learning how to budget

how to budget

starting simple.

When I first began budgeting I started as simple as possible. I did not want to become overwhelmed or wind up confusing myself. So, to start off, I made two columns. One column had my expenses while the other had my income. I began gathering my bills and writing down what they were. Expenses include anything you must pay for each month and income includes anything you earn each month. See the examples below of how to budget for expenses and income.

expenses:

  • Mortgage or rent.
  • Car payments.
  • Insurance (car, dental, health, home, renters, and vision).
  • Utilities (electricity, garbage, gas, sewer, and water).
  • Cable and internet.
  • Cellphone.
  • Credit card payments.
  • Student loans.
  • Entertainment (Netflix, Hulu, etc).

how to budget:

Once I listed all of my expenses and sources of income, I started filling in approximate costs. Some expenses are the same each month. For example, car and mortgage or rent payments. Other expenses will fluctuate throughout the year such as the electricity or water bill. For the fluctuating bills, choose the higher costs so that you are over-prepared.

After you have each column filled out to the best of your knowledge, subtract the expenses from the income. This is where you hope that your result is a positive number! If it isn’t, you need to rethink your expenses. This number will signify excess money that you can put towards things such as gas, groceries, and savings. Or you can use this money to get your hair done or treat yourself to something. It is absolutely up to you! However, I will suggest you put as much as possible in a savings account.

emergency funds:

An emergency fund is exactly what it sounds like: a fund for emergencies. This savings account should have a minimum of three months’ worth of expenses saved up. If something were to happen (you are unable to work or lose your job), you need to be prepared. Please remember, an emergency fund is separate than your regular savings account.

what is your favorite “how to budget” suggestion?

Don’t forget to check out my post about becoming frugal!

lifestyle changes for may

lifestyle changes

Spring has officially sprung in the gorgeous and green pacific northwest! Everyone is taking full advantage of the bouts of sunshine lately. During breaks dozens of people are outside lapping up the vitamin d. To say we are happy is an understatement! In fact, most of us were unsure if it would ever stop raining! (That is mostly a joke.) Seattle even set a couple of records for rain this year.

The month of May is health and wellness month at my work! All employees are encouraged to not only participate but to share the ways that they plan on being healthier. This got me thinking about how I plan on being healthy as well as the lifestyle changes I am hoping to implement this month.

lifestyle changes for may:

one | Taking the stairs. If we choose, we can ride the elevator. However, now that I am back to wearing my Fitbit I want to take the stairs since every floor and every step counts!

two | Drinking more water. Walmart currently has 32-ounce stainless steel water bottles for only $9.99! Even better, it kept my water cold for my entire nine hour day. I plan on picking up one or two more next time I go to the store.

three | Preparing my lunches. There is half a dozen delicious places to eat within walking distance of my work. Unfortunately this means that eating deliciously unhealthy food is way too easy to do. Plus, it absolutely drains my bank account. Packing a healthy lunch will save me money and help me feel more energized throughout the day.

four | Cutting out meat. This is something that I have wanted to try for a while. With May focusing on health and wellness I figured this would be the perfect time to do it.

five | Remembering to take my vitamins daily. Lately I have been horrible at remembering to take my vitamins. This month I am going to set a reminder on my phone for first thing in the morning.

six | Start working out, again. In February I was doing amazing following Kayla Itsine’s Bikini Body Guide! The workouts totally kicked my butt, but they were awesome. Fast forward through March and April and I have not worked out once. Yikes.

seven | Eating breakfast. Now that I am getting more comfortable at my new job, I am worrying less about my wardrobe. (Read: I am no longer changing my outfit a dozen times before leaving the house.) Because of this I can focus more on preparing breakfast and eating healthier first thing in the morning.

eight | Meditating. Along with working out, meditating stopped in February as well. I need to start practicing mindfulness (and yoga) again.

what are some lifestyle changes you would implement?

how to purify your air naturally

purify the air

purify your air naturally:

Would it surprise you knowing the air you are breathing in your home is worse than the air outside? Poor air quality is not a surprise when it comes to being indoors. Although it was to me when I first found out. After all, many home heating systems recycle the air that is already inside the home. The air in our homes can result in allergies, asthma, and constant headaches. However, that is not all! Poor air quality can even affect your digestive system.

When I first found this out, I was pretty taken aback. All I could think was that I needed to find ways on how to purify the air in my home.

what should you leave behind?

  1. Harsh, and common, chemical-laden household cleaners. Many cleaners most commonly used in households contain VOC (volatile organic compound) ingredients. This includes ammonia, benzene, and formaldehyde. Chemicals such as those may cause dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, nausea, and more.
  2. Scented candles and incense. The scent of many candles are neuro-toxic. This means that the chemicals used are harmful to our brains, lungs, and nervous systems. Plus, they can cause developmental difficulties in children.
  3. Dusty curtains, fans, filters, and surfaces. Keeping your home free of dust can really reduce potential allergens! Routinely clean your filters and wipe down surfaces.

what to use instead:

  1. Organic or homemade household cleaners. One of my favorite, and most simple, cleaning recipes uses lemon essential oil, warm water, and vinegar.
  2. Candles made from beeswax, coconut wax, hemp, or soy. Not only are these candles made from natural ingredients, they often are scented with essential oils. Essential oils contain many beneficial and healing properties!
  3. Air-purifying plants. At the top of the list: English Ivy, Golden Pothos, Boston Fern, Dracaena, Bamboo Palm, Dragon Tree, and Peace Lily.
  4. Himalayan salt rock lamps. The crystallized salt, when heated by the bulb inside, releases negative ions which are known to neutralize pollutants.

what would you add to this list?

live it up

live it up

A while back, while discussing trends with my best friend, I realized that there are some things that I will never give up no matter how old I become. Not to mention, there are also some trends that I cannot help but join in on. While I may become another year old each year, I am still young at heart. This can be embarrassing to a few people… However, for me, I love it!

i will always embrace:

+ Playing children’s games such as hide and seek, tag, and truth or dare.
+ Jumping on trampolines.
+ Wearing a bikini under my tank top and jean shorts.
+ Singing along to Spice Girls, N*Sync, and Backstreet Boys at the top of my lungs.
+ Reading young adult books.
+ Seeing how many cartwheels I can do in a row.
+ Giggling at sexual innuendos.
+ Driving in the summer with my windows down and music up.
+ Staying up late on school nights (or, more accurately, work nights).
+ Calling my mom for advice or to come take care of me when I am sick.
+ Swinging as high as I can on the swing set or seeing who can slide down the slide the quickest.
+ Telling jokes with horrible puns and laughing at my own jokes.
+ Doodling and drawing in notebooks.
+ Being myself.

what will you never be too old for?

tips for an amazing weekend

tips for an amazing weekend

What is it about the weekend that makes everything so much more exciting? Even though, honestly, every single day should be exciting. Especially Mondays! However, there is an extra “oomph” that comes on Friday that gears you up for the following day. I have a horrible tendency to count down the days until the weekend, especially with my previous job. In fact, I would joke that Thursday was called “Friday evening”. It was pretty bad. However, now that I am finding myself back on track I am making each day count. But for now we will focus on the weekend!

tips for an amazing weekend:

  1. Write your to-do list on Friday evening. By writing your list the night before, you can best plan out how to spend your weekend. Not to mention, this also allows you to know what all needs to be done.
  2. Eat a hearty breakfast both Saturday and Sunday. Delicious food is an amazing, and simple, pleasure. Plus, breakfast is the most important meal of the day! One of our favorite breakfast ideas is pancakes. They are so easy and quick to make!
  3. Take a long, hot bubble bath. Add in bath salts, essential oils, or a bath bomb. My favorite essential oils to add are wild orange and lavender. Extra points if you pour yourself a glass of wine and read a book or magazine.
  4. Schedule time for yourself. Block out time to relax during your weekend, it is important! Spend this time meditating, reading, writing, or however you prefer.
  5. Meet up with friends. Personally, I love to catch up over coffee, brunch, or a dinner and movie date. We always have an amazing time and it gets us all out of the house.
  6. Try to get outside. The weather will not always cooperate, but try to make the most of it! If there is even a hint of sunshine, go for a walk to get some fresh air.
  7. Remember to take your vitamins. Being healthy is so incredibly important. Having a great diet allows us to feel energized and ready to take on the day.
  8. Use Sunday to prepare for the week ahead. Sunday evening is the perfect time to write down your to-do list for the week. Also, take time to meal plan. Meal planning will save you time when trying to figure out what to make for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

what tips would you include?