Saturday Morning Hustle: Links we Loved this Week

Saturday Morning Hustle: Links we Love this Week - Fun on a Budget Blog

1. One of America’s Top Models shares the secrets to looking your best in a photo. (www.stylecaster.com)

2. April Fools Day doesn’t have to be all evil pranks. Oh Happy Day shares some cute and simple jokes that’ll do the trick.

3. These facts and stats are here to remind you that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams and deter you from giving up too soon. (www.digitalsynopsis.com)

4. Seven different things can can mess with your heartbeat. (www.time.com)

5. Have you visited any of the world’s safest cities? (www.fastcoexist.com)

What did you think of the links we love this week, and what did we miss? Share anything interesting in the comments below–we love to hear from you. Have a fabulous Saturday everyone!

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 Brittany & Sam

10 Instances when being Lazy Saves you Money

10 Instances when being Lazy Saves you Money

In the financial world, there is a plethora of books, articles, and blogs dedicated to providing strategies and plans that help you become the most financially savvy version of yourself. Time after time these resources hammer home messages of working hard, staying motivated, and taking advantage of opportunities as they arise in order to be as financially successful as possible. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of frequently promoting the these worker bee messages, and in full honesty, I do believe in them; however I am a human, and “working hard” does not always make it onto my agenda. Sue me.

Sometimes, I don’t want to work hard. Sometimes, I’m in such a sloth-like mode that sitting on the couch isn’t lazy enough for me—I must LAY on it and not move until I’ve watched eight episodes of House of Cards in a row. Maybe nine.

In a recent moment of extreme relaxation, I realized that a lot of my “lazy” traits and tendencies toward “taking it easy” are actually excellent money savers. This post is my love letter to the couch potato living inside of me and all my fellow veggers out there. The next time you are shaming yourself for not staying out late enough to see the sun set rise, read this and remember that sometimes it “pays” to be lazy.

1. Slacking on Holiday Décor

Do I feel like a bit of a Grinch when I don’t fill my home with holiday cheer each year–Yes. Do I save money and time by skipping it–Yes.  Am I losing any sleep over my lack of Christmas lights–No.

2. Skipping Sporting Events

One of my favorite leisure activities is going to sporting events, but on the rare occasion that I’m not into the idea of parking a half mile away from a stadium, navigating crowds, crawling across the laps of 12 people I don’t know to get to my seat, and maintaining attention on an entire game, I take solace in the fact that I’m not just a loser…I’m a money-saving loser.

3. Early to Bed

Falling asleep on the couch at 7:30 on a Friday may create subtle feelings of embarrassment when swapping weekend stories with my friends, but I am fully happy to catch those extra ZZZ’s (and the newest episode of Hart of Dixie—guilty pleasure alert).  Also, if you are snoozin’ you definitely aren’t out boozin’, eating, paying covers, etc.

4. Water-less Sunning

Going to the pool is quintessential summertime in my mind, but some days the furthest I get my bikini-clad self is out my backdoor and onto a patio lawn chair. Ten minutes of driving for 60 minutes of sun feels like a large investment on the sloth days. I must also clarify that when I say “sunning” I mean letting the sun warm my SPF 70 slathered body–it’s the feeling of being scorched that I’m enjoying more so than destroying my skin.

5. Leftovers are my Jam!

…Because when I’m too lazy to cook and clean my kitchen I make the most of what I have and stretch my meals into leftovers multiple times a week.

6. Wedding Simplifications

My neglect towards having programs, menus, place cards, additional decorations, and run-of-the-mill favors at my wedding was mostly due to a lack of desire in adding additional tasks and planning to my to-do list; however it also helped me save several hundred dollars at the least.

7. Love of Yoga Pants and Elastic Waistbands

Sometimes the idea of changing out of my yoga pants and into “public clothes” is enough of a deterrent to squash any desire of leaving the house for any reason–shopping, dinner, ice cream, etc.

8. Afternoon Naps

When a post-workday nap trumps Happy Hour, you can save yourself at least 10 bucks and some calories—why is it only the fried foods that go half-price!?!?

9. Mediocre Workout Routine

This is hard for me to say because I do place my health high on my list of priorities, and I’m at my happiest when I’m making sure that I get enough cardio and strength exercising in throughout my week.  My lack of motivation to sign up for races, gym memberships, and the such save me money by eliminating gym membership fees, putting less miles on my running shoes, etc.

10. Stay-Cations instead of Vacations

Stay-cations are a lazy mentality’s dream come true! Days off work, nowhere to be, nothing to do, and consequently–nothing to pay for. A little R&R is good for your mind, body, and budget.

 While the idea of being a go-getting, mega-hustling human being 100% of the time might sound appealing, the truth is that it is simply unrealistic—unless you are Sam, but that is an entirely different story in which her stamina is the exception to the rule 😉  Most of us need breaks from intensity and to-do lists every once in awhile. Why not enjoy the silver lining while you are at it?

What is your favorite way to get lazy, and how does it help you save money?

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This post is linked up with Savvy Saturdays,  The Thrifty Couple and Thrifty Thursday.

Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget

Issue 69   

Every Monday we provide you with our past weekend’s agenda to show you how you can continue to do what you love on the weekend while using your common cents!

Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget: Issue 69 - Fun on a Budget Blog

FRIDAY

Last Friday I was lucky to be starting my spring break, but this Friday marked the beginning of the end for our household. We started our morning slowly together with some delicious eggs, green smoothies, and coffee. My husband had to see clients that afternoon, so we were able to squeeze in a quick round of tennis before duty called his name, and a nap called mine :) I also got a fair amount of work done on the blog and some browsing (but no purchasing) at a local thrift store. Knowing that we had plans for the remainder of the weekend, we decided to have a nice and quiet dinner in—a dinner that might not appear to be the most fabulous in the picture below but more than satisfied our mutual cravings for sauerkraut.

Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget: Issue 69 - Fun on a Budget Blog

Friday Spending Stats:

  • Breakfast                                                                   $0.00
  • Tennis                                                                        $0.00
  • Lunch (leftovers)                                                       $0.00
  • Thrifting                                                                    $0.00
  • Fun aka Nap                                                              $0.00
  • Dinner                                                                        $0.00

Total Friday Spending: $0.00

Estimated Total Friday Savings: $30.00

SATURDAY

I was lucky enough to naturally wake up early on Saturday morning and get in some quality blog work before my fun and therefore distracting roomie woke up to join me for coffee and breakfast. We watched a couple of episodes of House of Cards on Netflix before he left for work (do you see a pattern here—hint: I’m the lucky one), and I made the mistake of watching one episode of “Inside a Killer’s Mind”. BIG MISTAKE as I would find later on Saturday night.  Late that afternoon we met up with some friends for a round of disc golf—my first and majorly embarrassing round to be more specific. After the sun set and our game came to an end, we stopped at a Mexican restaurant where Joe and I opted not to share entrees so that we could live on leftovers the rest of the weekend. Newbie disc golf must be exhausting because I fell asleep sitting up in bed with all the lights in the room on within 10 minutes of arriving home. How am I going to go back to work on Monday?!?!?!

Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget: Issue 69 - Fun on a Budget BlogSaturday Spending Stats:

  • Breakfast                                                                  $0.00
  • Entertainment/Netflix                                             $0.00
  • Lunch                                                                       $0.00
  • Disc Golf                                                                   $0.00
  • Dinner with Friends                                               $40.00

Total Saturday Spending: $40.00

Estimated Total Saturday Savings: $20.00

SUNDAY

I woke up early again on Sunday, but rather than working, I used this time to do more important things–like watch Golden Girls reruns :) I did finally crawl off the couch to complete some work and do some yoga before settling back on it to catch up on March Madness. As us piggies had planned while dining out on Saturday, we ate leftovers for lunch on Sunday (I was actually able to stretch mine into lunch AND dinner because I am a delicate little lady). My Joe decided to attempt a home hair cut—not a buzz cut folks, a real hair cut—and enlisted me as his trusty assistant.  Then he fired me. Then he rehired me to even out the back. It was somewhat of an ordeal but overall entertaining and a learning experience. Better his hair than mine. Mwahahahahahaha! The rest of Sunday was very low key and used to catch up on cleaning, cooking, and work tasks before I re-enter the real world.

Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget: Issue 69 - Fun on a Budget BlogSunday Spending Stats:

  • Breakfast                                                $0.00
  • Lunch                                                      $0.00
  • Yoga                                                        $0.00
  • Joe’s Haircut                                            $0.00
  • Dinner                                                     $0.00

Total Sunday Spending Stats: $0.00

Estimated Total Sunday Savings: $35.00

Total Estimated Weekend Spending: $40.00

Total Estimated Weekend Savings: $85.00

It was nice to have a low cost and low key weekend after I had spent last weekend traveling. I especially needed the prep and rest time to get ready to head back to work. I love my job, but how many more days until summer?!?

How did you save money this past weekend? Does anyone have any tips on not sucking at disc golf?

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♥ Brittany

 

Saturday Morning Hustle: Links we Loved this Week

Saturday Morning Hustle: Links we Loved this Week - Fun on a Budget Blog

1. This is your brain, and this is your brain on love. (www.brit.co)

2. Open your eyes to the top 5 money mistakes you are likely to make in each decade of your adult life. (www.gobankingrates.com)

3. Knowing how to tie a bow tie is pretty much a life skill. (www.laurenconrad.com)

4. The stages of eating ice cream, as told by babies. I could watch this video a million times. (www.youtube.com)

5. It’s avoided at all costs, but sometimes life gets in the way. Here are 10 strategies to help you successfully grocery shop when you are hungry (www.thekitchn.com)

We hope all of you winter bunnies can finally get outside today to enjoy the first official weekend of spring! What links were at the top of your list this week? Share in the comments below.

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 Brittany & Sam

Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget

Issue 68

Every Monday Wednesday we provide you with our past weekend’s agenda to show you how you can continue to do what you love on the weekend while using your common cents!

Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget: Issue 68 - Fun on a Budget Blog does a Beachy Bachelorette Weekend!

FRIDAY

Friday afternoon marked the beginning of my spring break (perks of working in the school system), and I spent most of my day in the car headed to San Diego for a weekend bachelorette party.  Some of the girls that had arrived earlier in the day made a grocery trip to stock the house with snacks, drinks, and appetizers to keep us hydrated and full between our meals and adventures.  Knowing this, I packed some fruit, almonds, beef jerky, and coconut water to tide over my tummy while driving and chipped in for the weekend’s supplies when I arrived at the house just before I started enjoying them. Friday was our night in to shower the bride-to-be with gifts as we all got to know each other, so as far as limiting my spending goes, it was a success—much cheaper than hitting bars or a restaurant.

Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget: Issue 68 - Fun on a Budget Blog does a Beachy Bachelorette Weekend!

Friday Spending Stats:

  • Car Snacks                                                                 $0.00
  • Dinner/Late night snacks                                        $10.00
  • Nightlife (stayed in and opened gifts)                     $0.00

Total Friday Spending: $10.00

Estimated Total Friday Savings: $20.00

SATURDAY

We had planned on heading out for brunch on Saturday morning, but in typical vacation fashion we got a late start and didn’t have time to squeeze it in before our 12:00 lunch reservation. Our amazing trip organizer made a reservation at Ballast Point brewery—which had the most reasonable beer prices I have EVER seen in my life, EVER—where we ate lunch and tasted some seriously delicious brews before finding our favorites. Following lunch we toured the brewery (free!), and because we were enjoying ourselves so much, we decided to stick around for a couple of hours before heading back to the beach house. While I did skip purchasing any Ballast Point gear from their souvenir shop, I did get a big ol’ can of their Thai Chili White Wahoo for my husband.  Once we got home we ate some snacks then thought we’d check out the neighborhood for some dinner spots. Being the old broads that we are, we struck out and were unimpressed with the “scene”, so we opted to order some pizza as we were on our way home.  I fell asleep as we were waiting for the WORST PIZZA DELIVERY EVER—no shame.

Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget: Issue 68 - Fun on a Budget Blog does a Beachy Bachelorette Weekend!

Saturday Spending Stats:

  • Brunch                                                                    0.00
  • Lunch (drinks included)                                      $37.00
  • Brewery Tour                                                         $0.00
  • Drinks                                                                     $7.00
  • Beer for my Beloved                                              $9.00
  • Souvenirs                                                               $0.00
  • Dinner                                                                    $5.00

Total Saturday Spending: $61.00

Estimated Total Saturday Savings: $65.00

SUNDAY

Sunday morning we did make it to brunch—at which I ordered a bombtastic egg sandwich and saved half to tide me over during mealtimes later that day.  I also forgot to grab my sunglasses on my way out of the house that morning and browsed some shops to see if I could find a cheap pair that could tide me over for the next couple of hours but passed. They were all cheaper than their price tags, and you all know my feelings on wasting money. Squinty brunch, here I come! A few of us spent the rest of the morning catching some rays on the beach before making our way to Stone Brewery for a lunch/dinner combo and more beer (seeing a pattern here?). I was able to order one of the cheapest entrees on the menu—yeah I said it—because of the leftover brunch I strategically saved earlier in the day. We had a little time to enjoy the scenery and peruse the gift shop (you know I walked away empty handed) before heading back to the beach for a sunset bonfire to round out the weekend.  I couldn’t ask for a better send off than smores :)

Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget: Issue 68 - Fun on a Budget Blog does a Beachy Bachelorette Weekend!

Sunday Spending Stats:

  • Brunch:                                                                        $19.00
  • Sunglasses Shopping                                                  $0.00
  • Lunch:                                                                           $0.00
  • Beach/Afternoon Fun                                                   $0.00
  • Early Dinner/Brewery                                                 $31.00
  • Souvenirs                                                                       $0.00
  • Bonfire                                                                         $10.00

Total Sunday Spending: $60.00

Estimated Total Sunday Savings: $25.00

*Total Estimated Weekend Spending: $131.00

Total Estimated Weekend Savings:  $110.00

I was a little late on getting this Weekend Survival Guide out, but hey—a bachelorette party and 5.5 hours of solo driving will do that to you. Being as it is humpday, this can serve as a wonderful reminder that “next” weekend is only a few days away :) I was able to pay for nearly my entire trip’s expenses without spending much above my regular allotted cash amounts by consciously not spending my designated “spending money” from my previous two pay periods. It took a little planning ahead before I left and some reorganization once I got back (because I used my debit card when splitting group meals), but to me it is worth saving that $110.00—especially when I’ve got some gift giving expenses in my near future (woohoo to exciting life events!)

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 Brittany

*The cost of staying at the beach house was paid for months in advance and not included in my weekend spending totals. Eight people had their own bed in a house that was within walking distance to the beach for just $150 (check in Friday and checkout Monday) for the entire weekend. That’s what we call Fun on a Budget 😉

You can find this week’s Weekend Survival Guide linked up at Alex and Cassie’s Thrifty Thursday and Living Well, Spending Less.

Saturday Morning Hustle: Links we Loved this Week

Saturday Morning Hustle - Fun on a Budget Blog

1. Time facts and comparisons that will blow your mind. (www.higherperspective.com)

2. Five healthy steps to overcoming a major setback. (www.blog.freepeople.com)

3. Somebody out there actually decided to test those strategies on perfectly pacing the ripening of bananas and has photo documentation of her results. (www.thekitchn.com)

4. Surprisingly some of these wine hacks were new news to me.(www.brit.co)

5. Tom Hanks can do no wrong. He makes starring in a Carly Rae Jepsen music video adorable. Impressive. (www.mashable.com)

That’s all we have for link love this week. Don’t forget to enjoy this last weekend of “winter”, and check in on Monday to see if Brittany can pull of a bachelorette weekend in San Diego on a budget. Roadtrip!!

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 Brittany & Sam

Financial Forecasting: Using a Financial Aid Loan Calculator to Strategize your Debt Repayment Plan

Financial Forecasting: Using a Financial Aid Calculator to Look in to your Financial Future - Fun on a Budget Blog

When I was younger, I used to play this weird game in my own mind where I would try to guess exactly what my life would be like in X amount of days or X amount of years. For the most part, this quirky pasttime, which I later dubbed “Future Game”, consisted of me interrupting my typical daydreams (something monumental I’m sure, like contemplating where exactly I should part my hair) to ponder some bigger and more exciting unknowns: Where will I be living? What will I be thinking about? Who will I be with? Will I have met my husband yet—or even weirder, have I met him already and don’t even know it? Will I be in good shape and still have all working body parts? But my favorite question to ask was always this one:

If I could see the future me, how would present me feel?

photo credit: www.moreintelligentlife.com

Clearly, I am not and never will be a world renowned philosopher, but I still think that playing “Future Game” and musing over what is to come is an interesting way to get lost in thought.  As I was playing “Future Game” a few days ago—wait did I give you the impression I quit playing—oh, I’m sorry, I should have made it more obvious that “Future Game” was invented in my younger years and is still going strong!  I know, I know, everyone probably wishes they could hang out with me on the weekends now that the secret is out about how cool and exciting I am 😉 All jokes aside, I recently created a more fact-based variation of “Future Game” that I’m calling “Five Year Financial Future Game” (creative I know).  I  used a Financial Aid Loan Calculator to plug in the numbers for two different debt repayment strategies:

  • STRATEGY ONE: Making only Required Monthly Minimum Payments
  • STRATEGY TWO:  Making Monthly Minimum Payments AND Contributing as much Additional Money as Possible

If you are having any second thoughts—or no thoughts at all—about putting extra money towards your debt, then I suggest you play “Five Year Financial Future Game” too. The results were MUCH more DRAMATIC than I had anticipated. Here is what I found:

Making only Minimum Payments on my Debt for the next 5 years results in…

Me making minimal financial gains. If this is the route I choose to take, five years from today I will still be putting $616.59 towards my student loan debt every month. My total debt numbers will be lower, but essentially nothing else will have changed because I will still be 2.7 years away from escaping my biggest financial burden. Even worse, when it is all said and done, I will have paid over $12,000 in interest alone! That is nearly 1/3 of the total debt I owe. Ouch!!

Financial Foreasting: Using a Loan Calculator to Determine where you will be Financially 5 years from Today.

Financial Forewarning: Minimum Payments will only take you so far…You get what you give.

Paying as much Money as I can towards my debt over the next FIVE 1.5 years results in…

Me only being in debt for 1.5 more years! That is no joke, folks. By putting more than 50% of my income towards paying off my debt, five years from now my debt-paying days will be 3.5 years behind me, and I will have paid just $2,700 in interest (that is only 6% of my total debt).  In comparison to using the strategy of scraping by on minimum payments, paying off my debt faster will provide me with an additional 3.5 years to do whatever with the money that would have otherwise been going towards loan payments, and I will save $10,000 in interest alone! Retirement savings, vacations, home buying, college funds–you name it, and I have the extra funds to work towards it. Yes, please.

Financial Forecasting: Using a Financial Aid Calculator to Look in to your Financial Future - Fun on a Budget Blog

Playing the “Five Year Financial Future Game” helped me discover that when it comes to paying off debt, a lot can happen in just 5 years. If I work a little bit harder, spend a little lot less, and pay attention to where my money is going right now, I could be debt free before potential BIGGER expenses and limitations (ex: children, mortgage, etc.) have a more significant impact on my life. Using the Financial Aid Loan Calculator makes the “game” a reality and allowed me to see accurate financial forecasts for each debt repayment strategy. After seeing the major effect that today’s actions have on my financial future, “present me” just can’t stomach the thought of choosing some instant gratification over long-term success and comfort.  How could I crunch these numbers and not buckle down sooner rather than later?!?!

Actually doing the math and facing reality can be so eye-opening. Did you use the Financial Aid Loan Calculator to play the “FIVE Year Financial Future Game”? Does looking at your Financial Forecast have an impact on how you are choosing to pay back your debts now, and what is the main factor in how you have decided to eliminate debt?

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This post is linked up at Alex and Cassie’s Thrifty Thursday, at Living Well Spending Less, Financially Savvy Saturdays, and Frugal Friday.