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.

30 Small Ways to Save

Saving money is never going to go out of style; There are thousands of pins on Pinterest, articles on the Web, Facebook groups, etc. regarding ways to save money. Since this blog is all about saving money, I thought I would compile a list of small ways you can save!

30 Small Ways to Save:

1. Shop at consignment stores. Loads of great clothes a unbelievably low prices.

2. Make your own cleaning supplies! Not only can you make a ton of product, but it is usually a safer alternative to store bought products.

3. Save your change. Every penny adds up!

4. Visit your library when you want to read a book instead of buying new.

5. Sign up for free samples. Free is ALWAYS great!

6. Trade Cable for Netflix or Hulu.

7. Shop at farmer’s markets. Not only are you buying healthier, homegrown foods, but you are helping out your local community’s economy!

8. Stop Eating Out. The average person spends well over $2,000 a year on eating out alone.

9. Be Healthier. Being healthy will help cut back on doctor bills, as well as potentially lower insurance costs!

10. Drink Water. This seems like a no brainer, but instead of buying soda or coffee, you can save tons of money by just drinking water alone.

11. Pack your lunch. Save money by packing your lunch instead of going out to eat.

12. Keep you Money in a Bank Account. This may seem silly, but keeping money in your account can make it less convenient to access.

13. Use Coupons. I have covered this in another post, but there are coupons for nearly everything you can think of and can save you money!

14. Borrow, not Buy. Check to see if your friends or family have the item you are on the hunt for. You can even offer to rent the item from them for a price.

15. Visit Garage Sales. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

16. Don’t impulse Shop. Impulse shopping can add up quickly!

17. Cut back on shopping altogether. Avoid going to shopping centers and malls. Avoid making purchases that are not a necessity.

18. Sign up for freebies (free samples) of products you love.

19. When you want to see a movie, go during the matinee. This is the daytime showing of a movie, and typically run at cheaper prices.

20. Find cheap ways to have fun. There are so many ways to have fun, that don’t include spending tons of money. For example, going to a matinee movie, going geocaching, taking a hike, go to the driving range, etc.

21. Download the Ibotta app to get rebates back on purchases you’re already making. Who doesn’t love free money?!

22. Ask your utility company ways to lower your bills.

23. Utilize shoppers cards from your favorite retail stores.

24. Unplug all appliances that are not being used. Unused appliances continue to draw electricity even when not being used.  This will save you money on the electric bill monthly.

25. Grouping your Errands. Instead of making errand runs multiple times a week, try to make a list of all the places you need to go, and things you need to buy and make one outing of running errands.

26. Drink in Moderation. Even if you are only drinking one beer a day, that can really add up quickly through the months. Try to limit drinking to special outings, and see how much savings you can accumulate.

27. Do It Yourself. Instead of hiring someone to do a job for you, consider doing it yourself. Not only is this satisfying, but it is also very savings efficient! I recommend looking up tutorials on YouTube. My mother swears everything and anything can be learned from YouTube.

28. Sun or Air Dry Your Clothes. It is amazing to think about how much electricity your dryer uses. Instead, you can sun or air dry your clothing. As long as I remember, my family has hung our clothes out on the clothesline, or on drying racks.

29. Only Buy Bargain Clothing. Whenever I go shopping, I head straight for the clearance racks. Also, shopping off season is the easiest way to save money when buying things for the upcoming season.

30.  Staying Home. Sure, being a homebody doesn’t sound like much fun, but it can definitely save money. There are plenty of things you can do at home, including reading a book, blogging, cleaning, or playing games.

So there’s my list of 30 small things you can do to save money. What are you currently doing to save money and live a frugal lifestyle.

Planning for a Baby on a Budget : Part 2

In my previous post, I covered that planning financially for a baby is hard work. I gave a few tips for mom’s-to-be to follow to help save money when purchasing baby supplies. After receiving some more input from a few mothers, I decided to add a second part to this post.

If you missed part one, you can view it here.

I will jump right in, and share a bit of knowledge as well as some tips I have learned along the way.


• Garage Sales

In addition to Facebook Buy and Sell groups, it is often important to search local garage sales for good deals on anything for babies. Babies outgrow things so quickly that parents are often eager to rid themselves of the old, outgrown items. I personally have been to garage sales that have very gently used items for ungodly cheap prices. For example, I have seen crib sets go for under $20. Most people are willing to wheel and deal a bit when they are really wanting to get rid of items.

• Resale Stores

If you are comfortable buying things used, you should definitely look into “Resale stores”. As stated above, parents are usually eager to get rid of used, outgrown items, and some people take them to resale stores such as Goodwill or Agape. You will find great deals here as well! Some discount stores even have discount days, where prices will be even more discounted. There are also resale stores specifically for mothers and mothers-to-be. Be sure to search your local area for such stores.

• Couponing

If you have read my blog at all, you will know that I am a big fan of couponing! And couponing certainly applies to saving money while preparing for a baby. There are virtually thousands of coupons available for baby supplies; You just need to know where to look. You can get coupons online directly through the retail store you make purchases at, online through the manufacturer, and by mail through deal sites or through the manufacturers. You can save BIG money couponing for baby items and supplies.

• Returns

A mother commented on my Facebook post informing me that Walmart will actually allow you to return diapers without a receipt to exchange for a smaller or larger size. The barcodes actually allow the retailer to know the item was purchased from their store, so they aren’t losing money or product by doing this. Also, I have included a chart to show how many diapers are needed. See chart below.

Is there anything else you do to help save money while saving money for a baby? Comment below!

Planning for a Baby on a Budget : Part 1

It is no secret that preparing for and raising a baby is expensive. Much to common misconception preparing for a baby doesn’t have to be as expensive as you may think.

And before any of you ask, no, I’m not expecting. I decided to create this post for all expectant mothers to be, who are looking for ways to save money while preparing for a baby.

Preparing for a baby is a super exciting process, but there is also a lot of financial planning that goes along with it. Follow along to learn some tips to save money when preparing for a baby.

Planning for a Baby

• Baby Shower/”Sprinkle Party”

When one is preparing for a baby, the widely known way to accumulate most of the items needed for the baby is a baby shower or “Sprinkle Party”. You can register at different stores, and guests to your party can pick out their own gifts off your registry. You can even customize your list down to the specific items and brands you wish for them to purchase. This is how many people obtain the more expensive gifts on their to buy lists. You could always ask for a pack of diapers in addition to the main gift as well to save on diapers.

• Hand Me Downs

Another great way to gather things you need for your baby is through hand-me-downs. Friends and family are usually eager to help out and willing to donate things that are gently used or outgrown. You could also ask if they have certain items that are no longer in use. While they will usually do this for free, they could also ask very discounted prices for the newer or not used items.

• Facebook Buy, Sell, Trade Groups

Facebook is another great resource for finding great deals on baby supplies. Often times, you can even haggle down the price a bit to get an even better deal. But always be sure to check the condition in person before purchasing to determine if there are any defects.

• Shop Smart

You should always save the receipts for anything purchased for the baby. You may receive multiples, and have no need for more than one. You then can return what you need to.

• Breastfeeding

Hands down, this is the most popular way to save money once the baby has arrived. Mothers can spend up to $40 for ONE canister of formula! Breastfeeding is also a great thing for the baby. *Disclaimer: You don’t HAVE to breastfeed, especially if you aren’t producing enough milk, or if your baby won’t latch* Breastfeeding is just a cost effective alternative to formula.

• Shop Smart

It is so important to be smart when shopping for baby supplies. Always compare pricing online before making any important purchases. Another important tip is to ALWAYS save receipts. You may accumulate more than one of something (especially with baby showers). You could return, exchange, or regift things that you receive multiples of.


 

Please do not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help when you need it. Everyone needs help from time to time, and planning for and preparing for a baby is no exception. Follow these tips to help save money while preparing for a baby.

What have you done to save money while planning for a baby?

P.S. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post!

 

Credit Building 101

Building or repairing credit can seem like a daunting task in the beginning. Luckily for you, I too was in your shoes a mere year ago. I had a credit score of zero. Yes, that’s right; zilch, zero, nada. I had no concept of credit, but thankfully with a little research I found ways to increase my credit score drastically.

In this post, I will outline the basics of building your credit score. I will also tell my personal story of how I grew my credit score from 0 to in the lower 700’s. Follow these steps to watch your credit score grow considerably!

One of the easiest ways to grow your credit score is to have bills put in your name. Always be sure to pay these bills on time and never make a late payment, as this can actually hurt your credit score. This is not the route I took, due to still living at home. All the bills were in my mother’s name, so this was not a doable option for me.

Option number two, which is also the “scarier” step for most people, is to get a credit card. This is the way I chose to build my credit, as I was unable to put bills in my name.

Choosing a credit card can be an overwhelming process. APR, interest, rewards; all of this was like a foreign language to me. You may as well have been speaking gibberish. As always, I decided to do a bit of research to find out what the best option was for me. In the end of my research, I ended up finding that my “home bank” actually offered a credit card! I signed up for this card, without much expectation. I wrote  $500 in the limit spot and was highly surprised to find that I was granted a limit of $1,000.

In other words, check with your local bank to see if they offer a credit card as this is the easiest option instead of going with a big company card.

Once I received my card in the mail, I wrote down a plan that I would follow when using the card. I would ONLY use the card for gas. I never came CLOSE to maxing out the card every month. I spent a maximum of $80 a month, and made sure I paid the bill on time, if not early. It was a diligent process, but over time, I knew the work would pay off.

I logged in to credit karma after seeing the commercials on TV as I was curious to see what my credit score was. I was shocked to see that my credit score was in the 700’s! Before I had received my credit card, Credit Karma was unable to even bring any data up for me.

Here’s an outline of some tips to use once you receive your credit card to promote a healthy credit score, as well as safety measures so you don’t go into debt with your new credit card.

Credit Building 101:

– Write out a plan of what you plan to use the card for, and stick to it. Whether that may be gas, groceries, etc.

– Make consistent purchases. You can’t grow your score if you aren’t using the card. Those purchases could be for example once a month, or once a week.

– Carefully mind your spending. Do not go over your spending limit! Actually I suggest not to come ANYWHERE close to it. I set a limit within my limit of only $200. I usually do not even come close to that number either.

–  Always make your payments on time and in full. Most cards actually charge a fee for late payments. Paying your payments in full will help you not get behind and go into debt.

If you follow this strategy religiously, I can guarantee you will drastically change your credit score.

What are YOU doing to increase your credit score?

Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck!

Ending the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck sounds like a dream come true, right? Having enough money to pay ALL of your bills on time, and even having some left over seems unattainable, am I right? Well, actually, I couldn’t be more wrong.

No matter what your job is, or how much you make, there are ways to end living paycheck to paycheck. I will illustrate these solutions in easy to follow steps that anyone can implement into their daily lives to better get their money in check, and stop this vicious cycle.

The first thing you need to do, is to get a handle on your current money situation. The best way is to write out all of your expenses, with a total amount, so you can actually see where the money is going. You can’t begin to save money until you see how much you are bringing in as well as what you are spending.

Once you have a number for total expenses, you can then move to the next step, which is cutting back your spending. I know, I know, this is easier said than done at first. You will need to start by setting obtainable goals in each expense category where you think you will be able to save money. For instance, keep your thermostat at a lower temperature and wearing warmer clothes can cut back on your gas bill. You could also pack your lunch or cut back on going out to eat to only on special occasions such as birthdays, holidays, or anniversaries.

In addition to your current salary, look for other ways to add extra cash to your income. The options for this step are virtually unlimited! You could look into getting a part time job, or apply for raises and bonuses in your current job. Also, although furthering your education and be looked at as an expense, this could be beneficial long term investment.

The final and most vital step to this process is to visualize a bright future for yourself. Living paycheck to paycheck is usually a temporary situation. Whether you are a student furthering your education or that a raise is on the horizon for you, keep reminding yourself this is temporary. It does get better, and won’t last forever.

What are you willing to do to end the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck?

5 Things You Shouldn’t Sacrifice to Save Money

This post will be a bit different from my usual posts, in which I typically discuss ways to save money. Instead, I am going to go over five things you shouldn’t sacrifice to save money.


Although frugality is used to save money, there are many things you shouldn’t sacrifice I’m the way of being frugal.

1.Health

The number one thing you should never sacrifice while trying to live a frugal lifestyle is your health. While it’s never nice to receive medical bills from the doctor, hospital, or clinic, your health should never be ignored to save money. While some ailments can be treated at home, never forgoe the doctor if you feel something is seriously wrong. I personally have learned this the hard way. I have ignored surgical complications from my wisdom teeth, and it turned to an infected blood clot. I have also passed kidney stones with no medication. I seriously do NOT recommend this. This can be very detrimental to your health and well-being.

2. Insurance

Insurance is nothing to be frugal with, whether it health or automotive. The more you pay, the better benefits you will receive. While I don’t recommend purchasing the most expensive plan available to you, I DO suggest taking a look at your budget, and selecting the best plan for you and your family. Along with looking at your budget, look at the benefits included in each plan, and make your decision based on the best benefits for you. Choosing the right plan at the beginning of the year can make the difference in spending more money at the doctor or for car services in the long run throughout the year.

3. Needs

Determining your needs versus wants is a big part of frugality, and after you figure out what your needs are, those are the things you shouldn’t sacrifice. While there are ways to save money on certain items you need, be sure to always budget for things such as food and personal hygiene.

4. Transportation and Car Care

One thing I have learned over the years of being a car owner, is that you have to keep a well-maintained vehicle. This is not only detrimental to the longevity of your car, but to your safety as well. Do not wait until things start to get really bad to get your car into the shop. It is also important that your car has a tune up on a regular schedule. This includes getting your oil changed, check your brakes, and filling fluids.

5. Things You Truly Want

Frugality is all about saving money right? Well, what is it that you are saving your money for? I personally save my money for things I truly want. Whether you want to take a family vacation, save up money for a new car, buy a new outfit, buy a gift, etc. try to purchase the things you truly want. Frugality is not about being miserable, it’s about finding ways you can save money to purchase the things you really want.


So those are the five things that I recommend not to sacrifice while living a frugal lifestyle. Do you have any suggestions to add to this list? What will you not sacrifice to save money?

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Frugal Does Not Mean Broke

What comes to mind when you hear the word frugal? Broke? Cheapskate? Tightwad? That’s right, I have heard people define the word frugal using these words.  Frugal is not synonymous with broke. By definition, frugal means economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful. There are many ways that you can weave frugality into your every day life. Finding ways to save money, recycling, utilizing your resources, and managing your time are all examples of being frugal.

Why I Chose the Frugal Life

To be completely honest, it was an easy choice to adapt the frugal lifestyle. I had never had a problem managing my money until I became unemployed. After watching nearly five thousand dollars of savings go down the drain in as little as eight months of unemployment, I knew I needed to make some major changes. I began working a dead-end, dirt paying job. Although the pay was extremely low, I was excited to have money coming in again.  I started with baby steps, such as collecting change that I received while making purchases and doing laundry as well as only carrying cash with me. I also utilize free resources available to me, instead of paying for them, such as using my local library to rent movies or borrow books.

There are literally thousands of ways you can adopt a frugal lifestyle. And the best part is, you can pick and choose exactly what will work for you and your family.

Choosing to lead a frugal lifestyle should not mean that you label yourself as broke, or lower class. In actuality, instead of spending loads of money on unnecessary things, you are ablet o

What are you currently doing to be frugal? Feel free to comment below to inspire others with your ideas to be frural and save money.

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