10 Ways to Avoid Lifestyle Inflation

Awhile not all lifestyle inflation is necessarily bad, it certainly can wreak havoc on a budget if you aren't careful. Here's how to prevent lifestyle inflation.You may have heard the term “lifestyle inflation,” but if you haven’t, lifestyle inflation is when you start buying more to support a more lavish lifestyle. This could happen as you get older or as your income increases.

Awhile not all lifestyle inflation is necessarily bad, it certainly can wreak havoc on a budget if you aren’t careful. Another danger of lifestyle inflation is that often time, people’s desired lifestyle costs more than what they make, resulting in credit card debt or other forms of debt.

These certainly aren’t rules, but rather guidelines on how to keep your lifestyle in check. So here are 10 ways to avoid lifestyle inflation.

1. Forget About the Joneses

Keeping up with the Joneses is dangerous to you and to your budget. We all have moments of impulse where we see what our friends and neighbors have an we want it. For me, when I look at my friends, I want to travel more, buy a house, and eat out more. But these are all things that, though I feel confident I can do someday, would bust my budget right now and honestly aren’t my top priority at the moment.

So ignore the Joneses and do what’s best for you. Make your money work for you and trust your gut with timing. You might not be able to afford everything your friends have right now, but you can make it a goal to work for it and save for it for the future.

2. Trust Your Budget

Your budget is in place for a reason. It’s because it works for you.

Many people consider budgets to be confining, but have you ever thought about how much freedom a budget actually allows you?

If you budget properly, you’ll have more money to spend how you want. If you can control “boring,” but necessary expenses, like the electric bill, rent, groceries, and debt, you’ll have more money left over at the end of the month. Then you can actually choose how to spend that money in a way you want.

3. Allow Yourself Limited Inflation

It can be challenging to keep living like a broke college student years after you graduated, and it’s okay to allow yourself a little inflation. But you have to decide what your priorities are.

For me, when I finally broke free of the “broke college grad” stage, I started purchasing much healthier and more wholesome foods, as well as buying a few minor decorations for my apartment. It didn’t cost a ton, but it helps me to keep going with my budget.

If your budget allows, give yourself some sort of small luxury. Maybe you will allow yourself to go to a movie once a month, or a night out with friends every so often, or a gym membership. Whatever it is, make sure it 1) still fits within your budget and 2) is something you truly value.

4. Have a Plan for All Extra Money

When you have extra, unexpected, income, what is your plan for it?

While you can’t expect to get a tax return, inheritance, or birthday money, it doesn’t hurt to commit to putting extra money towards savings or debt.

This also goes for making extra money. I committed to putting any extra money through blogging and freelance writing towards debt. I don’t allow myself to use this money to inflate my lifestyle because honestly, I work HARD for that extra money and I don’t have to do it. I would hate to see my hard work be wasted on frivolous purchases. I am buying my financial freedom with that money.

In addition, any extra money, like gifted money from the wedding, tax returns, or extra paychecks go to our debt. When you get a large chunk of unexpected money, it can be so tempting to spend it, so planning what you will do with that money ahead of time prevents lifestyle inflation.

5. Keep a Running List of Wants and Needs

Keeping a list of wants and needs helps you to prevent impulse purchases.

For example, you might really want to go on a vacation to France. With vigorous savings and planning, that could totally happen. But when your friends try to get you to go on a trip to Hawaii, you’ll have to make a choice between what you want and what your friends want.

And when you keep a list of your needs, you’ll be able to better prioritize your spending. You’ll find yourself often having to pick between wants and needs, which will keep your finances in check.

6. Sell Items Frequently

Look around your house. How much stuff laying around don’t you use?

Take the time to frequently audit your possessions will remind you how much you already had. It will promote a minimalist lifestyle and show you that, frankly, you likely already have everything you truly need.

Plus, selling your items is a nice way to earn a little cash to pad your emergency fund or pay off debt!

7. Decide if Luxuries or Convenience is More Important to You

There are different types of lifestyle inflation. You can buy more luxury items – like furniture, fancier clothes, vacations, or cars, or people tend to splurge more on convenience items, like eating out, time-saving apps, or delivery services. While I don’t allow myself many big “luxury” inflations, I have allowed myself to purchase some convenience items because my time, though it has become more important, is less.

Convenience purchases, to a point, can be a reinvestment back to yourself. I personally would so much rather spend money on something that saves me time or makes me feel better versus buying something luxurious just to have.

My most recent convenience purchase was an upgraded iPhone. As a blogger, I constantly rely on my phone to conduct business, and my old phone ran out of storage and no longer supported my needs. So this was a luxury that was worth the cost to me.

8. Know Your Bare-Bones Budget

While this hopefully isn’t the budget you have to rely on every day, I always keep a bare-bones budget in the back of my mind. This is the budget I would switch to if I ever lost my job or came down with a serious illness or emergency.

It’s important to keep this budget in mind because at some point in your life, you won’t be able to afford luxuries. So how can you keep your lifestyle in check?

Think about someone rich who lives lavishly. They could make a million dollars a year. But if they lost their job tomorrow, could they support their current lifestyle for very long? Probably not.

This is a case for not ever increasing your lifestyle too quickly. While you don’t need to be a cheapskate all the time, it’s important to limit your lifestyle to something you can afford no matter what life throws your way.

9. Advance Your Savings Goals

When you receive a raise or lump sum of income, how do you spend it? Do you automatically consider how you could increase your lifestyle?

I’m challenging you to instead, focus on increasing your savings. There is always a case for saving more money. It doesn’t make much sense to continually fund a more lavish lifestyle while you keep your saving goals the same.

Remember, as you earn more and your lifestyle increases, your savings goals must as well.

10. Remember, Personal Finance is Personal

Everyone has drastically different financial situations, and your money is yours. Don’t let anyone tell you how to spend it!

If you don’t care about buying a house ever, then don’t buy one. If you make $500,000 a year, but choose to invest all of it while not increasing your lifestyle at all, more power to you.

And that goes for me as well. These are all tips for avoiding lifestyle inflation, because I believe we all should live somewhat below our means. But don’t think I’m trying to tell you how to spend your money! Your situation, values, and needs are so different from mine or anyone else’s. So do what’s right for you, but also be mindful about how much you’re spending on creating a lifestyle for yourself. Because having a great life doesn’t need to cost a ton 🙂

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Have you ever been tempted to increase your lifestyle? Any other tips on how to avoid lifestyle inflation? Drop a comment below!

How to Make More Money At Your Full-Time Job

Do you feel stuck at your current salary? Here's exactly how to start earning more at your 9-5 job.Who doesn’t want to make more money at their 9-5 job? It’s common for people to feel like they aren’t being paid enough for what they do at work. Sometimes, though, instead of doing anything to try to earn a raise, people feel stuck with what they are making.

Clearly, companies are trying to get the most bang for their buck. If you’re okay with an annual 2-4% raise, your employer could continue that pattern every year. While you probably shouldn’t make a big stink and complain to your employer about your current salary, there is plenty that you can do to prove you deserve a raise and actually get one.

Here’s how to make more money at your 9-5.

1. Know Your Worth

It’s hard to know what you want your salary to be if you don’t know what is realistic. Salaries depend on many metrics, including years of experience, where you’re working, what industry you work in, job title, location, and education. A lot of people have a salary in their head of what they would like to be paid, but unfortunately, that is often unrealistic.

Continue reading “How to Make More Money At Your Full-Time Job”

As I reflect on this past year, I realized something And it is...holy sh*t, I've learned a ton! Here are my 10 biggest financial lessons I learned in 2016.

10 Biggest Financial Lessons I Learned in 2016

As I reflect on this past year, I realized one thing. And it is…holy sh*t, I’ve learned a ton!

It’s refreshing to look back and see how far you’ve come and what all you have learned! So here are my 10 biggest financial lessons I learned in 2016.

1. Cost of living matters

I used to live in rural Iowa, where I could rent a 4 bedroom house for $500 a month. I moved to Charleston, South Carolina in 2014 and every single year, the cost of living increases astonishes me.

They estimate 40 people are moving to Charleston every single day, so the housing costs, in particular, is skyrocketing. Every year, our rent is being raised, so every year, we have moved to a new apartment complex.

I forever find myself wondering what our finances would look like if we could even save $500 a month on our living expenses, but for now, we both have jobs that pay us well enough that the high cost of living is nothing more than an annoyance. We couldn’t be paid as well in an area of lower cost of living, so we are trying to adjust to seeing our rent cost.

2. My current money situation is because of me

This is a hard lesson to learn. I have student loan debt because I didn’t pay for school as I went or apply to enough scholarships. I earned a degree that wouldn’t have paid well (and required a ton of hours). So there was a period of time I wasn’t able to put hardly anything towards debt. Now that I have switched careers and have also started freelance writing on the side, I earn more, but man, I have had to work my butt off to make what I do (not to complain…I love my job and writing!)

I can’t point fingers at my school for being too expensive or blame people for not educating me. Because I should have taught myself. I was just plain stupid.

You might find yourself in a similar situation. Once you claim responsibility for your current situation, you’re setting yourself on the right path to achieve financial freedom. And the good news is that even if you got yourself into a bad situation, you are the ONLY one who can get yourself out of that situation. It’s empowering. So go kick butt.

3. Weddings are NOT cheap

I try. I knew having a wedding in Charleston would be ridiculously expensive, but it was something we wanted to do anyway. I’m fighting tooth and nail to keep the cost of this wedding as low as possible, but man. It ain’t easy!

I knew going in that it would be expensive, so I would have to lower my standards. There are so many creative ways to save! I haven’t been afraid to break tradition, so I think that helps!

4. I can make more money

This year, I was able to start making money off my blog and by freelance writing. Honestly, I didn’t really think it would be possible for me. It took a lot of hard work, but I love earning more money!

Making money on the side has been extremely empowering. It’s comforting to know if I ever lost my job or had a financial emergency that I have another source of income. And I feel proud of the little business I have built!

5. Budgets will never be perfect

No matter how much you try, your budget will never be perfect. Every day, week, and month are different, and that’s why I am fairly flexible with my budgeting.

If a super strict budget works for you, go for it! It just doesn’t really work for me. In the near future, I will be writing a post all about my flexible budgeting.

6. I’m capable of a hell of a lot more than I thought

Okay, so this might not be a direct financial realization, but taking ownership of my finances this year has shown me a lot. I had debt to pay off and a wedding to save for. I had major goals, and I realized I needed to make even more money to make it possible.

So I started earning money freelance writing and putting that towards my financial goals. I also worked extremely hard at my full-time job to earn a raise. I made it my mission to provide value and then demand to be paid for my value.

It hasn’t been easy AT ALL. Planning a wedding by myself while my fiancé is in a grueling grad school program has not been easy. Plus freelance writing, blogging, working, and studying for a certification has been tough but so worth it. Yes, there have been meltdowns on my part and times I wanted to quit everything, but I am proud of what I have done to meet my long-term goals.

I don’t say this to humble brag, but I hope you can realize that you can achieve more than you ever thought. If you aren’t relentlessly pursuing your goals, then they aren’t big enough. I didn’t learn that until I realized my student loan debt would be the biggest barrier to my goals of going to further my education, so I am thankful to have learned this lesson.

7. You can’t be “average” with your money

I talk to a lot of people about money, and I have to laugh at how many times people tell me they are just “okay” at dealing with their own money. Though I admit I do tend to see things in black and white, this just doesn’t make sense to me.

If you are just “okay” or “average” with your money, that means you don’t have as much control as you should have. While everyone has room for improvement with finances, there are some very black and white things. Debt is bad. Savings is good. If you have debt but are telling me you’re working your butt off to pay it back, I would assume that you are recovering from being bad with your money.

These are more my thoughts, so feel free to agree or disagree. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

8. Comparison is stupid

Everyone, especially women, are guilty of comparison on a regular basis. I am terrible at it! I find myself getting so jealous of other people. I compare myself to others, when I have no idea what their personal situation or feelings are.

Comparison is definitely something I want to work on in the new year. Because it’s a huge time waster! I’m excited to see what I can achieve when I put my blinders on and keep the focus on myself instead of comparing myself to others.

9. Emergency funds are a life-saver

I can’t emphasize emergency funds enough. You. Need. One.

My emergency fund gives me so much peace of mind and security. That $600 car repair bill earlier this year? I had cash for it. Without my emergency fund, my budget would have been blown for months!

10. Communication is ABSOLUTELY the key to healthy finances

Perhaps the most important lesson I learned this year is about communicating with my fiance about our finances. We have always been very open and honest about our own financial situations, and now that we are in the process of combining our finances, we really have to talk about it.

We don’t really have money fights because we have worked out our agreement. We each get some cash every month to spend at our own discretion. It’s been a huge learning opportunity this year, and I’m excited to see how our finances look when they are all officially combined (I know…nerdy to be excited about this!)


These are a few of my lessons learned this year! What are your biggest financial lessons learned in 2016? Comment below!

Why I’m Doing a No-Gift Christmas

Is anyone else Christmas obsessed? I’ve been listening to Christmas music since early November…I know, I am one of those people.

There is some *magic* about the season that, as corny as it sounds, leaves me feeling refreshed, inspired, and thankful.

Ever since I moved from Iowa to South Carolina, the holidays have looked drastically different for my family and me. I actually couldn’t make it home for two Christmases in a row due to working in the hospitality field. Christmas was an extremely busy time of year for hospitality, so I would always end up working (side note – be sure to tip any hospitality workers extra this season!).

Now that I am no longer in the hospitality industry, I am fortunate to make it home to spend time with my family over Christmas. It isn’t always easy to get home, however. A round-trip on a plane costs upwards of $375, and it is a 20 hour drive to my hometown from Charleston.

This year, my fiance, dog and I will be loading up the Jeep Wrangler and driving the long distance home to Iowa. Getting to Iowa isn’t even the most challenging part. Our families both live in the Midwest, but they live about 2.5 hours away. Which isn’t terrible, but that means that just because we are in Iowa doesn’t mean our travel is over.

Last year, my family recognized how difficult it was to even get together for the holidays. It sounds cheesy, but I have 3 sisters who live in various parts of the country. Two of them are married and have other families to visit over the holidays as well. To get our whole family together, for even 12 hours, is an achievement.

So we decided to quit giving each other Christmas gifts.

And last year’s gift-free Christmas was so wonderful that we decided to do it again this year.

Continue reading “Why I’m Doing a No-Gift Christmas”

4 Alternatives to Traditional Christmas Gift-Giving

Is anyone else Christmas obsessed? I usually get in the Christmas spirit in the summer and listen to Christmas music until Christmas day. I know, I know. I’m one of thooooose people.

I just can’t help myself! Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year, and it’s the only time I get to see my whole family.

Anyway, it’s no secret that Christmas, as beautiful and jolly (!!!) and wonderful as it is can be damaging to our finances. Gifts cost a ton of money, plus the cost of travel expenses, food (and more food…and more food….) and higher entertainment costs. The total cost of Christmas can very easily reach over $1,000 or more.

While buying gifts is very generous, most people aren’t attached to receiving gifts. Why not consider alternatives to traditional Christmas gift-giving to save some serious money during the season? Here are 4 alternative ideas for you to try.

Secret Santa gift exchange

Have your family pool together to do a secret Santa gift exchange.

If you don’t know how it works, you simply put everyone’s name in a hat and have everyone draw one. You only buy one gift for that specific person.

The hardest, but most fun part about this is keeping who you’re shopping for a secret! And it’s more fun to pick out one really amazing gift for one person instead of trying to scramble for gifts for everyone.

Set spending limits

Together with your family, decide how much you are allowed to spend on gifts for one another.

You could do something fair, but affordable, like $30 per person max. Or you could really challenge one another and do a $10 gift limit. This forces you to get creative with your gift giving.

Make homemade gifts

For those of you who have been #blessed with DIY skills (unlike me), making your own Christmas gifts can save you a ton of money.

Quick note about DIY – I literally have no DIY sills, but I try hard. I crocheted scarves for everyone one year and they were the saddest thing ever. I mean, they were hideous. So only DIY if you’re confident in yourself and in your own skills 🙂

Focus on birthday gifts instead of Christmas gifts

This is what my mom decided to do. Instead of going ham on buying Christmas gifts, she gives each of us a generous birthday gift. Before, we used to do small gifts for birthdays and big gifts for Christmas.

This saved my mother a ton of money and a ton of headache! Since she is still a mom, she insists on getting us stocking stuffers for Christmas so we still have something to open Christmas morning.

Following my mother’s example, I started to do this as well. I love it because it makes that person’s birthday extra special and gives me time to search for a gift I know they want.

Budget-wise, this works incredibly well for me. Instead of saving hundreds of dollars for Christmas gifts, I can save and spend that money throughout the entire year for everyone’s birthdays.

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Christmas is such a happy time of year, and I think you’ll find that by committing to an alternative form of gift-giving, you’ll have just as much, if not more, joy during the season!

How to Plan for Retirement When You’re Young and Broke

Okay, y’all. Let’s talk retirement.

I know you’re just dying to talk about this so you can thank me later 🙂

Retirement is not a fun topic, but it is necessary, especially for millennials. No one really taught us about retirement before or after graduation, so it’s up to us to educate ourselves.

Say you graduated college with the average student loan debt of $30,000. You find your first job that pays $32,000 (again…an average). Your student loan payments for a 10-year payment plan are around $400/month. Your salary means you bring home around $2,600 (that isn’t including taxes!!!) Assuming 25% of your pay goes to taxes, you bring home right at $2,000 a month.

If you’re bringing home $2,000 a month, nearly 1/4 of your take home pay is going to student loans. Then you have other expenses, such as rent, utilities, car payments, insurance, an emergency fund, and food. There isn’t much left at the end of the month. How can you be planning for retirement when you literally have no extra money left?

I’m going to save the convo on how much you actually need for retirement for another time. But here are some helpful resources in the meantime. But in short – you’ll need to be saving A LOT more for retirement RIGHT NOW than you think you need at a rate much higher than what you are currently doing.

Thinking about retirement sucks. When you just entered the workforce, you can’t fathom to think 40+ years in advance to retirement. And there are so many unknowns about the future. Will we have social security benefits? Likely not. What will the inflation rate be? Hint – $100 today won’t get you too far in 40 years. You need to save even more money to plan for some unknown future.

But instead of focusing on what we do not know or what we can’t control, let’s focus on what we can do right now to plan for retirement. Because, believe it or not, you can and you need to start saving today.

Decide what priority is most important right now

When you have a relatively small income and a lot of debt, you don’t have much extra money to work with.

Like the example above, trying to pay for everything on a small budget when you just graduated is extremely challenging. You can’t be expected to save thousands for retirement when you’re making an entry-level salary, and even more so if you have student loans. Retirement is extremely important, but the good news is that you DO have time to save more.

Start by free up as much money as you can in your budget. Then prioritize where any extra money should go. If you have a massive amount of student loan or consumer debt, maybe that should be your focus right now instead of planning extensively for retirement.

If you have a manageable amount of student loans, consider what would be the best option for you. If your student loans have a relatively low interest rate, you might be better off financially to invest any extra student loan payments into a retirement account that would earn a higher (and long-term) interest.

But, please, keep in mind that money is not black and white. Retirement, paying off debt, and being able to afford to live are all important. You can’t focus on one entirely and ignore the others. You need to find the balance that works for you.

Take advantage of employer sponsored retirement plans

Most companies offer a retirement plan of some sort. If yours doesn’t, and you are a full-time employee, consider finding a new company that does, and start your own IRA (here’s an awesome guide) Because it is a huge benefit to you!

A 401k with your company is simple enough to start. If you’re unsure, just contact your HR or Benefits Manager and they’ll help you out. You can easily have money deducted out of your paycheck and directly into your retirement account every month.

So, what’s an employer match? A match means your employer will contribute whatever you put into your retirement account, up to a certain percentage. Every company is different, but to use as an example, say your employer will match up to 5%. If you make $32,000 a year and put in 5% of your own salary into a 401k, you will have $1,600 in your account. Then your employer will contribute an additional $1,600, making your account hold $3,200. Then, of course, you earn money on this through interest 🙂

But say your employer will match up to 5%, but you only put in 3% of your salary. You put in $960 a year, and so does your employer. So you essentially are losing out on $640 worth of free money from your employer.

If you’re really unsure about where to start saving for retirement, make it your goal to save at least the full amount that your employer would contribute so you are taking full advantage of what your employer is offering. Don’t leave any money on the table.

Remember, retirement will have to be your #1 priority at some point

Saving for retirement might not be a big deal to you now, but at some point in your life, it will be your #1 priority. If you fail to save now, you’ll be desperately saving later in your life.

It can be hard to imagine, but we are in an age where pensions are rare and social security is not promising. Any retirement you hope to have is your responsibility.

And doesn’t it break your heart to see elderly people working still because they failed to plan out their financial future? I don’t want to be working when I’m 70, or even 50! I want to be retired and enjoying my life, free from work.

Make more money

If you think the possibility of making more money is out of your control, you are wrong. Once you start realizing you have control of not only your spending, but your earnings, your life will change.

If your job doesn’t offer a retirement program or doesn’t pay well, always remember you can find another job. It might take some time, but you are not bound to any job, unless it’s a contract.

Side hustling is another way you can make a lot of money quickly. There are limitless possibilities on how to make money on the side of your full-time job. Maybe you want to dog sit, nanny, work in a restaurant, restore cars, do woodworking, sew, or be like me and blog and freelance on the side. You’d be amazed at how much you can earn!

Unless you’re working 80 hours a week at your full-time job, there really isn’t an excuse to not start a side hustle. Even if your side hustle is making $50 tutoring for one hour a week, you’ll earn an extra $200 a month, which could even pay for your student loan payment. It really isn’t hard, in fact, many people I know turned their side hustle into a full-time job because they loved it and had more opportunity doing it.

Takeaway

To sum up retirement (and you’re like, why did I read the whole article when the final point is right here?)

  • You need to save now. You might not be able to save a lot now, and the good news is you do have time to save more.
  • Finances are all about balance. You can’t focus on just one aspect at a time because you have more than just one priority. You may have to focus on paying off debt or increasing your income before hardcore saving for retirement, but you should always be saving something for retirement.
  • Don’t leave money on the table. Aim to save enough to get your employer to match your retirement contributions at the very least.
  • Remember, you have complete control over your finances. You can earn more money or you can blow all your money. If you aren’t where you want to be financially, you have to look at yourself.
  • Remind yourself of what retirement actually is. By saving now, you’re putting money away to stop working and travel the world if you want. By not saving now, you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of work ahead of you, even when you’re old.

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it feels like there is no escape. You might wonder how you can save money when you barely have enough to cover the bills and necessities.

Living for your next payday isn’t just annoying, it’s dangerous. What if an emergency happened, and you had no money to pay for it? Would you have to go without food? Shut off your lights? Put it all on credit and worsen your situation?

Building a savings is vital not only for emergencies, but to be able to afford the things you want out of life.

It’s no easy feat, but you can, and should, stop this cycle. Here’s the steps to take to find freedom and stop living paycheck to paycheck.

Set savings goals

Decide what it is you want to save for. A vacation? A house? Sending the kids to college? Decide what your goals are and calculate how much money you need to save.

One mandatory savings goal – an emergency fund. I know, it’s not anything exciting. But building an emergency fund gives you insurance. If something goes wrong, which things always do, you will have insured yourself because you can pay for emergencies.

Ideally, you would have an emergency fund worth 3-6 months of expenses. But start small. Right now, you may only be able to save $1,000. And that’s okay.

One great tool for saving money quickly and automatically is the Capital One 360 online savings account. This is what I personally use because it is easy and I get better interest than at a bank!

Create a budget

Now that you have some goals to work towards, it’s time to create a budget to make your dreams become a reality.

What can you cut? Can you cancel cable, subscription services, the grocery budget, or social expenses? Can you live minimally for a while to build up your savings?

Add savings to your budget as a fixed cost. Remember – you aren’t saving every month to blow it on trips to the mall, fancy dinners, or vacations. You are saving for your future, not for the present.

Automate your savings

The easiest way to build savings quickly is to automate it. By automating it, you never see it and have less incentive to spend it instead of savings.

Many banks now offer this feature. Put it into a separate account so you don’t confuse your savings with spending money.

Increase your income to increase your savings

If you aren’t saving as quickly as you like, you can look at two things. First, how much have you cut out of your budget? Can you control your spending anymore? If you’re already at a bare budget, you may need to look at increasing your income.

Increasing your income doesn’t have to be as complicated as it sounds. It might take some reevaluation of your goals and your time management. Can you ask for a raise? Apply for a higher paying job? Start a side hustle?

Side hustles are a great way to increase your income on the side if you aren’t able to increase your full-time income. A side hustle is anything you do outside of your 9-5 to earn money, whether it’s babysitting, blogging, freelance writing, or starting a business.

Not only do side hustles increase your income, but they increase your skills and motivation. Often, people who side hustle experience a boost in their 9-5 careers as well.

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No matter your circumstances, you have the power to change your finances and your life. By committing to switch your habits, you can escape living paycheck to paycheck and start living for the future.

50 Ideas to Save Money

Are you stuck in a rut with budgeting? Need to make some wiggle room, but not sure how? Sometimes you just need to get a little creative. Here are 50 ways to save money.

1. Cancel subscription box services. Boxes like Ipsy and Birchbox are fun, but they are not sending you products that you actually need. Cancel them and buy products on your own to save money.

2. Make your own cleaning supplies. Did you know you can make your own eco-friendly cleaning supplies for pennies? Here are some recipes.

3. Meal prep for the week. Preparing meals ahead of time saves time, money, and is healthy!

4. Use Ibotta, a coupon app. Ibotta is a fun rebate app. Check it out and get $10, free! (I don’t sponsor Ibotta, I just love the app!)

5. Cancel cable. TV is a bad habit that costs thousands each year. Why not make it a resolution to cancel it?

6. Look into cell phone alternatives. Prepaid phones are a cheaper option, but if you’re glued to your iPhone, look into switching carriers for the best deal.

7. Skip a salon session. Salons are NOT cheap. Hold off on getting your hair done for as long as possible to save major bucks.

8. Unplug devices not in use. Did you know devices that are plugged in, but not turned on still use energy? It might be difficult to unplug everything daily. Use a power switch and turn it off when you leave the house.

9. Turn off the lights. Like devices not in use, leaving the lights on costs you money.

10. Adjust the thermostat. Turning the temperature up or down a few degrees makes a huge difference in your energy bill. Get a programmable thermostat for the most comfort and money saving ability.

11. Pay off your credit card. Paying off your credit card saves you big bucks in interest.

12. Sign up for fuel rewards. Most grocery stores or gas stations have some sort of fuel rewards program. Though gas is low now, it’s always a good idea to save money.

13. Sign up for grocery store saver card. Score great deals by taking 5 minutes to sign up for a grocery store saver card. It definitely  helps!

14. Make shopping lists. Shopping with a list ensures you don’t buy extra items and that you bought everything you needed, eliminating the need for a return to the store.

15. Bring your lunch to work. Packing your lunch for work saves time, money, and is way healthy.

16. Utilize free-shipping with Amazon Prime. Instead of making long trips to the store, purchase Amazon Prime and buy items to be shipped to you for free.

17. Cancel your gym-membership. Gyms are a costly reoccurring expense. Cancel it and get creative with your workouts.

18. Walk/bike instead of drive. If you are able, walk or bike to nearby places to save money and get in shape!

19. Buy generics. Sometimes generic items aren’t the best deal. See which items I always buy generic.

20. Drink for cheaper. How can we as adults have a social life, but not spend all of our money on booze? Here is my advice on how to drink for cheap.

21. Use a rewards credit card. Credit cards can actually save you money if you’re careful with them. I use a travel rewards card to earn points to use for free flights!

22. Evaluate your car insurance provider. Car insurance rates tend to go up, so make sure you’re shopping around for the best option for you.

23. Make multiple student loan payment a month. By splitting your student loan payment into multiple payments, you save a little on interest each month. Read how I do that here.

24. Connect to wifi. Data usage is expensive. Make sure you are connected to wifi as much as possible.

25. Make coffee at home. Ya’ll know I love Starbucks once in awhile, but I definitely have it on a treat basis, not daily. Make coffee at home for pennies versus the $4.00+ you will spend at the coffee shop.

26. Make your own snacks. Granola bars, cookies, and dried fruit all make great snacks, but they add up in costs. Look up recipes to make your own, healthier options.

27. Switch to oatmeal instead of cereal. I’ve talked about my love of cereal before (embarrassing) but the convenience of it adds up! I have been trying to switch to oatmeal with peanut butter. Not only is it dirt cheap, it is way more filling and has less sugar.

28. Eat vegetarian. Meat is expensive. Cutting it out even one day a week (meatless Mondays, anyone?) saves money.

29. Cancel your tanning appointments. Okay, if you’re tanning still, please, please stop! They are costly, a waste of valuable time, and obviously have the potential to seriously harm your health. A bottle of sunless tanner is way worth it if you feel like you have to be tan.

30. Carpool. Ride share as much as you possibly can to save on gas and wear and tear on your car.

31. Negotiate your internet bill. As a blogger, I have to have internet, but I make sure to keep an eye on my bill, which always seems to creep up month after month if I don’t call them.

32. Go makeup free. Wearing less makeup saves money and keeps your skin healthy.

33. Switch to reusable towels and plates. Be eco-friendly and save money by using dish towels instead of paper towels. Buy cheap, reusable plates from Target instead of paper plates.

34. Do a closet swap with your friends. Many times, I shop because I am bored of my wardrobe. Get some friends in to do a closet swap to trade clothes items and save on shopping.

35. Swap body wash for soap. Simple body soap is so cheap, while body wash costs a lot more for less product.

36. Cut dyer sheets in half. This is probably the most frugal thing I do, and my fiance always teases me for it, but I cut dryer sheets in half. I haven’t noticed any difference in the softness of my clothes by using only half a sheet. Another option is those dryer balls. Has anyone used those? I’ve heard they are noisy :/

37. Make your own laundry detergent. Laundry detergent is pricey! Once I finish the detergent I have, I plan to try making my own with a recipe I found online. It literally costs pennies in comparison and is way more eco friendly! I’ll let you know how it goes.

38. Google coupons before you buy  a product online. Before I buy anything online, I always try to find a promo code for a discount. You would be surprised! I would say 70% of the time I find a coupon to save a few bucks.

39. Switch banks. Find a bank that is best for you. If they charge you to use an ATM, and you use an ATM all the time, maybe that isn’t the best bank for you. Shop around for interest rates as well to earn a little on your money.

40. Take care of yourself. By eating well, exercising, going to the doctor, etc, you save a ton of money in health costs in the long run.

41. Ask for free prescription samples. Often times, doctors will have medicine samples available for free. My eye doctor has even given me a box of free contacts before as samples!

42. Do free online workouts. Instead of paying for a workout class or gym membership, find a free online workout class to do with a friend.

43. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs. Energy-efficient light bulbs are more expensive upfront, but save big bucks in the long term.

44. Go out for happy hour instead of going to the bars at night. Get your friends to join you for happy hour instead of fighting the crowds, cover charges, and expensive drinks at the bars at night.

45. Inflate your tires. Having properly inflated tires means your car is working at proper efficiency.

46. Go to a matinee. Day-time shows and movies are much less expensive than going to a night time show.

47. Quit money-sucking and poor habits. Smoking, excessive drinking, drug use, and other bad habits are not only expensive, but they take years off your life.

48. Get a library card. Books are a wonderful form of entertainment, but bookstores aren’t cheap. Libraries offer so many resources for free.

49. Wear your glasses.  Contacts are pricey, especially if you’re like me and wear one a day contacts. Wearing my glasses saves me approximately $2 a day! Crazy.

50. Educate yourself. The best thing you can do to save money is to educate yourself on money. Blogs, books, professionals, and classes all provide excellent resources for managing your money.

What are your most frugal tips? Comment below!

10 Ways to Stop Impulse Shopping

How many girls do you know who are fairly decent at budgeting, but then BAM, their closet is spilling over and they can be found at the mall every weekend? I’ll let you in on a secret: that used to be me.

Shopping was such an emotional habit for me. I’d shop when I was bored, when I was lonely, when I was stressed, when I was procrastinating. Shopping made me feel better for a little bit, but it wasn’t solving anything. The worst part of it was that I was buying a lot of cheap, poor quality clothes. But my closet quickly became filled with, so put it bluntly, a whole lot of crap.

It wasn’t until I moved that I realized just how much junk I had. For someone who has moved 7 times in the past two years, that was a lot of baggage to carry around. Something needed to change.

Now, I still love to shop, but I have definitely curbed my impulse shopping habit. Here’s 10 steps I took to stop emotional shopping:

  1. Clean out your closet.

    This is the only way to see just how much stuff you have bought and things you haven’t even worn. When I cleaned out my closet, I realized I was getting rid of hundreds of dollars of clothes that I had not worn once. What a waste!

  2. Research classic, staple items you need to build a solid wardrobe.

    No matter your personal style, figure out the basics. You likely will want a nice coat, a few pairs of quality jeans, some black heels, etc. Write these things down! They are items you will want to invest in and maybe even splurge on. Predict how many years of use you can get out of each item.

  3. Make a list of all clothes you need, and which season they fit.

    Keeping a running list of every item of clothing you need will serve you in so many ways. If you’re having a moment of weakness and want to impulse shop, you can use this list to make sure you’re buying only things you actually need. This list also provides opportunities to find more items on sale because you know what you’re looking for.

  4. Be smart and buy at the end of the season.

    Have you ever noticed how swimsuits go on super sale at the end of summer? When at the beginning of summer, they are ridiculously expensive? When you create a list of exactly what you need, you can be on the look out for these end-of-season deals and can save a ton of money. Sure, you might miss out on buying the hottest trends of the season, but trends come and go anyway. To me, spending money on timeless pieces that I can wear for years to come is worth far more than buying a new trendy piece every single year.

  5. Save up for high quality pieces.

    If you are buying an item that you will wear almost daily, then it is worth it to splurge on a higher quality. For example, when I lived in Iowa, it was imperative that I had a winter coat. I wore it every day for almost 6 months out of the year, so it was worth it to invest in a higher quality coat versus a cheap one. Plus, it kept me nice and toasty 🙂

  6. If it’s not on your list, no buying!

    This will force you to really think through your purchases ahead of time and eliminate any possible impulses.

  7. Acknowledge your emotions before shopping.

    Be aware of how you feel and be honest with yourself. Are you shopping because you’re trying to fill a void, or are you truly shopping because you need clothes?

  8. Ask yourself how many wears you’ll get out of that outfit.

    Calculating cost per wear is a great guideline to know if something is actually worth it. You can learn more about it here.

  9. Only buy clothes you absolutely LOVE.

    If you’re like me, half the stuff you buy on impulse is total junk. Maybe it was on sale or maybe you were just feeling emotional while buying it. If clothes don’t make you feel great, then they aren’t worth buying. This can be a hard lesson to learn for some who view clothes as simply functional. Clothes can say so much about you, so I encourage people to spend time and money dressing themselves in a way that makes them feel great.

  10. Have fun and shop on!

    Shopping can still be fun, even while trying to curb impulse shopping and while sticking to a budget. Be smart about your purchases and be in tune with your emotions and you can’t go wrong.