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?

 

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!

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?

Beauty on a Budget

I am not a beauty blogger, by any means, but that does not mean that I don’t enjoy makeup and hair care as much as the next girl. I’m sure you’re wondering how exactly this “beauty” post is going to tie into frugality. Well, fear not, I promise it will. As a woman, I know just how expensive it is to be one. Makeup, lotions, hair care products, styling tools all cost money, and sometimes, it can be a lot of money! Fortunately, it doesn’t always have to be expensive!

Makeup, hair care, and feeling good about yourself seem to go hand in hand. It is important that self care make its way into your budget. Remember, being frugal is not about being unhappy and suffering. It is okay to spend money on things you love and enjoy.

All things aside, I want to discuss how to be money conscious when purchasing makeup, hair products, or styling tools.

Forgo most Beauty Stores

Although this may seem like the most obvious tip, it is honestly one of the most important. Stores such as Sephora and Ulta glamorize high end, designer cosmetics which are sold at unbelievably high prices. These stores seem to slap a name brand designer’s products on their shelves, and customers are just dying to pay whatever the price tag demands.

Shop at Your Local Drug Store

If you are only going to your local drug store to fill prescriptions, you are seriously missing out. Drug stores such as CVS, Rite Aid and the like are gold mines when it comes to quality makeup sold cheaply. I know my local CVS sells brands such as Covergirl,Maybeline, and Revlon products. Occasionally, while browsing on the Kroger App, I have seen coupons for cosmetics as well. So be sure to keep your eye out for deals!

Check out Sally’s Beauty Supply

I am unsure if this is just a local chain store, but Sally’s is the best around for getting deals on hair care products as well as color! The best part is, you don’t need a cosmetic license to shop here, like some of the other stores that offer the same things. They offer salon quality products, for lower prices. I know many people that purchase their own hair color from Sally’s and do their own hair or have someone else do it for a fraction of the cost they would pay at the salon.

Browse Amazon

Amazon is the jack of all trades, including beauty supplies. Take a quick look around on Amazon if you are searching for a particular palate of eye shadows, or a signature lip gloss. Chances are, Amazon may have it! Not only will they more than likely have the item in stock, but it could also be at a discounted rate.

Don’t Be A Label Whore

Pardon my french, but being a label whore is not always an option when living a frugal lifestyle. I typically buy off brand products,, not only because they are cheaper, but typically there is no difference in the quality! Makeup is no different. If you find yourself looking for a specific palate of eye shadow for example, bring a picture of it to the store with the names of the shades. If you are lucky, you will be able to find the exact same palate as a knock off, that has half the price.

Do It Yourself

I state this last tip with extreme caution. Coloring your own hair is a common practice, but that doesn’t always mean that it will turn out the way you want it to. I suggest asking a professional opinion before you decide to do anything to your hair (chemically). But it is true that coloring your own hair will definitely save you tons of money in the long run, especially when you are being charged anywhere from $30-$100 per trip to the salon. You also have the option to do waxing at home, which can also save you time and money. Honestly, I believe just about anything can be learned from Youtube, it just takes some time and effort.


When they say that beauty is pain, they weren’t lying, it can be a pain in your pocket! Thankfully it doesn’t have to be. If you follow these tips, you will be saving money on your beauty routine, as well as taking some time out of your day to pamper yourself. Who doesn’t love to save money, and pamper yourself at the same time.

What corners are you cutting to save money in your beauty routine?

Why Your Budget Is Failing

I’m not going to lie when I say that budgeting sucks. Flat out. If you are anything like me, you hate the “B” word just as much as the next person. Unfortunately, with today’s economy, budgeting is a necessity. There are also many reasons why your budget is failing.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of a budget, you can view my Budgeting 101 post here.

Once you have your budget in place, and begin implementing it, you may discover roadblocks along the way. There are numerous reasons that your budget may not be working for you and your family.

I have decided to make a list of the most common reasons your budget isn’t working. I hope that this list can help to open your eyes, and make changes to custom fit your budget to your individual needs.


Not Sticking to Your Budget

After spending time calculating your budget, you are expected to follow the guidelines you set, right? Well sometimes it’s easier said than done. The number one reason your budget isn’t working is because you aren’t following it. If you need to, reevaluate your budget to make is easier to follow.

Not Suiting Your Budget to Your Family

Another common reason your budget may not be working for you and your family, is because it may not be customized to you and your familys’ needs. For example, if you and your family like going out to eat, and you completely cut it out of your budget, it can result in unhappiness. Being frugal isn’t about being unhappy. It is living a minimalist lifestyle, while still enjoying the things you enjoy.

Allocating Too Much to One Category, and Not Enough to Another

You can wreck your budget very quickly doing this. Imagine this scenario: you are trying to pay off your debt, but you didn’t allocate enough money for groceries for the whole month, you will be scrounging for money to feed yourself.

You spent too much trying to pay off your debt, but didn’t allow yourself enough for a major expense. Don’t try to lump all categories together.

Not Allowing Wiggle Room

Simply telling yourself that “no, I can’t have it” is one easy way for your budget to go awry quickly. Allow a bit of flexibility in your budget. This doesn’t mean tof go spending all willy nilly, but having additional savings can help for when you have something you need to buy, but didn’t allocate enough money when making your budget.

Influences

It doesn’t become apparent what you are missing out on until you stare it in the face. Budgeting is no exception! For example, if you are trying to go without cable, visiting a friend to watch television is just going to remind you what you no longer have. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t visit your friend, but don’t get used to the idea of cable television. Instead, look for alternative ways to watch your favorite programs.

In other words, don’t allow outside influences to sway your mindset while creating your budget. Focus on your needs and things that you enjoy.

Living Above Your Means

This is the top reason budgets fail. You cannot, I mean absolutely, CAN NOT live above your means. If you only make X amount of dollars, you cannot have a budget for Y amount of dollars. A house payment you can’t afford, expensive luxuries, or other habits are all things you need to include when writing your budget plan.


No matter what the reason is for your budget failing, I suggest taking a step back and reevaluating your budget. Knowing where the problem lies can help you fix things and get your budget back on track!

Why Broke Girl Bree is Broke Girl Bree

I have recently had a lot of backlash and confusion regarding my blog’s name. Especially since I made my “Frugal Doesn’t Mean Broke” post. I figured I would clear the air on Broke Girl Bree, explain why Broke Girl Bree is Broke Girl Bree, and hopefully inspire and help some others along the way!

In February of 2016, I was let go from my office position at a local manufacturing company. I was devastated, shocked, and wasn’t sure where to turn next. I had a little over $5,000 in my bank account saved up from this job. Unfortunately, $5,000 didn’t quite last me as long as I would have liked (around eight months).

After eight long months, I found myself in a temp agency, being hired for a job in a sandwich assembly factory. Flash forward, I am currently still employed there nearly four months now. I am being completely honest when I say although I am thankful to have a job, this place has completely drained me. I am unhappy and I feel so exhausted every day. I dread going to work. I make little money here, and that is another reason I am so unhappy.

Not only does this job leave me “broke” financially, but it has broken my spirit as well. That is why I chose Broke Girl (and added my name) Bree as my blog’s name. I know many people personally feel the same way about their jobs and financial lives. This is also how I chose what my blog would be about. I want to help people who (like myself) are struggling to make ends meet in a dead-end, low paying job.

I post relatable content that not only helps others, but helps myself as well. I don’t post information that I wouldn’t or don’t abide by. Saving money is never going to go out of style,  why not jump on the savings bandwagon and start the upward climb from being broke.