Tag Archives: fun on a budget

Saturday Morning Hustle

1. Use yogi strategies to sleep better at night. (www.doyouyoga.com)

2. Cheap last minute traveling tips to help yourself survive holiday flights. (www.stylecaster.com)

3. Eliminate all excuses for eating unhealthy lunches Monday through Friday with this guide to packing salads for the entire week. (www.popsugar.com)

4. Take a look at the wealthiest town in each state. (www.mentalfloss.com)

5. This woman revamped her weekends to create a happy work-life balance. (www.forbes.com)

Now that we have shared the Links we Loved this Week, we want to know what articles and blog posts were at the top of your list! Please share them below :)

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 Brittany & Sam

Saturday Morning Hustle: Links we Loved this Week

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1. All questions about the correct way to store your produce are answered here. (www.stylecaster.com)

2. Adopt 12 habits of highly successful people and make positive life changes. (www.lifehack.org)

3. Good news for lovebirds: The numbers are in, and the divorce rate is on the decline. (www.nytimes.com)

4. The real reason you kind of want to take a bite out of your baby. (www.buzzfeed.com)

5. How to take great photos–even if it is just on your cell phone. (www.blog.ted.com)

What links were at the top of your list this week? We hope you give yourself some downtime to enjoy catching up reading them this weekend.!

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 Brittany & Sam

Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget

Issue 56

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

FRIDAY

Joe did buy my burger and fries, but at least I am a cheap date! photo credit: www.freddysusa.com

Joe did buy my burger and fries, but at least I am a cheap date! photo credit: www.freddysusa.com

The last two weekends, Joe and I have gone out to dinner on Friday night, and it has been a nice way to relax (I’m especially enjoying the no clean up) after the work week. We are thinking of making it a tradition because we can do it in a way that doesn’t cost much money…um, yes we went on a date to Freddy’s (and I’m pretty sure a most of the local high school students were on their dates there as well), but it tasted delicious and the company was good. Last weekend I paid (with a gift certificate) and this weekend, Joe picked up the tab, so I ate for free! We came home where I squeezed in a quick 10 minute relaxing yoga session, and then we rounded out the night by watching Dumb and Dumber on the couch before heading to bed.  A simple, relaxing, and cost free night :)

Friday Spending Stats:

  • Workout (free yoga app video)                                       $0.00
  • Dinner (Joe’s treat) @ Freddy’s                                       $0.00
  • Nightly Entertainment                                                    $0.00

Total Spent on Friday: $0.00

Estimated Total Friday Savings: $5.00

SATURDAY

Saturday-2

Saturday was one of those days that I felt like I did a ton, and then when I looked back on it, I realized I didn’t do much—which is fine with me! It felt nice after a week of go, go, go! I woke up early to finish the Saturday Morning Hustle and catch up on all of my favorite blogs/articles from the past week. I spent a little quality time with my handsome sir before he headed out for the day and then went for a run OUTSIDE. Desert, I love you in November. I really do. I made the mistake of staying home to watch the Husker football game (can I even call it a game—it was more of a tragedy) instead of going to a free concert with friends. Fail. Although it did probably save me some money because even though the concert was free, I would have spent money on drinks and/or food just because I was out of the house. We are fully stocked with food right now, so I happily ate lunch and dinner at home. The highlight of my Saturday evening was reaching a milestone in my Advent Calendar craft project while watching college football.  At this point in my life—that is my idea of a good time.

Saturday Spending Stats:

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner                                                          $0.00
  • Run (outside)                                                                           $0.00
  • Husker Tragedy & other College Football Games                  $0.00
  • Crafting                                                                                    $0.00

Total Saturday Spending: $0.00

Total Saturday Savings: $15.00

SUNDAY

Sunday-2

The wind was howling when I woke up Sunday morning, and I wimped out on my run, opting instead for a 10 minute cardio barre workout coupled with a 15 minute arm burner. Each time I do barre, it feels like I find muscles I never knew existed until that very moment, and it burrrrrrns. Yowza.

Joe was my Sunday brunch hero, and he made us cheddar jalapeño waffles to enjoy with our coffee. We rounded out the morning by cozying up on the couch and watched a Netflix showing of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (WARNING: TearJerker Alert! You will need tissues if you watch this movie).

After the Chiefs beat the Seahawks, we went on (another) hunt looking for the perfect (and perfectly priced) suits or tuxedos for the groomsmen in our wedding. Why is dressing the wedding party so difficult? I think it’s just hard to ask people to spend money wearing something they had no say in choosing for one stinking day. If anyone has any tips on dressing the groomsmen for less PLEASE, PLEASE pretty please share them with me! We struck out in making a final decision, but while looking for some delicious sale candles at Kohls, I found the wreath that is pictured above for $10. It was originally priced at $50.00! All was not lost, and now the wreath is playing a part in helping me slowly up my mantle game. I am definitely planning on adding more, but I admit it’s happening at the pace of a snail. Check in with me next Christmas—I’m sure it will look glorious by then.  😉

In addition to breakfast/brunch, I made a late and light lunch (chicken salad) and dinner (one pot lemon orzo shrimp) with ingredients we already had a home. Both were tasty and cost no extra money. Done and done.

Sunday Spending Stats:

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner                                            $0.00
  • Workout                                                                      $0.00
  • Home Décor                                                              $10.00

Total Sunday Spending: $10.00

Estimated Total Sunday Savings: $40.00

Total Estimated Weekend Spending: $10.00

Total Estimated Weekend Savings: $60.00

I was really, really happy that I could fill my time with cooking, sewing, and watching football for entertainment this weekend because next weekend I am going to be in Florida with my long-lost Samantha!!! Ayyiiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiy! It’ll be nice to have as much spending money as possible for my trip.

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 Brittany

Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget

Issue 54

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.

FRIDAY

Friday

Friday was Halloween, and luckily Joe and I were invited to a low key costume party with killer (pun intended) snacks.  I rocked the sugar skull look while Joe went as the hunter from Jumanji. Both of our costumes were pretty frugal when compared to what people pay to prep for Halloween these days. On Thursday I bought some fake flowers from JoAnn’s and duct taped/hotglued them to an old headband to create the hairpiece I wore.  Joe had leftover white and black face paint from a previous costume, and the red “paint” is actually lipstick that I stenciled onto my face. I was able to wear clothes that were already in my closet, so in all I only spent $20 on the costume (and that was Thursday, so technically not the “weekend” but I thought it was worth sharing). Joe already had the hat, suit, shirt, tie, socks, shoes, and facial hair 😉 for his costume before making any purchases. He did stop at the thrift store to get a $10 satchel (that doubled as a beverage carrier at the party) to enhance his look. The wonderful party hostesses supplied snacks, and I enjoyed one beer we brought from home while playing Cards Against Humanity—which means I spent ZERO dollars on Halloween. I don’t think I’ve ever pulled that off before, but my friends deserve more credit than I do. Muchas gracias mis amigas!

Friday Spending Stats:

  • Dinner                                                                      $0.00
  • Halloween Party                                                      $0.00
  • BYOB Drinks                                                            $0.00

Total Spent on Friday: $0.00

Estimated Total Friday Savings: $10.00

SATURDAY

Saturday1

saturday

Saturday day might as well have been called “sports” day because sports dominated my life. I started with 2 giant cups of coffee as I caught up on blog work—posting Sam and I’s favorite links of the past week in the Saturday Morning Hustle and then linking up to Financially Savvy Saturdays and checking out some other entertaining and informative financial posts from the week. Joe coached his last soccer game of the season at 10:00 AM, so I chatted on the phone with my mom while watching the bittersweet game. After soccer, I ran a couple errands and then headed back home to catch the Husker football game on TV. I ate lunch at home and snuck in a circuit training workout during the game before hitting the shower and driving to Scottsdale where Joe and I met some friends for the Arizona Fall League All Star baseball game. We actually got to go to the game for free and got to treat our friends to the game too because one of Joe’s close pals had a bunch of company tickets that wouldn’t have been used otherwise.  Joe bought me a beer at the game, and I brought my own sunflower seeds instead of purchasing a snack there. Although I’ll admit, I had to avoid the hotdog stand entirely—it was tempting but unnecessary. We all went to a local sports bar after the game for dinner and drinks. Joe and I split a buffalo chicken wrap and fries, and each enjoyed one drink before loading up on water. Since he covered me at the game, I picked up the sports bar tab.

Saturday Spending Stats:

  • Breakfast/Coffee (at home)                                              $0.00
  • Soccer Game                                                                     $0.00
  • Lunch (at home)                                                                $0.00
  • Husker Football                                                                 $0.00
  • Workout (fitsugar.com)                                                     $0.00
  • Fall League All Star baseball game                                  $0.00
  • Dinner/Drinks post-game                                                $20.00

Total Saturday Spending: $20.00

Estimated Saturday Savings: $33.00

SUNDAY

Sunday

Sunday morning, I woke up to nice cool temps and decided to grab a cozy blanket and a hot cup of coffee before heading out to enjoy the weather on my patio.  It was pure bliss. By the time I had finished my first cup of the good stuff, Joe had woken up and was busy making breakfast in the kitchen. I am not a photography expert, thus my crappy iPhone shots, but I wish I could do the breakfast burrito he made justice. It was all about the underside of the tortilla—he explained the magical process to me at least twice but I was so enamored with the deliciousness going on in my mouth I couldn’t tell you what he said. It was that good. So good, I think I just dedicated half of my Sunday recap to profess my undying love for that burrito. Joe and I watched a couple episodes of Lost before I took a power nap and then hit the chores hard. I planned meals for the week, made a quick run to the grocery store, and then took advantage of the weather and got in some cardio outside. I also prepped smoothies for the week as my “healthy habit” portion of the November Health and Wealth Challenge I joined.  If you have read any of these posts before, you know I like to start my Monday feeling rejuvenated, and after a busy Friday and Saturday, I was more than happy to spend Sunday pulling our house together a bit and recharging my brain and body.

Sunday Spending Stats:

  • Coffee/Breakfast                                                       $0.00
  • Entertainment/Rest (Netflix)                                    $0.00
  • Outdoor Cardio                                                         $0.00
  • Trader Joe’s (grocery fund)                                      $55.00
  • Lunch/Dinner                                                            $0.00

Total Sunday Spending: $55.00

Estimated Total Sunday Savings: $28.00

Total Estimated Weekend SPENDING:             $75.00

Total Estimated Weekend SAVINGS:           $71.00

Not a lot of spending happening this weekend, but I cut it in half simply by paying attention to everything I put out. Now that it’s officially November, I feel like the weekends are about to get a little bit crazy. Do you have any strategies for saving money and having fun on the weekend–especially with the high travel times that are approaching?

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 Brittany

Saturday Morning Hustle: Links we Loved this Week

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1. Sometimes appreciating what you have is all you really need. (www.budgetsaresexy.com)

2. Dying of a broken heart isn’t just for the movies, and it’s happening to women more than men. (www.elle.com)

3. Your decision-making style is affecting your happiness. (www.online.wsj.com)

4. The best (and the worst) foods for getting quality sleep. (www.cookinglight.com)

5. How to make the best iced coffee at home. (www.glittercollective.com)

What links were at the top of your list this week? We’d love to hear about them :)

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 Brittany & Sam

Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget

Issue 52

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

FRIDAY

photo credit: www.geekyrant.com

photo credit: www.geekyrant.com

First thing Friday morning I had a department meeting, and I decided to stop at a Starbucks that was on my way to the office to treat myself for a B-U-S-Y workweek. I had a gift card with about $4.00 remaining on the balance, so I bought myself a Grande cup of the day and then passed the card with its remaining balance back to the woman in line behind me—the extreme budgeter starts the day with a charitable money moment—score! After a meeting that ran long, I was off work early at noon and decided to hit the grocery store to prep for hosting one of my dearest pals over the weekend. Because she was flying across the country to visit me, I wanted to make sure we had plenty of snacks and meal choices available. I bought items that I thought would be great weekend options as well as quick lunch options in case Joe and I were a little behind/exhausted come Monday (hummus, Luna Bars, etc.) and didn’t buy long-term items we needed (like quinoa).   After heading home from the grocery store, I made lunch at home and then spent all of Friday afternoon cleaning before heading to the airport to get my friend, Sarah. Her and I battled traffic before meeting up with Joe to judge his tux options for the wedding, and because he is a gentleman, he bought us a happy hour drink pre-modeling session.  Sarah and I had a fair amount of catching up to do, so we did that over wine that Joe and I already had the house instead of staying at a bar (post happy hour hours) and spending more money.

Friday Spending Stats:

  •  Starbucks                                                           $0.00
  • Groceries                                                           $35.00
  • Lunch on shortened work day                           $0.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment                                         $0.00
  • Feeding  my Guest                                              $0.00
  • Wine/Girl Talk                                                      $0.00

Total Spent on Friday:    $35.00

Estimated Total Friday Savings: $58.00

SATURDAY

sATRUDAY-northmountain

Saturday started with blueberry waffles, bacon, fresh fruit, and coffee pulled together by yours truly and hers truly :) After devouring brunch at home, I introduced Sarah to a little piece of heaven otherwise known as Nordstrom Last Chance—where you can literally score designer jeans for $10.00 I bought an oversized sweater ($10), impeccable Michael Kors wedges ($15), and new pajamas ($8) for a grand total just under $35.00! The insanity of Last Chance’s jam-packed aisles and our long shopping excursion left us feeling famished, so we found a Saturday happy hour nearby and split two HH options to eat a wider variety while spending less. I also skipped alcohol altogether at this point because I felt dehydrated and knew I’d be driving again soon anyway. We had an awkward amount of time to kill between our delicious HH and kickoff for the Nebraska game, so I took Sarah to one of my favorite places in Phoenix—North Mountain—and we tried to walk off some of the calories. After that we went to a Husker bar in Scottsdale, and even though we split a buffalo chicken wrap and I had two beers, I didn’t end up paying for anything because Sarah snuck the tab while I was in the bathroom!

Saturday Spending Stats:

  • Brunch                                                         $0.00
  • Shopping                                                    $35.00
  • Happy Hour                                               $20.00
  • Killing Time at North Mountain                 $0.00
  • Dinner/Drinks during Husker Game         $0.00

Total Spent on Saturday: $55.00

Estimated Total Saturday Savings: $49.00

SUNDAY

Sunday-hike

Thanks to Joe, we all got a repeat of delicious brunch on Sunday—egg sandwiches and the best hash browns I’ve had in a long time! After chowing down, Sarah and I drove across town so she could conquer Camelback Mountain. Luckily the weather has been cooling down a bit, so we were able to lounge around before leaving.  Because she is a beautiful Midwestern baby, I had to share the amazingness that is In-N-Out Burger with her before she left, so her and I tackled some burgers and shakes post hike.  Post shower and packing I drove Sarah back to the airport for her departure (I swear the weekend felt like it was 5 minutes long!) and then chatted up my mom on my drive home. Even though it always feels amazing to have friends in town, I am always pretty tired after it’s all said and done. I tucked myself into bed early with my current reading addiction–Tangled: Tales of Malstria, Book 2.

Sunday Spending Stats:

  • Brunch                                             $0.00
  • Hiking/Entertainment                     $0.00
  • Late Lunch/Dinner                        $13.00

Total Spent on Sunday:                 $13.00

Estimated Total Sunday Savings:                 $20.00

Total Estimated Weekend SPENDING:             $103.00

Total Estimated Weekend SAVINGS:           $127.00

I’m always a big fan of taking advantage of good weather and the great outdoors to save on spending while still having fun on the weekend. What are your favorite, low cost ways to have fun on the weekend?

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 Brittany

Budget Basics – Wiggle Room in the Budget

Photo Credit: www.keepcalmomatic.com

Photo Credit: www.keepcalmomatic.com

When it comes to allowing wiggle room in the budget, there are two main and drastically different styles: Those who wiggle, wiggle, wiggle and those who are rigid, rigid, rigid. Despite being able to “go with the flow” across most areas of my life, regarding my budgets I do not like to bend—which has resulted in some seriously over dramatic breaks when the numbers don’t work themselves out exactly, I have to put less than I planned toward my debt, or I spend more money that I originally intended and/or planned to. As I accumulate more life experiences (and monetary moments that don’t go along with my perfectly budgeted plan) I keep noticing that my life—financially and otherwise—tends to be a little bit better when I loosen my grip on my extremely detailed, overly analyzed, and fiercely capped budget to embrace a little wiggle—where some wiggling is warranted of course.

After years of drawing a maximum budget line and never crossing it, I have finally convinced myself that I’d be better off with a new found mindset—determined to interweave the rigid budgeting strategies that help me stay on track and achieve my financial goals while incorporating some cushions that increase my ability to stay calm and happy on my journey to accomplishing them. While rigidity is the backbone of any budget, there are some specific types of sub-budgets that can greatly benefit due to some built-in wiggle room.

When Looking at our Sub-Budgets we must ask ourselves:

To Wiggle or Not to Wiggle?

Photo credit: Disney

Photo credit: Disney

Since setting a specific budget and saving the funds to pay for my upcoming wedding with cash, I have spent MONTHS refusing to add some wiggle room. It literally makes my stomach turn when I envision myself saving (not even spending—because that is how crazy I can be) $10 more than the reasonably budgeted amount my fiancé and I agreed upon. Through my rigid-budget-ice-queen-glasses saving more than the set budget looks like planning not to reach the goal we set for ourselves—so then what’s the point of the budget anyway!?!?! However, after much research, listening to firsthand accounts of others, and reflecting on my own personality downfalls differences when I’m stressed about money I realize that a wedding budget—or any other budget that is large in sum and typically created over several months—is a prime place to leave some wiggle room. The reality is that not planning on a having any “surprise expenses” doesn’t ensure that there won’t be any “surprise expenses”. Hence, the very definition of the word “surprise”.

definition of surprise

photo credit: Google

I encourage Type A Budgeteers (not a typo, I just invented that word. Go me.) to relinquish delusional grips on what can’t be controlled—the inevitability of surprises—when budgeting for a wedding or any other large scale event, and make good decisions regarding the matters you can control—which in this case is saving above the budget to give yourself room to wiggle during the process. When it comes to big money, it’s better to be safe than sorry. And if you are like me, feel free to give yourself a daily reminder that just because you save that extra does not mean you will end up spending it.  “I’m not a budget failure. I’m not a budget failure. I’m not a budget failure…”

Related Posts: Wedding Planning on a Budget: Shifting your PerspectiveWedding Budget 101: A Step-by-Step Guide to Wedding Budgets for the Financially Unprepared Bride-to-Be

gft-givingWhen it comes to gift-giving, I am a firm believer in over-budgeting and leaving room for the wiggle. While I struggle to leave a buffer on budget areas that are directly related to me, myself, and I; I actually would much rather over spend on others than under spend. Not only do I believe cheap gifting to be tacky behavior, but not letting my gifts represent how much I care about my loved ones leaves me with a “yucky” feeling in my stomach (truth: I was literally scrunching my nose up while typing that sentence—physical manifestation of “yucky”). That being said, the budget can’t be completely thrown out the window because my income is not limitless. When I know that birthdays, holidays, babies, and housewarmings are in the near future, I always over save to create a buffer. Then when I meet my girlfriends on their birthdays I can bring a gift and chip in with everyone else to cover the old lady’s tab 😉 My peeps are worth it a hundred times over. <3

Related Post: Holidays on a Budget

traveling - wiggle

I believe that the traveling budget deserves a little wiggle room for a few different reasons. The first reason is that “traveling” is a very broad term—are you traveling to Costa Rica or are you traveling to your grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving? If you are going on a big trip to an unfamiliar destination you are going to need to create more wiggle room than if you are traveling a short, familiar trek that you’ve conquered many times before. For a short trip, you’d be wise to establish a budget and then be sure you have access to additional buffer money just in case an unfortunate scenario, like car trouble, leaves you stranded in a Motel 8 for a night (that actually happened to me once). For big-time trips I usually create a buffer that totals about one-fourth of my entire travel budget just to be on the safe side. The most difficult part for me  regarding travel wiggle room is to detach myself from “vacation mode” after I get back and actually do something responsible with the buffer I’ve created and didn’t have to spend—hello impulse coffee table purchase that was the main catalyst in scaring me into better spending habits nearly two years ago…

Related posts: Saving Money on your Road Trip across the USofA

 Caution: No Wiggling Recommended Beyond this Point!

Groceries – I think food is one of the areas that people overspend on, and I really think my grocery budget has cut out more mindless spending more than budgeting any other area. Creating a buffer for your grocery budget is simply not necessary. It will open you up to being less aware of using what you already have, throwing away unused/spoiled food, and buying overpriced junk. It just makes you forget to be appreciative of food. Don’t wiggle!!

Monthly spending money – No buffer needed. Period. Start finding ways to spend your time that don’t involve spending all of your money. Trust me, it’s easier than you think.

Shopping – If you let yourself wiggle a little bit when you head out shopping (especially if you don’t tote around shopping bags too often) your wiggle is very, highly likely to snowball into a full-blown Harlem Shake. Before you know it your “buffer” has doubled your original budget and that’s not what “wiggle room” is all about. Set a shopping budget, grab some cash, and never look back.

Bills – Take advantage of the consistency that comes with bills—it might be the only good thing they’ve got going for them, right? Set those automatic withdrawals and forget ‘em. No wiggle room needed.

Head on over to BrokeGIRLrich to see more posts featured in this week’s Financially Savvy Saturday!

brokeGIRLrich

 

For more information on how to gain control of your finances check out our Getting Started page by clicking the link in the menu bar at the top of the page. Which “sub-budgets” do you allow wiggle room in and where do you hold your ground mercilessly?

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 Brittany