Budget Tips

15 of the Best Summer Money Saving Hacks

Summer is by far my favorite time of the year! The warm weather, my fun tank tops, playing in the water, and eating ice cream.  The days get longer and my tan gets darker. I love being outside and just enjoying the “American” summer favorites. Throughout middle school, I spent almost every single day at the waterpark in my small Nebraska town. I was surrounded by friends and we could swim from open until close every day of the week! Summer is also by far the easiest time to completely blow my budget. I get a little careless with “enjoying life” and focus less on staying on budget. During the winter, it feels so much easier to just stay inside and not spend any money. With the cold weather, you may just want to go home and stay at home all evening, but in the Summer you want to get out and enjoy all of the nice weather and fun activities! Summer can make it easy to let loose on the budget. But staying on budget in the summer is just as important! How to Save Money in the Summer:  Food and Drinks: Grocery Store Ice Cream ​​Instead of going out for ice cream, pick up some ice cream bars at the grocery store. Even an expensive box of ice cream is cheaper than 2-3 ice cream treats at a fast food restaurant. The other day I went to Dairy Queen and got a small blizzard. $3.30. I could have gotten a small pint of ice cream at the store! Getting your great summer treats from the grocery store can save you a pretty penny instead of trying to get it at a restaurant! If you are feeling extra creative, try searching for ways to make your own ice cream at home! I have done some of the Ziplock bag ice creams and they are always so much fun! Fire Up Your Own Grill Instead of going out for steaks and burgers, grill them up yourself. Creating your own masterpieces at home can be a ton of fun and can…

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Budget Tips, Food, No Spend Month Tips

How This Single, Millennial Spends Less than $200 a Month on Groceries!

Saving money on food can be one of the hardest things sometimes! I mean, you need it to survive, right? I have done good about keeping my grocery budget under $150 a month! Here are a few of my tips on how to keep your grocery budget low!

I recently posted a picture of my budget on Instagram and I have been talking about my No Spend Month Budget a lot lately. My grocery budget for the month is usually about $150-200 a month! A ton of people have asked me how it is possible. During my No Spend Months, I often cut it down to $100. I will start by saying that I do not fall into “organic” traps. I don’t have any special dietary needs and I haven’t cut any major food groups out of my diet. While I think there is a healthy balance of proteins, fats, and carbs, I also think that life is far too short to deny yourself of anything you want. Your body is also designed to run off of all three macros. That being said, I am not a nutritionist, so you don’t have to listen to what I am saying about food! People are asking, so I am sharing the raw truth of how I eat so cheap so I can pay off more debt. In 2017, I paid of more than $15,000 in 12 months and I have continued to pick up the momentum with every month so far in 2018. Here is how I keep my grocery budget under $200. I work in a restaurant I could write a whole post about how working in a restaurant has cut my grocery budget! This is probably my number one reason my budget is so incredibly low. I spend 40+ hours in the restaurant most weeks. At least one day a week, I am there from open to close, which usually means that I eat 2-3 “meals” at the restaurant. If you have ever worked in a restaurant, you know there is usually “dead”/extra or messed up food that is up for grabs. There are nights of eating wings that were tossed in the wrong sauce or extra fried chicken that was never used. I am definitely not saying it is the healthiest, but it works and it’s free. I always make sure that the food is extra before…

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Budget Tips, Christian

Tithing During My Debt Free Journey

Tithing has been on my mind and heart an awful lot lately. I have started a new bible study over Proverbs and it talks a little about it. Tithing is the act of giving your first 10% of your income to God. I have often thought about it as I do my monthly budget. God has always had a line in my budget, but I am now thinking about increasing it. The Bible talks about it in Leviticus 27:30, “Every tenth of the land’s produce, grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD. It is holy to the LORD.” Leviticus is talking about produce and fruit because that was a valuable currency, but it is now translated into the money that we make. 10% seems like a lot when you start doing the math. I have always thought that I was a generous person, until I started this Bible study. Last week, I was talking with a friend who is also trying to pay off her debt. She was telling me how she just sold some clothes for $17. While it was very little, she brought it up that she was excited to tithe the $1.70. Her message to me really stood out. “It’s important to me to tithe 10% of anything I make. Regardless of the amount. Showing God my heart, you know?” No. I actually didn’t. I was so speechless about her message that I actually just sat there staring at it for a minute or two. Sure, on the weeks that I went to church, I would throw a $10 or $20 in the basket as it came around. I had seen my parents do that for YEARS. Actually, I remember being really small sitting on my dad’s lap in church. When the offering plate would come around, he would hand me the folded up check and I would get to put it in there.  I remember being so incredibly excited about dropping it in there. But it is easy to give when the check is coming out of someone else’s bank account.…

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Budget Tips, Food, Money, Uncategorized

13 Daily Habit Changes that Will Change Your Bank Account

Recently I read the quote “You aren’t going to change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” Ouch. That hit hard. I wanted the success. I wanted to work from home. But, when I was tired after working two jobs for other people. The last thing I wanted to do was work on my own blog and my own dreams. I knew that I had to reconsider what I was doing daily and if it matched up with my goals. Shocker, it didn’t. I was working every single day and paying off debt, but I wasn’t getting anywhere on any of my other goals. Bartending is not my calling and I don’t want to be there the rest of my life. I needed to make a change. Remember that your daily habits aren’t going to change overnight. They are small intentional things that will take a little bit of time to change. If you haven’t read S. J. Scott’s Book, Habit Stacking: 127 Small Changes to Improve Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness, I STRONGLY recommend this book! I also began applying this to my finances. What things do I do daily that match up/ don’t match up with my financial goals. There were a ton of things that I do daily, but thinking of how they affected my financial goals was eye opening. I started implementing SMALL daily changes. I started with one or two of these habits and have worked up to doing more of them as time progresses. 13 Daily Habits That Will Change Your Bank Account 1) Making coffee at home or at the office It is no secret that coffee is crazy over priced. If you can get into a habit of making your coffee at home daily instead of swinging buy Starbucks to get it every day, your wallet will thank you big time. Any coffee shop usually charges $3-6 for a cup of coffee. Even McDonald’s “McCafe” drinks are $3+! At one point I figured out the math that with the purchase…

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Budget Tips, Making Money, Money

Financial Apps You Must Have When Trying To Pay Off Debt!

Do you ever feel like you have a million apps on your phone but you are still searching for the best one? I have been working hard at pay off all of my debt and in the mean time, I have been compiling a list of my favorite tools. There are so many financial tools out there to use that it can be hard to know which tools to use and which ones overlap to do the same things! I have spent a ton of time looking and trying different apps for my phone to get cover all of my needs. Here are a list of my favorite financial apps that have helped me on my debt free journey! Ibotta It is no secret that I love Ibotta. I have shared this multiple times on Instagram. Ibotta is a grocery rebate app. I am all about saving money on groceries. Instead of saving money up front like with coupons, it is a receipt scanning app. The app will pay you for scanning your receipt when you purchase certain items. I love Ibotta because there are a ton of different things on there. Alcohol, produce, meat, frozen foods, and household items can all be found with rebates. Checking it regularly can mean getting cash back on things that you are already getting! When you sign up for Ibotta, you will get a $10 welcome bonus when you redeem your first rebate! (Who can beat free $10!) Acorns Acorns one is pretty new to me, but I have been checking it out lately and I am totally in love so far! It is an investing app for dummies. I have set up my debit cards to round up the purchase so money goes into my investing account when I make a purchase. Acorns also allows you to set up recurring payments. It takes all of the guess work out of what to invest in, because you can just choose your risk level. The app does the rest for you! I have figured out that if I started investing $600 a month (which…

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Budget Tips, Money

The Ultimate Guide To The Cash Envelope System

  Cash Envelopes are the best way to curve your spending because it has been proven that cash is mentally harder to spend than swiping your card!  This system is nothing new to the budgeting world. In fact, this is probably how your great-great grandma carried her budget! If it worked for her, it could definitely work for you! Cash Envelopes are exactly what they sound like. Envelopes or Clips to hold cash that is specifically allocated for a certain category. Things like eating out, groceries, and misc/personal spending are usually the most popular categories for your envelopes, but they can be so many more than that. Cash envelopes allow you to assign a certain amount of money to a category. Once the money in that envelope is gone, there is nothing left for you to spend! They take a few months to get the hang of, but soon you will be rocking and rolling your way to spending less! How to Set up Cash Envelopes? Gather all of your materials To get started you will need envelopes, a pen, a small notebook (small enough for a piece of paper to fit inside of the envelope), clips, and a place to put them! I also use sticky notes to label each clip. I use an old recipe box to keep all of my envelopes organized. The old, decorated milk jug is my coin jar where I put all of my loose change. It actually adds up pretty quick and it is a nice extra $50 every other month. I have seen people use all different kinds of envelopes as well. There are plastic envelopes (which will hold up a little bit longer), or paper envelopes with a ledger if it makes it easier for you to track. Or you can decorate your own. I started with basic office envelopes, but I have been thinking about upgrading! Make a list of budget categories that cash spending would help with These can be all different kinds of things based on your budget and your family. Because I am a waitress, I have…

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Budget Tips, Money

15 Things I Did To Pay off $15,000 on a $30,000 Income

Have you ever felt like you were just a hamster, running on the same wheel every day but not really getting anywhere? You just wanna pay off everything or just run away? That is kind of how I felt in 2016. I had been paying minimums on my student loans. At the beginning of the year, I didn’t have any credit cards or car loans, but that changed by the end of the year. I was working what felt like a billion hours every week waitressing, but every night after my shift I was going to the bars with my coworkers because we “had a rough shift.” Even though I was working a ton, I had zero savings to show for it. I had pictures from a few travel adventures (which I definitely don’t regret), but nothing really extravagant to show for all of the hours that I was working. By mid- November, I had no money for the new car that I “needed” and barely enough money to go on the trip that I had planned for my birthday. On top of that, my other student loan account was due for $190 a month in January. Where was I supposed to get that money. Add in $3,000 of interest had accrued on my student loans since I had taken them out. $3,000!! What? I was over it. 2017 was going to be different. I picked up Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, which had sat on my bookshelf for quite sometime, and started taking notes. In 2017, I paid off over $15,000 including the Jeep that I “needed,” that birthday trip to Texas on a brand new credit card ($700), and a ton of student loans (including that $3,000 in interest). I want to be up front. This isn’t one of those “We sold our house and paid off all of our debt overnight” stories. I am happy for those people, but this is a “I worked my butt off and said no a lot” story. I spent a stupid amount of hours working during this year. There was ALWAYS…

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Budget Tips, Money, No Spend Month Tips

5 Things To Prepare for a No Spend Challenge

Preparing for a no spend challenge is extremely important.

      One thing that has helped me tremendously with paying off $15,000 on a $30,000 income was No Spend Months! They may seem a little crazy, but you can accomplish anything in 30 days if you set your mind to it! No Spend Months are great for resetting your finances after a splurge or really just focusing in on what you already have. I wrote a whole post covering “What is a No Spend Months”, but basically I only spend money on gas, groceries, and pre-budgeted items. Every month is going to have a reason why you can’t do a no spend month. Every month is going to have a holiday, a birthday, a baby shower, or an excuse not to try to stick to your budget. I always sit down at the beginning of the month to decide what items are budgeted for throughout the month. Whether your goal is to not spend for one week, a month, or even a whole year, you have to be realistic about your goals. Everyone has to set their own rules for a no spend month. The best thing you can do for your goals is to prepare for obstacles that might come up throughout your no spend time. Here are 5 things to do to prepare for a No Spend Challenge: 1. Set your goal. When setting your goal, really think about why you want to do this challenge. Is it because you know you have been spending too much? Or maybe you have too much stuff in the house already and you are going to focus on getting rid of stuff and not bringing more in. Another great goal is to pay off the rest of a debt. If you are super close on one of your snowball accounts, maybe the whole point is to really focus on getting that student loan/credit card/car loan gone! When preparing for your no spend month, make a list of the things that you hope to get out of this month. I don’t recommend your goal being much more than half of your take…

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Budget Tips, Holidays

8 Ways To Change Your Christmas Budget

Does Christmas have you feeling stressed? Are you trying to squeeze in every Christmas tradition into 25 days, that are already filled with commitments? Here are 8 ways to change your Christmas Budget!

  Just like every year, Christmas is on December 25th. Even though we know that, it seems like it just “sneaks up on us” before we even get to plan anything. This year, instead of waiting until December 24th to start figuring out how to pay for the holidays, think about checking out these tips to making sure that you don’t regret all of Christmas once your January credit card statement hits. Christmas always comes up so quickly. I don’t know about you, but I am beaming with excitement. I can’t wait for Hall-o-ween to be over with so I can start decorating my apartment! The holidays are always my favorite time of the year with the sugar cookies, the Christmas trees and lights, and actually being able to spend time with my family. I can already hear the Christmas music in my head.I know it will come up faster than we expect, because it always does. This year, don’t let your budget be surprised by the Christmas holiday! 1) Set a budget before the holidays get here! Figure out exactly how much you think you are going to need. When I made my Christmas budget of $1000, it includes dinners with friends, decorations for my apartment, presents for everyone on my list, and any holiday festivities that may happen. I very carefully figured out what I thought was necessary for all of the different categories, but that still seems like too much for a holiday budget. I tried to think about last year to figure out what I spent, but I truthfully have no clue. In 2017, I way over did Christmas and ended up spending a ton of money on gifts!  For 2018, I am aiming to do a little better. I am unsure of what I will do for gifts for my family this year, but I am aiming for smaller and more meaningful. I realize that they don’t really need anything big! 2) Start buying or saving early Some people start buying things when they see them on sale. If you have the storage/hiding space, this…

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Budget Tips, Money

14 Things that Waste Money, but I Refuse to Eliminate from my Budget

The biggest financial advice I have seen is what items that you should never pay for once you start your debt free journey. Maybe I just don't fit in, but I don't see eye to eye on all of the items that are a "waste" of money. I believe that if it brings ease or joy to your life, why eliminate it! Check out my list of 14 things that I waste my money on!

Lately, I have seen a ton of articles that focus on things you shouldn’t waste money on in your debt free journey. According to these, you should just go cold turkey on everything that is a “waste” of money. There are a ton of things that could be considered a waste of money to one person, but not another. I am all about ways that I can save money. This month, I am in the middle of my #SavvySagittariusNoSpend Challenge. When I am not spending money on anything, it makes it easier to see what I really do waste money on. This isn’t how I am doing my debt free journey at all. There are still quite a few things that I purchase that are on most of these lists. I am always looking for ways to save money, but there are a few things that I am just not willing to stop “wasting” money on. Because I won’t give them up, I have found a few ways to save some money on these things. Your debt free journey doesn’t mean you have to be miserable. Continue to enjoy the life you have, but do so responsibly.