Let’s talk money. Already bored? We don’t blame you… often times just the thought of money planning = instant snoozefest.
We’re not here to spew our personal finances or give you life lessons on how you should or should not spend your money (not now, not EVER). Everyone has a very different situation and regardless of what yours is, we would never pass judgment because let’s face it, neither of us is perfect. But now that we’ve been blogging together for a few years and sharing a business bank account, we have come to realize that we have a very similar philosophy on money. Both of us believe in living within our means, which to us translates to only spending what we can afford…. even if that results in living with less. Of course, we could always be better at this, but we take pride in only spending what we can afford and are PROUD of this lifestyle.
Since we’re all friends here, we figured you guys could probably relate and provide US (& fellow readers) with even more ways to stay within our own means. Plus, we thought this would be a great time for us to reflect on some of our own habits as we enter Frugal February ( <– we’ll explain, we promise).
How We Save Money
So here’s what we are hoping:
1. We share our tips to save money from day-to-day in hopes that you read through our tips and are inspired to make confident decisions with your money. THEN…
2. You let us know (in the comments below) some of the steps you take to be financially responsible on an everyday basis, so we too can be inspired to try these out next month. Deal?!
Here goes… our everyday habits in making sure we never overspend:
Track our Spending
Probably the best place to start when trying to establish what “your means” really even is, is tracking your spending habits. We keep track of how we spend our money each month so we never overspend, and also so we know how to adjust our spending next month. Both of us use our bank’s online banking system, Mint.com (FREE & amazing!), and for Casey, her husband (Mr. Finn-ance the excel whiz) to keep track.
Make Coffee at home
Easy enough, right?! It’s crazy how much coffee can tack onto a monthly budget, so we both choose to make coffee at home before we leave for work rather than stopping and purchasing one each day. Of course, sometimes we splurge on a Starbucks or a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. And if we’re being really crazy, we’ll sometimes even get together in a cute Chicago coffee shop to work on the blog, but those days are definitely “treats” and NOT the norm.
Eat in on weeknights & bring lunches to work
Just like the coffee, we try to make dinner at home… at least during the week. Actually, for the record our amazing HUSBANDS make dinner at home throughout the week. Not only does this cut down on costs, it also helps our waistlines. The same goes for making our lunches and bringing them to work, instead of running out and spending $12 on a sandwich and chips. Bringing lunch = healthy, convenient, & cheap!
We also buy grocery essentials (frozen chicken, quinoa, frozen veggies, hummus, etc.) in bulk so it’s always on-hand and ready for our meals.
Specifically, when it comes to shopping for clothes, neither of us spend a lot of money on clothes or buy clothes super often. In fact, you may be surprised to hear that Casey despises shopping… like really hates it. Crazy, right?!
As you know, we both live in small spaces and quite frankly do not have a lot of extra room to store lots of clothing. This is great for our wallets… maybe not so great for our fashion though?! We only buy what we really need or are literally obsessed with. And when that happens, we try to go by the rule of one in, one out of the closet (donate something from our closet whenever we add something new).
(this dress is from Gap outlet for $11!! My bag is what I use for work and travel. It’s from Marshall’s)
Shop the Sales
When we do need to buy a few new items, we always try to look for sales. Some of our go-to clearance sections include: the LOFT (amazing sales all the time both in store and online), Banana Republic’s Clearance Section, Gap, J. Crew Factory store (although the sizing is a little weird sometimes… beware!), H&M, and good ol’ Marshall’s/TJ Maxx (more for B since Casey is not one to dig through the racks).
Don’t tempt yourself
We’re guilty of this too, but HELL-O, if you spend an unnecessary $50 every time you walk into Target (because let’s be honest… how can you NOT?!) then try not to go there and tempt yourself as often (tough stuff, we know).
Only buy what you’re OBSESSED with
This one is also a work in progress as we shop for home décor (and clothes!). There’s a difference between, “wow, that’s so cute” and “OMG, I am obsessed with this and really can’t imagine living without it“. A little dramatic but you get the point.
We try to ask ourselves this when we are out shopping because we really want to shop with intention and only bring things into our homes that we are OBSESSED with, not just items that are CUTE. We find that the items we tried to justify in the store or thought we would eventually love when we brought it home were the ones we ended up hating soon after. So if you’re not obsessed — walk away. #youcandoit
Live with Less
We actually love this idea more and more lately. With our small spaces, we truly do not have space to “collect” stuff. We have found that everything in our homes needs to have a purpose and a story (hopefully both!) in order for it to stay. Although we are not nearly perfect at this concept, we have found living with less is fulfilling. Our homes feel less cluttered, our financial goals seem more attainable, and we never-ever have to worry about living outside of our means. To us, the stress that would accompany a lifestyle of overspending is never worth the material item. And the challenge to love what you already have, rather than buying new, is pretty awesome.
Are you snoozing yet?! We hope we didn’t bore you too much. Being financially responsible is something we take seriously in our lives and something we’re pretty proud of at the end of the day. Like we said, we are NOT even close to perfect but we are always looking for ways to be better. And that’s where YOU come in…. it’s time for us to pick your brain. What strategies or tips do you have to help us (and others tuning in) spend wisely + with intent? We’d LOVE, love, love to hear and hopefully put these new strategies into action for Frugal February! <– which reminds us!!
Frugal February is a month where we try to REALLLLY live with less AKA not spend any money outside of the necessities (eek). Now that the year is started & we feel more organized after the holidays, we try to use February to save money and challenge ourselves to use/love what we already have. No dinners out, no new clothes, no unnecessary spending… just good ol’ fashioned fun. Think movie marathons, game nights in, and trying to get rid of all the built-up frozen food in the freezer. Are you in or what?!Bridget&Casey