Tag Archives: money

The 30 Day, No Budget, Money Saving Challenge

The 30 day, no budget, money saving challenge

This is the time of year where I really start thinking about saving money and not losing my mind during the holidays. In the past I’ve done a No-Spend November, a Handmade Holiday Challenge and a $100 Holiday Challenge. This year I’ve been busier than ever and I really need an easy challenge to kick my butt into high gear. Enter the easy, no-budget 30 days of saving challenge to the rescue! Each day, I’ll tackle one thing off the list. If you want to play along too, know that you don’t have to do the list in order, but you do have to do #1 first. I’ve also included a printable at the end of this post to print out and stick to your fridge, so you can cross stuff out as you go. Here’s the deets:  Continue reading

Link Love: 72

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It’s been nothing but go, go, go lately. Even when the pace is energizing (because sometimes it is!) it’s important to take time for yourself. Enjoy your me-time with a side of Link Love.  Continue reading

How To Practice Minimalism During the Holidays

how to practice minimalism during the holidays | asmalllife.com

Haul out the holly! Yup, you heard it here first, it’s the holiday season. The holiday season should be one of love, thankfulness and joy, but it can quickly turn into a season of stress, urgency and irritability. Much of my holiday stress comes from the cost of the holidays and simply trying to do too much. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we have to totally dismiss all gift giving and holiday traditions, but we need to keep our expectations in check and practice minimalism during this joyous season. Here how I practice minimalism during the holidays. Continue reading

No-Spend November: A 30-Day Money Saving Challenge

No-Spend November: a 30-day money saving challenge

George and I are taking our first overseas trip in December and we all know what December means… present-buying season. In years past I’ve done a handmade holiday challenge and a $100 holiday challenge. This year, before the holidays begin, I’m going to challenge myself to spend no money in the month of November. I’m calling it “No-Spend November.” Clever, eh? Of course, I can’t literally spend no money at all. I have bills to pay and food to eat, but I will be spending no money on non-essentials in November. We paid for our plane tickets and our hotel on our credit card, so the money that I save in November will go to paying that off. I also plan to buy Christmas presents when I am overseas, so I don’t have to plan holiday gifts far in advance this year. It’s win-win all around. Anyway… here’s the rules.

No Spend November Rules

The rules may vary from person-to-person depending on your life situation, but rule #1 is the same for everyone:

  • Only spend money on essentials! This is by far the most important rule. Throughout the month I’ll be asking myself: is this essential?
    • Essentials include doctor’s appointments, prescriptions, gas for car, bills. Not much else!
  • Shop for groceries before the month begins.
    • For items that expire quickly (milk, fresh produce, etc.) I am using CSA share that comes once a week and costs $25 per week.
  • Leave credit and debit cards at home. This will help me avoid temptation.
  • On November 1st I’ll pull $100 out of an ATM for gas money and gas money only.
  • Bring lunch to work every day.
  • No online shopping!
    • Delete saved passwords and credit card info to make online shopping harder.

That’s it. Those are the rules. It’s easier said than done, but I’m excited to get one step closer to our first overseas excursion.

How are you saving for the holidays? Will you join me for the No Spend November challenge? Talk to me in the comments!

love,
melanie

How Much Money Can You Save by Living in a Tiny House?

How much money can you save by living in a tiny house?

Today I’m going to address the question: How much money can you save by living in a tiny house? This answer is based on our own experiences and our own finances. The amount of money could vary for everyone.

We originally began living in an Airstream because we needed to save money. (At 188 square feet, we consider the Airstream a tiny house.) After we got married, George and I started to look at our finances and it wasn’t pretty. Individually we’ve each received 6 years of higher education. This gave us a bit of a later start in life.  During our college years and even into the beginning of our professional careers, we saved nothing. Yes, we probably didn’t spend as wisely as we could have, but there wasn’t much left after paying our bills to save. George was a teacher and I am a librarian. We made (and still make) less than the national average wage index, but we are above the poverty line. We knew that we needed to do something that would dramatically improve our finances.

Living in a more affordable place seemed the answer. We looked around at apartments in the new area where we were going to live. We were instantly discouraged. The apartments that were clean and safe would leave us with nothing at the end of the month. We’d be fighting the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle for the rest of our lives. We wanted out.

One day I stumbled across this Featured Seller story on pollenArts— a creative couple who work and live in their Winnebago! One night while lying in bed looking at adorable little properties we couldn’t afford, I mentioned it to George. I didn’t put the pieces together, but George started searching for RVs on Craigslist right away. He knew we could do this. Airstreams had the most appeal, although they were a bit pricier than other RVs. Our Airstream cost $5,000 and it took about $1,500 to fix up. (You can read the whole buying story here.)

Now that you’ve got the history of our story, on to the good stuff! We spend about $700 on living expenses each month while living in the Airstream. (More about our expenses breakdown here.) This includes food, electricity, life, etc. In the past, our rent payments varied widely. Our most expensive rent payment was $1,000 a month– that’s what we were paying before we decided to move into the Airstream. That doesn’t even include the life stuff. When we were renting, we were spending everything we made.

This past year while living in the Airstream, I also went on a Spending Diet for the website I write for, And Then We Saved. I attempted to spend only $100 a month on “extra” stuff. Extra stuff included makeup, haircuts, clothes and stuff that I needed but didn’t really need to live. (You can read more about my Spending Diet here.) I didn’t succeed every month. It was much harder than I expected it to be! But I succeeded about 75% of the time.

With the help of the Spending Diet, I saved $12,441.99 in a year! I was hoping to save $15,000, but considering that I saved about half of my paycheck each month, I consider this a huge success. I also don’t plan on going back to my old ways, so I think I’ll hit my $15,000 goal in a few months.

Prior to the Spending Diet, we had lived in the Airstream for about a year. We went spent much of our “extra” money going on trips, but I don’t regret that at all. We could definitely save more if we didn’t go on vacations, but traveling is one of our priorities. George and I have been able to travel to Portland, Memphis, Austin, Canada/Niagra Falls and we took a road trip to Florida. I now also have emergency savings, a 401k and a Roth IRA. I didn’t even know what those things were a few years ago! Now that I’m off the Spending Diet (but still on the savings train) we just booked a trip to Iceland! So crazy.

Yes, we’ve been able to save more money by living tiny, but we’ve also been able to travel and explore the world outside our tiny home. That is priceless.

That being said, the longer we stay in the Airstream, the more we can save and the more we can travel. If we stay in the Airstream for another 5 years and continue saving at the same rate, we could save $60,000. That’s insane. I don’t know what our life will look like in another 5 years, but with that kind of savings, we could do something big.

Have you ever thought about living tiny to save money? Talk to me in the comments!

love,
melanie

Link Love: 53

rp_Link-Love-1024x102411111111-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x1024.jpg This was the first week back for the students at the school where I work. It’s been pretty eventful and I haven’t had much spare time, but I’ll get back into the swing of things soon. For now, there’s Link Love. And it never disappoints. 🙂

This was my favorite story of the week. (Although I think being “millennials” was irrelevant.) How Four Millennial Sisters Joined Forces To Demolish $182K Debt Within Two Years. I love how they worked together to get rid of their debt. So inspiring.

My finances sucked until I got over my fear of being poor. I need to get over that fear too.

Student loan debt and what presidential candidates are saying about it.

And similarly… 3 college students reveal, What it’s really like to default on your student loans. Gah, so sad.

“Zombie houses” are haunting New Jersey.

This tiny house was built for about $33,000. A little more than I would like to spend, but it’s a really well-laid out home.

This garage mini house is gorgeous. Painted black houses are so hot right now. 🙂

http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/facebook-should-pay-all-of-us

And one from the archives… How to find the best stuff at thrift shops (it’s not just luck!)

Let’s get to the weekend, already!

love,
melanie

Link Love: 52

rp_Link-Love-1024x102411111111-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024.jpg 19 truths about being broke. #4 was a little too real and #13 had me crying from laughter.

Super cheap plane tickets to Europe. I’m dreaming of taking a trip abroad and these deals make it seem possible.

7 ways to water your garden for free.

31 things you can freeze to save time and money.

I know that you shouldn’t shop when you are hungry, but did you know you shouldn’t shop after you’ve saved money?!

Have you heard of the Diderot effect? It’s basically this: “the introduction of a new possession into a consumer’s existence will often result in a process of spiraling consumption.” Here’s how to avoid it.

This $2,554.48 bubble tent is the craziest thing I’ve seen lately.

“This ‘net-zero’ home itself is a marvel. The home produces all its own energy needs and consumes 90 percent less energy for heating and cooling than the conventional home.”

Gifts for people who live in small spaces want less “stuff.”

Have you thought of giving up social media? I sure have. This guy gave up social media for a year.

I know this link has been everywhere this week, but in case you didn’t see it, Mindy Kaling’s Guide to Confidence is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever read. I can’t wait for her new book!

love,
melanie