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

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!

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.

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?

💋❤

Kick Your Cable!

*This post contains affiliate links. If you click the link and make a purchase, I will make a small commission from your purchase.*

Due to my mother recently having issues with her cable, I gathered inspiration for this blog post through her misfortune. Since moving into our new house in April of 2015, we have had nothing but problems with Dish TV. *please note, this is NOT a bad review for the company!*

My mother has talked about leaving Dish completely, and possibly transferring service to Direct TV. I am researching some options to cut cable completely to save money.

After only a few moments of research, I found one of the best options is to purchase an Amazon Firestick. This gives you access to Netflix, HBO Go, CBS, Hulu, ESPN, and Showtime. These are the basic applications available. This will turn any TV with a USB port, into a smart TV.

Please note, the Firestick does require an Internet connection.

Now I will get into the nitty-gritty details of the Amazon Firestick. There is an option to “jailbreak” or unlock a Firestick. This will give you the option to view any tv show or movie, new or old one hour after they air on live TV. This is done by downloading an application called Kodi to your Firestick. This does not take a super tech savvy person to do. I actually found a great tutorial to do this here. There are multiple tutorials available on this site, so choose the best option for you.

There are also people who sell Firesticks that are actually pre-jailbroken. These generally cost more, due to the labor put in to unlock the device. I would prefer to do it myself, honestly as it is the cheaper option.

I plan to purchase my Firestick through Amazon, and conduct the download of the necessary applications myself. I love saving money, so I plan to any way I can.

If you or someone you know would like to cut their cable bill out completely from your monthly budget, my best suggestion is to purchase an Amazon Firestick, and download Kodi.

If you are interested in purchasing a Firestick from Amazon (which is a great deal!), feel free to use my link below.

Purchase your Firestick Here!

Skip the Gym

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I bet you’re looking at the title of this post, scratching your head, thinking “This is a frugal lifestyle blog, not a fitness blog”. While yes, you are thinking correctly, this ultimately does tie in with frugality.

If you are one of the many people worldwide who made the resolution to lose weight and get in shape during the new year, this is the blog post for you! Although you may have thought signing up at your local gym would be the best option, there is an alternative out there for you!

Are you a busy mom with little time? Are you self concisous about your body? Do you struggle to find time in your daily life to make it to the gym? If you agreed to any of the above statements, skipping the gym may be the option for you!

In addition to not having the time to make it to the gym, membership fees can get very expensive. For example, my local gym, Snap Fitness, costs roughly $350 per year. Even though the cost may not be super high, that cost can add up year after year. Unfortunately, many people make the resolution to lose weight but fail to stay committed. This means that you paid for a gym membership that will ultimately go to waste.

Instead of hitting the gym, there is the option to workout at home. Before you completely dismiss the idea, read along, and see if this could be the right option for you. Working out in the privacy of your own home can definitely eliminate some of the anxiety and overwhelming feelings you may feel in a gym atmosphere.

Without jumping to assumptions, rest assured that you won’t need to go out and purchase a bunch of equipment. There are plenty of alternatives to standard gym equipment. A lot of at home work outs actually require no equipment  at all. Instead, the exercises just use the natural weight of your body. There is also the option to simply walk. Walking has been proven the easiest form of cardio exercise.

Take a few minutes to search the web (such as Pinterest or YouTube) for at home workouts. You can go into as little or as much detail as you would like. For example, if you want ab workouts, just type in at home ab workouts. YouTube is a goldmine of videos that can provide you with so many different workouts at any level of difficulty, so I definitely recommend that.

I personally follow Blogilates on YouTube as my source of online at home workouts.  They have different levels of difficulty for people at every fitness level.

Regardless of your method of working out, always be sure to stay hydrated, listen to your body, and take rest days when needed.

Cheers to 2017!