Tag Archives: spend less to live more

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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Free-time this Fall? No need to break the bank!

As the weather gets a little chillier and we shift from Summer to Autumn, I’ve got penny-pinching on my mind. Summer may have seen you spending a bit more liberally (vacations, eating out, outdoor adventures) and back-to-school time can get costly as well. Looking ahead to the holidays, the next couple months can be a great time to rein it in, make some cut-backs and start saving. So, turn off those air conditioners, meal plan, host a Naked Lady party to score clothes for a new Fall look…and as for fun; here are 10 ways to spend your down-time this Fall without breaking the bank!

yoga

Sweat.

Forget the fancy gym memberships and costly classes. You can just bust a move from the comfort of your own living room. Youtube and Pinterest are fitness gold-mines! Do Erin Motz’s 30 Day Yoga Challenge. See how many reps of push-ups/sit-ups/lunges/squats/WHATEVER you can do in a row. Try to do more each day. Go upside down in a hand stand! Wanna explore? Jog in your neighborhood. Find a hiking trail nearby.

photography

Practice.

Commit to picking back up a hobby you let fall by the way-side or finally learn the skill you’ve had the equipment for in the back of your closet for ages. Play around with that camera (even if it’s just on your iPhone…you could even sign up for an Instagram “picture a day” challenge). Bust out your craft supplies. Build something. Grow something. Dust off that violin. Teach yourself calligraphy or German or darts.

backgammon

Play.

Turn off your TV, close the laptop and play a game instead. Spread out on the floor with your significant other or gather ’round the kitchen table with friends. Play Backgammon, Rummikub, Pictionary, Jenga, Chess, Trivial Pursuit or Monopoly. Got a deck of cards? Deal out Hearts, Poker, Euchre, B.S. or my always and forever favorite THIRTEEN.

meadowthorpe

Explore.

You don’t always have to strap on your hiking boots and hit the woods to have an epic adventure. Try your hand at urban exploration. Find a historic neighborhood and provide a running commentary on the architecture (even if it’s completely made up). Get lost in a gi-normous indoor flea market or antique mall. Check out abandoned buildings (don’t get arrested). See how many green-spaces, fountains, swing-sets, hot-dog stands, libraries or pedways you can walk to in one day.

whalepig

Enrich.

Do a little research and find free cultural events going on in your area. Check out galleries displaying art in public places. Go to an educational lecture hosted by a school or church or non-profit. Lots of organizations love hosting free movies. Got a friend or family member in a play, concert, dance recital? See if you can peep their dress rehearsal for free. The public library is a fantastic resource. And if you live in a university town you’re golden!

formabookclubkindle

Read.

Nothing says Fall like hunkering in a cozy spot with your latest page-turner. Join a book club. Start your own. Blaze through some Young Adult fiction on your e-reader. Pick up a stack of historical romance novels from the library. No one needs to know about your literary guilty pleasures.

pumpkinchai

Slurp.

Don’t shell out all your hard-earned money at Starbies. Yes, you may lose that gold status (R.I.P.) but you can learn to make your favorite hot beverages at home. If you want to drink all pumpkin everything until Christmas day…so be it.

braid

Pamper.

Choose one evening a week to have some “you” time. Learn a new hair-style. Do face masks. Do the DIY kind, too. Give yourself a manicure.

winecheers

Cheers.

Ok, so this may cost a LITTLE bit but if you have a Trader Joes we’re not talking much. Have a few friends over for a nice night in. BYO #3buckchuck. BYO #horsdouevrestoshare BYO #classyattire Set your Pandora station to whatever you like best, mingle, and let the conversation flow.

radioeye

Volunteer.

Evaluate your unique gifts and skill-set and figure out ways to give back. Sign up to be a mentor. Play with puppies. Organize events. Try your hand at a radio reading service. Answer phones, ring doorbells or just listen. When you give of your time, not only are you NOT spending money, the Universe finds powerful ways to reward you. : )

What about y’all, dear readers? How do you save money without sacrificing fun? Will you be ballin’ on a budget like me this Fall? Sending you an encouraging high-five if so! We got this!