Cash Only Challenge Update 2

Once again, I am here to give you the Cash Only Challenge Update 2. To share the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of using only cash for an entire month.

As stated in my previous post, week one did not go as smoothly as I had hoped. There were a lot of impromptu shopping trips when I actually felt like cooking dinner. I am proud to say that week two went a lot better. I was actually able to use cash in every situation I made purchases and stuck to my budget.

 

Overall Update

As an overall update, I can definitely say that week two went far better than week one. Continue reading to see each day outlined.

I withdrew enough money from the bank to cover all of my purchases, and even had some left over to spend freely on myself. Who doesn’t love that?!

Monday: Finished up grocery shopping for the week, including lunch meat and Gatorade for the boyfriends lunches. I also got some cheap nail polish for a dollar! I bought those using change. 

Tuesday: I cooked a steak dinner with baked potatoes. We bought the steak was on sale at Kroger for only $6.00 and the potatoes were only  $1.30. Can’t beat that for supper, am I right?

Wednesday: Boyfriend and I spent the day running around getting his license reissued, as well as grabbing a bite to eat. He bought that night, so I didn’t have to spend any of the cash that was in my weekly allowance.

Thursday: My boyfriend was off work today, so I decided to order a pizza for him, myself and my coworker. Paid in cash! Thank goodness today was payday!

Friday: I am hitting the ATM after work today to get some spending money out for this weekend, as well as money for the essentials such as groceries for the following week!

See! That doesn’t seem too hard does it?! I know the more that I do it, the easier it will get!

If you have any questions at all, feel free to drop me a message in my Contact form, which can be found in mymenu above.

Happy Spending & Happy Saving.

Cash Only Challenge Update One

As promised, here is my Cash Only Challenge Update One!

Last week, I had decided that I was only going to use cash for one full month. Follow along and continue reading about the ups, the downs, the good and the bad of my challenge. If you are interested in learning more about my Cash Only Challenge, click here to get caught up!

Firstly, as a person who has only used her debit card for purchasing since opening my checking out over two years go, I am actually having a really hard time with this challenge. But they don’t call it a challenge for nothing!

There is so much convenience with a quick swipe of your card, that you truly take it for granted. So far this week, there have been times that I have forgotten to go to the ATM, so I actually had to use the convenience store ATM’s which charge an extra fee for taking out cash.

I have decided to outline each day of the week as far as my cash only challenge.

Monday: I remembered to visit the ATM, and got out how much money I thought I would need for the week. Low and behold, I had to put new tags on my vehicle, which happened to be four months late.

Tuesday: My boyfriend and I go out to eat, way too often, so a lot of my cash I thought I would need, was already used up!

Wednesday: I found myself, yet again, at the ATM getting money to finish up some weekly shopping.

Thursday: It was a pretty slow day, and I actually remembered to pack my lunch for work! Saved some cash that way! Also, it was payday!

Friday: Today grabbed some extra money to include in my weekend fund.

 

I’m not sure what this weekend is going to hold for me, but as long as I remember to go to the bank ATM as needed, I won’t spend nearly as much! Once the money runs out, it runs out!

Here are some tips to make my transition a bit easier:

Tips for Success:

  1. Consider taking a little extra from the ATM to cover those impulse purchases.
  2. Follow my budget a little closer.
  3. Try to pack my lunch for work at LEAST three times a week.

Stay tuned for next weeks post!

 

 

Cash Only Challenge

There is nothing worse than checking your bank balance, and realizing you spent way more than you intended to. A lot of that issue comes from solely using your debit or credit card. I personally struggle with this issue, because using my card is so convenient. A swipe here, a swipe there and POOF there goes your paycheck.

Since I personally struggle with this, I have decided to challenge myself to use cash only for the next month. By using cash only, I will be able to better track exactly what I am spending my money on, and where I am spending it. This will also help me recalculate my budget. I will be able to evaluate how much money should go in each category.

I have decided to publicize this Cash Only challenge,to show that it is possible to use only cash in this plastic dominated world. Follow along on my journey to use nothing but cash for the next four weeks. Feel free to participate yourself!


Let’s get started!

Cash Only Challenge

I am going to skip the budget step completely, as I already have an budget in place. If you don’t have a budget, or know what a budget it click here to learn how to set up your own.

Step 1:

Once you have your budget in place, you will know exactly how much money you will need. It’s time to hit the bank! You can either go inside, or use the drive up ATM. I typically use the ATM as I withdrawal an exact, even dollar amount. If you need an amount that the ATM cannot give you, head inside and fill out a deposit slip.

Step 2:

Once you have cash in hand, go ahead and start spending! I am actually creating a small note card to keep track of how much I have allotted for each category. This will help make sure you aren’t taking money from one category, to make up for another. If this sounds complicated, please see my cash envelope system post here. This post will make it simpler, and a bit easier to understand.

Step 3:

I plan to actually write down the amounts I spent, down to the change, to help me keep track of exactly how much I’m spending. At the end of the week, I will deduct each amount from the total I set aside for each category. This way, I will be able to see which categories can be decreased, and which will need increased.


Each week, I will post the good, the bad, and the ugly of this month long Cash Only challenge. I will also post challenges I faced while participating in this challenge. If you are participating, feel free to chime in with the positives and negatives you have experienced in this challenge. I am beginning this challenge on Monday, as I have already been using my card this week. I want to start out with a fresh, clean slate. Updates will come every Friday so stay tuned!

Happy Cash Spending!

Native American Way of Life

After I got off work today, my boyfriend and his dad decided to go arrowhead hunting, and I decided to tag along. As I wandered around in the field, I got to thinking about how Native Americans had lived. I also thought about how much times have changed since Native Americans once roamed our lands. I’m sure you’re thinking, okay Bree, but how do Native Americans and frugality tie together? How is it that we are living the Native American way of life?

Well, let me tell you! In today’s society ninety percent of our food comes from grocery stores. Back when Native Americans thrived, they had to rely on, you guessed it, hunting, fishing and gathering. As ludicrous as it may sound, some people today still use these techniques to save money on food.

Gardening

Coming from a small, rural town I know many people who have planted gardens in their backyards. There are some things that you need to take into consideration before starting your garden, such as timing (when to plant your seeds), certain times different types of plants will grow, and the specific care each different type of plant will need.

In the past, my family and friends have successfully grown tomatoes, rhubarb, corn, peppers (green, jalapeno), squash, pumpkins, spices, and much much more. It is essential to do your research when wanting to start a garden, but just think, what is better than having access to the produce section of your grocery store in your backyard. Not only is it convenient, but think of all the savings that can come from not buying even some of your produce!

Fishing

Not only is fishing a fun outdoor hobby, but it can literally supply you with plenty of filets for your next fish fry! Nothing tastes better than fish you have caught yourself! Jokes aside, fish is a great source of protein and iron. If you find yourself purchasing fish from your local grocery store, consider going fishing instead! Fish can be quite expensive, depending on what type you wish to purchase, instead, you could spend a few hours outdoors, and catch your meal yourself. If you are unsure how to prepare fish, there are plenty of great recipes on Pinterest!

Before getting out there, please make sure to obtain the proper license to fish in your state. Once you have your license, hit up any lake, pond, or river near you and get your fish on.

Hunting

Hunting is not only another outdoor hobby that many people enjoy, but it is what the Native Americans relied on to eat. I hear a lot of people being uneasy about hunting, but there is a difference in hunting for food, or just trophy hunting. I just recently became introduced to the world of hunting (thanks to my boyfriend) and honestly, I couldn’t be happier that I did. Although hunting is not a cheap hobby to begin, the benefits will begin to outweigh the initial cost.

Unfortunately, I was not lucky enough to bag a deer this year. On the other hand, my boyfriend did! He was able to have the deer processed for $65, and brought home seventeen pounds of ground burger and twenty packs of steaks and chops mixed. That is incredibly cheap in comparison of what you would pay at the grocery store for ground beef and steaks and chops.

Again, this is not a cheap hobby to start up, but the benefits that are reaped soon outweigh the cost of startup. Also, be sure to read up on the laws of your state regarding hunting, and obtain the proper license for your state.


Not everyone is open to the idea of going to extremes such as hunting and fishing to save money. If you are an outdoorsy person who is looking for extra ways to save money on groceries hunting, fishing, or gardening may be the perfect fit for you!

Would you be open to give hunting, fishing, or gardening a try to save some money?

Treat Yourself on a Budget

Nothing is better after a long, stressful day than treating yourself. Do you find yourself buying those new shoes you’ve had your eye on? Maybe you stop by your local pub and enjoy some drinks after work. Regardless, those costs add up week after week. I decided to try out some ways to treat yourself on a budget.

Myself personally, have an issue with spending my hard-earned, well deserved money. I think long and hard before I make purchases, and even then, I can have some buyers regret. When I finally decide to treat myself, I usually go big. I have actually treated my boyfriend and I to a weekend getaway due to stress at home. That was a pretty hefty expense, but it was well deserved.

Did you know that treating yourself doesn’t necessarily mean spending money? *gasp* I know! I would have never guessed that myself either, before I really started thinking into it. I have decided to compile a list of things you can do to treat yourself, without spending much, if any money at all!

Take a Hot Bath

I put taking a hot bath as number one, because this is my absolute favorite thing to do after a long, hard day at work. It is so relaxing to just lay in the steamy, hot water and let your worries wash away. Depending what you have available to you, you could include some bath bombs or soaking salts into this routine. Enjoy some relaxing me time!

DIY Manicure

Do you enjoy getting your nails done, but don’t love the cost? This could be the perfect way to treat yourself with minimal cost! Every woman has nail polish lying around the bathroom. You might as well take advantage of it! You could go with a basic polish or go crazy with designs. There are plenty of videos on YouTube for tutorials on designs!

Read

One of my favorite hobbies is reading. Take a visit to your local library and pick out a book that peaks your interest! I have gotten lost for hours in a book. I have even read an entire series in a weekend. I felt great afterwards too.

Yoga

A few years back I took a course (elective) on yoga. It was amazing how great it felt after an hour of practicing yoga. The best part about yoga is that you don’t have to go to classes, or even leave your home. You can practice yoga anywhere, and you really feel great afterward.

Shave Your Legs

One of the best feelings in the world is climbing into bed with a fresh pair of shaved legs. I have found that hair conditioner is a great (and cheap) alternative to shaving cream. It also keeps your skin more hydrated, leaving them silky smooth.

Tune Out, Tune In

One of the proven ways to melt away stress from a long work week is to turn on some music. Turn on the radio, Pandora, or iHeart Radio and enjoy some of your favorite music. There are even sites that you can build your own custom playlists according to your mood, and how you want to feel.

Watch Your Favorite Show or Movie

Sometimes, a little TV is all you need to ease some stress in your life. Treat yourself to watching some of your favorite TV series, or your favorite movie. You’ll be surprised how relaxed you feel. Even if it means binge watching an entire season on Netflix. Guilty as charged of this one myself.

Go for a Drive

One of my all time favorites to clear my mind, is to jump in my car and drive. I don’t necessarily always have a route or a destination in mind. There is something cleansing about driving and having nowhere to go.


This is just a list of things that I do to treat myself after a long, stressful work week.

Now that you have ideas to treat yourself while not breaking the bank, how do you plan to treat yourself frugally?

 

How To Start a Blog

*This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may make a commission from your purchase, at no cost to you. If you have questions, view my disclosure page on my menu*

Have you been thinking of starting your own blog? Are you lost when it comes to where to start? Don’t worry, I was too. Because of this, I have decided to create a guide to show people how to start a blog.

Step 1

First things first, you need to decide why you want to start your blog. Is this going to be a hobby? Are you planning to use your blog as a side hustle to your full time job? Or maybe you plan to blog full time. Yes, the last one is completely possible and feasible.

Step 2

Secondly, you will want to consider what your blog will be about. This is called your blog’s niche. I suggest grabbing a piece of paper and a pen and begin jotting down ideas.

To help you come up with ideas, ask yourself the following questions:

1. What am I good at?

2. What type of problems do my friends come to me with?

3. What am I passionate about?

Write down as many ideas as you can think of. You can narrow them down as you go.

An example of blogging niches are beauty, mommy/parenting, lifestyle, gardening, healthy living, frugality, and my list could go on and on. You can blog about literally anything your heart desires.

Step 3

Once you have established what your niche will be, you will need to begin thinking of ideas of what your blog’s name will be. I have found that many people simply use their names. Others use something related to their niche.

Step 4

Once you have decided on your blog’s name, you can now begin looking into Web hosting. Many people who are just beginning to blog opt to choose a free web host, such as Blogger or Weebly. These sites are great for people who want to blog as a hobby. For those of you that plan or hope to make money from your blog, you will want to choose a self hosted blog.

With a self hosted blog, you will purchase a hosting plan (your websites space on the world wide web) as well as a domain name. I purchased my hosting plan through Bluehost. For only $3.95 per month, you will receive web hosting and free domain registration (usually $15 alone). You will also receieve $150 in offers that will make your site stand out to search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo! as well as provide necessary protection for your website.

The best part is that Bluehost offers a 30 day money back guarantee. If you decide you no longer wish to have your website, you will receieve a full refund!

This is a great deal! If you are interested in getting this deal for yourself, click here .

Step 5

Upon purchasing your Web hosting plan, you will be asked to register your domain name. This is your websites address. There are some things to remember when registering your domain name:

1. Keep it short, sweet and to the point. No one likes to type in a lengthy address into the search bar.

2. Make it memorable. Make sure your domain name is easy to remember.

3. Try not to complicate things. Do not add numbers and letters together, as well as try not to use duplicates of numbers or letters

Before you click submit, you should do some searching online to be sure there isn’t a be site out there with the domain name you have selected.

Step 6

It may take a short period for your payment to be processed. While this is happening, you can download the WordPress.org app. WordPress is how you will access your blog.

Once your blog has been set up through WordPress, you are now able to select a theme. This is the appearance of your blog. You are able to select one of the free themes, or you can purchase a theme through Wordpres. There are also a few websites that offer free WordPress themes.

Step 7

Once you have selected your theme, you are now able to access your blog! You can add pages, create blog posts, add images, anything you can think of!

If you have any questions regarding this process, feel free to contact me via my Contact Us page.

Happy Blogging!

Planners: Organize and Prioritize Like a Boss

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may make a small commission from your purchase at no cost to you.*

In my Importance of Organization post, which can be seen here, I mentioned my use of a planner. I hated being forced to use a planner in my school days, but now, I honestly couldn’t live without one!

In recent days, it seems that everyone is going to virtual scheduling. Not me. I still enjoy the “old school” route of paper and a pen. Actually having something to physically hold on to and see is something I prefer.

I love the satisfaction of filling my planner and being able to cross things off as I accomplish the them. Typically I list all the things I need to accomplish in a day.

I actually have two different planners. One that I use for my personal life for things like bill due dates, appointments, and to do lists. I have a second planner for my editorial calendar for my blog. In my editorial calendar, I schedule each part of my blog posts including outlining, drafting, editing, publication, and promoting.

My favorite planner right now is the See It Bigger Planner. This planner features monthly calendars, as well as a weekly planning section. The biggest factor I love about this planner is the amount of space for each day of the week.

These planners range in size, so they are perfect for everyone. I have one that I keep in my purse for personal use and the other is kept with all of my blogging materials. The two I chose have crazy cute designs. For those of you that prefer a more professional appearance, the planners also come in a variety of plain, tasteful colors.

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Interested in purchasing a planner? Click here to see all available planners.

Plan Like a Boss

For those of you that are currently using a planner, what is your favorite planner? What type of things do you list in your planner?

To those of you that are currently not utilizing a planner, what do you plan to use your planner for?

 

Things to Do Before Buying a Home

As a 90’s baby, I was never taught anything regarding credit. All I knew was that you had to have a good score to buy a car, a house, etc. Today, I learned a very important credit lesson in regards to purchasing a home. I learned that there are a lot of things to do before buying a home.

My boyfriend and I have been looking into getting a place of our own. I wanted to explore the option of actually buying and completely avoid renting. I had been building my credit score steadily through my visa credit card. I thought that I would be able to get a loan, no problem.

Boy was I wrong.

My boyfriend, mother and I went to look at a mobile home for sale this morning. It was “reasonably” priced, and we just wanted to take a look at this option. At the end of the showing, the realtors asked if I would like to speak to a credit advisor. I agreed. I wanted to know where I stood and what probability of my getting a loan.

Only fifteen minutes after leaving the showing, the advisor called me. I gave her my information (full legal name, address, and social security number) and she ran my credit report. She also asked for my work history (at least a full year)?

She was very kind and explained everything for me. She explained that while I have a terrific credit score, I only have one streamline of credit. That means I only have one thing contributing to my credit score rating (my Visa card). Loan investors typically require two different streams of credit, so that meant I was out.

Another issue was my work history. I have had four jobs over the course of two years and never more than eight months at a time at any of the jobs. This was the BIGGEST issue. She told me that investors won’t even give the application a second look if you don’t have solid work history.

My heart was crushed.

I had always thought as long as you had a good credit score, you would be approved for a loan. There is so much more to applying for and receiving a loan than I had thought. So I thought that I would provide you with a list of things to do before you try to apply for a loan.

Step 1. Building Your Credit

You can’t get a loan without credit. Plain and simple. The quickest way to build your credit is through credit cards. Apply for a credit card through your bank, this is the easiest way to get a credit card. After you get your card in the mail, make purchases. Start small, think gas or something you buy consistently. Pay those charges off immediately. If you can’t pay them off right after purchase, be sure to pay the statement balance ON TIME every month. Using this card every month will slowly but surely help build your credit score.

Step 2. Have Multiple Streams of Credit

As I stated above, many loan investors will overlook your application if you don’t have more than one streamline of credit. This means that you either have multiple credit cards, or have bills in your name along with a credit card.

Step 3: Contact a Loan Advisor

This step is vital. The advisor will let you know your credit score, and if you are able to get a loan. If you are unable to get a loan, the advisor will give you the appropriate steps you can take to get a loan.

Let this be a lesson to you! Follow these steps to ensure you are able to get a loan no problem!

Importance of Organization

I often think back to my school days, bewildered. How did I make it through twelve years of school? Honestly, I was one of the most unorganized people I knew. Often times, I couldn’t keep keep track of assignments, important papers, due dates, and occasionally even textbooks. I didn’t know the importance of organization.

Flash forward to my first year of college, August of 2015. I knew I needed to make some serious changes and improve my organization skills. Before I even started classes I bought binders, folders, notebooks, and a planner. Each subject had it’s specific binders and folders. Everything had it’s place and was even color coordinated. All assignments were written into my planner by course and due dates.

Things began to click.

Today, I organize everything; receipts, bills, important documents, anything you can think of. All things have their place, and I ensure they make it to that place. Planners have also become a huge part of my life. Every year at the beginning of the year, I go out and purchase a planner. I begin by writing birthday’s, and other important dates. As the year progresses, I write in appointments, as well as dates bills are due.

Organization is a vital part of life no matter what stage of life you are in. If you are a student, you can use organization to keep track of your assignments and due dates. As a working adult, you can utilize organization to be sure you don’t miss work meetings or important conferences. Lastly, as a mom you can list your appointments and play dates all in one place. No matter where you are in life, organization will simplify your life. Never miss a coffee date with your friend, forget an appointment, or forget what it is you need to do next Tuesday.

Organization is vital to an easy, stress less life. Having things labeled, put away, and decluttered will keep your mind at ease.

What are YOU doing to stay organized in a hectic life?

PS, stay tuned! I am working on some organization printable sheets! Look for them this week!

Minimalism: Simplify Your Life

Take a quick look around your home. Do you have an abundance of “stuff”? If so, this post will be perfect for you! Follow along to learn the details.

The solution to your “stuff” problem could very well be minimalism. Minimalism by definition is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. Essentially, you are cleansing your life of the things you don’t need.

I’m sure you’re wondering how minimalism and frugality tie together. Everything I’ve ever read on being frugal has included something on minimalism. They are both about making reductions. With frugality you are making reductions to the amount of money you are spending. Minimalism has you making reductions to the amount of belongings you have.

Minimalism also helps you save money! Like frugality, being a minimalist helps you realize spending money and surrounding yourself with an abundance of things doesn’t bring happiness. Removing extras and excess from your life helps you realize you finally have enough. Once you finally make this realization, you will begin saving more money. As an added bonus, there will also be less clutter in your life.

If you have decided that you want to give minimalism a try, I suggest starting small. Go into a room, preferably a small, desolate room. The less stuff in the room, the better, at least in the beginning. Gather what you can in the middle of the room. Grab each item individually; this is where you have a decision to make. Ask yourself these questions:

 

    1. How often do I use this?

 

    1. Is there someone I know that could use this?

 

    1. Could I donate this?

 

    1. Is this broken, outdated, outgrown, or just taking up space?

 

    1. Should I show this away?

After asking yourself these questions, place each item into designated piles. One for keeping, one for giving away, one for donation, and one for throwing away.

Bag up the things you are giving away or donating. Grab a trash can or bag and throw away anything deemed unworthy of keeping. Put everything you decided to keep back into its appropriates place. Once you have finished with this room, you can move onto the next. Continue this process in every room in your home.

Well there you have it! You are on your way to living a minimalist lifestyle! Here is a beginners guide to minimalism. Declutter your life and save some money in the process.

What are YOU doing to incorporate minimalism into your life?