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!

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!

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.

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!

 

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?