Author Archives: Brittany

Saturday Morning Hustle: Links we Loved this Week

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

1. Study finds that millennials prefer store brand items over others..but why? (www.mediapost.com)

2.  Ten natural hacks for removing common stains. (www.brit.co)

3. Exploring the everyday routines of great minds. (www.infowetrust.com)

4.  Can you guess the most popular street names in each state? (www.washingtonpost.com)

5. How to be the person your coworkers are psyched to work with. (www.stylecaster.com)

I can’t believe we are already into the second week of March! Time is flying, and this weekend marks one of my least favorite weekends of the year because many of my nearest and dearest “spring forward” and leave me two to three hours behind them–Arizona problems. :) Anyway…we hope you enjoyed our favorite links as much as we did, and as always we love to see those that were at top of your list this week too. Please share them in the comments!

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♥ Brittany & Sam

Brittany’s February Debt Progress Report

Brittany's Debt Progress Report - Fun on a Budget Blog

January and February of 2015, mark a major turning point in my debt payoff journey. In the middle of February I gained an amazing husband, his additional income, and really the only raw end of the deal—his student loan debt (to be fair, he is getting stuck with my $43,000 of debt too).  Because of my recent change in income and the addition of a partner and partner’s debts, my progress reports will have to be adjusted as well. We still haven’t ironed out the details regarding how I will be reporting progress, but we have March to get all of that sorted out don’t we :)

Until then, here is my final single lady debt progress report. I nearly paid off half of my debt all by my big girl self in 18 months.  It’s pretty anti-climatic seeing the progress compared to previous months, but the events of the last couple of months are priceless and worth much more to me than a few thousand dollars extra put towards our debt.

The graph below summarizes my short term debt progress across all of my individual loans. The blue column represents my debt totals for individual loans as of December 31, 2014, and the green columns represent my debt totals for individual loans as of February 28, 2014. If you make payments above the minimum monthly requirements, looking at the debt progress in this format really emphasizes how paying more than the minimum has a significant impact on your debt decrease. In January and February I paid only minimum requirements on all of my loans, and as you can see the amount of “progress” I made was very, very minimal.

Monthly Progress on Individual Loans - Fun on a Budget Blog

The bar graph below represents the long term and short term progress I have made on my overall debt. The grey bar represents my original total debt amount, the blue bar is my total debt one month ago, and the green bar shows how much debt I have today. Sometimes it’s hard to feel like you are making progress when you look at your BIG number on a month-to-month basis, but looking back to the beginning can remind you how far you have come.

total debt progress

Having ONE target loan will increase the rate at which you can pay off your debt and decrease the amount of money you will pay towards interest to help you become debt free sooner!

If I was paying above the minimum monthly requirement on my focal loan, the percentage being paid towards interest would have been much smaller—I’ve been ranging between 10% and 16% of my total payment being applied towards interest; however because I paid only minimums on all my loans this month, 29% of my total payments across all loans went towards interest. You want to pay as much as possible toward the principal because that is what helps speed up the process of eliminating debt. The chart below gives you a visual representation of these numbers.

Percentage towards interest

It might seem like cash flowing money right now is rough, but if you make minimum monthly payments until all of your debt is gone, you will end up paying MUCH MORE than your original loan amounts in the long run.

Tell your Income Where to Go

Typically at this point in my progress report I share a pie chart that summarizes where I delegated my earned income during the past month. This month I don’t have a pie chart to share because I actually spent more than I earned. January and February were the final months of using my already-stashed-away savings to pay for the remainder of our wedding expenses. A pie chart wouldn’t represent the actual income and outgo of my cash, but I am considering writing a post to explain how I stayed organized during those two hectic months—well at least organized enough to stay sane 😉

January and February Roadblocks: The big road block was simply having the patience not to debt snowball as I sat on cash that I might need in the event of an emergency or unplanned expense for our wedding.

January and February Dollar Holllllllaaaaaas: No extra scrilla to write home about this month. I’m just happy to have experienced the most exciting day of my life without adding any debt to our already large mountain :)

 For more information on how to gain control of your finances check out our info on Getting Started by clicking the link in the menu bar at the top of the page. How do you stay motivated and track your debt progress? I recently read a blog post about living on a budget without a written budget—do you think you could do it?

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 Brittany

* You can find this post linked up with lots of other good financially blessed stuff at Thrifty Thursday, Frugal Friday, and Financially Savvy Saturdays!

Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget

Issue 67

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 Girl on a Budget - Fun on a Budget Blog

FRIDAY

I spent way too much of my brain space thinking about kimchi on Friday afternoon, so following the end of the workweek, I decided to forego cooking dinner myself and went out for Korean with my better half. Even though part of me wanted a beer, I drank water instead—predicting that a post-dinner dessert stop being the culprit of my extra calories and spending. I’m glad I made that choice because we hit up a new neighborhood Fro-yo joint to satisfy that sweet tooth. I give both spots two thumbs up and appreciated the break from cooking and cleaning after a long work week :) Now that we share all of our money, we decided to dedicate a specific amount of cash each month to pay for our joint date-ish activities, so that’s how we paid for our full bellies on Friday.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for...froyo.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for…froyo.

Friday Spending Stats:

  • Dinner  Date                                  $45.00
  • Frozen Yogurt                                    $6.00

Total Friday Spending: $51.00

Estimated Total Friday Savings: $5.00

SATURDAY

Saturday was an errand day and couch night—50% how I like it, no shame in my game! I woke up early to get back into my blogging routine (funnily enough a post about routines is coming your way soon) by posting a new Saturday Morning Hustle and making some upgrades to Fun on a Budget Blog’s appearance.  Slowly but surely sprucing it up here.  I had half a pot of coffee for breakfast and leftover bibimbap for lunch before heading across town to pick out my bridesmaid dress for Sam’s wedding (whoop whoop!) and complete some much anticipated shopping via gift cards at Crate and Barrel. I purchased only one half of the amount of towels on my wish list because I wanted to stay near my gift card total to limit out of pocket spending. While driving home from my shopping excursions,  I resisted a snack attack and kept my foot on the gas pedal as I drove past all restaurants serving french fries.  Once home, I satiated that salt craving with food from our pantry, cleaned up a bit around the house, ate the second half of the leftover bibimbap for dinner, and then settled on the couch with a cup of peppermint-lemon tea for a night of catching up with my DVR. It was heavenly.

As soon as I realized that I had chosen a bridesmaid jumpsuit--not a dress--I had to let Sam know it was what I'd be wearing at her wedding...haha! I kid, I kid.

As soon as I realized that I had chosen a bridesmaid jumpsuit–not a dress–I had to let Sam know it was what I’d be wearing at her wedding…haha! I kid, I kid.

Saturday Spending Stats:

  • Breakfast/Lunch (leftovers)                                                             $0.00
  • Bridesmaid dress (waiting to order online to save $50.00!)            $0.00
  • Crate and Barrel                                                                             $12.00
  • Snack Attack (AVOIDED!)                                                               $0.00
  • Dinner                                                                                              $0.00

Total Saturday Spending: $12.00

Estimated Total Saturday Savings: $150.00

SUNDAY

Sunday was definitely dedicated to getting organized across multiple life areas. I started the day getting my written budget back on track, syncing that up with my mister’s written budget, and knocking out our first—and almost second—paid off debt’s as a married couple. No rest Just two weeks rest for the wicked in this house. After our finances were officially in order, I dedicated a few hours to blog work. I feel extremely far behind and have been enjoying getting back on the grind. I made a loose meal plan for the week, and we set out for Costco and Trader Joe’s to pick up the necessities (strictly sticking to the list and missing out on a few items we wanted). Cooking a bomb meal on Sunday to kick start the week has become one of my favorite rituals, so I made a batch of black bean burgers and an attempt at copying the Santorini Farro Salad I had a Cheesecake Factory last weekend. My salad wasn’t as good as theirs, but if I figure out what they are working with that I’m not, I’ll share the secret with all of you :) Post meal time, I rounded out my weekend by finishing up laundry and dishes. The fabulous life continues (please read sarcasm).

Cozy day in laundering some fresh towels and completing lots of paperwork.

Cozy day in laundering some fresh towels and completing lots of paperwork.

Sunday Spending Stats:

  • Breakfast                      $0.00
  • Lunch                            $0.00
  • Costco                        $72.00
  • Trader Joe’s                $33.00
  • Dinner                           $0.00
  • Fun/Entertainment         $0.00

Total Sunday Spending: $95.00

Estimated Total Sunday Savings: $50.00

Total Estimated Weekend Spending: $158.00

Total Estimated Weekend Savings: $205.00

This past weekend was a good opportunity to get back on the type of track that has helped me pay off so much debt over the last year and a half. Three years ago I would have spent at least $100 more at Crate and Barrel in order to get everything I wanted immediately, spent $50 extra to get my bridesmaid dress in store to avoid the “hassle” of taking another step to look it up online, and spent at least an additional $50.00 when grocery shopping to get everything I want all at once.

The willpower will prove it’s worth it once again when I use that unspent money to help put the kibosh on another loan payment later this week.

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 Brittany

Saturday Morning Hustle: Links we Love this Week

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

1.  Your go to guide for the foods you should and should not be eating when you are sick…for every kind of sickness. (www.time.com)

2.  Ten traits that trump “likeability”. (www.huffingtonpost.com)

3.  Seven surprising ways to score on Etsy. (www.theeverygirl.com)

4.  You know you wouldn’t mind having a few tricks that help you avoid small talk. (www.joannagoddard.blogspot.com)

5. Every wondered what it was like to share a name with Lord Voldemort? Get it straight from these Tom Riddles’ mouths. (www.newsweek.com)

I know that we have been sporadic with our posts since the new year, but things are looking busy soon and we are VERY excited about it. With wedding planning behind Brittany and a blossoming new business for Sam, we have tons of new ideas and info to share with anyone who stuck around through the lull and was patient enough to wait for us to get our act together! We love you guys :)

As always we love to see the links that were at top of your list this week too, so please share below!

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♥ Brittany & Sam

Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget

Issue 66

WSG IconEvery 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!

FRIDAY

Salsa chicken in the crockpot! Ready for me when I got home Friday night :-)

Salsa chicken in the crockpot! Ready for me when I got home Friday night :-)

I had another exceptionally exciting Friday night ending with an 8:30 bedtime. I enjoyed one drink at my typical Friday afternoon Happy Hour with co-workers, made salsa chicken in the crockpot, and watched the first half of Gone Girl.

Friday Spending Stats:

  • Happy Hour                                                                             $12.00
  • Dinner (sugar-free crockpot meal)                                         $0.00
  • Nightlife/Entertainment                                                          $0.00

Total Friday Spending: $12.00

Estimated Total Friday Savings: $30.00 (eating out)

SATURDAY

Plantains with coconut oil baked in the oven and served over plain Greek yogurt with cinnamon and some honey. YUM!

Plantains with coconut oil baked in the oven and served over plain Greek yogurt with cinnamon and some honey. YUM!

The weekend started with yoga and walk on the beach….ahhhh relaxing! The rest of the day was all about the to-do list. Between wedding, Beachbody, and life my to-do lists have gotten pretty long. Guest book – check, bridesmaid’s gifts – check, transportation – check, wedding invites – check. Phew! That feels good! Who knew that vacuuming for a few can transform your whole house?! I ran the vacuum around and picked up a few pieces of mail here and there and voila! Clean house! Grocery shopping, dinner on the grill, and finishing the movie comprised the rest of my day.

Saturday Spending Stats:

  • Yoga and walk on the beach                                           $2.00 (donation)
  • Coffee                                                                               $2.00
  • To-do list marathon                                                         $0.00
  • Weekend chores                                                              $0.00
  • Nightlife/Entertainment                                                  $0.00

Total Saturday Spending: $4.00

Estimated Total Saturday Saving: $40.00 (eating and drinking out)

SUNDAY

Finally a few hours by the pool :-)

Finally a few hours by the pool :-)

I didn’t get as much done as I wanted yesterday so I spend the morning working on Beachbody invites and participation, some more wedding stuff, and cleaning. I was able to head to the pool for a couple hours of sun which was much needed and super relaxing! A small meal prep (leaving for Brittany’s wedding on Thursdsay!), dinner, and TV watching ended my productive weekend J

Sunday Spending Stats:

  • Meals                                                             $0.00
  • Sunday Stuff                                                  $0.00
  • Poolside relaxation                                        $0.00

Total Sunday Spending: $0.00

Estimated Total Sunday Savings: $30.00 (meals out)

Total Estimated Weekend Spending: $16.00

Total Estimated Weekend Savings: $100.00

I’m always trying different fitness and nutrition challenges and this weekend was all about going sugar-free (including BBQ sauce, certain fruits, sweeteners, etc.). I actually made it through the entire weekend without eating sugar! YAY! Keeping myself busy was definitely a big part in my success. I had to prioritize my weekends this month and work on getting extra things done because I’ll be out of town next weekend celebrating Brittany’s wedding!!!!! How do you prioritize your weekends?!

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Sam

 

Sam’s December and January Debt Progress Reports

Debt Icon

Monthly Progress on Individual Debts

The graph below summarizes my short term debt progress during the month of December and January.

  • The blue columns represent my debt totals for individual loans as of December 1, 2014.
  • The pink columns represent my debt totals for individual loans as of January 30, 2015 (two months of debt payoff).

Looking at the debt progress in this format really emphasizes how paying more than the minimum has a HUGE impact on your debt decrease. You can also see that the debts I made minimum payments on only decreased by a relatively small amount.

2015 Jan Progress Report Ind DebtsI made my minimum payment plus additional payment of $350 toward my principal balance in December and $350 in January (see how I did it at the bottom of the report!). This is a new habit and works best when I make my minimum payment as soon as I receive the statement. Most of my minimum payment went toward my principal balance because I had just paid my previous statement 4 days before (I used to wait until the due date to make a payment).

Total Debt Progress

2015 Jan Progress Report Total DebtPaying more than the minimum has made a significant impact toward decreasing my debt.

 Amount Applied towards interest

2015 Jan Progress Report InterestBecause I made two payments just a few days apart, there was not a lot of accrued interest. Typically, almost my entire minimum payment is applied toward interest.

2015 Jan Progress Report Total IncomeRoadblocks: Saving for wedding expenses and building my emergency fund to prepare for a one income household once I get married has stopped me from putting significant amounts of my paychecks toward debt.

December Dollar Hollaaas: My new side job/hobby has created extra income that is strictly dedicated as debt payoff money. $350 in December and $350 in January were applied toward my principal balance. Thank you Beachbody!

For more information on how to gain control of your finances check out our info on Getting Started by clicking the link in the menu bar at the top of the page. How do you stay motivated and track your debt progress? Do you have any tips that help you stay motivated when you aren’t able to put as much as you’d like towards debt because you have other looming expenses?

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Sam

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich and Simple Cheap Mom*

Weekend Survival Guides for Every Wallet and Every Occasion

Weekend Survival Guides for Every Occasion

This week Sam and I decided to do a little spin on our Weekend Survival Guide Series. We have noticed that we are getting some traffic from new visitors (we are pumped you are here and hope you stick around for awhile!), so instead of providing you with the events of just this past weekend, we put together a list of the Weekend Survival Guides that include types of weekends—lazy weekends, road trip weekends, athletic weekends, shopping weekends—we feel everyone experiences, whether it be on a regular basis or once in a blue bachelorette party.

Sometimes we rocked our budget and sometimes we…er…didn’t. So is life, right? If you having an upcoming weekend event and are looking for some ideas or guidance on how to save a couple pennies hundred dollars, check out the Weekend Survival Guides for the Girl on a Budget that we’ve listed below. There is something for everyone and every wallet :)

Holiday Hostess

Weekend with Your Pals

Bachelorette Party Weekend

Long Weekend turned Vacation (spoiler alert: San Francisco)

Low Key Weekend

For the Newly Relocated or Generally Disorganized

A Weekend on the Slopes – Ski Trip

Cross Country Traveling

Weekend as a Wedding Guest

Which types of weekends hit your budget the hardest and what steps do you take to lessen the blow? We love getting new tips and ideas…and if you read about the ski trip weekend you will easily see that there is plenty of room for improvement! Sam might prefer I just speak for myself!

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 Brittany