Friday, September 20, 2019

low waste travel silverware

Kyle, my fiance, lives in hotels for six months out of the year. We went through one and a half baseball seasons before I had the idea to get him his own reusable silverware in a little pouch so he didn't repeatedly waste plastic utensils. I bought the pouch for 99¢ and the three piece of silverware for 30¢, all at the thrift shop. A run through the washing machine and dishwasher and he had a like new set of reusable dinnerware that could be easily transported! He bought the small bottle of dish detergent so he could wash it himself (I'm still working on getting him over to cruelty free products), but I'm proud that he was receptive to this and took to it easily. He hand washes them while on the road, but I run them through the dishwasher in the offseason and store them until spring. I plan to refill the little bottle of detergent with our stock at home, so that eliminates a little more waste for a while.

Let me know your ways of saving waste in the comments!

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Friday, September 13, 2019

frugal recipes // diy vegetable stock

A while back I started collecting vegetable scraps for homemade vegetable stock. I finally got around to throwing them into the slow cooker and was rewarded with a lot of stock!

Here's what I saved:
onion skins
carrot ends
green onion pieces
celery

I saved the scraps in an old Zoup plastic soup container in the freezer and popped the contents in the slow cooker with water. I cooked it on high for four hours, strained out the veggies, and poured it into jars once it cooled. I didn't add salt because Kyle has high blood pressure and we can easily salt the dishes in which we add the broth. I realize this recipe isn't exactly a recipe, but it saved me a bit on store-bought, sodium-laden stock!

How do you make your homemade stocks?

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Thursday, September 5, 2019

thrifty thursday #18

  • I received some Kroger coupons in the mail for free items and I'm going to carefully plan a shopping trip to maximize the other coupons that came with them.
  • We canceled our Playstation Vue a while back to cut spending but I've been enjoying the free Pluto TV service just as much. There's a whole old school NickToons channel!
  • I finally got my library card and I'm so excited! Since I got the card, I've canceled my Kindle Unlimited membership in favor of the (free) Libby App.
  • I've since tried out those reusable Swiffer pads and they are fantastic! You can order them here. Thirteen dollars for two versus twenty dollars a box continuously? Win!
  • All I could think about was an Impossible Whopper from Burger King one day, but I refrained from ordering one. They are so good though.
  • I claimed a $3 Amazon credit from Verizon Up Rewards and used it toward Dymo labels that were at a steep discount this week. I ended up paying $3.30 for each roll of 220 labels.
  • Kyle came home for a day so I moved the thermostat down to 71°, but when he left to finish the season I bumped it back up to 75°.
  • For lunch one day I ate a portion of soup I'd frozen a couple months ago. Still delicious!
  • In September, Prime users could choose two books for free via First Reads! I chose Drowning with Others by Linda Keir and The Dressmaker's Gift by Fiona Valpy.
  • I sold a plant with pot and decluttered and made ten dollars in the process.
How have you been thrifty lately?


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Thursday, August 15, 2019

thrifty thursday #17

  • I sent off a large box of recycling to Terracycle using their free shipping label and a recycled Amazon box.
  • The orders I received on Poshmark were all mailed off in recycled packaging that I'd received items in.
  • I cancelled my Hulu account.
  • Recently I found an older hair dryer in a storage box. I really liked it, but it had started to spark occasionally and wasn't safe as a back up. So I took it to Best Buy and recycled it.
  • One night I really wanted Taco Bell for dinner but I knew I had everything I needed for lentil tacos at home. So I drove past the exit and made tacos at home for dinner!
  • More sales have come in on Poshmark and Mercari! It's not much, but it helps.
  • I checked my email for a Hallmark coupon as I wanted to go get a thank you card for my best friends who dog and house sat for me while I was gone and discovered a BOGO free coupon!
  • I redeemed some points via Mapco Rewards and saved a combined 22¢ off per gallon of gas.
  • There's still time to get your free e-book from Amazon First Reads! I snagged Here to Stay by Mark Edwards.
  • It was time to order more Swiffer pads but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Instead, I ordered two reusable pads from Etsy. No more waste and extra expense there!
Send me your thrifty posts!

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Friday, August 9, 2019

free food items

Food Lion sent out their weekly email highlighting digital coupons and I managed to score two free items! This six pack of Mott's applesauce and a can of Bush's savory beans.

Definitely check out those emails! I saved $4.09 off my purchase and got some nice snacks and a side for a dinner.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

how to save money at the airport


I'm the target market for the travel industry. I'm notorious for spending money on food and souvenirs when traveling. There are money traps everywhere just waiting for folks like me to fall into them. Here's a few ways that I save money at the airport.

Bring your own water bottle. // These one might seem silly, but bottled water costs upwards of $3. THREE DOLLARS! Per bottle. Ludicrous. However, you are permitted to bring your own water bottle! It must be empty to get through security, but then you can fill it up at the water fountains on the other side. No waste, either!

Bring your own entertainment. // I once forgot my crossword puzzle book when I flew to see Kyle. I ended up paying five times the price for one at the little airport store. Never again! I make sure I have a book to read, portable charger for e-books on my phone, crossword puzzle (and pen!! I paid $3 for a souvenir pen once), headphones, and a small notebook for notes.

Bring snacks! // I brought my own smaller bags of chips and a king size candy bar. They did have to be scanned outside of my backpack through security, but I saved a few dollars.

If you have to eat, stick to appetizers. // There is a fantastic restaurant in the airport I typically fly out of. They also have some pricey entrees on their menu. However, I always get an appetizer. It's still money I could've saved bringing my own food, but it's a little treat for myself because it's so good. It's also several dollars cheaper than buying a full meal.

Fly with only a carry on. // Obviously this isn't always possible. Some seats don't allow carry ons, so make sure you have one that does! When I fly to umpire I have to have my gear bag, which I can only check. If you can though, try to only fly with a carry on. You'll avoid checked bag fees (and potentially super pricey overweight fees) and you'll know your luggage hasn't been lost.

Don't pay for wifi. // I know it's tempting to pay for it on the flight, but seriously? Do you really need it? Chances are the people you're in contact with already know you're going to be on a plane.

If you have any more tips, drop them in the comments!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

thrifty thursday #16


  • On very rare occasion, I'll contact a company with a complaint. I typically try to only send compliments, but I'd picked up a little Dr. McDougall's Foods black bean soup and it just wasn't edible. I love this brand and had had that exact soup many times before, so I sent over an email about it to let them know. In return, they unexpectedly sent me several free product coupons!
  • I used the clear bag from my new gear bag (needed to avoid a $200 oversize fee if they decide to measure my current bag when flying) as a trash bag for the kitchen.
  • I've made a few more sales on Poshmark. I desperately need to declutter, so that's helping some.
  • After making a pot roast in the slow cooker, I sent some with Kyle as he went through to the next town for work. It'll save him some money for a couple lunches.
  • With the roast I sent with Kyle, I also sent some utensils. I picked up a fork, spoon, and knife for 10¢ each at Goodwill along with a small 99¢ pouch to keep them in. I washed them up and now he won't have to use wasteful plastic utensils and they were way cheaper than buying a bamboo set.
  • I did my best to avoid Prime Day, but couldn't pass up the 60% off pet food if you signed up for subscribe and save. I scored a 40lbs bag of the pups' food for $15.11, saving me pretty penny from the usual $41.
  • I passed on a 'free mascara with online purchase' email offer from Ulta and saved that money.
  • I finally finished a book that's been cluttering up my nightstand so I'm gonna pop that over in a listing to sell it.
Send me your frugal wins!


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Thursday, July 11, 2019

thrifty thursday #15


  • Two more sales via Poshmark (including a 5 item bundle!) were shipped out to their new homes.
  • I scored an excellent deal on sunscreen at Ulta.
  • While at the county fair I was given a free basil plant.
  • I cleaned out my inbox some more and unsubscribed from more emails so I'm not tempted to buy things just because they're on sale.
  • I brought sandwich fixings and a huge tomato (that Kyle's mom gave me) to the office for lunches for the short holiday week.
  • Pot stickers have been my latest go to snack, so I picked up a couple bags at Dollar Tree along with some spices and oxygen cleaner.
  • Amazon didn't overnight a package that I'd paid $6.99 for shipping, so I called to get a refund on that and they ended up not only refunding my shipping costs, but even gave me a $10 promotional credit. I only wanted the shipping to be fixed, but that was a happy accident. I was having trouble finding the specific products to use the credit on, but I found this tutorial to help.
  • I'm currently preparing a few plant babies to sell, so that's more space available and a few dollars in my pocket!
Let me know your frugal ways for the week!

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

pantry meal #1 // chicken soup

I was home one Saturday and had a massive craving for some soup. I definitely was not going to go out to the store, so I took a gander at what was already in the pantry and freezer. I made a seriously delicious soup using black bean aquafaba, strained tomatoes, water, shredded frozen (cooked) chicken, wilted spinach, edamame, and various spices! I even paired it with some crackers we received in a gift basket.

Always thoroughly check your food storage! I could've wasted money on canned soup or extra ingredients when I had everything I needed already. I don't currently keep a running list of items I had, but I think I'm going to start.

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Thursday, June 27, 2019

thrifty thursday #15

  • I've been digging in the freezer and eating up frozen chicken and sides I had hoarded from things I got from the kitchen.
  • I redeemed another $5 Walmart gift card from Microsoft Rewards.
  • Venmo paid me a dollar for using my card three times in the last three days. I didn't know they did that, but I'll take it.
  • Subway sends me coupons via text and I redeemed a buy one foot long get one free coupon.
  • I had rooted a piece of my Monstera and sold the little guy locally for $5.
  • Mypoints has rewarded me with a $50 Lowe's giftcard for the points I've earned!
  • I cashed in some points via Mapco Rewards for a total of 33¢ per gallon. The rewards for cents off are cumulative!
  • I was assigned tomato and lettuce for a cookout and since no one was going to eat them after the burgers, I took them home and got three salad lunches from the leftover lettuce.
  • For June's First Reads, I picked up Trance by Adam Southward. It looks pretty good!
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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

sunscreen deal @ ulta

Around mid-June Ulta had a special on sun care products. Any product on their selected list received 5x the rewards points. Our favorite brand, Sun Bum, was on the list AND buy one get one 50% off!

I got both of these for $23.94 including shipping. I used the 20% off coupon on top of the bogo 50% off, which took off another $4.50. Regularly they would've cost me $28.98 before shipping, which is $5.95. I also received 111 rewards points for my purchase, which is enough for $3 off, bringing it down to $20.94.

Kyle and I both use this brand when we umpire because it's cruelty free, coral safe, vegan, and it smells like bananas! (Their face line is fragrance and break out free.) Definitely check them out!


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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

free basil plant

This past weekend I went to the county fair and as we were walking around, the 4H table offered me a free basil plant after I'd bought a raffle ticket. I had initially said no, but as my Thai basil plant isn't taking off like it should, I decided I'd take one when the lady offered again.

Hopefully this one fares better and rewards me with fresh herbs!

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Thursday, May 30, 2019

thrifty thursday #14


  • I've made a handful of sales the past few weeks on Poshmark and Mercari.
  • My jar hoarding habit has really come in handy for all the rain water I've been collecting for my plant collection. Free rain means a lower water bill!
  • I redeemed 7¢ off per gallon via Mapco Rewards.
  • I dropped collision coverage on my auto insurance and I'll be receiving a little premium back and it'll drop my monthly premium payment to around $50 per month. This worked for my situation, but don't just drop coverage to save money, talk to your agent!
  • One of my umpiring partners ordered the wrong size hat, which coincidentally was my size. I offered to buy them from him, we made a deal, and for $10 and two rooted plant cuttings I had two brand new hats! I saved $17. (update: he sent me photos and the two little plants are doing so well!)
  • My boss had a huge amount of bubble wrap and gave it to me for my online selling. It would've cost me a small fortune and I'm grateful they passed it on to me!
  • The meal prep company I work for has been bought by a small health food grocery store and they offer their expired shrink stock to employees. It's been really nice since I literally don't have time to go to the grocery store.
  • I walked into Kroger one evening and their 2lbs strawberry containers were only $1.88 each. That's an insane deal!
  • I went to Target for my prescription and managed to only get that, no extras.
Send me your thrifty habits!

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

my $1 flowers


On one of my frequent visits to Lowe's, I spotted a large rack of flowers that were marked down to 50¢ each. They were little packs of four and I picked up one celosia and one marigold. I'm in the process of working on my balcony garden and hadn't initially wanted to pick up any flowers purely for ornament, but I figured these would jazz up the bland balcony a little. I arranged them all in a shallow pot and my little dollar display is looking great!

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Sunday, May 26, 2019

aldi haul

Today I stopped by Aldi to pick up a few things and got some great deals. I scored the loaf of bread for $1.19, which was a little higher than the 85¢ white loaf, but I wanted the whole grain. The pound of lunch meat was $2.99 and one of our favorites, the smoked white cheddar, was $2.69. That will makes sandwiches for a couple weeks. The roma tomatoes were only 99¢, which I wouldn't be able to pick up that many that cheap elsewhere. I have a pound of ground chicken (bought on markdown) in the freezer that I picked up the large $1.49 jar of taco sauce and 65¢ tortillas to use with for taco night.

My total was $10.25, making each item roughly $1.66.

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

thrifty thursday #13

  • Mapco sent me a reward for a free bottle of water. I redeemed it to take home for my plant babies.
  • Amazon sent out their monthly First Reads email and I scored Cold Waters by Debbie Herbert.
  • I redeemed my points via Microsoft Rewards for a $5 Walmart gift card.
  • It's my birthday month, so I made sure to redeem my free birthday gift from Sephora. I chose the Drunk Elephant moisturizer and cleanser set.
  • I brought home some extras from my part time job at a meal prep company and they'll stretch for a few lunches.
  • Instead of using pricey, one time use paper towels, I've been utilizing microfiber towels and dish towels to clean up small messes and to dry my hands.
  • I buy 89¢ gallons of distilled water for misting my plants, but we had a storm one evening so I set out a pot or two and collected some rainwater for free.
  • I redeemed my free birthday gift from Ulta, which was a nice Tarteist Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint in the shade Homeslice and I redeemed my Platinum $10 reward.
  • My vegan friends received a mistake Instacart delivery and were told to just keep it. They wouldn't eat a couple tv dinners and a pizza, so they passed it along to me. So grateful!
  • It took me a while, but I just redeemed a $15 Walmart giftcard via the Panel App.
Frugal Fails
  • I forgot to input my number at the gas station and missed out on saving 10¢ per gallon.
How have you saved or made money this week?

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Thursday, February 7, 2019

thrifty thursday #12


  • I've cleared out several more pieces in my Poshmark and Mercari shops. They're older items so I'm not making a fortune, but I'm happy to replace them with new things. I've now trained Kyle to save all packaging from things we receive, so I'm using up boxes and mailers!
  • On a trip to Food Lion (which cost me nothing thanks to the giftcard we received for Christmas), I made 25¢ via ibotta on an any item rebate.
  • I put the last $3.49 of a Visa gift card I'd received toward a medical bill. It keeps that card from sitting unused and potentially losing that balance!
  • I picked up a bone in, fully cooked, hickory smoked ham from Food Lion on markdown for only $5.08 for almost 7 pounds. I don't eat ham, but I heated it last night, portioned it out, and froze three bags and the bone for the future and left one bag in the fridge for Kyle's lunches.
  • Before I left for work one day I started a pound of black beans in the slow cooker. They'll be ready by the time I get home and I'll portion them into some freezer bags and use them up. I even got them on markdown for about a dollar a bag.
  • In another Food Lion trip, I earned $2.35 via ibotta.
  • I cancelled a couple channels on Amazon Video so I'll save $10 a month. I mean, do we really need Boomerang? Haha.
How have you saved or made money this week?


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Friday, February 1, 2019

no food waste friday


  • We've been making hodge podge dinners from leftovers we've acquired from various family dinners. I love leftovers and they're really stretching our grocery budget.
  • I just finished up some broccoli, cauliflower, and sweet peppers I'd had for a while. I scored two large OXO GreenSavers at the thrift shop for $3.99 each and after a run through the dishwasher and new carbon packs, I've been saving vegetables and keeping them fresh for sooooo long in these things. I highly recommend them.
  • I chopped up said sweet peppers and froze a few for future recipes.
  • Kyle had let some bananas brown on the counter so I stuck them in a bag in the freezer for future banana bread.
  • I've started saving vegetable scraps so I can make my own vegetable stock.
  • We almost lost a pound of ground turkey because I waited longer than usual to use it while it was thawing in the fridge, but I whipped up a slow cooker full of chili and used it up just in time.
  • Kyle brought home some peaches from his trip to Florida and I brought some to the office and I'm going to freeze the rest.
  • When I made a pot of beans in the slow cooker I saved the excess bean water and I'm going to use it to flavor soups.
Food Waste Fails
  • I poured out a small carton of heavy cream that I didn't use in time.
How have you saved on food waste?

Monday, January 28, 2019

the start of homemade vegetable stock

Here's my little bin I keep in the freezer door for vegetable scraps that I'm going to use to make my own stock! I have some leftover celery from our housewarming, an almost off carrot that was going to be tossed, and some green onions. Since we don't eat onions or carrots, it was a great score from my meal prep job so they weren't tossed (everything is fresh there) and I didn't have to spend money on them. I believe I'm going to try this slow cooker version of making it, but I've been following this list of what vegetable scraps are acceptable. It's pretty easy to save for it and I can't wait to have enough to make my own stock.

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

thrifty thursday #11


  • I received 9¢ back via ibotta last month for buying an eBook copy of Bird Box by Josh Malerman. I highly recommend it (though it is much darker than the movie)!
  • The new year has brought some new decluttering habits, including my inbox. I've been deleting emails and unsubscribing from email mailing lists, saving myself from tempting sales.
  • I was just looking at phone stands for my desk at work and then the next day a company rep came in with some! Saved me $7.
  • Another item sold via swap.com so I'm just waiting for enough to cash out. I wish they'd reopen inbound shipments!
  • During the snowy weekend I chopped up some sweet peppers and froze them for another day, along with three bananas that Kyle had let brown on the counter.
  • I picked up a second job working one day a week at a local meal prep company. It's laborious, but easy work prepping and since they only cook once a week, we all get to take our pick of the extras from the day. I brought home some chicken breast, a whole bag of turkey meatballs, some kale slaw, and grape tomatoes. These will definitely help us pad out the grocery budget for the week.
How have you saved or made some money this week?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

frugal recipe // 15 minute croutons

We somehow ended up with a pretty stale, almost complete loaf of whole grain bread. Since Kyle had already replaced it, I knew it wouldn't be eaten in it's current form. I froze half to make into breadcrumbs later, and for the other half croutons were born! They're super easy to make. Here's how I make mine:

Easy 15 Minute Croutons
6-10 slices of bread
olive oil
garlic powder
herbs or spices

Preheat oven to 400°
Cut slices of bread into small pieces, however small or large you want your croutons
Lightly coat with olive oil
Season with spices - however you choose to season your croutons is up to you, but I shook garlic powder and parsley over my batch
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until hard (but not burnt!)
Remove from oven and allow to cool
Store in airtight container, use within a week

You could mix these up anyway you'd like. Parmesan, basil, lemon pepper. The ideas are endless! If you make some, let me know!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

how to read books for free or cheap

Books are expensive, as all bookworms know. However, there's a way to read to your heart's content for little to no money! I rarely buy books at retail cost. Here's how I get mine:

The library // Oh, the wondrous library! The majority of places (even my small hometown) have a library that's open for public use. Most of the time you just need to prove your residency and they'll give you a card.

Email Lists // The lists I use are Bookbub and Riffle. They send daily emails with eBooks that have been lowered in price or free! Most are anywhere from free to $2.99 and you can choose which platform you use for the download (Kindle, B&N, iBooks, etc.)

Kindle Unlimited // This one isn't free, but it is only $9.99 per month via Amazon and you have access to 1.4 million eBooks, including some popular titles like the Harry Potter series. You can only "rent" ten books at a time, but I just add future books to a wish list to keep track of them.

Amazon Prime // If you already have Prime, you have access to First Reads, which is a monthly service that gives you early access to new releases. They send you an email on the first of the month and you can make your choice of one of the several books available. I discovered The Rule of One this way (highly recommend). The First Reads books are available on Kindle Unlimited once they're released.

There are many more ways to find books, but these are the easiest I've found and what work best for me. If you know of others, let me know! I love connecting on Goodreads and seeing what everyone is reading, so send me a friend request!



unsplash-logoUgur Akdemir

Thursday, January 10, 2019

thrifty thursday #10

  • While shopping for Christmas gifts, I earned $30 Old Navy Super Cash to use in February!
  • Made a couple more sales on Poshmark & Mercari. So happy to be clearing out older inventory.
  • Check to see if you have a Mapco near you - I routinely save 7¢ off per gallon with their promo emails!
  • We used my almost ten year old pre-lit $40 Black Friday special Christmas tree in our new apartment.
  • Kyle went to the grocery store for me on Christmas Eve (I avoid grocery stores around the holidays like the plague) and I earned 25¢ with an 'any item' rebate via ibotta for his receipt.
  • I have over 10k points on Fetch Rewards! Use code JJ2TJ and you'll get 2k points just for signing up!
  • Kyle's wonderful family gifted us a vacuum and a slow cooker for Christmas and we are forever grateful!
  • I received a Yeti Roadie (for those tournament days!) for Christmas from my mom and Kyle and I registered it and I'll be receiving a free bottle opener!
  • I cancelled a rewards program membership that cost per month. It reimbursed me for a one time reward of $7.99 for shipping and I knew I wouldn't benefit enough to justify the cost.
  • My mom sent us home with a bunch of food so I'm trying to stretch it as much as I can to keep our food budget in check.

Frugal Fails
  • I just went Platinum in December at Ulta, meaning I spent an ungodly amount of money on cosmetic and skincare this year. But I get extra coupons??

Monday, January 7, 2019

frugal recipe // leftover tater tot casserole

There are only two of us in our household, not including the dogs, and one night Kyle made dinner. A dream, right? Well, he cooked the entire bag of tater tots. I love potatoes, but I can only eat so many tots. So we had a fairly large amount of them left over in a container in the fridge. They sat for a couple days and they weren't amazing heated back up. Thus, this dish was born. Here's how I made it!

Leftover Tater Tot Casserole
Tater tots
3 eggs, whisked together
Leftover cubed cheddar, cut into smaller pieces
2 tbsp butter, diced
Pepper, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste
Paprika, to taste
Sour Cream, for serving

Preheat oven to 350. In an oven safe dish, spread the tater tots along the bottom. Whisk together the eggs and pour over the tots. Stir to coat. Dice the butter and cubed cheddar and spread evenly across the potatoes. Put into the oven for 25 minutes or until cheese has melted. Serve with sour cream.

That's it! You could easily modify this to suit your needs. Add whatever leftover meat you have, more egg, different spices. It was tasty and we didn't toss out those tots!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

no spend & declutter january


For the month of January I decided to challenge myself to a no-spend month to start the new year off on the right foot. We spent way too much this holiday season, so we need to recoup a little. I've really been needing to save up some money and my spending habits (a snack here, Taco Bell there, cheap beauty products at Ross) have gotten a little out of control. So here we are! Hopefully this challenge will reset some of my bad habits. I gave myself a few rules:
  • Buy only necessities. // I consider necessities as food, medication, bills, and gas. Obviously things come up, but no spur of the moment eating out or going by Target and picking up random cosmetics.
  • No stockpiling beforehand. // I have an ungodly amount of cosmetics/personal hygiene products/cleaning supplies. I need to use the older suckers up so I can replace them completely with cruelty free versions.
  • Declutter. // We live in a tiny one bedroom apartment. I have too much stuff in general, so if I can't use it when I'm not buying new things, why do I need it at all?
Things I most definitely won't be buying:
  • Bath & Beauty // As stated above, I have waaaaaay too many products.
  • Books // I could read for years and not buy a new book.
  • Clothing // Either wear it or get rid of it.
  • Fast Food // It's not even good for you.
I'm hoping to not only get rid of a lot of things, but to put a little money into savings, too.

Have you ever done a no-spending challenge? If you have tips, leave them in the comments!

unsplash-logoMathieu Turle