Related image

This post is inspired by The $1,000 Project.

 

I started by own $1,000 Project on October 24th. At about full month in and I have saved quite a bit of cash I otherwise would have spent. I was also able to add to my sinking funds for our quarterly HOA with the left over unspent cash from last month’s “budget.” (I use budget in quotes for a reason I will discuss later).

 

I learned to cut my own hair — This plan was more out of necessity than money saving. My one hair stylist moved to Florida and the other was on maternity leave. Since I had not had a cut since February, I needed a cut pronto. A haircut for me can easily set me back $80.00. I do not do color or a complicated style, my hair is long and straight and my cuts are generally just thinning, trimming the ends and layers.  I combined the amateur methods and found a professional video and established with my own method. I bought professional scissors and a razor comb (like in the video) and went to work. It turned out perfectly.  All I need to get down is layering and I am set for life.

A Lunch Packed is $10 saved — Lunches are expensive these days. I’ve spent up to $12 on a single lunch meal. It seems like lunches are just as pricey as dinners and have not gotten any bigger, more filling, or more complex. Inspired by the $1,000 Project concept, I kept track of the days I packed my lunch and added that to my total saved. So far this month I have saved $140.00 in lunch money by packing my lunch. I keep track by week so my average is buying lunch 1 to 2 days a week.

A Night in versus a Night Out  — Like most people, I love to go out to dinner and  walk around a store afterward. Early this month I wanted to do just that: go out with my husband to a dinner and then to the bookstore. Instead, I made a meal at home and we watched a movie on Netflix. Easily saved $100.00.

Cut Back on the perceived essentials  — Over the last few years I slowly reduced the amount of “essentials” to get my makeup routine down to a 5-7 minute Le No Makeup Look . My makeup now involves: CC Cream, Powder (also what I carry for touch ups), brow pencil, bronzer and mascara. Make up is expensive so find your absolutely favorites and stick to them, keep it as simple as possible.

Double up — My hair products are simple: Shampoo, Conditioner ; a deep conditioner (which I double as shaving cream); detangler (doubles as a heat protector); Smoothing cream and a blow dry spray, and hair oil.  (The blow dry spray I will not repurchase because I prefer the smoothing cream.)  Cutting back on these things can really save a lot of money.

Use it Up and Use What You Have — Raise your hand if you go out and buy another cosmetic well before what you have is empty. That is a massive money suck. Unless you absolutely hate it or it causes an allergic reaction, use it all up before buying another.  Also, think if you would buy it again. This also goes for food items and cleaning supplies. Get creative as to what you can use to fill a need. I am a sucker for notebooks so when I get a fresh new idea I want to buy a new one. I decluttered quite a bit of notebooks and I use them for various reasons. Use those cover to cover.

 

What creative ways can you save money?

And I mean this literally. Not spiritually or emotionally. Where are you investing your money?

 

Image result for savings

[source: goodcall.com]

As women, we aren’t really encouraged to save, invest or think of our future as much as men are. I am making a broad statement here, of course, but hear me out a little. If you are a woman reading this, chances are you were never really encouraged to save for retirement, our children’s education, our education, until it’s almost too late. I was lucky enough to learn very early how bad credit cards are. In fact, my first boyfriend got a store credit card and within 3 months, he maxed it out and owed $1,500. To a STORE. At 17, $1,500 is a lot of money to pay off. It is a lot of money now, but especially at the innocent age of 17. When I saw the level of stress he was under getting the monthly statement, how quickly his part time paycheck would disappear, I vowed to never ever ever get into credit card debt.

I got a credit card at the age of 20 and it was a Shaw’s Jeweler card. I think my limit was $200 and I bought an $80 bracelet. It took me a few pay checks to clear that $80 but it got me started on establishing credit and then I opened a Capital One card. My limit again was pretty low, but I never ever maxed it out. In fact, I considered my “credit card limit” to be half of what the card company said. So if it was $300, my limit was $150.

Being smart with credit cards is something that is not talked about enough to young people. It seems so many people get in over their heads, swiping their cards without really understanding what damage they are doing; not just to their credit but to their future and their daily sanity. The habit of spend, spend, spend is what we learn. The concept of investing is more about investing in “good skin care,” “a high quality purse or coat,” or “a holy grail foundation.”

I am again making a grand statement and of course this is a stereotype, but when you turn on the TV, women are being told to invest in things that depreciate and do not have long term positive impact on our lives and the lives of our future generations. Good skin is great, but what is the ROI?

Not much…

I’m beginning to research investing and was inspired by SugarMamma.tv to get serious about my financial future. I also like Rachel Cruze. I inspire you to do the same : both men and women!

Some videos to consider:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planner1

 

I feel like every one who blogs (or vlogs) toward the end of the month always say something like, “I can’t believe it is already the end of [Insert month].” I won’t do that. I’ll simply say that this year August to August has been loaded with lots of changes, growth, and a serious look at who I am and how I live.

First things first; I am approaching one year of being a wife. One year on September 26th (although legally by the state on September 14th. But that’s a story for another day). To keep with the title, a lot of my inward work has been how I manage my time, my home, my work, my fitness, and stress.

I’ve always used agendas to keep track of appointments or parties, but I never really knew how to keep one with a to-do list until I began planning my wedding. More specifically: the last 3 months of planning where everything snow balls and it’s hurry up, go, go, go time. Since my wedding last year, my daily planning has taken on a whole new level. I discovered Alejandra.tv and signed up for and finished the Power Productivity online course. And from there, everything fell into place. Exactly what I needed as the next step to get myself together appeared effortlessly.

With the Power Productivity Program, I got way ahead of myself and bought a lot of unnecessary stuff (which she cautions against in module 4!). I just was so excited about everything I learned I would buy organizing gadgets and boxes without thinking what I would use it for. I just bought it because I’d figure out a use for it. Or I’d get it and it wouldn’t fit – again module 4. I did not follow directions…

From there it lead me to learning how to declutter. I was so overwhelmed with crap: clothes I didn’t like/didn’t fit, cooking tools I never used, books I knew I would never read, and countless cosmetics I just had to try or have. The stuff I use on a daily basis is relatively small, but the “extra” was too much. One day, my mom brought over two huge totes of my stuff from storage. I couldn’t believe the amount of junk I had in the world: there was nail polish sets from the late 90s, floppy discs, old school papers, photos of people I can’t even remember their names, and random scraps of paper and notebooks.

Those totes were a turning point. As I searched how to declutter, I discovered many vloggers/bloggers who did just that. I learned so much about what to get rid of and, more importantly, what NOT to bring in. Which leads me back to planning.

I started to use my planner to track goals and my workouts. It also acts as my to-do list (there are additional pages after the calendar with lines). It feels good to look back at the month and see what goals I was able to accomplish.

  1. to work out at least four days a week: I set that goal because I had a very busy June and needed to get back on track. Not perfect this month, but I got back into more of a routine.
  2. to be “meatless” at least 2 days a week: I wanted to cut back on eating meat for various reasons but I can say I exceeding that goal. Average 4 days per week is pretty awesome. I’m not sure I’ll never be full vegetarian. I’ve tried and it doesn’t work for me, but setting aside days feels like a great balance for me. I don’t plan it – my body just tells me which days it doesn’t need meat and which days it does.

To track in September:

  1. meditation, journaling and yoga: I need to SERIOUSLY get myself together when it comes to stress management. I want to meditate everyday and do yoga at least one day a week. My goal for journaling is to fill at least one page every day.
  2. headache and migraine: Going with above, this month I’ve pretty much had a headache every single day and at least 2 or 3 migraines with the most recent one being yesterday. Right now, I just have it marked with H in a circle for headache and M for migraine. They certainly are not the same. I wake up at least 1 day a week with a headache and it can last a few days. Some days I have to go into work late because they are so bad. Thankfully, my migraines are very rare, but I want to track it.
  3. Mood: You can sense a theme here. September is going to be a jump-start to some massive self-care. Yesterday’s migraine was an intervention by my body. It was a massive wake-up call on just how much I let build on a regular basis. Just not myself, but the people around me as well. I want to track my mood and see how it relates to the two above.

 

In the next post, I will write about my budget notebook which I use in another tracker. The budget book is Bullet Journal style which I love. It will go through many changes as I fine-tune it to meet what I need, but all of the things I track this coming month is about my emotional, mental, and physical well-being. I’m not just dabbling either — this is going to be real.

 

What do you want to track next month?

Find me:

Instagram; amanda11762

youTube: amanda11762

battery

Photo credit: pcworld.com

Recently I watched a video by Canna of SugarMamma.tv where she emphasized money as energy and financial transactions as an exchange of energy. It got me to rethink purchases and view spending as more than handing over a physical piece of plastic or paper. When we hand over our hard-earned cash for something we don’t feel good about we lose precious energy. I’ve heard this concept before but never fully understood it until a recent purchase at Ulta.

In the ever-evolving world of cosmetics, Laura Mericer reformulated their Silk Creme foundation, much to the chagrin of dedicated purchasers — including myself. After three bottles over 2 years of this liquid gold I was on the search for something new. I researched online, took some advice from my favorite beauty YouTuber and friend, Lisa, but I couldn’t decide between 3 finalists. I wrote each on a piece of paper, tossed them in a cup and let the foundation gods decide: BECCA it was.

Off I go to Ulta where I was promptly told the foundation I was looking at was way too much coverage for my skin. I was directed to take a seat where the beautiful girl pulled out a primer and CC Cream from It Cosmetics. She removed my make-up and redid my face with the new stuff. One hundred nine dollars later I was out the door sans pep in my step.

You see, I’m not a makeup girl. I used to be, but not anymore. I don’t look right with heavy eye shadows and liners and blush so my daily makeup is down to the bare basics: Foundation, concealer, eye brow powder, an eye lash curler, bronzer, and setting powder. So why I felt the need to add a primer wasn’t because I needed it, it was because I was “sold” it. I went to Ulta with the intention of buying a foundation and nothing else; the foundation purchase was an equal energy exchange.

To equate to a cell phone batter, my energy was full going in, but the battery percentage dropped from a 97% to about 45%. And it continued to go down over the next few days. That primer purchase ($50.88) slowly chipped away at my psyche. The night of the purchase I woke up in the middle of the night in an unnecessary panic and decided I needed to return the primer. Not because I did not have the money, but I felt like something wasn’t quite right.

I shook the feeling and kept on. I used the primer like the beautiful sales girl told me to, but every time I pumped the product onto my finger tips and put it on my face I felt nothing but disdain and regret. Yesterday, after five full days of this I decided once and for all that primer was going back.

I walked into Ulta, product and receipt in hand and asked the beautiful cashier to please accept the return. And with that $50.88 returned to my bank account and I walked out with a pep in my step and my battery shot back up to 97%.

The moral of the story is our money is earned through our time away from home and our mental, physical and spiritual energy. Some of that money has to go toward other energy suckers that are quite necessary: rent or mortgage, debt on credit cards, student loans, car and insurance payments, gas, etc. But the rest is ours! That money energy is ours to use as we wish! What a luxury! Think of it this way: Would you spend your physical energy on a workout you hate? For example, I don’t run. I’m not a runner, so I would rather use my physical energy on yoga or pilates instead of running. That is how we should view our money and when we spend it.

Just like a cell phone battery, we are recharged daily. However, we as humans are blessed with various ways of being charged: through sleep, food, laughter, love, and payday! How we use our energy reserves it up to the individual. To keep with the theme of this post, would we want use that precious energy reserved just for us and waste it on face primers that are over priced and not necessary?

20160229_094440

There is something about March that sparks hope in me. Perhaps it is the coming of spring and the slow emerging from the darkness of winter. January 1st has nothing on March 1st; this is the real Happy New Year!  In fact, each month is like a brand new year, a blank sheet of paper ready for fresh ideas and fresh ink.

This month I am keeping it simple. I set 3 goals this month. I appreciate goals that require simple and daily right actions that hold a huge pay off once in the flow. My goals are not usually about saving up to buy a fancy gadget, rather, I love things that make me happier on a daily basis and therefore a better and well-rounded person.

 

Please let me know what your goals are this month. I’d love to know!

1. Meditation :: I need to get my you-know-what in gear and commit to meditation on a daily basis. Not some days, or once a week, but every single day. In January I was successful in 20 days straight of morning meditation, but fell off that wagon. I’ve been reading The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching and meditation is imperative.

2. Spending Freeze :: This one isn’t as fun. Let’s be honest… but it is necessary. For the month of March my plan is to spend only on groceries, gas, and obvious bills/payments. I have a bad habit of money burning a hole in my pocket and I tend to get very liberal with spending after payday hits. Above is my fresh daily spending sheet that I developed back in January. I’m still finding the perfect way to use it, adding and removing categories for each month. It’s not a perfect system, but I’m sure I will have it down in a few months. For the month of March, I’m keeping it to the bare necessities and focus on “free” fun such as reading, drawing, and spending time with my husband and dog! *More on this to come!

3. Creativity :: I love to draw and paint with water colors. I haven’t been inspired much the last month or two as being wrapped up in layers is not conducive for comfort while working on art projects. Each day my goal is to spend at least 30 minutes on a drawing. I do not need to finish anything, but 30 fun-filled, meditative minutes of drawing will get me back into a groove.