Tag Archives: ballin on a 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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10 Tiny Changes You Can Make to Help Save the Planet (& MONEY!)

save the planet and money too

Friends, let’s talk about a few tiny lifestyle changes I think everyone should make. 

What do you say? Do you want to do something (that’s like, totally easy!) on behalf of Mother Earth? Do you want to save money in the process???

Kind of a no-brainer, right? Here are 10 things that are so tiny you could totally implement them all at once (or maybe already have but need a gentle reminder to get back on track and/or recommit)…

The Power of Power Strips

Utilize power strips so you can switch off power to appliances and chargers when they’re not in use.

Put Your Laptop to Bed

Why should your laptop be awake when you’re asleep?! Help your computer catch some much needed zzz’s by switching it off overnight.

Shop the Bulk Bins for Snacks

Snack foods have a ton of unnecessary packaging. Grab a reusable container and hit up the bulk food section at your local market. A great earth saving snack option? Popcorn! Microwave popcorn bags are often lined with harmful chemicals. So go the old fashioned route with bulk kernels, a pan, and some oil.

Go Flexitarian

Did you know it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef? Find ways to limit your meat consumption. You can start by choosing one meat-free day a week and work your way up from there. I recommend checking out this cookbook.

Eco-Friendly Periods

There are some pretty great options when it comes to waste-free menstruation. Period panties! Menstrual cups!

Say “No” to Flea Collars

If you’re a pet owner you know sometimes fleas happen — but flea collars don’t need to. Not only do they not biodegrade, but they’re also loaded with carcinogens. Try a topical treatment instead. Or give these homeopathic remedies a go.

Recycle Gift Wrap

Get your creative juices flowing when you give gifts by wrapping them in recycled materials. You could use cloth, newspapers, or even keep a box of wrapping paper you’ve received. More ideas here.

Bring Your Bags

Here’s an obvious one — reusable shopping bags. (flip & tumble is my go-to. They even have a wine bag!) Make sure to have your own bags in tow whenever you hit up a store!

Toss in a “Dryer Buddy”

Ditch the dryer sheets and toss in a dryer buddy instead. Add a drop or two of essential oils to your buddy if you’re after softness AND a scent boost.

Cold Cycles are So Hot Right Now

As in they’re so in! Wash those clothes cold, henny.

Ok folks, 10 tiny changes. The Earth will thank you! PLUS — You’ll be paying for less power, packaging, pads, meat, plastic, wrapping paper, and hot water…SOOOO…

What do you have to lose?! Start saving the planet (& money) today!!!

Have you made these changes already? If not, what’s holding you back? Let’s talk implementation in the comments below!

My 3 Wardrobe #LifeHacks for Unique Style on a Budget

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Creating your own unique style can be hard to do, especially when you’re on a budget.

For a lot of us out there, we have droves and droves of clothes piles, but still feel like we have nothing to wear. However, without the bank account to replace these tired duds, the idea of throwing ’em all out to start anew doesn’t seem in the cards. 

A massive wardrobe overhaul takes time and effort, not to mention some serious dough! So if you want to create a new and unique style on a budget, here’s the advice you’ve been looking for.

Don’t Be Afraid to Cut and Chop

When you’ve got some clothes stuck right at the back of your wardrobe that you haven’t worn in a very long time, it’s time to scoop them out and start restyling them for the current era. So whether you’ve got a pair of flared jeans you know wouldn’t be seen outside of 2008, or an old cardigan you know you wouldn’t even want your grandmother to wear, research ways to re-purpose.

Turn a tired tee into a comfortable dress. Cut the flares off of those jeans and re-hem them into the cropped, ankle-length style everyone’s been lovin’ this season. 

Shop Online

Shopping online offers you the variety and choice you won’t get when pounding the pavement. Not to mention, clicking around is WAY faster.

Check out vintage Etsy shops or vintage style pieces from ModCloth, whole shops dedicated to one kind of style or genre, or custom services like the one that can be found here. A few original pieces will go a long way when rebooting your style.

Focus on Accessories

Any tired and old wardrobe can be made to feel unique again with the addition of a new bag or pair of shoes. And a jewelry box is a lot cheaper to update than a whole closet. Invest in a few current accessory trends and you’ll be amazed at how refreshed your look will feel — especially when you pair these new pieces with classic wardrobe staples

Lately I’ve been loving Le Tote as a way to keep my accessories up-to-date without having to worry about what to buy. I just get a new accessory each time they send me a box, I wear it a few times, then send it back! [Click here for a free tote.]

But I want to hear from you! Do you have a ton of clothes but still find yourself wanting an updated style? How do you create a unique wardrobe on a budget? Tell us in the comments so we can learn from you!

P.S. Check out my 4 week plan to DITCH FAST FASHION!

 

A fun planner hack!

Here’s a fun hack if decorating your planner brings you joy —

1) Buy a package of sticker paper.

2) Search Pinterest for free planner printables. (Click HERE for the one pictured above. i ❤ Pusheen!!!)

3) Print, cut them out, and stick ’em wherever you like.

Stickers designed especially for planners are awesome for keeping track of to-do’s, marking tasks as important, and habit tracking. However, they can become a costly habit pretty quick. Luckily, there are a TON of super, adorable designs for ABSOLUTELY FREE!

Go ahead…TAKE A LOOK! Here are some show-stoppers: keep track of your fill-ups, for the baking obsessed, sweet little icons to remind you of chores, and SLOTHS! (heehee!)

P.S. My favorite planner is the Bob’s Your Uncle 8-Days-A-Week Planner Journal. You can find those Erin Condren Dual-Tip Markers HERE.

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

 

A Thanksgiving Menu for Under $50

vintage-cookbook-photo

If you’re only cooking for a few this Thanksgiving, and you’re not keen to blow your whole grocery budget on a single meal, I have a few tips for you…

  1. Choose 2-3 of your favorite side dishes. You won’t be “doing it wrong” if you don’t have green bean casserole or stuffing…especially if  you don’t like those dishes anyways.
  2. Don’t waste valuable stomach-space (and cash) on a bunch of pre-dinner nibbles.
  3. Pick up one decadent dessert from a local bakery. Unless you bake on the regular, the ingredient list for your favorite pie may not be worth the hassle.
  4. Consider roasting a chicken instead of a turkey. I know, I know…super unorthodox suggestion but when cooking for less people it just makes sense.

With these nuggets of knowledge in mind, I turned to one of my favorite cook books to construct a menu. Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown is an amazing resource for anyone ballin’ on a budget (no matter the time of year). AND it’s available as a FREE PDF. Go check it out!

Here’s a Thanksgiving meal for 4 folks (or 2 with a healthy dose of leftovers). While it may not be the most traditional of menus; the recipes are easy, the costs are low, and waste is minimal. I love that the spotlight is on seasonal produce…a wonderful bounty to celebrate at any table, but it feels especially appropriate for a Thanksgiving feast! Switch the chicken out for turkey (or a turkey breast), if you like. Or nab a Tofurkey if you’re vegetarian. (Cost of each dish is indicated below.)

Appetizer

Classic Deviled Eggs (p.137) $3.60

Starter

Lightly Curried Butternut Squash Soup (p.26) $6

Main Course

Roast Chicken (p.78) $10

Cauliflower Cheese (p.93) $6.60

Roasted Vegetables (p.106) $5

Whole-Wheat Jalapeno Cheddar Scones (p.15) $4.50 *note – I would sub diced apple for the jalapeno in this recipe to make it a bit more autumnal. 

Dessert

Pumpkin Pie Rice Pudding (p.175) $2.40

Total cost of meal = $38.10 (which leaves you $11.90 to nab your favorite pie from some place local!).

Pick up a bottle of Cab and a bottle of Chardonnay and Bob’s your Uncle — budget-friendly Thanksgiving Day is a go!

What are YOUR top tips for saving money on Thanksgiving? Will you be hosting this year or enjoying dinner with friends and family? Would you ever consider CHICKEN on Turkey Day?! (Chet, a former butcher, swears up and down that no one actually likes turkey anyways. LOL! He prepared a delicious chicken last year and I gotta say…I’m now a fan of the Thanksgiving Chicken.) 

 

mid-week round-up

horsehead

What’s going on this week, guys? I hope you’re enjoying the book-themed week here on the blog. It seems fitting, given all the rain we’ve been getting, I just want to curl up on the couch and read novel after novel. Are you reading anything good right now? Hope your day is great wherever you are, and below are a few reads of a different variety (back to all-things books tomorrow though!)…

Voyages: Visual journeys by 6 photographers.

10 New Orleans musts for under $10.

Stop taking pride in not knowing how to do basic shit.

This ballerina starts her day with a corn-dog as a PRE-breakfast. (#spiritanimal)

Confessions of workplace masturbators.

I’m saving this podcast for a rainy day…or road trip.

Female debaters everywhere feel ya Hillz!

How to decorate a large wall.

30-minute sheet pan potatoes and chicken sausage.

Investments that will save you money in the long run.

Hugo Lucitante’s tribe sent him into the outside world so he could return and save their village.

Typecast as a terrorist.

5 Great Ways to Save Money on Books

Hey friends! To continue with our week of all things book-related here on Finding Delight, I’ve got a guest post by fellow blogger and book-lover, Cassie

sweet-reading

Books are an amazing, enlightening and empowering force, one that has the possibility to change the world or at least the perspective of their readers. I can’t recommend enough that everyone should be indulging in the secrets of their pages as much as possible.

However, a stark truth that has to be faced is books are often expensive. New and popular releases regularly come with a hefty price tag. Avid readers often find themselves gazing longingly at titles they just can’t afford. These five tips are all great ways to save money when buying books, thus opening you up to a whole range of exciting new titles to explore.

Avoid the Hardback

While hardbacks are a beautiful and tempting product for any book lover—who doesn’t crave their shiny covers and satisfying weightiness when you read them—they are also by far the priciest. In fact, they’re often double the price of their paperback counterparts and can be over ten times more expensive than the e-book version.

While treasuring those beautiful books might seem like an important pursuit, if you remind yourself that you can indulge in numerous alternative literary delights for the same cost, then it will soon become easy to put them back on the shelf and save your pennies! Some people might argue that e-books are just as expensive since you have to add the initial cost of an e-reader, but there are numerous apps that let you download the releases directly onto phones, tablets or laptops that you already own.

Take Advantage of Project Gutenberg

There are so many classic novels that have been produced by influential and pioneering authors all throughout history. Each one of these pieces of literature is a must-read for any bookworm’s list. What’s even better is a large amount of these works can be found and read for absolutely free.

Project Gutenberg is an online resource founded in 1971 to help support the distribution of e-books. It provides readers with a staggering collection of works whose copyrights have expired, books that are in the public domain. The law around copyright varies, but in general, most books find themselves in the public domain so many years after their original author has died. The site currently holds over 50,000 titles, and many of these are famed classics—think Jane Austen, H.G. Wells, Lewis Carroll and hundreds of other timeless authors. 

Use a Virtual Private Network

The internet does wonders for helping us spend less on books. However, what many users fail to realize is the internet is not created equal. Book distribution websites and services often restrict their catalogs depending on region via a process called geo-blocking. In short, this works by identifying the IP address on your Kindle device or computer and only allowing you to view or purchase books available in your region. This means you can often miss out on great titles and deals just because you’re based in a certain country.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a handy piece of software that enables users to choose which country their server appears to be browsing from. The Kindle catalog in particular is notorious for setting up deals based on location, so by installing a VPN you can check that you aren’t missing out on great savings elsewhere. The software also provides an added layer of security to protect your credit card details when buying online. Secure Thoughts is a leading review site if you want to find out more information.

Browse the Discount Sites

As well as Kindle deals, there are many other dedicated sites that can be found online that specialize in providing discounted versions of your favorite novels. Students are probably already familiar with Half.com, as many use it to cut the cost of textbooks, but it’s also a wonderful resource for anyone looking to find great deals on favorite books. 

Powered by eBay, it’s run on the same concept as the main site but specifically caters to book lovers. Sellers can use the platform to clear out secondhand copies of books they’ve read, making it the perfect way to find discounts. As users have to compete to attract buyers to their products, you can often find significant savings if you’re willing to dig deep enough. As most books are secondhand, it’s also worth keeping an eye out for quality.

This trick is one that can be used when buying paperbacks from Amazon, as often titles can be found secondhand from individual sellers for a fraction of the bookshop price. These deals often come up when you do a search, so be sure to check them out before committing to a purchase!

Participate in a Book Swap

Last but not least, and my personal favorite way to save money on books, is the classic book swap. The concept is simple: you can pick up a new (to you) book, and all you have to do is leave another one in exchange. It’s a common practice in hostels, as travelers aren’t able to cart around large quantities of reading material, but it’s also becoming a regular occurrence in neighborhoods.

In England, many public telephone boxes—which are now largely seen as redundant —have been transformed into mini book swap libraries where passers-by can browse, borrow and donate books in return. It’s free of charge and a great way to drum up interest in literature and even engagement in your local community. If you don’t have a handy resource like this available near you, then you can get together with fellow book lovers from your friend circle, each bring a few unwanted titles and have your own mini swap session! 

Money should never be a reason for not getting your fill of reading. There are always new and innovative solutions to your financial problems when it comes to books. These are just five of my most-used tactics, but if you have any more tips and tricks, then I’d love to hear your ideas! Be sure to leave a comment below.


About the Author: Cassie is an entertainment and technology blogger for Culture Coverage. She’s been an avid reader all her life and loves that the internet has made it easier than ever to access the greatest stories out there.

 

(Photo by Galina Kochergina.)

5 DIY Projects: Acrylic Accents

acrylic calendar
Wall Calendar by A Beautiful Mess

Peruse the site of any beauty blogger worth her weight in products and you’ll start to get a sense that organization assistance of the acrylic variety is very on-trend and very must-have. A wander through the hallowed aisles of The Container Store will not only corroborate but will also showcase how this glorious plastic can extend far beyond the dressing table and into all sorts of realms of sleek home decor meets chic organizing. However, clock the price tag on a few of these items and you’ll realize the DIY route is the way to go. And if you’re down, you’re in luck. Basic acrylic sheets can be found at home improvement stores or even online. Check out this Acrylic Sheet supplier, if you’d like. Here are 5 fantastic projects that used this modern material and achieved superb results…

flower boxes
Flower Boxes by DaWanda’s DIY with love
| Danielle Poff Photography | Effortlessly Chic Sparkling Neutr
Seating Chart from Stephanie and Gavin’s wedding feat. on hey Wedding Lady (photo by Danielle Poff Photography)
bathroom shelves
Bathroom Shelves by Pneumatic Addict  
budget friendly poster frame
Budget Friendly Poster Frame by Food52

What do you think? Which would you make? Do you have any acrylic pieces in your home? 

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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?