budget basics

Becoming  a millionaire is so passé these days, becoming a billionaire is the new goal. Or …maybe it’s being able to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck. If you are anything like me, you got pretty excited when you signed your first job offer letter. That yearly salary sounds like more money than you’ll ever need, until of course, you crunch the numbers and realize you have a discretionary budget of $12.50 per month. Now that you’ve figured out your debt and made smart money goals, it’s time to get down to brass tacks and tame your transactions. It’s time to make a budget. So, where to start? Many well-known, financialRead More →

Remember all of those “This is your brain on drugs” PSAs that ran in the ’90s? Well, consider this your debt wake-up call. Debt is bad, and it’s bad for your finances. To understand just how bad debt is, think of it like you would a smoking habit – costly, definitely not “cool”, and seriously expensive.   The average U.S. household with debt carries $15,762 in credit card debt and $130,922 in total debt. (Courtesy of Nerd Wallet) While some of this may be related to poor spending decisions or eating out too much, not all of this debt is from reckless spending. More Americans than ever areRead More →

affordable housing

Finding a new apartment can be daunting. I know, I’ve done it about 6 times way too many. So since I just got my new place (and hopefully won’t be moving again for awhile), I thought it would be a great time to share how I find affordable housing in LA for cheap. First, let’s talk about rent. Rent is way too expensive everywhere, but especially in LA. Thanks to record keeping in Mint, I can see how much I paid for rent, and in the last 12 months, I have spent over $12,000 on rent. Oof! And I had a decently priced apartment forRead More →

As you heard last week, I’m seriously cutting down on my food expenditures. My total food spending for March was around $750…ouch, so you can see why this needs to happen. I started my 5 food budget steps this past week, and things are going pretty good, but let’s get down to the actual numbers. My new monthly food budget is $300. I get $40/month for my weekly lunch out, $20 /month for my weekly treat, and $80/month for my weekly date night. This leaves $160 for groceries, meaning I’ll be trying to stay under $40/week. Hopefully this new arrangement is reflected in my foodRead More →

Hello there friends! Is it just me or does it seem like all the s#!t just hits the fan at once? Since 2016 started it seems like everyone around me has gone through at least one major life transition and/or struggle. Life is hard sometimes for sure.   But, today’s post isn’t about complaining about how hard things are. Today’s post is a reminder that you can and will get through whatever struggle you are presented with.  Read More →

spending fast

Whew, somehow it has already been 90 days since I started my spending fast. I should mention that in addition to clothes, I added all unnecessary purchases to the spending fast (no knick-knacks, books, fancy make-up, or 5k runs, etc.) because I was feeling so good about the clothes-buying aspect. So far so good, I haven’t cheated at all, with the exception of getting a haircut, which I’m counting as a necessity since I only get 2 a year.Read More →

food demons

I’ve been putting off this post for a while. It’s embarrassing to have to confront my food issues, and this is the area where I have the least desire to change my habits because, let’s face it, food is tasty. But here we go… I spend way too much money on food – especially eating out. After completing my mini food challenge last week, I realized just how much of a problem it’s become. Thanks to my dutiful categorizing of purchases on Mint, I have this unfortunate graph to show me my faults in glorious, living color. As you can see, groceries make up aRead More →

axing monthly subscriptions

Throughout my money journey, I’ve done this thing where I justify unnecessary (and usually fairly costly) purchases in the name of some goal. Full disclosure: the goal is usually fitness/weight related. I’ve joined spin studios, barre studios, yoga studios, Weight Watchers, an infrared sauna spa (still amazing & will totally re-join once I’m debt free!), and a great-but-very-expensive group training gym to name a few. All of them were great, and obviously, I loved going to them for one reason or another. It’s not like they weren’t great workouts or great at lowering stress, it’s just that they were all a monthly bill for somethingRead More →

Hey folks, Part of my daily struggle with saving money is that I seem to keep spending it! A harmless Starbucks trip here, a post-workout Chipotle run…maybe buying not-totally-necessary extra tasty treats at the grocery store. At any rate, all these seemingly innocent extra food purchase add up. So, inspired by my ongoing clothing fast, I’m doing a mini challenge for food purchases this week.  Read More →

slow cooking

***This post contains an affiliate link. <3 from the Dames*** ECD confession: I’ve reached the point in my life where I ask for, and truly covet, home appliances at major gift-receiving events. This past December, my main kitchen crush was on a slow cooker. Man, has it been a great present! So far, I’ve only made a couple things with it, but each one turned out super tasty and delicious, and made a minimum of 4 servings each. I already made chili, beef bourguignon, a pork roast with root veggies, Italian sausage and peppers, and an excellent chicken and rice dish, but I’m super pumpedRead More →