Category Archives: budget

Ballin’ on a Budget Mini Tips

ten ballin' on a budget mini tips

I have a whole series on the blog that highlights strategies for BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET by way of ditching — ie) ditch the bare cupboards, ditch the gym membership, etc. Today, I’d like to build on this BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET theme with a new series. My favorite budget mini tips. The last series included posts that proposed something for all of us to ditch, in order to free up line items on our budgets, and offered a 4 week plan on how to implement. These mini tips are things you can implement RIGHT NOW. Like, straight away, as soon as you read them!

Whether you’re actively pinching pennies or simply want to re-direct some of those pennies to better serve you, this series is for you!

Here are the first 10 MINI TIPS

1. Automate Payments and Savings Whenever Possible

You KNOW I love a “set it and forget it” option. If you’re able, schedule your bills so that payments are automated. This will save you time, but it will also save you from accidentally incurring any late fees. Similarly, set up a fixed amount that will come out of your paychecks and get whisked away right into your savings account.

2. Price Compare with Amazon

A lot of household and personal care items are available on Amazon. Before impulse purchasing at the grocery or drug store, pop on that smart phone and check out pricing on Amazon. It’s a 30 second search that could save you quite a few bucks. And if you have Prime, you’ll have your items lickety-split anyways.

3. Find Ways to Winterize Your Home

If you live in an area that actually sees seasons, do a little research about how to best keep the heat in and the cold out. Every house and apartment is different so do a quick walk around your space looking for ways to winterize. Performing an audit on your home each Autumn can help you devise a plan for the coming Winter and allow you to purchase certain items before it gets too chilly.

4. Incorporate Affordable Recipes You Love to Eat 

If you stumble upon a meal you’ve made yourself that was both, super budget friendly AND delicious, don’t just leave it as a one off! Work that sucker into your meal rotation. Even if you don’t meal plan (which if you’re trying to save money you totally should!), you can still choose to have the meal every week or every other week. That is, until you get sick of it and have to find a new “cheap meets yummy” favorite…

5. Shop the Produce Section

Everyone knows, if you’re trying to eat healthy, you’ve gotta focus your grocery shopping efforts on the periphery of the store. If you’re ballin’ on a budget, you need to spend the majority of your time in the produce section. Start in this section, get all the deals you can, and then build out your buggy from the rest of the departments.

6. Ask for Cheaper Rates

My belief is that it never hurts to ask for what you want. And if you’re ballin’ on a budget, you want things to be cheaper. Ask for student rates, AAA discounts, special deals, etc. When your cell phone bill goes up, call and see what can be done. The worst that can happen is you get told no.

7. Have a “Buy Price”

Create a little cheat sheet listing food and household items that you like to have in stock. Then, do some research to determine the best sale prices for these items in your area. These are their buy prices. Then, when you’re checking out a store’s circular or see an item on sale, you can refer back to your sheet to see if it’s the right price to stock up.

8. Use Open Source Software

There are so many options out there. If a software isn’t necessary for your work, look into the free versions before plunking down your credit card.

9. Feed Your Freezer

If you double one meal a week and stick the extra servings in the freezer, you will have a plethora of ready-to-go options in no time! These “defrost and heat” meals are perfect for busy (or lazy) nights and will keep you from hitting up a restaurant or take out option.

10. Buy Only What You Need at the Grocery

This hearkens back to the importance of a meal plan, but at the very least, attack your grocery shopping with a PLAN. Make a list, check it twice, and STICK TO IT.

Thanks so much for reading! I know tons of you have your own favorite budget tips – what other advice can you share? On the other end, what aspects of budgeting do you find most difficult? 

P.S. My top tips on getting control of debt.

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Getting Control of Debt

getting control of debt

When I look back on my spending habits in my early 20’s…I cringe. I was living above my means — going out to eat and putting the meal on a credit card (what?!) — and I didn’t know the first thing about making a budget.

Suffice it say I came out of that season of life with a nice lil chunk of consumer debt. …and then proceeded to ignore said debt for several more years, paying the minimum, treading financial water, and hoping for that magical day when my balance would say ZERO.

But, dear reader, my debts didn’t *magically* disappear. (Surprise, surprise-right?) Eventually, I got my butt into gear and started making moves. Getting debt-free was a lot of work, I won’t lie. But it was also one of the most rewarding feelings when everything was all said and done.

I’m here to tell you, managing debt doesn’t have to interrupt your life in a bad way. If you know that you are on top of paying the people that you owe money to, then you can recognize that there is light at the end of the tunnel…and keep going. But you HAVE TO GET STARTED! 

[RELATED: I have a whole series on BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET if you’re looking to downsize your spending habits while getting out of debt!]

Most people forget that their credit rating can play a big part in their future, so when they dive head first into credit cards and don’t think clearly about them, that’s when the trouble begins. It can lead to bad credit which can really impact financial decisions down the line. However, with the help of unsecured credit cards for bad credit, you could find yourself getting out of debt while rebuilding your credit worthiness at the same time. So, how can you get out of a hole of debt and start climbing the wall to financial freedom? Below, you’ll find some of my favorite tips for managing debt:

Keep To Your Payments. Every month, you need to get your bills paid on time. It sounds like a given: without paying the electricity, you’re going to lose power. But late payments can make it extremely hard for you to pay off debt, considering you usually will have to pay a late fee with each payment you miss. Set up a system for reminders (with due dates and amounts) on your phone or Google calendar. 

Always Pay Something. Regardless of how much you owe and to whom, you need to always pay at least the minimum amount on your debts. Paying something means you are willing to clear the debt and even the smallest of payment can help to shrink debt. Speaking to creditors is essential. If you can’t make the right repayment, call them up and make a plan. 

Prioritize Your Debts. If you have more than one debt, rank them in order of importance. Paying off your loans and credit cards is important, but paying those with the highest interest first is usually the best option. From there, rank them in order of how much you have left.

Pay The Current First. There are two types of debts: those you are currently managing (and are in good standing with), and those from the past . It’s always better to keep paying the debts that keep you in good standing, so that you can build up a trust rating with your creditors. Old creditors will continue collections attempts on accounts, but try to concentrate on making payments where you can and with the most urgent debts first.

Emergency Savings Count. When you’re on a budget, it’s hard to imagine having savings. However, an emergency savings account is going to make a huge difference to the little expenses that come up without warning. Work toward a very small fund to fall back on when you need it the most and go from there. Even having a small envelope of cash tucked in your drawer to help with stretching to the next pay day when you have more month than money can make a difference to you when you’re paying off debt.

Budget, Budget, Budget. Above everything else, you need to learn to budget. Make a list of all your regular expenses each month and how much you earn. Then look at how much you can spend on debt based on what’s left. Paying debts while keeping up with bills doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go without, you just have to be much more strategic.

Look For Help. The internet is a goldmine when it comes to handy resources to help you get out of debt, cut your spending, and learn to budget. Take an afternoon and just surf around the internet gathering information. Find helpful blogs and YouTube channels that you can follow for inspiration and information while you’re on this journey. Additionally, there may be some free community resources in your area but you’ll never know unless you look! Local nonprofits, libraries, and universities are a great place to start.

But I want to hear from you! How do you feel about debt management? What’s your go-to financial tip? 

Looking for a Second Income Source?

Y’all know I love ballin’ on a budget, right? Well, one of my favorite tips to give fellow budget ballers is, “DIVERSIFY YOUR INCOME STREAMS!” Luckily, there are lots of ways to achieve this. Read on to discover some of my favorite suggestions on how to earn extra money…

Freelance – There are so many options for freelancers today. All you need to do is a quick search online and you will find tons of websites designed for freelancers. Many of them work like this: Someone looking for a job to be completed will post a listing, and interested parties will make an application. If your application is accepted, you submit your work and the money will hit your bank or PayPal account. If you have skills that can be put to use over the web — such as writing, photography, or web design–this could be a great fit!

Start a blog – A blog won’t make you money overnight, but if you have something you are passionate about (a niche!), starting a blog is a great step towards generating income in the future. Once your blog is going, and you’ve built up an audience, there are a number of ways to make money — from sponsored posts to affiliate marketing.

Invest – Another way to make money is by investing. However, this is not something you should dive straight into. Take the time to read feedback, such as these thinkorswim reviews, which enlighten you to various brokers and investment products so that you are informed on the pros and cons. Before you can invest, you need to make sure you are aware of your attitude to risk and that you only invest within your means and your comfort levels.

Share economy – The share economy is booming…and for good reason! You could drive for Lyft, deliver Instacart orders, or rent out your spare room on Airbnb. But if these aren’t for you, there are other ways to earn a bit of cash while also helping out others. Evaluate what you have and consider if sharing might be of value to someone. For example, if you live in an area that is close to a lot of businesses, you could look into renting out your driveway.

Sell your belongings – Last but not least, it is likely that you have some stuff in your house that you aren’t particularly fond of anymore, nor do you need. You can sell these items online to make a little easy money. Need some inspiration? Check out this video — 


Looking for a second income source but not sure what would be a good fit? Let’s bounce around ideas in the comments! Or feel free to shoot me an email.

Do any of you have any “wins” when it comes to diversifying income streams that you’d like to share? If you do, drop ’em below! 

50 Ways To Save Money (With Minimal Effort)

Some of my most popular blog posts on Finding Delight are all about How To Ball On A BudgetAnd why not? Everyone would love a little help in this department. Which is why sharing ways I personally save money (with minimal effort) is something I’m happy to do!

As the holiday season approaches, saving that extra bit of cash for all the costs that go along with the time of year becomes a necessity. Presents and parties and vacations…OH MY!

With the impending holiday expenses in mind, I put together a few of my favorite money saving ideas. Pick and choose a few of these simple lifestyle changes to implement and you’ll be well on your way to a nice little monetary stockpile. However you choose to spend (EGGNOG FOR EVERYONE!)…well, that’s up to you!

 

Shopping

Check second-hand stores first.
If that doesn’t pan out, hit the clearance racks.
Check the weekly circulars for the best deals.
Shop your pantry before shopping the store.
Make a weekly grocery list and stick to it.
Shop the periphery of the grocery store.
Don’t be afraid of the generic brand.
Sign up for rewards programs and do your homework about the benefits.
Buy seasonal items during their off-season.

Food

Pack your meals for work and school.
Always have a water bottle on hand for free hydration.
Brew your coffee at home and learn to make your indulgent Starbucks order.
Buy from the bulk bins so you’re not paying extra for packaging.
Batch cook big meals in your crock-pot.
Get into the habit of meal planning.
Find a cookbook you love and cook your way through it.

Appearance

Give yourself at-home manicures.
Color/straighten/curl your own hair. Or let it go natural.
Create a fitness plan that doesn’t involve a gym or costly classes.
Set up a seasonal capsule wardrobe.
Make your own beauty products.

Travel

Stay at an Airbnb.
Stock your kitchen-away-from-home so you can prepare meals instead of eating out.
Give yourself a daily allowance (in cash) while you’re away so you don’t go overboard.
Bring along all your lingering gift cards to treat yo’self.

Entertainment

Bust your boredom. 
Cancel cable and pick a streaming service instead.
Cancel print subscriptions and subscribe to a few email newsletters instead.
Make a list of cheap date night ideas you think sound fun and cycle through.
Host a game night for your friends.
Get your books from the library.
Go out for brunch or coffee or happy hour cocktails instead of dinner.
Start an articles club.

DIY

Consider making gifts instead of buying.
Dollar Tree is a great place to pick up cheap craft supplies.
Learn to mix your favorite cocktails.
Create your own cleaning products.
Check for tutorials online before paying someone else to do your home improvement projects.

Utilities

Call your cell phone/internet/utility provider and ask for a cheaper rate.
Turn off the lights when you leave the house (or the room for that matter).
Don’t go crazy with your thermostat.
Carpool with your colleagues.
Make payments on time.

Savings

Kick it old school with a penny bank for your loose change.
Automate your payments and savings plan where possible.
Keep a spending diary.
Read budget blogs for free financial information and resources.
Challenge yourself to a no-spend day once a week or a no-spend weekend once a month.
Look through your bank statement for any recurring costs and consider canceling whatever they’re attached to.
Research any discounts you may be afforded through your work/school/memberships.

What lifestyle changes have YOU implemented to save money? Let me know in the comments below! xoxo

 

30 Boredom Busters When You’re Ballin’ on a Budget

boredom busters

Summertime is awesome, but the long days can really start to feel loooong. Especially if you’re on a budget. I get it. You wanna be spending savvy…and vacations, barbecues, weddings, and outdoor activities — basically all the hallmarks of the season — add up fast.

But I’m here to tell you, saving doesn’t have to be a jail sentence. You don’t have to spend your summer cooped up indoors with only a Netflix queue and a never-ending march of PB&J’s to get you through to September.  NO SIR!

Why not…

Take a hike. Hop online and find a trail near you. Tons of parks have lovely, ambling paths if you don’t live near any forests or mountain ranges.

Go to the movies. Theaters often offer more affordable matinee prices. Or you could scope out a summer film series to catch a classic or to watch a family friendly film in the great outdoors.

* Drink at happy hour. Nothing says affordable (responsible) fun like 2-for-1 margaritas and home by 9pm.

Play a game. Invite friends over and play your favorites. I love rummikub and the card game 13. Scattergories and Balderdash are always a good time…but I’ve found trivia games sometimes end in fights, lol.

Hit up a museum. Scope your area for museums and then check out whether they offer free/reduced admission on certain days.

free admission at FIU Frost Art Museum

Pamper your pet. Devote an afternoon to your fur baby! Take your dogs to a local dog park or give them a luxurious grooming session. Brush your kitty’s fur or take them on a leash to explore the yard.

Host a potluck dinner. Everyone brings a dish to enjoy. Set a theme or let everyone go rogue and see what happens!

Practice yoga. Head to YouTube for a ton of free classes or just unroll your mat and salute the sun.

Watch TV the old fashioned way. That is, avoid the binge. Pick a show you want to watch (like this one or this one) and resolve to watch one episode a week on a set day and time.

Read at a coffee shop. Leave your phone and laptop at home!

reading The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth at 3rd Street Stuff

Host a tea party. Invite a friend to swing by your place for a cup of tea and and a gossip-y chat. (Spill the tea!)

Support local arts. Tickets to a live performance (think: local theater, picnic with the pops, dance recital) won’t break the piggy bank. However, if you’re really counting coin, you can usually watch dress rehearsals for free if you know the right people.

Shop the thrift stores. Wandering around a thrift store without buying anything at all can kill an afternoon of boredom. But if you wanna spend, set a limit (and only bring that much cash along) or keep a list of items you’re on the hunt for and what you’d be willing to spend on each item.

Donate your time. Volunteer for a cause or organization that speaks to your heart.

Make DIY home decor. Spruce up your surroundings with homemade craft projects. Bonus points if you use materials you already have on hand!

hot glue gun DIY

Take a sunset walk. Or a sunrise walk if you’re an early-bird.

Try out gyms. Shop the work-out spots in your area by enrolling for free trials wherever strikes your fancy. Make sure there are no strings attached! Go as often as possible during the trial period (and then cancel if it’s not to your liking or in your budget).

Hunt for treasures. Keep your eye on the side of the road for trash-to-treasure possibilities. Pulling over now could turn into a weekend up-cycle project later.

Stop and enjoy outdoor art. Statues, fountains, landscaping, and murals exist for the enjoyment of ALL!

Learn the constellations. Study up and then head out to observe the night sky (or a planetarium if you’re stuck somewhere with lots of light pollution).

* Pack a picnic. Dining al fresco is always fun! Here are a few food ideas and you can never go wrong with a bottle of rosé.

Play video games. Purchase a new-to-you game (there are lots of places to buy second-hand and many libraries even have game lending!) or opt for a forgotten favorite classic. Don’t have a gaming system? The arcade is a budget-friendly outing!

Resurrect a childhood past-time. Were you a pro at skipping rope? Puzzle queen? Soccer all-star? Did you build legos with the best of ’em? See if your forgotten hobby still tickles your fancy.

Clear out your closet. Nothing is more satisfying than bringing a big ol’ garbage bag of clothes to the Goodwill. Even better? Bringing a big ol’ garbage bag of clothes to a clothing swap with your pals and getting to go home with trades.

Go to the beach. Bring a towel, a good book, and some snacks and spend the day lounging and splashing in the sun. (Keep a beach kit in your car for impromptu stops!)

Bayfront Beach in Homestead, Florida

Take pictures. Explore a new neighborhood, park, or town with your camera in tow.

Perfect a copycat recipe. Do you have a favorite restaurant dish or coffee shop beverage? Do a little internet sleuthing, buy the ingredients, and practice hacking it!

House swap. Coordinate with friends or family member to facilitate super affordable (read: free) housing for a weekend get-away or vacay.

Go on a bike ride. Blasting the Now and Then soundtrack while riding is optional but recommended.

Make dessert and eat it first. Because, why not?

Over to you! How do you bust boredom when you’re on a budget? 

For more ballin’ on a budget tips and tricks, CLICK HERE!

The Secret to Finding Great Deals

jar of coins

(This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.)

I’m definitely a penny pincher. The older I get, the more I feel I’ve started to resemble Scrooge McDuck. “You can pry this jar of coins from my COLD DEAD HANDS!” 

Every potential purchase gets mulled over and researched. While this approach has definitely helped me curb the impulse spending of my youth (“Oh, I DO need a Magic Bullet and a new skirt, thank you!”), it’s also opened up a whole new world of saving possibilities. After a little internet perusal, suddenly the cast iron pan I spotted at the department store is markedly less money.

But where’s a beginner discount-sleuth to turn to start rescuing their coin jar from imminent demise? I’ll let you in on a little secret…Groupon Goods.

Maybe you already use Groupon for discounts on services. You may already regularly check their page to spot those rock bottom prices on fitness class packages and oil changes.  Now all you have to do is hop on over to some of the other categories. Once there, you’ll find a ton of familiar products with unfamiliar price tags. And by unfamiliar I mean cheap. And we’re talking stuff I would actually buy. Think: Stabilo pens, salt lamps, Rokus, exercise gear. Oh, and this wet brush, which I’ve had my eye on for a while now but every time I see them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond I just can’t justify the cost. Ordered!

So, before your next big purchase, hop on over to Groupon and see if a cheaper option is hanging out just waiting for you to nab it! You’ll be swimming in a sea of spare coins (a la Scrooge McDuck) in no time!!!

Stay connected with Groupon on Facebook and Twitter

What’s YOUR secret to finding great deals? Have you ever tried Groupon? 

Top 10 Yard Sale Advertising Tips

yard sale e-book

Hi guys! Now that spring has sprung in the US, you may have noticed signs start to pop up around your neighborhood. You may have even gotten the itch to wake up before dawn on a Saturday morning and follow their bold arrows like a treasure map. Where did these signs lead you? Why, to everyone’s favorite example of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” of course! The Yard Sale.

But what if you want to cash-in on this warm weather fun for yourself? What if you have a whole bunch of extra stuff weighing you down or are looking to raise some funds for an upcoming adventure?

Today I’ve partnered with YardSales.net to bring you a few handy-dandy tips to make sure you have a steady stream of folks at your next yard sale. Not just a sad trickle of passersby.

Back when I lived in Bowling Green, my friends and I often marked the arrival of Summer with a yard sale. We were broke-as-a-joke college kids looking to unload a few possessions before we, inevitably, packed up and moved from one terrible rental to another. Oh, and did I mention we were poor? Any extra cash to pay the light bill and treat ourselves to a pizza and a pitcher of beer was a God-send.

all diamonds Here’s a snap of one such yard sale with my friends Maggie, Chad, and Katie (I believe my friend Ashley is behind the camera). We called this yard sale “All Diamonds, No Rough.” (Old vacuum cleaners, a sled, and stacks of t-shirts? DIAMONDS, PEOPLE. DIAMONDS!!!)

While we usually ended up with a little extra cash at the end of these (desperate) money-making attempts, they never made us as rich as we hoped.

Wanna know where we went wrong? Impulsivity. Met with a combination of bored, broke, and scheme-filled brains…we’d decide, “Hey! Let’s have a yard sale!” and then proceed to stay up all night pricing items and throw them out in the lawn the next day. No forethought, not a lot of planning, a few haphazard signs and Craigslist ads scattered about the day of.

After checking out the e-book The Ultimate Guide to Hosting a Yard Sale, I now know where our hustle fell short. So, let’s all learn from my well-intentioned haphazard sales of the past! In case you’re planning a yard sale of your own, here are some tips from the book about HOW TO ADVERTISE

  1. RESEARCH. Before you start hanging up signs, do a little research about ordinances in your town or city which may prohibit you from doing so. Find out if a yard sale permit is necessary in your area.
  2. PROVIDE INFO. Create some signs with the following info — Type of sale, date and time, address and/or cross-streets. Remember: Most folks will be reading your signs as they drive by in a car so keep them concise and legible.
  3. CONSISTENCY. Every sign should be the same color and design so as not to confuse potential customers.
  4. ADD FLAIR! Attract eyes to your signs by adding balloons, pinwheels, arrows, etc.
  5. COMMUNITY BOARDS. Create a few 8.5″ x 11″ sale signs to hang on community boards at libraries, grocery stores, cafes, etc. (Here’s a helpful template.)
  6. GRAB ATTENTION. Write an attention-grabbing advertisement that you can post around the web. “Multi-Family” or “Moving Sale” are sure to attract some extra attention!
  7. DETAILS. Along with pertinent information; like times, dates, and location, your online ad should include details. List your big ticket items and any collectibles. If you’re selling clothes, include brands and sizes. And don’t forget to attach some photos!
  8. NETWORK. There are lots of websites you can advertise your yard sale for FREE. Check out Craigslist, YardSales.net, and GarageSaleFinder.com. (Just to name a few!)
  9. GET SOCIAL! Don’t forget to post about your yard sale on your personal social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  10. IN BLACK AND WHITE. Finally, if you have the funds for it you may want to consider taking out an ad in your local newspaper. These can run anywhere between $25-$200 depending on the reach of the paper.

yard sale amazon banner

For more tips on having your most successful yard sale yet, go grab a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Hosting a Yard Sale! YardSales.net is offering FREE DOWNLOADS of this e-book THIS WEEK (May 23 – May 27). Go grab one! You’ll be de-cluttered and raking in the dough in no time.

Maybe you’ll even decide to treat yourself to a pizza and a pitcher of beer! Enjoy!

(This post is in collaboration with YardSales.net. All opinions are my own.)

 

Ballin’ on a Budget–Ditch Fast Fashion

Today, I’d like to continue a favorite series on the blog! One that highlights easy strategies for BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET. Each month, I’m proposing something for all of us to ditch in order to free up some line items on our budgets with values that can go to more practical expenditures like paying down on debt and saving for special occasions. (You can catch up on last month’s suggestions HERE.) Whether you’re actively pinching pennies or simply want to re-direct some of those pennies to better serve you, this series is for you! So, let’s get started…

tshirts

When you don’t have the money for a bunch of high-end outfits, it can be really tempting to spend $10 here and $15 there on clearance rack tops and “here today, gone tomorrow” trends. I’ve definitely been there. In college, I would constantly tell myself not to spend money on clothes. Then an occasion would pop up, I’d whine, “I have nothing to wear!”, and head straight for the cutest but cheapest option. The problem with this strategy? I was purchasing an item of clothing with only ONE outcome in mind. Wearing it to whatever party, banquet, or trip I bought it for. And often that’s the only time it would get worn. Sure, it might have only cost me $7.99 but was that money well spent for one time use? Hardly! And when I did manage to work these pieces into my everyday clothing repertoire, they weren’t long for this world anyhow. Fast fashion falls apart quick, y’all.

So what’s a penny-pinching girl who still wants to look put together to do? Enter: CAPSULE WARDROBES. If you haven’t yet heard of this fashion sorcery, a capsule wardrobe basically involves streamlining your clothes to a collection of pieces, placing value on quality over quantity. The more outfit combinations the better! Capsule wardrobes are a cohesive collection. And they’ll certainly save you money. Investing in a pair of black skinny jeans is a smart idea…if that’s your favorite type of trouser, you feel awesome in them, and they match every single t-shirt and sweater in your collection. When you have a stash of clothes you actually enjoy wearing, it is easier to create practical outfits. No more last minute trips to Forever 21 before that gallery opening or feverish sale rack rifling before that interview. Convinced you need a capsule wardrobe. Here’s a plan of action…

Week 1. Evaluate all your current clothing items. 

Take all your clothes out of your closet, dresser, etc. and lay them out on your bed or a table. Take time to evaluate each piece. When was the last time you wore it? Do you still like the color, the pattern, the fit? Try items on if you haven’t worn it in awhile. Has it gotten loose? Snug? A stain you can’t identify? Once you’ve gone through all your items, start placing everything into three piles.

  1. Items you wear on the regular. These items are non-negotiable. They are your current closet staples and/or wardrobe basics. Place them back in your closet or drawers.
  2. Seasonal items you’d still like to keep and pull out when appropriate. You can store these items away for later use.
  3. Items you’re not so in to. This is stuff you haven’t worn in forever, doesn’t fit, is damaged, or doesn’t really match your style, other clothes, lifestyle, etc. Give this stuff away to your friends and family or donate it to your local Goodwill.

Week 2. Put Pile #1 into practical application. 

For this week, wear ONLY the clothes you kept in Pile #1. This may be a bit difficult style-wise but it is the best way to identify holes in your wardrobe. Keep a list of those items you wish you had available. Do you need more pants for work? Are your tennis shoes starting to look a little too scuffy for their own good? Take note! Also, begin to evaluate your wardrobe as a whole instead of lots of different, individual pieces. Does the ratio of business-wear to casual-wear match your current lifestyle? Is there a cohesive color palette? Enough “mix & match” potential? Play around with the possibilities and then…

girl in sweater

Week 3. Make a shopping list! 

After identifying the holes in your wardrobe, start filling them in. This doesn’t have to happen all at once but keeping a list will deter you from making those fast fashion purchases. Instead, you’ll have a plan. Keep the list in your purse or on your phone. That way, you’ll always know what to keep your eye out for and you can hunt the best bargains while still making an investment.

Week 4. Time for a fashion show. 

Now that you have a pared down collection, and perhaps a few items purchased off your shopping list, it’s time to experiment with your new wardrobe. Try on different and new-to-you combinations. Write down the outfits you love and want to replicate or SNAP A SELFIE! Finally, decide how long you’d like to keep this particular capsule. Many capsule wardrobe aficionados go for a three month/seasonal duration. If you’d like to try for longer, go for it! Either way, set a date for a re-evaluation and wardrobe update and jot it down in your calendar or set a reminder in your phone so you don’t forget!

girl with glasses

Resources:

Week 1 —

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

 Project 333

The Style Strategy: A Less-Is-More Approach to Staying Chic and Shopping Smart by Nina Garcia

Week 2 —

Free Wardrobe Planner

Defining Your Style

50 Piece All-Season Capsule Wardrobe

Week 3 —

Stores you like! Duh!

Week 4 —

Pinterest 

Outfit Posts

Add Variety to Your Wardrobe with One Little Trick

A Week in Outfits

How to save money with Groupon Coupons!

save with groupon coupons

(This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.)

One of the easiest ways to maintain a Ballin’ on a Budget lifestyle is to do a little research before you shop. The deals are out there! Sometimes they may just take a little internet perusal in order to find. Whether you’re booking your travel accommodations for that summer vacation you scrimped and saved for or headed to a department store to pick out a new winter coat, coupons and discounts can help you get the most bang for your buck. An easy way to start incorporating this pre-purchase research into your routine? Check out Groupon Coupons.

Perhaps you’re familiar with using Groupon for saving money on experiences. Think: pilates classes, massages, and 2-for-1 meal deals. However, Groupon Coupons is a great resource for locating coupons and deals from every-day retailers.

Searching for a specific retailer is super easy and they even provide a round-up of the top coupons and offers on their home page every day. There you’ll find well-known brands like Ulta, Costco, and JCPenney. I am always especially pleased to see all the deals available for Macy’s and Kohls, stores I regularly shop when I’m in need of new clothes or housewares.

So, before your next big purchase, surf on over to Groupon Coupons and see if some treasure awaits you there in the form of an exclusive sale or great coupon! You’ll never know unless you look!!!

Stay connected with Groupon on Facebook and Twitter

How do you save money on big ticket purchases? Have you ever used Groupon before? Would you? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Ballin’ on a Budget–Ditch the “Here and There” Purchasing

Today, I’d like to continue a favorite series on the blog! One that highlights easy strategies for BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET. Each month, I’m proposing something for all of us to ditch in order to free up some line items on our budgets with values that can go to more practical expenditures like paying down on debt and saving for special occasions. (You can catch up on last month’s suggestions HERE.) Whether you’re actively pinching pennies or simply want to re-direct some of those pennies to better serve you, this series is for you! So, let’s get started…

mall escalator

Ballin’ on a Budget means being super mindful with your spending habits. It’s not possible to stop spending all together so taking time to separate wants from needs can curb the flow of dollah bills from your bank account. However, it’s easy to get in the habit of “here and there” spending. Buying things as needed or when the inkling for an item creeps up. Unfortunately, this eliminates that all important meditation on whether the purchase is a crucial one, turning mindfulness into mindlessness. Eliminating mindless spending will take work but it’s possible! Here’s our plan for the next 4 weeks…

Week 1. Track your spending. 

If you’re looking to make major lifestyle changes, it’s important to identify what’s going on in the status quo. Set aside a week to write down every single thing you spend money on. This might be a little bit nerve-wracking or even a little bit annoying (“Hold on, I gotta document this latte!”) but it’s just seven days and it has the potential to be a really eye opening experience. Grab a notebook (or the Notes app in your phone, whatever works) and get to jottin’!

Week 2. Identify spending categories. 

Now that you have a week’s worth of spending habits, it’s time to do a little analyzing. If you like charts, spreadsheets, and data of any kind (*raises hand*) you may enjoy this step just enough to soften the blow of “Holy Shit, I used my debit card HOW many times?!” Read over your list of expenses and identify a few major spending categories of tangible items. Think: Groceries, Clothes, Bath/Body/Wellness, Home Necessities, Gifts, etc. Other line items; like Bills, Entertainment, Eating Out, are a topic for another day. Break things down in whatever way works best for you visually. Going through your money diary with color coordinated highlighters, Excel spreadsheet, handwritten lists with category headings, you get the gist. This is a great step to return to whenever you need to hit the reset button on your spending.

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Week 3. Set up a schedule for when to shop. 

Next, you’ll translate those categories into a shopping schedule based on their importance and necessary frequency. If you stopped by an expensive city-market to pick up a few groceries every evening on your way home from work, try wrangling all your food for the week on 1-2 scheduled days. Did you run out of shampoo mid-week and have to run to CVS, where you also grabbed nail polish and a stack of individually packaged face masks? See if you can make bath and body product purchases a weekend thing. Keep a list of the items you need (or think you’ll need). Whenever I do this I always end up whittling down the list because I’ve included things that weren’t actually needed. By the time the weekend trip rolls around and I’ve got to part with a lump of cash, instead of spaced out over the course of many shopping trips, I tighten the belt…or, errh, wallet. Play around with how often you need shopping trips to occur based on the category. Could you buy household goods (like cleaning and paper products) once a month? Can you shop for new clothes just once a quarter? It’s totally up to you!

Week 4. Find a day to treat yourself. 

Even when you’re Ballin’ on a Budget I think it’s a-okay to splurge once and a while. Total deprivation and super strict purse-strings are a recipe for disaster. And in my experience, going that route just isn’t sustainable. So, one little trick I’ve grown to love? Plan when you’re going to treat yourself! Look back over your week of spending or just think about what you often find yourself impulse buying. A few years ago, when I was trying to pay off a bunch of debt and actively attempting the Ballin’ on a Budget lifestyle in order to do so, my go-to splurge was magazines. I LOVE magazines. And they’re fairly cheap reading material! But I was impulse buying them way too often. So, I decided instead that I would treat myself to a new magazine once a month. I picked a day of the month (like the 24th or the 5th) so that I would remember and I stuck to the routine. Weirdly, it became SO much more satisfying. I looked forward to the treat so much more because it WAS a treat, not just a mindless purchase. I took great care in picking one out (opting for a different one each time ) and really savored the experience of reading it. You could do something similar with any number of things! A new makeup item, fun stationery, a little plant for your porch, a vinyl record, GO WILD!

journal display

Resources:

Week 1 —

How to track your spending (and why you should)

Keep a Money Diary and Become Better With Your Spending

Financial Planning in a Bullet Journal

Week 2 —

How to Track & Analyze Spending

Ways to Categorize Your Spending

Week 3 —

The Only Grocery Shopping List You’ll Ever Need

Best Time to Buy Things

Week 4 —

Why You Should Splurge Sometimes

Do you have your own tips or resources for eliminating “here and there” spending? Is this an area of your budget that you struggle with? Do you think following these weekly steps could help? Let’s chat in the comments below!

And tune in next month when we tackle fast fashion!