Wednesday, May 29, 2013

People! I am now officially a contributing member of society again. I know you we're all pretty worried about me living on the streets or having to sell off all my shoes. But all is well, I (finally) have another job!

And the first treat I'd like to spoil myself with are these bad boys!
(I know, I know. I WON'T. But I really really reallyreallyreally want them...)

Having a second job again means having the ability to put money aside and not living week to week (or day to day... o_o ) hellooo, could I avoid doing laundry just one more week in order to afford a cup of badly needed fancy coffee? Yes, these are the important decisions I make in my life. And yes, I can always go another week without clean long as I have socks.

It means that these next few months I should have more money coming in that going out, rather than having just enough to pay my bills
It means that, hopefully, my phone won't be sending me texts that my bank account is under a 3 digits.

And it means that my relationship can be equalized again. Because honestly, that poor kid feeds me, plays Driving Miss Tiffy, and makes sure I'm able to have a few cocktails on the reg... What a man... ;) 

In the meantime to avoid spending what little money I have, I've been drinking wine from Trader Joe's and baking donuts. SO.MANY.DONUTS! 
I was apparently wearing my "I can do anything" big girl pants the other week, when I agreed to cater a sweets table for a wedding. With 200 guests. GULP. 

On one hand, I'm more excited than a pig in mud! My first job to bake for people that aren't my friends and family! People that aren't obligated to 'Ooo' and 'Ahh' and make yummy noises. Wooo weeee!
On the other hand, what the frogs was I thinking? I'm an amateur baker with an ego at best. 

Anyway, the game plan is to put my head down and just be the donut lady. Easy peasy ;)

For your viewing pleasure!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

I'm ALIVEEEE (to the handful of people that read this and I don't talk to regularly..)

(I'm trying...every day I'm trying...)

It's been a month since I've been here! Oooo weeee!
I'm not being a great blogger and I am NOT being a great money saver. (In my defense, it is prettyyy tough to even think about saving money when practically every penny coming in is going out to totally awful, boring things like rent, bills, groceries, and a weekly bottle of wine...)

But here I am, letting you guys know that I'm alive...and Ba-ba-ba-broke.

Things I've run out of this month and REALLY don't feel like spending the coins to restock:
Face Moisturizer
Nail polish remover (soon...)
Aluminum foil

And I'm scrapping the bottom of my face powder...bah!

I do have some frugal DIY projects in the works...just as soon as my fickle mind can freaking sort through my priorities for, like, a sec!
I'm trying not to abandon this Spending Fast completely...but I think I warned you about my lack of commitment to...pretty much everything.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Day 109: I should probably cancel my Nordstrom card now.

Yesterday, my dear frugal manfriend and I had a very productive day. We both had the day off work, so we went to the bank, gave his apartment a SERIOUS cleaning, he did all his laundry, and we went grocery shopping. (AND I was spoiled with homemade lunch and dinner...what?!)

Walking through the parking lot of the grocery store, I was having yet another meltdown about my life falling apart and how I'm not making enough money and...basically, being a brat.

He just smiles at me and says, "Don't worry about it, babe. You'll be fine. We're an ALDI family now!"

To which I whined, "But I want to be a Nordstrom family again!"

Sigh...I'm trying, but at least one of us has a sense of humor about all this.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Day 104

In an effort to not go to the grocery store before the fridge was truly bare, I ate a bowl of mush for dinner.

The meal began sensibly enough. I sauteed the last few scallops in the freezer with the last of the edible veggies in the fridge. 
Then I added sriracha. Because, duh.
Then I added cheese. Because doesn't cheese make everything better...?
Um...nope. Apparently, not.

What resulted was chewy scallops covered in rubbery mozzarella sitting in a bed of overcooked vegetables.

I don't have any spare your gag reflex. 
You're welcome.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Day 99: Spring Cleaning

Some people despise spring cleaning, but I LOVE it. There's something about just getting rid of crap that feels very liberating.
This year I've been trying to keep a pretty tight ship due to lack of storage space in my home, so my cleaning and organizing has not been quite as extensive this season. 

In any case, I do have a list that I follow during the week or two it'll take me to get it done. The list is really just so I have something to scratch off when I complete a task. It makes me feel accomplished ...even if I'm just checking off "Wake Up and Brush Teeth."

1. Collect cleaning supplies
Baking soda // Vinegar // Bleach // Multi surface spray // Rags // Trash bags // Sponges

I'll be the first to say I don't live a very "Green" lifestyle...and my cleaning supplies are no different. To be more cost effective I usually pick up items at the Dollar Store. 

2. Clean out dresser

I like to tackle the area that I feel like will make the biggest impact first. I'd say my clothes/shoes/accessories make up about 60% of my belongings. 

I make a pile for donations, a pile of things to toss, and a pile of things to mend. I've already been through my drawers a few times this past year, so I there wasn't anything new to add to my Because I Shop too Much closet.

It felt GREAT throwing away a half dozen t-shirts from the bar I worked at this past year. Seriously...out with the old!

3. Go through delicates

I throw away any socks without a mate (if all my laundry is done...) and all underwear that I would dub "last resort" undies. Plus any bra that I wore during college. Because I'm 27 and that means it's probably been around the block a time or 2.

4. Jewelry

Does anyone else have a hard time parting with old jewelry? Generally, I keep all of my regularly worn items up front and center. But when it's time to get rid of things, suddenly I get sentimental!
The long forgotten boxes in back full of costume jewelry from grandma or gifts from old boyfriends (ahem, a BUNNYfly necklace...Yep. It's butterfly wings with a bunny where the body should be. And it's as horrific as it sounds.)

5. The Closet

I think it's easiest to just empty out EVERYTHING and start fresh. My apartment looks like an hurricane hit it, but I can see everything when it's out!

Color coordinating is my jam. After I try everything on, I hang all the dresses I'm keeping. From there all my black and grey tops (because that's what I own the most those items stay up front!) Some years I've done it by the colors of the rainbow, other years I sort it by warm and cool colors. I like organizing, but I'm no good at consistency!

I've been working on having a cohesive closet for years. One year I bought several clear plastic boxes to store my shoes. I've been swapping out all my plastic hangers for black fancy no-slip hangers. And I've been finding great hooks and hangers for all my scarfs!

At this point, I'm most likely sitting in the center of my old photo albums, wearing an old prom dress, a wig from a past costume party, and have had a few too many glasses of cheap wine. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day 93

Today I cancelled my internet service. I usually use it at work or on my phone, so it was kind of a waste of money.  Plus, it rarely worked anyway and now I'm saving myself $52.55 a month. 

Internet access is not necessary. Internet access is not necessary. Internet access is not necessary.
Until I want to be blogging...or updating my Etsy...or catching up on A Beautiful Mess in the middle of the night... 
but we'll cross that bridge when we get there :)

For those of you that DO have the internet, watch this video over and over. And over and over. 
Then go visit this cutie's blog! She's a sweet and sassy music reviewer who also happens to enjoy Lana Del Rey. She's The Original D-Rose !

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Month 3: Complete

this little mama is my favorite face and is wearing my favorite new headband in the shop!

Ok, so this month I save ZERO dollars. I was expecting it. Truthfully, I stopped tracking my money activity after my Vegas trip...
I'm sure I've actually spent more than I brought in this month. There's was a tiny bit of extra income with a couple sales from my Etsy shop and a Save the Date photo shoot, but nothing substantial.

Oddly, I don't feel as defeated as I probably should. I realize that I'm trying to correct bad spending habits that have been all I've known for 27 years!

Anyway, tomorrow is another day and begins another month!

Hope everyone is having a Hoppy Easter and a great Spring!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day 87

I had to buy a new pair of jeans yesterday. I had been avoiding it because A. new jeans do not fall into the Needs catergory of this Spending Fast. And B. I wanted to lose weight before I went and bought myself a new pair of pants.
But unfortunately, it's been so long since I've been pants shopping that this month 3 of my 4 pairs of regularly worn denim have ripped in the thighs (YOU know, the spot where a chubby girl's legs touch when she walks...bah!)

Usually, I wear my "Lazy Girl Chic" uniform of leggings or yoga pants and an oversized shirt, but every once in a while you need to be able to put a presentable outfit together.

SO with my Target gift card in hand, I found myself a decent, inexpensive pair of black jeans. A totally boring, PRACTICAL purchase to make with my birthday gift card...but necessary (I swear, my pragmatic manfriend's sensibility is rubbing off on me far more than I'd ever care to admit.)

Now I'm wondering what do I do with the ripped, but not ruined jeans?
I could try to work some Pinterest magic on them and make them into some cool, ripped shorts.
Or maybe just hang on to them as loungy, lazy day pants. Or "painting" pants?
I can't donate them and throwing away a pair of Hudson's seems sacrileg!

Realistically, they're just taking up closet space right now. What would you do?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Whoops! (unintentional 2 week hiatus)

I'm the worst. Sorry! I have not abandoned you all! I have, however, accidentally abandoned my Fast, my diet, the gym, and any sort of routine I had for the past two weeks! EEP!
But I'm back, so you can all relax :)

In case you were wondering, Las Vegas is not the spot to go if are trying not to spend money. I repeat. STAY AWAY FROM VEGAS.

Now, this vacation was planned long before my Spending Fast was even a thought in my head. My brother was turning 21 and our family always celebrates the big 2-1 with a trip to Sin City! So I saved a few hundred bucks figuring that should be enough cash to avoid a trip to the ATM.

Oh, boy was I wrong. I spent more than double what I had planned. I felt like a dog that had been let off her leash for the first time! Seriously, out of control...

I bought:
... A million drinks + A million coffees= An empty wallet and heartburn
... So many (unnecessary) rounds of shots
... Cute (and sparkly) sandals so I'd stop whining about my aching feet
... 2 buffet dinners (that's 2 more than anyone needs to eat in one weekend!)
... Big, sugary, colorful drinks that have hangover written all over them
... Candy...whhyyy
... Gambling... (I don't even like to gamble because I don't enjoy the feeling of handing my money over and receiving nothing in return. I may as well just throw 20's into the wind. But I just had a feeeeeeling this time :/ )

So, even though there are a few days left of the month, I can say with 97% certainty that I will be writing ZERO in the "Saved" column of my March spreadsheet.

my sister and I with the p's minus the birthday boy. 

Happy birthday, little bro! Hope you had a great time...even if you don't remember most of it!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Day 69: DIY Sugar Scrub

These winter months are wrecking havoc on my skin! My legs feel like crocodile skin and my poor heels are a sight.
My first instinct, of course, was to buy Bliss Blood Orange and White Pepper sugar scrub. Smells so delicious, you'll have to resist the urge to lick your ARM!

But, good lorddd, 36 bones for a 12 ounce container! Thanks, but no thanks.

So I took to the kitchen and came up with a scrub that I think it just as yummy as the Bliss version! Plus everything I used I already had in the house! Making MY scrub a whopping free ninety-nine.

Citrus Honey Sugar Scrub Ingredients
Sugar (I used organic cane sugar from Trader Joes. It's more course than fine baking sugar)
Light oil (I used olive oil)
Lemon juice
Tangerine essential oil
Empty container

In a small bowl, measure a little more sugar than would fit in your container. I mixed equal parts oil and honey, then added a little more oil because it was a little too sticky. I stirred in just about a teaspoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of salt. I mixed in a few drops of the tangerine oil at the end because it's supposed to be enhance cheerfulness :)
I don't have exact measurements because it will depend on the size of your container.

I keep my scrub in my shower! I used about a tablespoon of it and it left my legs and elbows feeling silky smooth! Plus my bathroom smelled like dessert!

Next time I think I'm going to try a grapefruit and lavender scented scrub. Yum!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Day 67: Make More Money

For the first time in a long while, I have only one job. And for the first time since high school, I'm working only part-time. I make enough for the essentials. But I don't really make enough to put EXTRA money aside or have any sort of savings.

See Operation: Make More Money !!!

To keep myself busy (and to avoid spending senseless money), I've been crocheting my little fingers off! Blankets, hats, headbands, baby sweaters, wrist warmers...You name it, I'm making it. The more time a project takes, the less inclined I am to empty my wallet on other activities!

This week I opened my very own Etsy shop! I'm beyond excited to share my creations (and make a little extra cash to boot :) ) Every piece is custom made to your liking! New items will be added weekly!

Browse the shop, share with your friends, and let me know what you think!!
(Also browse my closet at Because I Shop Too Much where members sell and swap their gently used clothing and accessories!)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Post Valentine's Discounts

Today I didn't buy heart cupcake pans.
They were 75% off. And pink. And I wanted them.
They probably would have cost a whole dollar.

That's self-control, people.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Day 61: Month 2 COMPLETE!

So! The results for February are in!

This month I saved
$581.74 !!
*happy dance*

February was a tough month. Like, a REALLY tough month. As I mentioned before, there are so many birthday celebrations and Valentine's Day...and it was easy to let the rules fall by the wayside. Especially when wandering through the dollar store and around every turn is something sparkly or covered in chocolate.

If I'm being honest, with myself and you, I was pretty loose with the guidelines.
I took almost $70 in cabs...and only one of those trips was actually necessary. I went to the bar, a few times. And I signed up for an expensive gym.

Anyway, with the saved money, I'll be paying an additional hundred dollars to my credit card which has the highest interest rate of all my loans. Rather than make an additional payment to my student loans this month, I need to set some money aside until I find myself another second job.

Until someone decides that paying me to socialize and eat donuts and blog from about 11am-2pm everyday will be beneficial to their business, I need to stash some emergency cash for a bit.

If anyone hears of any job descriptions that know where to reach me..

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 58

Most of this Fast has been pretty sucky.
Don't get me wrong, it's kind of an adventure to find new ways to save money and it's had some fun moments.

But for me it's mostly been a lot of misadventure. (Like, buying energy drinks and calling them 'groceries'. Or giving people homemade gifts in hopes that they look 'thoughtful' rather than 'cheap'.)

Counting pennies is tedious. Staying in every weekend is boring. My bank account is just screaming, "It's GAME TIME! There's so much money here! SPEND it!" Sigh. I'm not feeling sorry for myself because I obviously signed onto this on my own accord, I'm just whining.

I'm sort of dreading doing my calculations tonight because I know I didn't save nearly as much this month as I did in January. But this is a learning process. And what I'm learning is that, well, not spending money is tough. It takes a lot of thought and planning. And a LOT of Pinterest "research."

Monday, February 25, 2013

Day 56: T.R.O.U.B.L.E

Besides being difficult and completely overwhelming, my Spending Fast is also pretty selfish.
I took it upon myself to make the decision to just stop spending money. Everything revolves around me. How I'm going to get home, what I'm going to eat, how can I get this or that, my wallet is empty....

I, I, I. Me, me, me.
I imagine I sound like quite the nightmare.

I didn't think of anyone else when I committed to this. Before I stopped spending my money, I should have at least had the decency to run it by the one guy that I spend the most time with! He spends so much on me. He gets me dinner, he gets my drinks, he buys my cabs home. Essentially, while I'm cutting my spending in half, his is DOUBLING.

I try to carry my weight by making dinner or cleaning his apartment while he's at work, but I realize it's not necessarily equal.
So after a number of tense nights and quite the argument (and an apology burrito), I've decided that for the sake of my relationship I need to set aside an envelope of cash at the beginning of the month. We can use it for drinks or the movies. Whatever we want.

Since one of the objectives of this Fast to focus on nurturing relationships, I'd say the boyfriend's good mood falls under the NEEDS catergory. Wouldn't you agree?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sriracha fixes everything.

What kind of weirdo dinner is this?
Oh, the kind of meal a girl puts together when she refuses to go to the grocery store for the rest of the month.

Last egg and last beer in the house.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 49!

Can I vent for a sec? Yeah? Thanks!

SO, in January I switched electricity provider's to one that is more cost-effective. Because, well, duh. Wouldn't you?
And then, these past two months I've been living like a little Eskimo girl in my apartment to cut costs on my electricity bill.
Seriously. I've been going to sleep wearing thermal underwear, two pairs of socks, a scarf, and sometimes (ok, MOST nights) a hat. It's prettayprettay sexy.
Or I stay over at my manfriend's house where I trade my lack of heat for his stinky bachelor's pad. Sigh...

keeping warm in my newly crocheted pompom hat!

Yet somehow my bill last month showed that I used 911 kilowatts of electricity in my < 400 sq ft apartment! And this month I was even more conscious of my electricity usage than I was in January...and I still somehow used over 750 kilowatts. (This is roughly the amount a small business would use for a month.)

I'm just baffled. And frustrated. And COLD!
Anyone have any suggestions? I realize that it's only logical that my bill would be higher in the winter months, but it has nearly doubled from December to January.

rant over

Anyway! Everyone keep your peepers open for a link to my new Etsy shop in the next week or so! I'm so excited to be able to share my new custom made crocheted accessories!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Day 45: Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day, all!! 

Today I wore red pants with a pink shirt with pink lipstick...because no one was around to tell me I couldn't. :)
I'm crazy about any holiday that is centered around love and sweets! I spent the day with my favorite little people and the evening with one of my extra special lady friends, a bottle of wine, and a hot ham and cheese. (I know, I know...I'm wild.) And, I'll admit, I had enough sugar I'm sure to forget that I'm really struggling through February.

As I am Fasting at the moment, today should have cost me zero dollars. However, what is it about this month that makes it feel twice as long as January!? Seriously, it's only two weeks into the month and I somehow convinced myself that I needed Valentine's day cookie cutters, colorful icing, and more yarn.

I did manage to do some DIY gifts for today though! I made my girlfriends some fancy mini heart shaped cakes with ingredients I already had on hand and crocheted them two headbands festive, colors of course!

I also made homemade cards which, according to my mom, is still acceptable past the age of 7! Thank goodness!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


See this adorable little girl below with the sweet fashion sense?

That's me! And she turned 2-7 years old today! An uneventful age, I agree...but celebrating, getting presents, and eating cake will always be fun to me, no matter what my age!

 Anyhoot! I had a lovely birthday dinner with my family on Sunday night where I was spoiled like crazy! (Hellooo, the ever important boots I mentioned earlier! A plant that I can't kill...and isn't plastic. AND a Target giftcard! They know how to read a wishlist! ;) )

Today I tried my best to behave! But it IS my birthday, damnit. I bought a fancy coffee after the gym -Sidenote: after the gym I spent the rest of the day curled up with my guy because I got my ass handed to me in class. I feel like I turned NINETY seven today! 

 ...and spent 17 bucks at the bar. I wrote it down in my book...but I may choose to overlook it at the end of the month...
Due to the birthday law.
That's a thing, right?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Day 42

Hi. Tomorrow's my birthday! I'm usually a BIG birthday person. I get super jazzed on celebrating! I plan about a month of time, I have a wishlist a mile long, and I eat a lot of cake.

This year I'm slacking. I JUST made plans for a birthday brunch for this Sunday (and I'm really really excited about a laid back, inexpensive day in. With mimosa's. And friends. And french toast.)
I asked my mom for a gift card and my manfriend for a plant (whattt?! who am I?)

Maybe I'm less enthusiastic about my own day this year because the thought of other people having to spend dough on me gives me a bad case of guilt-gut? Hmm..

here's a short list of things I would like if my family and friends were billionaires

. Upwardly Mobile Satchel
. Nike Eclipse Leopard Sneakers
. Glass Coffee beans Pot 
. Leopard Print Eyeglasses
. These 2 fantastic Prints by Rococco-LA

Friday, February 8, 2013

Day 39: Working on my Fitness!

In my 26th year of life, I rarely workout (also see: never workout), I hate my medial serving job, and I gained about 7 pounds eating so much fried, delicious crap. 

But, my friends, times they are a'changin! 

I'm about to be 2-7. And in addition to recently losing said job (sidenote: probably the best thing for a girls self-esteem is to work for a couple of balding 50-something year old men on a power trip. they're pathetic.), I also plan on getting rid of those pesky 7 pounds! 

In my original Needs vs Wants list, I didn't include fitness. 
1. I have running shoes and access to sidewalks.
2. I own the Insanity dvd's! At the moment the set is just collecting dust.

But now my lack of motivation needs just a little push. Those free exercises aren't cutting it. So after thinking it over for approximately .5 seconds, I handed over my credit card and am now a member of the most girlie gym I've ever seen. 
Everything is hot pink, their manicurist worked for Oprah, you can sip on martinis after you get your sweat on, and it has classes that promise to kick my ass. 

I know, I know. Why didn't I join the Y or some other gym that costs just 20 bucks a month?
I don't have a good reason, I just didn't. I'm using the fact that I have to pay more as a motivating factor not to blow off the gym. Also, I probably will spend less time and money elsewhere if I'm working out! Probably....right?

Anyway, taking care of ones self is important! It's one thing I most certainly can afford. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Day 36

Hi all! Sorry, things have been a little quiet here this week...mostly due to having a bad weekend. Pennywise, at least! It's pretty embarrassing to have to fess up when I slip up. Otherwise, life is great! Thanks for asking :)

Ok, so you know how when you're on a diet and you'll sneak maybe, 2 chocolate kisses? Then somehow you go ahead and think to yourself, "Well, this WHOLE day is ruined now! I may as well have extra cheese, dessert, AND a regular coke."

Yep, that was me this past Saturday. Long story short, I left my wallet at work on Friday leaving me with no money, no bus pass, and no Zipcar card to get to the suburbs for a baby shower.
After cursing myself for being a giant dope, I trekked my butt the mile to work (in heels!) Then, without a second thought, hailed a cab! I had 25 minutes to make my train and was really left with no choice...except to maybe go back in time and not be so irresponsible with my stuff.

SO! A day that was supposed to cost me a 7 dollar train ride ended up costing me $40.95! Because after I had already spent 20 bucks to get the Metra I figured, "I paid for one cab today. What's one more?" This is also a perfect example of how I diet. Selectively.

Anyway, here's a couple of shots of the blankie I made for baby Laila!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Day 33: DIY Presents

As I mentioned, February begins BIRTHDAY SEASON!  (Ok, technically birthday season starts on Jan. 30th with my ma's...)
AND Valentine's Day...which is a cheesy holiday that only elementary school kids should care about, but we still usually exchange a little something between girlfriends and my sister.
Not to mention the baby shower I attended today...

Every week is a celebration! Booze and food and laughs and hugs. It's so much fun...but the cost of these events add up quickly!

After a discussion with my sister, I'm wondering if I should put aside some money this month as sort of a "Party Fund." I can't miss out on 2 of my good friends birthdays because I refuse to spend money and then expect them to come out for mine...and in that same vein, what about gifts!?

I enjoy making presents. It's's's cost effective! Win-win-win!
I've got plans in the works! A 4-layer cake and homemade candies for Valentine's, artwork for one's new home, crocheted head pieces and blankies for the new babies, a new clutch that I swapped for at BISTM ...for my mom, I repurposed a rust colored cardigan I purchased ages ago and never wore. I added leopard print elbow patches to spice up the sweater :) (Clearly, I'm addicted to Pinterest...)

Plus! Some of my favorite gifts that I've received have been handmade! Fantastic tile coasters, a decorated memento box, and a framed drawing of myself as Alice in Wonderland! Things that my friends knew I would really love...

So what do you think? Are homemade/repurposed gifts just super lame?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Day 32

Hello! Welcome to Month 2, Day 1! And the first purchase I made for the month was...BACON.

What?! I'll have you know, as much as I like bacon, I never buy it. And once I started making it today, I realized I had never even made it before! (Yes, I did have to read the package to make sure I was doing it right, if you MUST know.) It's like I'm not even American or something...

Anyway, it was a necessary purchase because today I was working on a new recipe that I'm calling the Shortstack. Old fashioned donuts made with bacon and maple syrup glaze. Yum! 
Well, they would have been yum...if I hadn't had blown a fuse causing the oven/stove to go ka-put. So unfortunately, this recipe is To Be Continued...

PS I just so happened to have a gift card with a few bucks left on the bacon was FREE. Boo-yah.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day 31: Level ONE Complete!

I did it! This has probably been the longest month of my life, but seriously, who's excited!? I'M excited!
I definitely had some minor slip ups this month...but I'm very happy to report my results.

For the month of January, I have saved
::drum roll please::

What the what!

It's more than I would have ever imagined...mostly because I wasn't expecting to make it into the second week, let alone all month long!

This money is being used to make an additional $409.88 payment towards a student loan. 
Also, I'll make a $100 payment to my aunt who loaned me money for a car (so long ago. it's embarrassing.)

I'm making a $300 payment towards my credit card this month, however that money will not be coming out of these savings. 
I've been throwing ALL of my change into a big plastic jar for the past year and calling it my "Vegas Fund." We're taking a trip to Las Vegas in March for my brother's 21st birthday and since vacations don't fit into the Fast, I intend of using just the collected money to pay my way.
I had to put my plane ticket on my credit card (MAN it's expensive to try to be a jetsetter..) Now that the jar is full, I'll cash it in, pay off the tickets, and put the rest into savings until March!

Let's go ahead and address some things that need to be worked on in February (also known as the never ending birthday month.)

-I feel like I can spend probably half the amount I spent on groceries this month. So I'm going to take an envelope and stick 45 dollars in it tomorrow and that's what I have for February's food budget.

-I don't have cable, so I'm going to just cancel my internet connection. I can use the internet at work or use my phone if I need to. That'll save me $52.55/month.

-I spent a total of $5.41 on Starbucks this month. Next month it will be zero. (We all have moments of weakness, people!)

-Somehow, my miscellaneous column is a whopping $161.43! Not.good. That includes a Zipcar rental, a new pair of glasses, postage costs, my photography website, and BEER. Did I really need to buy 2 six-packs of fancy beer for my man's birthday?! It felt necessary in the moment... SIGH.

Anyway! I'm really looking forward to this next month. Hopefully it'll suck a little bit less than January!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day 30

Today is this little lady's birthday!
Happy birthday, mamabear!

(stay tuned folks! tomorrow is the end of Month 1! i'm so excited to share my results!)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 28: Run, Forest, run!

Leaving work Friday night, my boss very sweetly asked me if I was interested in training with her and the other nanny that works for them.
For what, you ask? For the Chicago Marathon, of course.

And being the charming person that I am, I promptly responded by laughing in her face. 

Listen, lady. I don't even like running for the bus (ask my guy, he loves to tell anyone who will listen about my lack of hustle.) I don't know what would give her the idea that I have the ability to run 26.2 miles! 

Yes, I wear a lot of yoga the ILLUSION of a person that works out.
Yes, I did run ( two 5k's this summer. 
And, yes, I do have the basic knowledge of how to get in shape. 

However, I have absolutely no self discipline. I don't enjoy running. And I really like eating. Especially cheese. Ok, MOSTLY cheese.

SO, that being said, I'm going to try to train for a HALF marathon this summer. 

1. Running is freefreefree. 
2. My boss gave me custom NikeID running shoes for Christmas. (seriously, are they awesome or what?)
3. My sister pointed out that as I'm training, I'd be RUNNING past stores rather than strolling aka window shopping.
4. Why not?! I'm young, I have no physical reasons holding me back, and, frankly, it'd just be cool to say I DID IT!

(Laurel and I after my first 5k. I'm probably in that super hero stance because I'm so proud to have lived through the experience!)

Now that I've made my SECOND public declaration this month, who is going to be the person waking my butt up in the morning and strapping my new shoes on for me?? Anyone...? ;)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day 26: Make art, not war.

Art is not free to make but I'll certainly take advantage of an art show with no cover! My sister's boyfriend had a exhibit thrown by his tattoo shop at the Beat Kitchen last night. They're a seriously talented bunch.

There's always free events in the city, if you take the time to look!
And if you pregame at your apartment like an underage college kid, the evening will cost approximately zero dollars!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Day 24: Unsubscribe!

If you're anything like me, your inbox is just chock full of temptation. Each subject line more enticing than the next!

24 hour clearances...
12 hour flash sales...
30 minute value customer-closeout-basement bargains...
I'm a sucker for a sale.

This month I've spent an incredible amount of time UNSUBSCRIBING.
I clearly have no self control when it comes to my spending habits (uh...duh...the blog..)
I figure, hey, I can at least avoid dangling the gazelle in front of the puma (that's a saying, right? sounds right!) by not having the allure of dozens of daily emails calling me!

So! Goodbyyyyye... 
Gap. Urban. Nordstrom. Justfab. Stylemint. Victoria's Secret. Amazon. Ebay. Levi's. Nike. Groupon. Gilt. Rent the Runway. Travelocity. Pink Nation (Why do I need Victoria's Secret AND Pink Nation?!). Shutterfly. Sunglass Hut. Topshop. Snapfish. (Why?) and (Mostly because I'm not even engaged...) 

You've all been a great comfort to me after a few too many glasses of wine on a Tuesday night...and Friday often times feels like -surprise- Christmas! But I've turned over a new leaf. And mindlessly clicking on your brightly colored and flashy banners is just not on the agenda!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oh, baby!

This Monday, my old friend, Tom, and his lovely wife, Kaitie, welcomed their first child into the world! YAY!

Back in November I had big plans to make them a sweet "gender neutral" crib blanket as well as a few lovie blankies. Little did I know, this blanket was going to take me roughly 100 hours to make(!) the lovie idea kindaaa fell to the wayside.

As far as cost is concerned, this project was very inexpensive. In addition to hoarding cupcake liners, I also (luckily) collect skeins of yarn!
So total I spent $10.73 (for shipping) on this gift. Plus all the time and love put into it! Which, of course, is priceless! :)

Here are a few DIY (cost effective) baby gifts for the baby boomers in your life!

Crochet/knit baby blanket/lovies/wash cloths There are so many cute (and free) patterns online these days! And if this is a skill you haven't picked up yet, check out Youtube. There are hundreds of great tutorial videos for beginners!

No-Sew fleece blankies

Custom made onsies Buy a few packages of inexpensive white onsies in different sizes and dye them bright colors (which are difficult to find!) Or use Monthly Iron-on numbers and make a cute "Watch me Grow" set!

Baby Leggings I love little chubby baby legs in leggings! Boy, girl...I don't care! They are adorable. Here's a super easy tutorial, you can buy scrap fabric or use anything you have laying around the house. You'll want to make dozens, I swear!

Nursery Decor I love homemade art that doesn't LOOK homemade. Here's an Alphabet Art tutorial (total savings about $290! EEP!) and a tutorial for the sweetest baby room garland.

The CUTEST Growth Chart tutorial. It will cost you less than 10 bucks and be used for their whole childhood!

Make freezer meals When making your own meals for the week, just double the recipe! Put it in labeled tupperware with cooking directions taped to the lid.

Offer to take baby for a evening (or weekend!) Don't underestimate the value of your time! The new Mom and Dad will absolutely appreciate having an evening to themselves. Even if it's 3 months down the road...and even if they use it just to sleep!

Sure, many of these items can easily be bought at the store. But they're much less expensive and more personal if you make them yourself!

What do you think? Are homemade baby gifts just being cheap? Or are they thoughtful?

((Welcome, baby Emery! We are so happy that you are here!))

Monday, January 21, 2013

Day 21: DIY Coffee Sweetener

We are 3 weeks in today and I've surprisingly not run out of food or coffee yet!
I've been making a real effort to make meals out of whatever I already have in the house. They're usually missing a side dish and are mostly veggies thrown into a stirfry, but are still filling!

I also seem to waste a lot of coffee. I'm sure most of you who live solo can relate. I make a pot, have a cup or 2, then the rest goes down the drain. I started putting the excess in a pitcher and sticking it in the fridge to have iced coffee in the morning, but the result was kind of weak.

Solution: Double brewing my leftover java! Pour the extra coffee back into the machine, grab another filter and fresh scoop of coffee , and voila! A cup'a Joe that'll put hair on your chest.
Here's a quick recipe for a DIY sweetener that'll make your at home coffee taste a little fancier. On a dime :)

Almond Coffee Syrup (recipe adapted from
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
Splash of vanilla extract

Heat water and sugar until completely dissolved. Add extract(s). Use a funnel to pour into whatever bottle you choose (I used a leftover wine bottle!) Your syrup can be kept in the fridge or left out on the counter.

Next time I'm going to omit the vanilla and add a small tsp of Nutella to make an Almond Roca syrup. After I collect a few more empty bottles, of course ;)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Day 19

Ok, this Spending Fast (AKA "the unintentional diet") kind of sucks. I didn't consider the fact that chocolate/cookies/delicious snacks wouldn't be on my grocery list, ever. As I walk through the aisles with blinders on, I have to remind myself, "I don't NEED this, I don't NEED that.." My sweet tooth did overtake my senses once last week when a box of Milk Duds ended up in my basket.

Add .99 to my idiotic spending list.

I may have had a minor Carrie-moment at my guy this past week.
-the conversation went something like this-

Me: ((blahblah complaining about something blah))
Him: Why don't you just go buy it? (gosh, he's just so innocent..)
Me: -my head spins around spastically as i spit out- You.KNOW.I.can'!
-blank stare-
-after I regain my composure-
Him: I'm sorry. You just got SO upset.

Poor guy..
I think it's safe to say that was the moment he realized how difficult not shopping has been for me.

Anyway, here's a few things that I really wanted to buy this month, but didn't. Because I can't.

clockwise from top left:
This cute Jane Austen print.
Pretty sweets and junk food. All junk food.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 18- BISTM!

There are two "simple" formulas to saving cash. You can Cut Back or Make More Money

I've already Cut Back significantly (and I've almost completely stopped having cold sweats every time I pass by that dang Urban Outfitters SALE sign. baby steps.) 

So that leaves me scheming up ways to Make More Money. 
Okk, realistically, I could take on more hours at the bar I work at one night a week at, but frankly, that job makes me dislike people. Reallyreally dislike people. I think it's more important to save my sanity and be a more pleasant person than to be grouchy and rich. I'm sure we can all agree on that. Especially my poor manfriend who puts up with my ridiculousness.

You know that saying, "He's a jack of all trades, master of none."? 
Well, I'm Jack. Nice to meetcha.

Here's my brainstorm sesh:

-I could apply to photograph every wedding listed on Craigslist in the Chicago-land area. But apparently the going rate for a craft I paid many thousands of dollars to develop is...well, it's under appreciated, at best.

-I looked into selling my eggs (yes, really.) Apparently, I'm not that marketable. Maybe I'd do better at a face-to-face interview?

-I did some research on selling old electronics. I have so many old phones/cameras and it seems weird to just toss them. I'm not sure auction sites like Ebay will really be worth the work of posting them, but there are sites like Gazelle that will purchase my old pink Razr for a few bucks (and no shipping charge.)

-I've considered setting up an Etsy shop to sell some of the items I've been making/crocheting. 

would you buy any of these for yourself or as gifts?

-I thought about selling some old clothes to Plato's Closet or another resale shop. Until I came across Because I Shop Too Much. It's essentially an online Plato's Closet run by two local Chicago girls. 

It's so easy! 
I go through my own closet and dresser every season and donate things I haven't worn in a while. That means at LEAST 4 times a year I'm getting rid of clothes/shoes/old jewelry. Some things still have tags on them (for shame.) 

You start by setting up your own closet. Take a quick snapshot of the (gently used) items and post them with the prices that you've set. (Please just donate anything that has been a little tooo "loved".) You can order free boxes from the post office. (Did you know that?!) Package up the purchased items with a friendly thank you note and send them off! Done and done.

Check out my BISTM closet today!