Food, Money

13 Things to Do to Avoid Fast Food

Fast food is the hardest part of almost every budget. It is usually where I go over every month. Most of that is due to poor planning. Here are 13 Things that I do that make it easier to say no to fast food!

Fast food has become the meal plan where homemade meals once stood. Many families who once ate at the dinner table for every meal are finding themselves sitting in a fast food drive thru between school and soccer practice. Or maybe it is midnight and you still haven’t eaten anything, so the answer is to get food on the way home from work! I constantly struggle between not having enough time to cook and not having enough money to eat fast food every day. I refuse to eat out often, especially since I am trying to become a healthier me in the midst of My Debt Free Journey.  While trying to live a rice, beans, and ramen lifestyle, I am also trying to lose weight and get my butt back into shape. It hasn’t been easy, let me tell you. Throughout my journey, I have found myself working out more (because it is something free to do). When I workout, I don’t want to eat fast food all of the time because it doesn’t make me feel great. I fuel my body with better foods when I can. One of the best things I have done is cut down on fast food. The drive thru very rarely means anything healthy and it usually adds up fast. Every time I talk to someone who is struggling with their budget, it usually boils down to spending too much money eating out, when money should be going elsewhere. If you spend even $5 a day on miscellaneous food, you could unknowingly be spending over $1,800 a year on it. That isn’t including the actual times when you eat out for special occasions or with other people. According to Reference.com, Americans as a whole spend 384 million dollars a year on fast food alone. That seems absolutely outrageous! Here are 13 Tips to Start Avoiding Fast Food Like the Plague. Make the choice not to eat it Being intentional about anything can help you reach any goal whether it is physical, financial, or mental. Deciding that you just aren’t going to eat fast food is…

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Budget Tips, Money

7 Steps I Took to Pay off $7000 in 7 Months

If you have followed me at all, you have heard all about my debt free journey. Maybe reading about my story has made you curious. Maybe you stumbled upon my post about Why You Should NOT Start Your Debt Free Journey and it inspired you, or at least got you thinking. Maybe you have no clue what I am talking about when I say “My Debt Free Journey.”  Or you simply want to know how I have paid off $7,250 since the beginning of the year. It is crazy that this has been my life for 7 1/2 months because I feel like it was just yesterday that I started this journey. But some days it feels like I have been at this forever. I have poured my whole life into doing everything I possibly can to speed up the steps. I read some great inspiring stories about how people trade in their brand new car for a 10 year old car and they are able to pay off debt super easy.I am so happy for them, but that isn’t my story at all. All of my debt is student loans and I live in an apartment, so nothing big to sell here. There is no acquired money from relatives, just from working a lot.  I am not married, so I don’t have anyone else’s income to live off, just my own. This year has taught me a lot about myself. I have learned that I have a lot more determination than I originally thought. I can also go days without getting more than 5-6 hours of sleep. This year has been a long one, but I am taking it step by step. I am 22, not married, and no kids. Here are my 7 steps to start paying off your debt: 1) Read Total Money Makeover You can start your journey without this step. I actually tried it a few times before without actually reading the book. But let me tell you, once I read the entire book in just a few days, I was hooked. I couldn’t get…

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Blogging, Money

Why You Should NOT Start Your Debt Free Journey

I have read every big debt free journey blog out there. Maybe not every single one, but I have read a lot. I spend countless hours every week going through Pinterest finance pins to schedule on my Tailwind! I spend so much of my very little free time on other blogs reading their stories. Using their lives to encourage myself to keep going. I get up early (some mornings) and work on my blog. Days that I have a longer break in between the two jobs are spent looking through Pinterest. I get off after 12 hour days and focus on knocking out content for my own blog. They all tell you how great it feels to be debt free! They list a million reasons why you need to start your debt free journey right that moment. I talk about how absolutely great it is to be able to pay off $1,500 of debt in one month. Because it is, it feels amazing. They tell you that you just need to give up these 5 certain items and you will be debt free in no time. Heck. I’m a blogger. I do this. But we all know that isn’t how it works. I started my debt free journey in January and blogging about it at about the same time. I knew if I put my goals out there, there would be no reason for me not to complete them. But there are soo many things bloggers don’t talk about. What the bloggers don’t tell you is that while on your debt free journey, you will miss doing cool things with your friends and family sometimes. You will sit in the office with your “sad” lunch while you watch everyone else leaving together to go grab some great food. You may end up working through your lunch because you are the only one left in the office. Because you probably have two jobs now, you may eat more meals in your car or at your desk than you do at the dinner table. And most of those meals will probably be…

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Food, Money

6 Foods to Keep At Home To Save Money On Eating Out

I have been a little caught up in 70 hour work weeks and I haven’t been writing nearly as much. It seems like I haven’t been home other than to sleep and eat, and I have been eating out a ton! I am finally getting back into a routine and figuring out my life, but it is still a little crazy. After a few 70 hour work weeks, I know that I usually don’t want to cook after work. I have been there a million times and 9 times out of 10, I would end up going to get food or ordering pizza. I actually noticed a decent increase in eating out when I started working both jobs. When I noticed this, I started being more on purpose with my grocery shopping. I started preparing for nights where I didn’t want to cook and it saved me a TON on food costs in general.   Overall, I do try to eat healthy. When I actually prep and cook, my meals are a combination of meat, brown rice, and veggies almost 90% of the time. While most of these options aren’t the healthiest, it is still  better and way cheaper than anything I would end up getting from eating out. I attempt to make a habit of meal prepping every week. I do all of my cooking sometime on Sunday to make sure that I have food for the whole week instead of trying to figure it out and cook day by day. This does mean that I eat the same meal multiple days in a row, but I honestly don’t have a problem with that.

Holidays, Money

4 Ways to Save Money on 4th Of July

4th of July is one of my favorite holidays, but it can break the budget before it even starts. Here are 4 ways to save money on the 4th of July!

I absolutely love the 4th of July! In fact, I don’t know a lot of people who don’t like it. It summarizes everything that I love about America. Friends and family coming together to eat some great grilled food and drink some beer while lighting stuff on fire or blowing it up. What about that statement is there not to love? As a child, I have a ton of memories of blowing up McDonald’s toys or plastic army guys. It was a blast, but as a child I never worried about the amount of money I was setting on fire. Literally. As I get older, blowing up fireworks has become a lot less fun. I usually join in on the fun for a little while, but it isn’t necessarily as fun as it was as a child. Anyone else agree? This year, I decided not to spend money on fireworks, but instead enjoy the fireworks of others. As I continue through the 7th month of my Debt Free Journey, it just wasn’t in my budget this year. I have spent most of my weekend reading some great books and working on some writing. I plan to spend a few days by my apartment pool and enjoy the local flea market on the morning of the 4th.

Money

8 Things I Learned From NOT Spending Money

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This is one way that bloggers make money, but it is at absolutely no extra cost to you if you choose to make a purchase based on my suggestions! Thank you! You can read more about it in my Disclosure Policy.  During the Month of April, I spent almost no money. I feel like I did great on my no spend month compared to what I expected. I didn’t pay off as much as I hoped I would have, but it was still super exciting to push myself to get creative. The whole debt free journey has taught me a lot about what is important to me and what I can live without. I think the thing it has taught me the most is that no great journey is ever as easy as “just the numbers.” I can make my spreadsheet with my budget look fantastic, but it is all about when that paycheck comes in and how I handle it. 8 Things I have Learned by Not Spending Money 1) I don’t eat out nearly as much as I thought During my no spend month, it wasn’t actually that hard to not eat out, but now that I am out of it, I have eaten out more in May than I would have all month if I would have just done it in moderation during April. It seems to go in spurts. Some weeks I am on top of planning and others I am not as good about it. Right now I am trying to get back off my binge from eating out because I have probably eaten out six times since the beginning of May! Eeek. I need to get back into the swing of things. My biggest struggle was probably planning breakfast. When I am on the go, I have very little time for breakfast in the morning, but it is a meal that I will not skip. I found myself giving in to breakfast on the way to work a few times during the month. Lack of planning really…

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Millennial Stuff, Money

Why I Don’t Regret My $29K In Student Loan Debt

Student loans are such a dumb and tricky debt when it comes to a debt snowball. I started this journey with about $29,000 in student loan debt left to pay. Most people would say that $29,000 isn’t too bad for a Bachelor’s. But I don’t have my degree. All of my general education credits are complete. I just need to decide what degree to pursue and commit to it. The main problem with that is that I have zero idea what I want to pursue as a degree. When I go back, I have about a year left on my degree. If you have missed my story, check it out on my about me page.  I have paid off over $15,000 in debt in one year, and plan to finish October 2018. If you want to check out my current progress, check out my Debt Free Journey Reports.  The Dave Ramsey book changed my life and outlook on money. I refuse to get into anymore debt, because of The Total Money Makeover. A lot of people have asked me if I regret taking out student loans or if I wish I would have done it differently. My student loans are almost 100% of the reason that I have debt. They are the reason that I am on this debt free journey. I have student loans because I lived in the dorms during my freshman year. ($10,000) I believe that every student should live on campus for at least one semester. I met one of my favorite people from living in the dorms. My roommate was amazing and she was so much fun! Alie and I have so many memories from living together because she was my first “random” roommate outside of the military. She taught me to understand that everyone is different. She also taught me that we both lied on our roommate preferences sheet and still got paired together. Living in the dorms during my freshman year was practical, convenient, and insanely helpful to my freshman education. After moving out of the dorms, it was easier to skip class and…

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Money

Week Three: NO Spend Month

The farther that I get into the month, the more I find myself slipping up or at least considering it. Week Three was way harder than I expected it to be. I clocked out with 66.85 hours this week. It was a STRUGGLE because I was so tired by Sunday. Sunday’s are usually my organization days, but I had a lot on my to do list. I still needed to drive back to my parents. Meal prep, go to the gym, and get some stuff done for work. Good News for the week: My dad fixed my brakes on my Jeep, so all is great! I am finding it harder and harder to stay motivated to keep up with my writing. I would rather be writing than working a billion hours, but I am also working some extra hours to pay off my debts. I can’t wait to get into a routine where everything actually works out, but I am slowly working on it! This week I learned a lot about staying organized and prioritizing when it does come to my free time. I also learned that after 13 hours at work, I have very little will power when it comes to food. SPENT DURING WEEK FOUR: Super Saver Groceries   $  31.15 Sam’s Club Gas:       $ 25.00 Additional Gas: $10.00 Total: 66.15 Spent this week 16.15 Over Budget Paid Off: Student Loan #1: $104 Jeep: $77.88 Total Debt Paid Off This Month: $1,088

Money

Week Two: No Spend Month

  The holiday and work made week two a little hectic, but I am finally sitting down to get caught up! Have you ever had something totally unexpected happen and it was completely out of your control? Well Sunday while I was at drill, I get a call from my roommate asking me if I paid the water bill. Yes. I did. She tells me that the water isn’t working in our entire apartment. I ask her to check with the neighbor and sure enough the entire complex is without water. I get home that night. The weather is warm for this time of year and we have nothing cold to drink in the apartment. I met with someone at Target to sell an item from one of the Facebook For Sale pages. As soon as I got that money, I went into Target to get a gallon of water (which I am usually against buying water, but it had to happen). As I was walking to check out, I saw cake mixes for $1 and frosting for $1.50. I gave in and got the supplies for two cakes. Brittney and I spend our water-less evening making cakes. While I still count it as part of my grocery budget, it definitely wasn’t the kind of spending I had planned. It was so worth it though. It gave us something to do instead of complain about the lack of water in our apartment and we spent most of the evening laughing in the kitchen. I managed to make it through the drill weekend without spending money on lunch or any other food cravings. That being said, I have a long list of restaurants that I can’t wait to eat. One major lesson I have learned from the No Spend Month is that you don’t have to give into your food cravings. The other night, I desperately wanted Taco Johns. I didn’t give in. Instead I went home and used some chicken to make chicken tacos and I happened to have tater tots in the freezers. What could have cost $8-12 for…

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Money

Week One: No Spend Month

My first week of my #NoSpendMonth was GREAT! Read about how I spent less than $50 on everything I needed this week!

Week One of my No Spend Challenge was not nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. I had a few ups and downs as I expected, but I really think I excelled all week! Thank goodness for my Instagram #debtfreecommunity. HUGE shout out to The Budget Awakens and Frugal Desperado for doing this challenge with me! All three of these have been amazing sources for me when I wondered if this challenge was really worth it! Buying supplies for my no spend challenge The few days before, I spent $21.43 at Super Saver getting chicken, fruit, veggies, and other stuff to make for my meals this week. Then I spend $25 at Sam’s Club getting enough toilet paper to last through the apocalypse and coffee creamer for the rest of the year. They were both killer good deals and I won’t worry about needing them for a while so I am not constantly using my small budget this month to buy items. (Update: I bought the toilet paper in March and I still have a ton left in August. My coffee creamer lasted until July.) I put $25 worth of gas into my Jeep! Gas is probably going to be the hardest part of this month because it doesn’t really matter if I go over budget, I have to go to work. That being said, I have been trying to monitor how often I am driving places and if I can make multiple trips into one instead of driving all over town! Most of my driving is to and from work and the gym. I had to buy more pre-workout and ended up spending $90 at Max Muscle (They still gave me a killer deal) for some pre-workout. BCAA’s are good for sore muscles and recovery. Since I have been insanely sore after my last few workouts, I decided to give it a try. I had a little bit of money in my supplement fund. While it was an impulse, it was worth it to get me through week one. Week One of my No Spend Challenge! I think I…

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