plexus, Blue Apron, Naturebox  – and the list goes on and on. People load up on protein bars, fat-free alternatives, Lean Cuisines, and so on. I mean, how many things do I have to list? You get the picture, right?

All of these things have 1 common purpose – to make loads of money. Americans spend $60 Billion every year trying to lose weight!

Sure – some of these things can be free. If you do enough research on the 21-Day Fix and Atkins, you could essentially accomplish them for free. But I believe that just like pharmaceuticals, if all of these products worked, the industry would not be as huge as it is.

I’m not trying to insult these companies, and they do work for some people. Trust me, that’s not what I want this blog post to be about. I’ve even bought into a couple of these in the past (Garcinia Cambogia, anybody?). But no “diet” is going to work long-term, because sustained weight loss is about lifestyle. That’s what worked for me, and it’s something that would work for literally everyone.

So – specifically, my story. Let’s go.

in Basics of Budgeting & My Experience, Finance Hacks, Uncategorized

5 Budgeting Strategies You Can Try When Others Fail

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This image has been edited. FreeImages.com/Bob Smith

Often times we may try something that we don’t always see through ’til the end (New Year’s Resolutions, anyone?). Maybe we set our goal too ambitiously, or maybe the means of achieving the goals are not convenient enough. Maybe something goes wrong (like a birthday cake to a diet), and our mental fortitude slips.

I used to try different diets, and when they didn’t work I resorted to my old ways. I’ve tried gym memberships to places that are not convenient enough for me, and then they never get used.

It’s easy to do the same with budgeting! When you search online or talk among your friends, you may find everyone has their own way of doing it (if they do at all!). There is no reason to quit your attempts at budgeting when one  method doesn’t work. You just need to tailor it for you, or try a different way to go about it.

There is no 1 right way to budget. If it works for you, then it’s a valid and good method. It may work for you and no one else, or it may work for you and others.

Below are different methods you can try when all-else has failed you. You may know right off-the-bat that some will not work for you, but you never know unless you at least consider. That being said, we’ll move on.