In Budgeting on
August 30, 2017

Practical ways to cut back on overspending

prevent overspending

Do you ever think to yourself, “where did all the money go this month?” …I’m with ya sister. It seems like every day something new is popping up, a baby shower, wedding, birthdays and it feels like you can never seem to get ahead! Well, I am here to tell you that you can! It will take time, persistence and some patience but if you follow these simple rules you will certainly be prepared for the ‘next big announcement’ that is going to drain your wallet even more…(or maybe not!)

In a previous post, found here, I talked about setting up a budget system where you can track your monthly expenses. Creating a budget is so important because it allows you to see, first hand, where your money is being spent. I also challenged you ladies to keep a running list of your ‘miscellaneous spending’ for the month. Did anyone try this? If so, pull out your list and let’s compare. Having a list or document with your ‘misc.’ spending will become a helpful tool, so that you can look back and visualize where your money was spent each month. My husband and I have a column in our excel budget where we write down this type of spending. The only items on our budget that actually fluctuate from month to month are our food budget and miscellaneous, so it is important to us to see which month(s) we spent more or less, and find out why so we can make adjustments to make things better. This is an example of what your list might look like.

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Once you have your list handy, take a look back and see if there was anything that you spent in the month that you didn’t need or something that you could have passed up on. When I started keeping track of my spending, my first few lists were so long (no, you are not the only one!) They were full of things we didn’t need and I realized how much I was spending on things that I should have said ‘no’ to. I also found myself spending almost all of our money in the beginning of the month (when we had it) and then realizing, “Oh crap, its August 15 and I have only $15 left for the month.” 

If you find yourself to be the type of person who is overspending and you want to change this habit, I’ve come up with four simple rules to help you SAVE money!

 

S– “Say no!” At some point, if you are trying to save, you need to be strict with yourself. Skip the impulse buys and stick to things that, when you look back at your budget at the end of the month, were buys that you found to be budget-worthy. For example; A trip to the movies with your kids, or a day out at the beach building memories with friends. 

A– Avoid temptation. Avoid stores or places that make you want to spend money or entice you to want to buy. If you’re a shop-a-haulic, avoid the mall….simple as that! Again, refer back to rule #1, say “no!”

V– Very important. Only buy items that are necessary. Do NOT skip on mom’s birthday gift; these are the things you should be spending your money on!

E– Earn your reward. Allow yourself one “splurge” item a month. Give yourself a ‘salary’ that you are allowed to spend each month that fits comfortably within your budget. Also, make sure you (and your spouse) get paid every month. To make it easier, you can “cash out” your money on the first of every month, and that is yours to spend without any questioning. GUILT FREE spending is the way to be!

I hope some of you found this post to be helpful and can see what I am getting at with all of this. I want to help you! My hope is that by taking some of this advice that you will be start to see some extra money left over each month. Once this happens, we can discuss what to do with it and how to wisely invest and save for your future.

This post was first seen on Society Letters here.

In Inspiration on
August 25, 2017

Ten simple ways to turn your crappy day around

It’s only 2pm and you’re already on your fourth cup of joe. There’s a stack of papers a mile high you have to take care of before going home, there are plans tonight you don’t know if you can keep, and that nagging headache isn’t going away. Your coworker asks for help with a simple task and you snap. You throw your head down on your desk feeling defeated and wonder: “Will this day ever end??”

About 50% of our happiness is directly influenced by the things we deliberately do to make ourselves happy. That means good news for all of us: we have the power of turning a bad day around. Next time you have a hellish day at work or need a pick-me-up in the middle of a slow afternoon, try one of these proven tips to instantly lift your mood and make your day better. 

Get some Vitamin D.

If you can, take your lunch break outside.  Sit in a sunny spot and sip your drink with your eyes closed. Soak in the rays and absorb some Vitamin D, feel the warmth on your skin and meditate on what you are grateful for – it is healthy for your body, and proven to naturally lift your mood. 

Stop and smell the roses. 

We mean literally, stop and smell the roses. Fresh flowers are an easy way to brighten your day or week and put you in a good mood- especially on a cold, gloomy day when sun is not an option. Go to your local Farmer’s Market and pick up a bouquet of flowers for your home or work space, or grab a latte and stroll through your neighborhood nursery – studies show that plants help lower anxiety and calm your nervous system.  

Put your phone down.

Take a break from social media for at least one hour per day and focus on being fully present in whatever you are doing. Give your 100% full attention to your family or friends and engage in a real face-to-face, uninterrupted conversation. Social media can trigger anxiety and depression, and if your day is already going downhill, try to avoid any additional stress until you are fully recovered. 

Have sex.

You heard me. Get busy. It will bring you and your partner closer and will leave you feeling less stressed. Physical intimacy releases the “feel good” hormones in our brain and studies show that regardless of the activity, the process of deep connection with another human being increases happiness levels. You’re also not likely to be distracted by other issues, allowing yourself to be fully in the moment, another plus. 

Put it on paper.

Free your mind of the constant thoughts and ideas running through your mind. Journaling is said to be therapeutic and can even help decrease anxiety. If you like to draw, pick up a coloring book and pencils and get those creative juices flowing. This exercise helps to tune out the noise around you and centering yourself, which helps develop self awareness and self love. 

Unplug.

Free up some time in your busy schedule for YOU. Try and aim for at least 15 minutes of alone time everyday. Take the time sip your coffee out on your deck in the morning or to take a bath at the end of the night. Whatever it is, try to squeeze in time for you. You need to unwind, relax your muscles, and mentally decompress. 

Breathe in some fresh air.

My grandfather always told me to get out and breathe in the fresh air. But seriously, have you ever went outside and actually breathed inthe air deep into your lungs? It feels great and you can actually feel the oxygen rushing throughout your body. It can also help relieve any built up stress or tension from your day.

Break a sweat.

We make every excuse in the world to not get to the gym, but it is known to actually make us more productive and energetic. Try designating (at least) a half hour a day to working out – get that blood moving and heart pumping. Don’t have a gym membership? Get outside. Lace up those Nike’s and take yourself on a walk, a jog, or stretch out your yoga mat. The first step is the hardest, but just trust that you will feel much more energized and ready to conquer your day once you take the first step and get moving.

Listen to your favorite song on full blast.

Try unwinding from your busy day by listening to some of your favorite songs. Plug in those headphones during your lunch break and simply get lost in the melodies of the music. The music will help to keep your mind off things and give you a small break from reality. 

Get inspired.

Come up with one inspirational quote every Sunday that is meant to motivate you that week. You can keep it posted on a letter board like I do at home, or you can simply write it down on a sticky note and put it in your car or on the mirror at home. Wherever it is, just keep it where you will see it and let it serve as a daily reminder and source of encouragement.

 

This post was written by Jess but first found on Society Letters. 

In Our day to day life on
August 21, 2017

Our first family vacation

This past week we took our first family vacation. Growing up I have always taken trips down the shore, especially to stay at my grandparents camper down in South Jersey, however I had never stayed at the beach before. I looked forward to spending a week down in Wildwood with TJ, Landon, my  mom and my practically step-father.

The weather all week was very great. One day it was overcast and on our final night it rained a little- but overall we got a lot of sun! We stayed at Water’s Edge Oceanfront Resort in Wildwood and really enjoyed our stay there. It is two blocks from the boardwalk, so the location couldn’t be more ideal. The hotel was 5 minutes from the beach and we had a great view off of our balcony.

We had a blast on the boardwalk- so many fun activities to do and rides to go on! “Watch the tram car please”….a little joke for those of you who have been there!

Landon was not a huge fan of the ocean, however he didn’t mind sitting on the chair near the water with me holding him (such a momma’s boy). He absolutely loved the pool at the hotel and being pushed around in this little pool floatie.

Most of our days were spent on the beach, getting a tan and enjoying a cool dip in the water, however, we also went to the Cape May Zoo & even saw a Harlem Globetrotters game. The night that TJ and I went to the Globetrotters game, we were chosen to get free upgraded seats – courtside. It was so much fun. We got to sit on the bench with the team players and really felt a part of the performance.

Overall, our first family vacation was a success! Landon was a champ and was so well behaved which made it that much more enjoyable. We had a lot of fun spending time with my Mom and Manny (aka M&M), eating many amazing home-cooked meals that my mom prepared for us and playing cards late at night while drinking Mimi wine (we call her grandma Mimi) We had an awesome time in Wildwood and will look back on this ‘first vacation’ and be thankful for the memories we all shared together!

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