How to look expensive while being cheap

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I am queen of the Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs, and whatever name brand that comes with a hefty price tag. Which may sound odd to you knowing that I talk so much about being frugal and ways to save money. Most people don’t believe me when I tell them how much I manage my household on, and how I can afford such luxury brands. Here are a few pointers I have notice keep you looking amazing without hurting your money goals. Plus who wants to compromise quality!!

 

REWARD POINTS

I don’t know how many times in my blog I talk about getting credit cards with good rewards. My household has 2 cards, an american express card and a bank of america card. I use both and earn over $250 a year in cash and gift cards (click here to read about how). With the extra $250 a month I use this to buy items I love, like right now I just put in a request for a $25.00 gift card to Athleta. It takes me about 2 months to net around $25 worth in point. I also get 2X the points if I use my Amex card to make a purchase. So I carefully wait on a sale and boom I order some super cute athletic wear. Get 2X the points back on the purchase plus I used Acorns (my investment app) that earned me 2% cash back in my portfolio. My total was $133 and my final cost to me was $30.44 From that one transaction you can see how credit card rewards add up.

 

LESS IS MORE

When I worked at Nordstrom rack I found these amazing Tory Burch sandals for $35.00 all leather. Not only was this a steal I knew once I bought them I wouldn’t be buying $15 sandals from Charlotte Russe every summer because the last pair wore out. Its been 3 years and they are still holding strong. Instead of opting for cheap materials and bad quality try buying the nicer better made brands and buy less of that item. Do your research before you buy and focus on the item being a classic rather than a fad item. Check out some cool blogs and dabble in the idea of being more minimalist. It’s a cool journey and worth looking into.

DIY

If you know how to do something then do it well. If you can do your own hair or nails eyebrows, etc. Do it and practice getting better at it. This is money you can stop paying someone else to do and use it on something worth your while. I typically do my own hair and nails. With me not spending money on a beautician I am able to buy items with a bigger price tag. Everyone gets a personal care budget, Jeremiah (my 1 year old) get $25 usually goes to play gyms he gets 1 haircut once every 3 months, Jamal get $40 2 haircuts a month and I get $25, however mine always ends up in the offering pail!!

A GOOD FIT

With my many years of retail experience I can tell you a good fit on anyone makes your clothes look more expensive and well made than the price tag. With a great fit you can fool anyone. I am 5’0 and anything that is baggy on me looks awful no matter the cost. Once I started buying petite sizes, it change the game. Many retail companies are doing their best to appeal to all sizes and shapes. Whether tall, short, plus or petite there is something for everyone.

 

CARE OF CLOTHES

I once cried to my mom when she washed and dried my favorite tee. It had beads on it and you couldn’t put in the dryer or it would fall apart. Reading the label on clothes is so important to the care and quality of your clothes. Once you start really putting some money and time invested into your closet you should really dab into caring for your clothes. Now I don’t buy things that are dry clean only, but many items I don’t dry and I do my best to wash on a delicate cycle.

 

GO HUNTING

I spend hours looking at deals all day!! If you have the time then it will pay off, I also like to do this so its more of a hobby for me. I typically go add a lot of items to my cart and then I work the basket like the stock market, buy low and sell high. I keep tabs on all items and once they go on sale I tend to buy the items. Sometimes the item will sell out and you have to be okay with that. For mothers day I was able to buy  at Nordstrom 2 dresses for $30 each due to me scouting them a whole 2 months before.

 

 

Don’t get caught in new trends that will die fast, get you a good few classic pieces and build from there. While looking expensive is fun and all, always remember its more important to have money saved up for emergencies. Rocking Gucci while your car is getting repo isn’t the best “look”. Stay true to who you are, and enjoy life. When you can find ways to enjoy your passion without breaking the bank go for it!!

6 Ways To Save $75+ This Month

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Here are a few of my quick, funny ways I and my family do to save money each month. A few of these tips we just started and have notice big savings! Some may not work for your family but it’s good to have options when it comes to savings.

 

1.SHOP AROUND FOR AUTO INSURANCE

So I have been with state farm for 10 years and I decided to look around and check different companies for quotes. After about 1 week of casually looking around my insurance company called trying to give me new ways to lower my bill. We opted for the drive save beacon, its a small item that sticks to our cars and gives you a discount(as long as your not a crazy driver). I also notice I haven’t change our mileage per year on the car. With being a SAHM I drive way less a year. All in all we saved $35 a month on insurance! Not to bad….I also tried root, its an insurance company that gives you a quote on how well you drive, I received $25 for testing them out. You can too if you use my referral. You don’t have to change insurance either to receive the money.

Click here to try root and receive $25 

Savings-$35 for me, but price ranges

 

2.TIME YOUR GROCERY SHOPPING

I am the queen of saving so much money on my families grocery budget. However, this past week my husband watched our son so I could get out for a few hours. I decided to go grocery shopping. With no reason to rush or baby about to explode with a tantrum, I took my time. I went down every isle, I touched every product. I also went over our budget by $15.00!!! That extra $15 was on items that were not on my list. I can shop in 30 min and get everything we need. This trip I took almost an hour and got a whole lot of stuff we didn’t. Time your first trip, make that number a time to beat. Once you get good at shopping fast try to keep it that way.

Savings-$15, but very by person

 

3.GO GREEN IN SOME WAY

I am all about being eco-friendly and treating this earth with some respect. But did you know you can also save money as well. My husband loves water bottles and we recently gave up purchasing a case at our local grocery store. I notice it was money we didn’t have to spend. Get a Brita filter, and reusable water bottle. Brita states you can save over $300 a year switching to a reusable water system. Just replace your filter and your good to go.

Savings-$25 a month

 

4.AUTO PAY & PAPERLESS BILLING

Check with your phone and internet provider. Most give you a discount on going paperless. Call or check with your bills to see if they offer some discount for paperless billing and auto-pay. I know we save $10 a month with Verizon, and At&t does it if you have cable and internet with them.

Savings- Usually $10 per company

 

5.UNSUBSCRIBE

If your into online shopping and buying items on sale, I would unsubscribe to your favorite stores. You save more when you don’t buy. I notice I tend to buy more clothes when I get hit with a 50% off marketing email. Somehow my online browser gets hit with a cart full of clothes I didn’t even plan on buying. Now with my son I tend to spend all the clothe buying on him. I only use gift cards from my credit card rewards program, and once I get enough points I get the cards and wait on a sale. And if you shop at old navy you already know they don’t go 2 days without running a sale. At first you might feel that your missing out on deals, but your wallet will be glad you did it.

SAVINGS- Varies on person

 

6.GAS BUDDY (app)

This app checks gas prices near you, so you can receive the cheapest price per gallon around. My husband drives 35 miles to work and back. So price per gallon is pretty serious around here. It was just me that had the app and I started noticing I was getting cheaper gas than him. I immediately made him get the app and once he started using it we saved on average $5-$10. The big thing is once you hit 1/4 on your gas tank start looking at the app and go fill up once you notice prices are cheaper. When your completely low on gas and need it, your not looking for cheap you just fill up on desperation.

SAVINGS- $5-$10

Budgeting and saving money is a odd passion of mine, so I find fun in doing all these things and finding new ways to save. However, I do know many people dread thinking of money and would rather save by automating there money. These are just fun quick tips for someone needing to find more wiggle room in their budget!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Cheap Summer Activities

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Its hot, your kids want to get out the house and you have $0 to go on a huge family vacation don’t worry I got you! With an active 17 month old that LOVES the outdoors and an income that literally only allows free activities. I have found many ways to have fun on a low budget.

PARK HUNT

I seriously stay up at night looking at new parks that I haven’t been too and what things they offer. Are there slides, a trail, swings. While going to the park isn’t new try bringing water guns, bubbles, water balloons. I usually go shopping at 5 Below (everything is $5 and below), if your area doesn’t have that store try your local dollar store. They most likely have summer toys that are fun too pack. We also bought a summer tote (only $5) and put all the bubbles, kite, and beach towels in it. So once we wake up get dress I grab the bag and dip! Easy, quick, and super cheap.

 

SPLASH PADS

Got little ones that can’t swim yet, try finding a splash pad in your area. They have recently gain popularity as cities prefer them over pools due to safety. You can’t drown and are family friendly. We have 2 in our area, both are free and my son loves them.

 

LOCAL WATER PARK

Of course you can always go to the big parks like hurricane harbor, but local water parks are much cheaper and kid friendly for the little ones. Ours is $8 a person and 2 and under are free. Most have a lazy river, a splash pad and 3 big water slides. I prefer these as I can watch my son without getting overwhelmed with too many people. Also go to there website and look for deals, week days usually have special pricing.

 

LOCAL LIBRARY

We are regulars for the library classes, but I notice once summer comes around they start to offer more classes and new activities. Go to your cities website and check events, you can normally find something for all age groups. Price is also FREE

 

GROUPON/EBATES

Try looking on Groupon for actives, due to Jeremiahs age it can be difficult but if you have kids 3 and up, they can have some pretty cool activities. Pair your purchase with ebates and get cash back plus if you have never used ebates try my link here and get $10 just for signing up. Its just a site that gives you cash back for purchasing items online, just remember to go through ebates.com first before you buy something.

 

To make sure you don’t spend to much in the summer try a cash system. It works really well for us. At the beginning of every month I pull $25 out for Jeremiahs activities, that normally allows one big activity a week and then I plug in free activities for the rest of the week. He laughs and plays just as hard at the park as he does at a water park. Kids just love to get outside. Don’t overthink it and believe you have to go on some lavish cruise post picture on your social media to seem happy. Don’t let comparison rob you of joy! What are some fun activities you and your family like to do?

 

 

 

How To Create A Budget That Works

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Budgets are the new wave in the financial world and if you haven’t already heard about them, let me give you a crash course. So a budget is a set plan that tells your every dollar where to go for each month. Many people run away from budgets or have loose designed planned budgets. I will instruct you on how to create one, that not only works but will grow into a monthly activity.

FIND YOUR CORE AMOUNT

The amount of money you spend each month on reoccurring bills that are necessary for you to live I call core amount. This includes, rent, water bill, car insurance, utilities, internet, car note, cell bill, etc. These are items you know wont change month to month and you can easily predict the amount. Once you add this number up, keep in mind this is the amount you must absolutely make every month to live. Obviously, utilities and water may change but if you can’t live without it included it in this total.

ADD SURPRISES

This is when budgeting gets tricky if you don’t account for this space. Now obviously you can’t predict when your car will break down. However you can predict small things like, Mothers day gifts, baby needs new car seat, car needs oil change. When you sit down to budget look at whats happening in that month and try to put a set amount on what your going to spend. So its may 9th, me and my husband budgeted my mothers day gift and my mom spending the week with us. So therefor he doesn’t go crazy at the mall, and it allows us to figure out how many restaurants we can all go to when she flies in. Just remember budgeting is putting a name on every dollar you own!

INCOME

Once you finish getting your core amount and adding in all the surprises of the next month, you must come to income. Now for some people this is easy if you are salary. Salary people just write down how much you will bring in this month and your done. My hourly people you will need to write down the average you bring home. So if you typically bring in $1900 a month and one month you bring in $2200, just remember to save the extra for the months you don’t quite make the $1900 monthly income.

MATH

Last step,(my favorite part), do the math. Take your core income and your surprised expenses add them up now minus them against your monthly income. You should have some money left over. Thats because you haven’t taken into account your grocery,gas, and walking around cash! The amount you have leftover will help you decided the type of groceries you can buy, the restaurants you can go to, and the amount of nail/hair appointments you can make. This is what makes my way of budgeting easier and more efficient. When you see you only have $300 dollars leftover to spend on food and gas you SHOULD be willing to cut out restaurants and miscellaneous because the math doesn’t fit your budget. This way allows you to focus on the bills that make sense(rent, water,etc). When you get to the math part of budgeting and see all the things that don’t make your budget you will need to start making executive decisions, I call them budget cuts!! With this leftover money put how much you can spend on things like food and gas. I typically spend 200-220 on food, and gas is 100 for my family. If we only have $300 leftover for the month, I start looking at what can I cut. Do I need to lower my mothers day gift budget, maybe Jamal can get an edge up vs a haircut. When you know you don’t have a lot of money leftover you will start to change the way you spend.

Let me be super honest here, budgeting gets very difficult, it will takes months before you actually hit it on the target. Life comes with so many loops and turns its hard to direct money, but with chaos comes order you need both. This is what makes budgeting so important. You will set out a budget of where you want your money to go and of course your car will break down that month, or some random expense will pop up that will re-allocate your money elsewhere. Be ready and be prepared it takes time to get it right and some months you may not hit the mark. It took me about 5 months to finally hit the dot. I would get close and my son would run out of diapers, or my husbands car needed an oil change and I forgot to budget that expense. So start this journey knowing it will be a long trip and some months will get difficult. Don’t give up, keep pushing the journey will be fun and worth it in the end!

When Saving Gets Hard

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Of course you know you need to save and you know the benefits of having an emergency fund but at times it seems impossible. For once I can finally understand this feeling. I told my husband man I remember those days when if I liked something at a store I just bought it. With baby here and living on one income, this whole buy now attitude had to change and it wasn’t an easy one. Yes, even for me Mrs. super saver. See no matter if your a fashionista, or into video games there is always something out there that can grab your eye and your money! Check out my cool funky ways to calm the lion, and save the ducks.

 

SAVE YOUR GOAL IMAGE

Whatever it is your saving for screenshot it. We really want to buy a house, so today I put the image as my background to remind me every-time why I have to save. Small reminders like this make it easy to put the 85% off shoes back! Whether its a car a house or just a set amount find the image and save it everywhere.

 

STAY INFORMED

I am a huge supported of podcast and Netflix documentaries. Try to spend time doing things that don’t cost money and keep you knowledgeable. Since I am a first time home buyer I watch many docs, and listen to podcast on home buying. This keeps me engaged in my goal and educated. I also know eventually my car will retire and I will need a new one, I sometimes watch youtube video on best “SUVS IN THE MARKET” and why.

 

MAKE IT FUN

While money can be boring to most people find a way to spice it up. Challenge your love ones or your friend. See who can save the most, talk about dreams of you in your goal. Keep it fun, and fresh!

 

NAME IT AND CLAIM IT

For or down payment we decided to open a separate account away from normal savings. We named it houseaccount. So anytime we move money over it states transfer to house account. Not only does it help keep track at where we are, I am more motivated to add money to that bank!

 

Enjoy this time, because months/years from now you will be laughing at how you ate rice and beans for dinner, or how you drove a clunker car for years just to buy a new car in cash. Sometimes we spend to much time looking at others peoples life, items and ads too realize the beauty in what we already have!!

 

Why Passive Income Matters

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So your killing it in the side hustle expertise and now, you hear about this new thing called “passive income”. So, passive income is money you receive for not actually being involved, examples would be like rental property or dividends from stocks, we will dive into more ways to dig into passive income later. Lets focus on the fact that you are working on your side job and your making profit, paying off debt and feeling good. But why not keep pushing that envelope. You can usually pull from your side hustle a way to bring in passive income. So I am a graphic designer and my main business maybe freelance work, but I can also set up a etsy print shop and sell printable. This allows people to shop my work, and print the art from their home. I wake up every morning to money in the account without having to lift a finger.

 

 

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IMPORTANCE

The reason I push for entrepreneurs to have a stream of passive income is because you only have so many hours in a day.  Even if you work all 24 hours, that is your cap. You can raise your hourly rate but at some point you will hit a wall and want to bring in more money. Passive allows you to still remain focus on your other jobs but can bring in money with little to no work once you set it up.

 

 

 

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SICK/EMERGENCY

As I write this post its -6 degrees and it seems like everyone is coming down with the flu. If I was a photographer I probably wouldnt have to many gigs with the weather being cold, or I maybe sick and cannot perform a job. The passive income will come no matter if your sick or if an emergency comes up. However if your a healthy human and you usually stay away from being sick. What about your child, or your family member? If they need you right away there is no PTO days in the freelance world. But in passive income there is always a paycheck!

 

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STREAMS

You have heard it from every business book in the world. Make sure to have 7 streams of income, although I haven’t quite got to 7, having multiple amounts is definitely a benefit. America is a fast growing capitalist world, some trends come and go and others last forever. While your podcast might be killing it your blog may dwindle but that’s okay, streams change. As long as there is a stream your doing great.

 

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INTERNET

Living in the internet boom, we can all contribute something. There is blogging, youtube, advertising, affiliate sponsoring, printable, the list is endless. And while you may think you don’t have a talent that can consist of passive income think again. That might be your fresh idea. Sit down and think of ways you can increase your wealth and create some passive money for your bank account.

 

If anything hopefully this post gets you thinking more about passive income. Sometime starting small ideas lead to bread-winning ideas. I started selling t-shirts, then decided on selling a few prints. Months later the prints where out selling my t shirts. Small ideas are great starting points, get to thinking and put your thoughts to actions.

How To Save Money By Shopping At TJMAX

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So you may think of this store for clothes, a few home decor and baby items. But tjmax doesn’t stop their they have everything and they have it for the right price. I live in walking distance to a tjx and I have notice a few items to be intensely cheaper than your average walmart/target price. I also notice that you can find items like, toothpaste, deodearant, body wash, laundry detergent, and dish-washing soap. I mean the list is endless and plus all the items are name brand or eco friendly.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU

If you don’t like the idea of buying off brand at stores I would opt to shop at discount store like tjx, ross, marshalls for items like I listed. This way you can keep your favorite brands in your home but pay half the price.

HOW TJ-MAX GETS ITS ITEMS

So, you might be wondering how can a store have items like these at prices this low. Well what happens is, dove may make 1,000 spray deodorants, but only sell 500. Tjmax will then swoop in and ask to buy all there un-sold items at a discounted rate. Then take the item and sell it at its store for a profit.

Candle Selection

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I use too always buy candles from bath and body works, however I got tired of constantly waiting on the 2 for $22 sale, or stocking up when items were cheaper. My husband surprised me with a candle from tjx and I never looked back. You can get a 3 wick candle soy that burns forever for $7.99. With no need of coupons or watching your email for deals this makes the better buy.

BABY PRODUCTS

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If you have a child please buy all your products here, they are so cheap. I have bought my sons detergent here, his dish soap for his bottle cleanings, I have even bought diapers. Most of the time honest will discontinue a design or a product size and sell it tjmax. We have the laundry detergent that is 128 oz it has lasted his first year and no one sell that size anymore. So if you see a product you like for the right price I would stock up. They may not have the same item next week.

SKIP THE CLOTHES

Just like target try to go in for only the items you need. I love this store so I can easily lose it. I try to only shop the home and body section and leave the clothing alone. With my son I may check out his section but they have toys and bibs and small items that I can normally keep myself from spending extra money.

CONCLUSION

I really think if you have a Tj-Max, Marshalls, or Ross near you, try checking it out. It might not work for you but it also might save you a lot of money depending on the products you buy and what your store may carry!

This post is not sponsored or endorsed by tjmax, these are my opinions.

What “NOT” to do with your refund check

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So here I am thinking of many ways to tell people to maxamize there refund check, and it hit me let me first cover what not to do with your extra money. Now I had to do some research and what does the common person do with there money and how much does the average american save. Now there is no black and white anwser, however I have asked a few people, seen many post on my fb timeline, and have a good estimation where this money goes. Lets dig into where you shouldn’t spend that extra cash.

 

CAR

So, funny story I went to a rather diverse school when it came to income amounts. While my friends were not rich I always knew when there mama got there refund check. Either my friend or my friends mom would be rolling in a new vehicle. Now is buying a new car wrong. No, but if you didn’t have a need for new wheels then why are you wasting money on it. Was 2017 so dreadful that getting a new car in 2018 will change things. Okay I drive a 2005 Nissian sentra 188k miles one of my rims is missing I have a massive crack in the window My engine light is on as much as my heat is. Now does it still drive yes, so as for 2018 I will still be pushing my rough looking baby around! I understand that you may crave a new whip or see a great deal on a new car. However saving money should be priority number 1. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could go without a car note? I still drive my car because It allows my family to live on 1 income and sets us up financially better for the future. We could not be a family of 3 living on 1 income with 2 car payments. So keep rolling what you got and move that money to the bank!

 

RENT

I have heard the theory of paying up a few months on rent. Now if you have 0 self control and you could see yourself buying gucci bags rather than paying your rent. Then go ahead but if not and you have better self control (I pray you have self control). Don’t pay up on something that isn’t debt. Paying next months rent does nothing when you already have the money. Now if this was a mortgage then yes, a car note yes. But a lease NO! Try to save the money and in the future if you cant make rent you will have it saved. This is a poor mindset, you are in the state of thinking of today. I have money today so I need to spend what I have. I read lots of articles on how the poor think differently from the rich. Living for today and spending all you have for the moment you receive it, is number 1 mentality of the poor.

 

VACATION

Don’t we all need a vaca. I know I am up for one at any moment. However if my goal is to get out of debt or buy a house right now isn’t the time for one. Wait to you achieve your goals before you spend time “celebrating”. Before I had my son me and my husband wanted to travel but we knew I would be on leave for 3 months and not receiving a full check. We ended up staying at the house, thank goodness because I quit my job a week before giving birth.

 

NO PLANS

If you know that you are receiving a tax refund and you have 0 idea on where your going to spend it then you got a problem. No plan usually ends in a disator. Try to look at your finances and see where the money would go best. If its savings or debt. Opt to have at least 1,000 saved before you start paying down debt. This is just a safety net just in case things go bad. I try to tell people to have 3-6 months of living expenses saved. If you don’t have an emergency fund or 3-6 months saved, put your refund to either one of the causes.

 

RESEARCH SAYS:

After spending time looking into what people actually do I am suprised. However they said it depends on the economy. Just remember your refund check is money you already put in the system unless you have kids or are receiving the Income tax credit. Make a plan and execute! When me and my husband got married we worked ALOT! I had 2 jobs and so did he. Our first year we received a small amount mostly due to the fact he was still in school working fast food. We took the money and threw half in savings the rest went to his student loans. But once we started working full time jobs with higher pay, that next tax season we owed the IRS. This is a testament to how life works sometimes your up and sometimes your down. But if your savings always stays afloat you can maneuver through life no matter the valley! So take that extra check and let it work for you, save it or get out of debt!

How To Eat For 2 on $200 A Month

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I did some research on how much the average american spends on food and the USDA states, those with incomes of $75,000 or more per year are averaging $180 per week, compared with $144 for those with incomes of $30,000 to $74,999, and $127 for the lowest income group. I almost fell out of my bed when I read this. What could Americans be possibly buying. I have found lots of way to slice this amount to $100 per person. Please understand as I do live in the midwest (oklahoma) and prices may differ(according to USDA the midwest is $60 cheaper a month compared to the east and south), but the actions I take are more on principle than on price. Now some of you will say I like my name brand I love whole foods, and what not. I understand, in my

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dreams I go grocery shopping at whole foods I don’t look a price, I buy new spices every week. If your looking to do this on a budget then you will be highly disappointed. The point of saving and building wealth is to get to those goals but first by sacrificing; so let’s dig in and see what steps you can take to lower your bill.

 

1.Leftovers

No more leftover dinners for lunch the next day. Have you notice when you go out to eat the lunch menu is cheaper. When you eat what you cooked for dinner for lunch you have just had a really pricey lunch. Opt for what I call a no meat lunch. You will be surprised by how much cheaper it is to not buy meat and how healthy it is for your diet. Below Is what I cooked my husband for a week (recipe).

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My husband loves his meatless lunches and he still has all the energy he needs if not more. Now I am breastfeeding and my pediatrician wants me to keep my weight up so I eat hot dogs, chicken salad, or chicken with mac and cheese.

 

 

2. Plan your meals by sales

I don’t get ads but I have this app (here) that shows me all the sales going on in my area and at my favorite stores. I love trying new things and with making a meal list catered to sales I can not only save money but my family gets new, and different foods all the time. Are mango’s on sale, then google meals with mangos and maybe make a mango salsa, “you get the point.”

 

3.Go in with a plan

Are you walking into the store without a list, did the list you make start out with meals first. So yes I will admit meal planning takes forever. But it will save you time during the week when you need ideas on what to cook. So first start out by writing down the meals you want to cook then all the ingredients needed to make those meals. Scratch off what you have then create a list of the things you need to get from the store. This tip is the most important as we are going to these stores with no plan, no strategy. Grocery shopping is a serious things you have to look at it as such. Plus when you make a meal list it gets the whole family involved. Here is the meal board I have in my kitchen (here), My husband loves knowing whats on the menu. Normally he will be like oh drea Thursday night can we have wings it’s a big football game on. Or hey I really like this meal lets put it on the schedule. Get the whole family involve mark certain days as daddy cook days.

HOT TIPS

No juice– We don’t need soda or juice to survive so don’t waste money purchasing it. Not feeling this, then buy yourself the packets of tea and make your own juice. Its cheaper and you can control how much sugar you put in each batch.

No water bottles– Buy a brita filter and just filter the tap water you already have. My husband loves bottle water so I allow 1 case of 24 from aldi only $2.19 and it has to last the whole month.

Frozen Meals/Pizza– I usually have a few frozen pizzas or pre-cooked meals in the freezer. At aldi they run from $3-$4.00. These are my cheat days for when I dont feel like cooking and it keeps us from going out to eat. Pair the pizza with a salad and your good to go. Also after I spend all day at the store carrying a 10 month old while putting 2 weeks of food in the cart I am way to tired to cook that. Grocery day is usually pre cooked meal day!!!

Homemade– I don’t buy ragu or pre-made pasta I make my own, that also goes for Alfredo sauce, and when I am feeling fancy I make my own salsa.

Less Is More– As American’s we already have over-sized proportions, try increase vegetables and decreasing the main dish.

Pantry– You must I mean must have a pantry, I have mine stocked with pasta, rice and black beans. Build one on the needs of your family and you will always have food.

No Name Brand– opt for the off brand, unless it makes your skin react or you physically cannot have it, buy it. My kitchen is full of the aldi brand and sprouts brands and my meals still taste great.

Slice Chicken In half– I buy chicken breast when they go on sale for $1.99 or less a pound at sprouts. I then slice them in half. They are usually super big and thick so 1 can easily fill up a grown man and breastfeeding woman on 1 chicken breast.

 

Meals & Prices for the month

Here is what we had for breakfast, Lunch and dinner. I linked a few recipes that I tried and were cost efficient.

Breakfast Meals- Waffle, Scrambled/Boiled Eggs, hash browns, Yogurt with granola, Cereal, Malt-o-meal, Oats with fruit.

Lunch Meals- Chili dogs, Quinoa and sweet potato mix, Homemade pizza rolls, Chicken salad, quinoa and sausage with bell peppers.

Dinner Meals- Chicken spaghetti, tacos with corn, beef spaghetti with Brussels sprouts, baked drumsticks, Crogrilled-bruschetta-chicken-101.jpgck-pot barbecue sauce drumsticks, skillet chicken with brown rice and veggies. Chicken tortilla Soup, Chicken with fresh cooked asparagus, Baked chicken with brown rice and veggies, Frozen pizza (3), Chicken pesto with mash potatoes and veggies. Hamburgers with homemade fries, Quesadillas with black beans,

Snacks- Chips and salsa, Chips and queso, Ice cream, Cookie mix

 

As you can see, we eat alot of chicken, I try to only have 1-2 meals with ground beef (its not healthy to eat red meat all the time). Seafood only gets on the list when its on sale at $6.99 a pound (I get only 1 pound). I dont get crazy with coupons unless I go to target. As for this month we only went to sprouts and aldi. Jeremiahs food runs around $40 a month. I puree and cook all his solids its cheaper and I know exactly whats in his food. Plus I can make combinations that Gerber may not sell.

 

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CONCLUSION

It will take some time to get to $100 a person a month but its worth the savings. Focus on meal planning and whats on sale for the week then go from there. Take baby steps and try cutting $50 off a month until you get to your destination! Comment below on how you save on food a month or how you are trying some of the hot tips from the blog post!

 

 

 

7 Tricks to save on utilities

 

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So its almost the end of October and if you live in a normal state where fall means sweaters and booties and all the cute clothes then you should be seeing a savings in your utility bill. But if you live in the Midwest like me, then you may still be running your air. Here are a few tips me and my family have taken to save money and cut our bill down.

 

 

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  1. KNOW YOUR LIMIT

So, yes you could totally turn off your a/c or heat and tough it out. But that’s not for everyone. My friends electric bill is no more than $30 a month no matter the season. However when I go over her place I am either sweating it up or freezing. So of course your home should be comfortable but know your limit. We use to have a cheaper bill until our son was born. He doesn’t sleep at night if it isn’t at least 72 degrees. I will rather pay the extra than have to deal with a crying baby.

 

 

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2.LEARN ABOUT YOUR ELECTRIC

Once you know the desire you want your home to feel, call you utility company and ask them if they have smart hours, or is there a certain time that your electric could be cheaper. When we moved, the new place didn’t have a smart hour system but when I called they said that my electric is the highest between 2pm-7pm. But on weekends its a flat rate and the cheapest. So what this means is from 2-7 I do my best to either run the fans and turn the a/c off (besides nap time lol) and wash clothes on weekends or early in the morning.

 

 

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3.UNPLUG, UNPLUG

Stop wasting money on electronics plugged in. I try to make sure at night I go through the house and unplug all my electronics. With my computer I have it on smart save mode  where it shuts down every night at midnight and reboots at 8 am.

 

 

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4.SHORTER SHOWERS

Are you letting the bathroom get steamy before you step in, do you take showers longer than 7 min, are you wasting time picking out your outfit while the water is running? If yes, then stop and save the water. Its eco-friendly and money savings.

 

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5. FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR CROCKPOT

Running your oven is so expensive especially in the summer. Opt to use the crock-pot and or microwave its cheaper.

 

 

 

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6.REPLACE AIR FILTER & LIGHT BULBS

The dirtier the air filter the harder your a/c or heat have to work to circulate your air.Also switch all your light bulbs to the energy efficient bulbs. These can be found anywhere and will pay themselves back and more once you make the move.

 

 

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7.WASHING

Try washing your clothes in cold water, this will not only save you money, it wont shrink your clothes as well. Are you cleaning your lint trap after every load, the method behind the air filters is the same in the dry. When you keep that clean its easier for the heat to dry the clothes faster.

 

Every state and location is different. I learned this after living in a 500 sq foot apartment that was old and moved to a 1200 sq foot townhouse that was brand new. The townhouse electric and water bill was cheaper. All due to the fact it had energy saving appliances and was sealed off better. This is something to think about when buying a house and deciding on a place to stay. Newer usually means saving on utility bills. Find small ways to save water and electric, it will not only save you money but it will help the environment.