Tag Archives: saving money

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 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

 

Tax Time: Refund or No Refund?

Tax Refunds - Should you go BIG or Small

It’s hard to believe that taxes are due in just over a couple months! Last year we discussed our personal–and completely opposite–views and philosophies about tax returns and how much money we count on getting back from the government each year. Here we are one year later, and we both stand strong in our tax-filing approach:

Sam prefers to have more taken out of her paycheck thus receiving a bigger refund each year (find more about Sam’s tax preferences here) while Brittany prefers to walk the line of underpaying her taxes on a monthly basis so that her money is gaining interest in her bank account throughout the year. Read more about her style here.

We want to know what your views are on paying taxes and getting a tax refund each spring. In the great tax refund debate, do you go BIG or do you keep it small?!?!

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Follow on BloglovinSam & Brittany

This post can be found along with other great posts at Alex and Cassie’s Thrifty Thursday Link Up, Frugal Friday, and *Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich and Invest with Vi*

Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget

Issue 63

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!

WSG icon template

FRIDAY

Day 6 and 7 pic assI had an exceptionally exciting Friday night ending with an 8:30 bedtime. I enjoyed one drink at my typical Friday afternoon Happy Hour with co-workers, grilled chicken and veggies on the grill with my fiance, and watched a couple episodes of lost (fighting my drooping eyelids the entire time) before heading to bed.

Friday Spending Stats:

  • Happy Hour                                                                             $6.00
  • Dinner (grill at home)                                                             $0.00
  • Continuing my obsession with LOST                                     $0.00

Total Friday Spending: $6.00

Estimated Total Friday Savings: $10.00

SATURDAY

WSG Saturday 1.23.15I enjoyed some more R & R, wedding planning, a few errands and a date night. I woke up late to a rainy morning and decided to enjoy some coffee and, of course, LOST while checking some items off my To Do list. I finally decided to pry my booty off the couch to finish my wedding registry at W & S and get my ring fixed. We had some leftovers but after spending most of the day at home (and on the couch), I was itching to get out for dinner. We decided to try a new pizza place and head home for some more LOST…exciting!

Saturday Spending Stats:

  • Morning R & R                                                         $0.00
  • Wedding Registry                                                    $0.00
  • Dinner                                                                      $43.00 (for both of us)
  • Nightlife                                                                   $0.00

Total Saturday Spending: $43.00

Estimated Total Saturday Saving: $30.00

SUNDAY

WSG Sunday 1.23.15Meal Prep Sunday! Today is my catch-up-with-as-much-as-possible-before-the-week-starts day. AM dog walk and run, phone meeting with a new coach on my team, breakfast, meal prep, laundry, miscellaneous to do list items, and blogging took up most of my time on Sunday. Enjoyed a meal of leftovers from the previous week and guess what?! Some more LOST!

Sunday Spending Stats:

  • Meals                                                             $0.00
  • Sunday Stuff                                                  $0.00

Total Sunday Spending: $0.00

Estimated Total Sunday Savings: $30.00

Total Estimated Weekend Spending: $49.00

Total Estimated Weekend Savings: $70.00

I enjoyed some much needed R & R after visitors, two weeks of holiday travel chaos, more visitors, an out of town wedding, and a crazy couple of weeks at work…phew! What positive changes have you been making to keep your budget on track on the weekends?!

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Sam

 

Brittany’s November Debt Progress Report

Heading Picture

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 November 1, 2014, and the green columns represent my debt totals for individual loans as of November 30, 2014. Looking at the debt progress in this format really emphasizes how paying more than the minimum has a significant impact on your debt decrease. My Great Lakes Student Loan 3 is my current focal loan, and I paid as much as I could above the minimum requirement in November. Because I used about half of the money I had left over at the end of the month to cushion my savings account as I prep for a wedding and travel expenses, the chunk I put towards my focal loan was smaller than usual.

individual loans

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 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!

Because I was paying above the minimum monthly requirement on my focal loan, the percentage being paid towards interest was smaller—16% of my total payment went towards interest—than percentage being paid towards interest on my other loans—30%. You want to pay as much as possible toward the principal because that is what helps speed up the process of eliminating debt. Because my savings was higher in November, you’ll notice that the impact on interest was smaller than usual. The chart below gives you a visual representation of these numbers.

intesrest

Tell your Income Where to Go

The pie chart below summarizes where I delegated my earned income during the month of November. About 30% of my earned income went towards debt—that includes my minimum monthly payments and extra cash flow. Just below 52% went towards my living expenses (food, rent, etc.), and 18% of my earned income was put into long-term savings this month to prepare for holiday season travels and any surprise wedding expenses I haven’t considered in my budget. Much my my current dismay, I am staying on the safety train and continuing to build the wiggle room in my budget.

pie chart

November Roadblocks: I’m not paying as much towards my debt as I’d like to because of the extra savings I’m building for any last minute or surprise wedding/holiday expenses. At this point it’s really just that darn wedding that is holding me up. I think it’s worth it 😉 Jokes—I know it is worth it ♥ I also had a significant increase in living expenses in November because of the way we paid our rent. Basically we were just slowpokes, so instead of going halfsies like we usually do, I wrote a check for the full amount upfront and was “reimbursed” in cash later. With the upcoming merging of our lives and bank accounts the whole “reimbursement” seems a little silly; however we currently have separate bank accounts, and I wouldn’t have made it through the month without being “paid back”. Because of the rent snafu and my higher than usual saving habits, the amount of money I put toward debt was nearly halved.

November Dollar Hollllaaaaas: I didn’t create extra income, but I really kept my spending under control this month and was able to capitalize on a work trip by stretching it out into a weekend with Sam. Without the flexible thought and strategic use of my funds, I probably wouldn’t have been able to see Sam’s new home until next Spring or Summer–and we all know that is unacceptable in a friendship :)

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? Is it getting harder or easier now that the year is coming to a close?

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 Brittany

P.S.

My progress and other financially mindblowing 😉 (exaggerating a bit–lots of coffee this morning) posts are linked up over at *Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich* Head over and check them out!!

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

My Life on a Budget: A Year in Review

title pic

Just a little over a year ago Sam and I decided to start Fun on a Budget Blog to document the outcome of 20-somethings trying to live well on a budget. We wanted to share our financial battles and triumphs as we fought the good fight against our debts and gave our best effort to keep living lives that kept us happy and excited to get out of bed each morning.  We had a few different purposes in starting the Fun on a Budget:

First, we wanted to support other people that were in the same situation as us. Debt is one of those topics that most people are ashamed to talk about, so we knew that there were probably many silent sufferers out there that could use some help.

Second, we wanted to learn more about how to be better with money…and we have learned A LOT!! A huge amount of research and many conversations happen each time we prepare for a post, and from those actions new knowledge is gained.

Finally, Fun on a Budget Blog was a way to stay motivated to keep our focus and momentum strong because after all, paying off debt can be a long term and difficult goal to achieve. Fun on a Budget Blog has 100% fulfilled its role in being a tremendous motivator for staying focused on our end game of getting debt paid off as quickly as possible. Every month we sit down and write up an entire report about how much debt we’ve ditched or how much money we saved, and this gives us the opportunity to reflect on what we are doing well and what we need to start doing a little bit better. Don’t get me wrong, I do hope that people like our budget blog, and I hope that if some Googler stumbles upon it (probably on the 5th page of search term results, haha), that it will help him in some way—but at the end of the day, if I it’s just me, Sam, and our moms reading the darn thing, we are okay with that. We’re okay with it because we truly enjoy not just living on a budget, but writing about it.

So, here we are one year later, and it just wouldn’t be right not to reflect on how being on a budget has impacted our lives, right? I must say that I originally assumed I would post about how my budget has impacted my debt only, but once I started taking a deeper look at all that has happened (or not happened) and changed over this past year, I realized that the debt numbers are only half of it :)

Debt by Numbers: How Being on a Budget for a Year has Impacted my Debt

Debt by the Numbers-Comparison

In just one year I have cut the number of total debts I owe in half, went from having paid off zero debts to having three fully paid loans under my belt, decreased nearly all of my debts to less than the original amount I was loaned (interest is the WORST), reduced my minimum monthly payments by over $200.00, and decreased my overall debt by nearly $25,000.

Income distribution

From August 2013 to August 2014, my income was delegated into three different categories: debt payments, living expenses, and savings. Just over half of my income went towards my debt snowball, 37% was used for living expenses like rent and food, and the final 11% went into my savings account–which was primarily used for Christmas shopping and wedding savings.

Ind. loan progress

The chart above gives a more detailed look of how being on a budget can have a significant and positive impact on getting rid of your debt.

 Yeah, Yeah, Yeah…So you paid off a lot of debt, but what else have you done??

Well, you might be surprised :)

One of the most rude frequently heard comments that comes out of someone’s mouth when he/she learns I believe in sticking to a budget is “Oh, I couldn’t put myself on a budget because I still want to do things.”  Give me a break…I was on a budget from August 2013 – August 2014, and I did A LOT of “things”.

During my first year on a budget I…

what i did 2

what i did list

And I did a little traveling too…

travel2

travel list

The good, the bad, and the really really good

I would be a big, fat, dirty liar if I ended this post with my fabulous traveling pictures and told everyone that being on a budget is all rainbows and ice cream cones all the time. It’s not. You aren’t idiots, and you already knew that.  I hopped on the waaambulance a handful of times during my first year on a budget, for a variety of different reasons—missing the bridal shower and bachelorette of a bestie, missing the wedding of another, keeping my own wedding small, and no longer being Anthropologie’s #1 customer—are a few that really got under my skin and left me flustered for days.

When you are on a budget you cannot do 100% of the things you want to do, buy 100% of the things you want to buy, or travel to 100% of the places you want to travel. You must pick and choose, but whenever I feel down about being on a budget, I remind myself that one of the most important and impacting choices I made in this past year was to LIVE on a BUDGET. Because that choice brings good things to me now—like paying off debt quickly and never bouncing checks—and will bring really-really good things to me in the not-so-far-future—like being able to save for retirement and use money to travel and celebrate in the present —the blips of “bad” that I’m experiencing just don’t seem so bad. :)

Sam lived on a budget this past year too! See how she fared by clicking the link: Sam’s life on a Budget: A Year in Review

For more information about transitioning to life on a budget click on our “Getting Started” link in the menu bar at the top of the page, and get your free printable budget by visiting our “Materials” page.  We have a couple of options for you there.

But enough about me…I want to hear about your experiences on a budget–what works and doesn’t work? What are the best and worst parts of holding yourself accountable with money? Follow the “Reply” link at the top of this post to share your thoughts with me and Sam!!

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 Brittany