video: off the shelf reviews – battle of the budget books

I’ve been on a financial planning/budgeting kick for a few months. I want to make 2019 the year I up my investing game and the first place to start is research. Here are four of the best books I’ve read so far — these are practical, useful, and provide just enough insight to help you get started on a debt-free journey, and detailed enough to help a first time investor understand the finance lingo.

MENTIONED

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
Women and Money by Suze Orman
Broke Millennial by Erin Lowry
The Financial Diet: A Total Beginner’s Guide to Getting Good with Money by Chelsea Fagan and Lauren Ver Hage

What are your favorite budget/finance books? Comment below! I’m always looking for recommendations.

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video: how I budget

In my Happy Planner review, I mentioned that I combine the Happy Planner budget tracker with a cash envelope and the EveryDollar app to take control of my spending. Today’s video is on the how and why of it – how I budget, why I do it, and what I want to get out of it.

Are you on a debt-free journey? How do you keep track of your spending?

MENTIONED

5 things: habits

five things

We’re well into the new year by now and I’m making some serious progress on my 2019 goals or, rather, habits. That’s right. I’m making ch-ch-changes this year, especially when it comes to spending.

Here are 5 things [habits] I adopted in 2019:

budget tracking and cash flow

I’m not a huge spender, but I’ve become a bit lax when it comes to being accountable for my spending. I decided to change that and adopted a new cash flow app (EveryDollar), combined this with a paper tracker (the Happy Planner budget insert), and returned to a system that worked for me a few years ago: cash budgeting. I don’t use cash for every purchase, but by sticking to a budget, I have a better sense of where my money is going and the purchases that serve me well.

not buying coffee (unless I make it worth my while)

I mentioned this in a previous post, but I’m brewing my own coffee while at work. There’s a Starbucks in my building. The temptation is real and one that led me down the debt rabbit-hole when I was a low-paid college student with a caffeine habit and a credit card for “emergencies”. I’m not saying lattes will destroy your credit, but it’s such an easy habit to adjust. At home, I have a milk steamer/frother and all the coffee-making implements I need for a bougie blended drink. At work, I have a french press, a pack of instant (for when I’m lazy), and my favorite creamer. If I really want a latte, it has to be worth the $5 for the non-dairy milk.

meal prepping

Meal prepping comes with an added benefit: time-saving. I was a big meal-prepper when I was working on food intolerances a few years ago, but I fell of the wagon. Hard. Food is one of the areas where I spend the most money and it’s another one that’s easy to change. Part of my cash budget includes restaurant-spending, so I’m setting a limit that covers me for a few meals/dates each month. All other meals are prepped at home, usually with the help of my InstantPot (a life-changing bit of magic). Going mostly plant-based has also helped because cheaper, faster meals.
re-finding a fitness routine

Much like the meal-prepping, I fell off the regular fitness habit. I have reasons, mostly physical, some mental-health related, but overall, I just felt too tired and achy to workout much when my hormones were out of whack. Now that I’m feeling better (better, not perfect), I’ve started walking longer distances, running (occasionally), and reviving my relationship with yoga. I’ve also been doing the LoveSweatFitness Daily 10 routines on days when I only have enough energy for 10 minutes of physical activity.

outfit tracking

@lifeingminor is a project with a purpose – to document how I use the pieces in my wardrobe and develop a conscious relationship with the clothing that I own. I’ve been posting consistently for the last two months and recently started adding my project pan  updates. It’s another way to take control of my spending and better appreciate the pieces I bring into my home.

 

loves & latest: February 18, 2019

monday musings

Goals edition

Loves

Reads

Personal finance books 

2019 is the year when I focus on building wealth. Yep. That’s the plan. I have a solid relationship with money and live relatively debt-free (which means, I pay off credit card debt within a reasonable amount of time, generally 1-3 cycles, depending on my budget). I have an emergency fund and committed to using a cash budget for regular expenses; now it’s time to focus on investing, so I’m reading all the things.

Video on my favorites coming in March.

Beauty

Project Pan 2019

More on this to come, but if you watched my makeup capsule, you’ll know that I want to use up what I own and pan at least 2-3 of my products. I have two lipsticks that I’m rotating at the moment (about 80% of the time), and a small eye shadow palette that I would like to hit pan on in the coming months. My goal is to use up what I have and repurchase what I love.

Habits

Using my French press at work

I’m a millennial. I’m destroying my future one latte at a time. (ha!) Jokes aside, $5 a day for my latte habit is not sustainable. To make up for it, I’ve been brewing my own coffee and adding an indulgent creamer (because this is also the year I stop caring about ingredients and start living my best life). Being on a cash budget certainly makes it harder to part with those $5.

Project management

In library land, I always say instruction doesn’t make sense until the point of need. That’s also how I feel about project management tools. I tried to use Trello a few years ago and found it incomprehensible. Now that I’m trying to balance blogging, youtube, podcasting, and writing, it suddenly makes sense. I am addicted and the customizable backgrounds make me happy.


 

Latest

Podcast

bluestocking-circleWe’ve been busy with a season of sci-fi favorites 🙂

Our most recent episodes include:

If you want to hear three lady nerds talk about their favorite books and movies, give us a listen on Podomatic, Apple Podcasts,Google Play, or Spotify. Also available on YouTube.

Follow us @bluesoxcircle on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

video: Happy Planner mini and budget planner – 1 month review

A look inside my Happy Planner mini (vertical) and Budget Planner sidekick – 1 month review.

I also have a review of the full-size Happy Planner [Girl] + other planners I used in 2018.

A note:
In the video, I say I’m using the “Jordan Sparks” method, what I really mean is the Jordan PAGE method. Whether or not Jordan Sparks has a budgeting method, I dunno.
You can learn more about her method here.

Have you used a vertical planner? How have you made it work? Let me know!

In case you’re wondering, I bought my planners at Michael’s.

life: January – month in review

Month in review January.png

I started a cash budget and managed to stick to it. I also learned that I needed to be more realistic and budget for expenses beyond groceries and outings. The result is a much better sense of where my money is going.

I was insanely busy! Between work commitments, writing goals, working out, and making time for blogging, podcasting, and going out, it’s a miracle I had any time to myself.

I read. A lot. Mostly because all my library books came in at the same time and I had a review to write.

I started documenting my outfits in an effort to get a better sense of my closet and find new ways to pair my clothes. Follow me @lifeingminor (this is the most curated I will ever be)

I started wearing eye shadow again. There is something my skin does not like, but I think I’m closer to finding the culprit after nearly a year without eye product.

How was your January? 

If you want to learn more about any of these projects/goals/etc. and how I manage them, let me know.

life: headspace and budgets

Howdy y’all! So I’m in a weird headspace… literally. Feeling tired, wired, and spacey all at once. In short, I am a squirrel. Kind of manic, but lazy at the same time. Could be hormones, could be the weirdness that comes before a migraine… could be both (probably both). Anyhow, it’s going to be a week.

But back to real talk… I’ve been adulting. It’s been a while since I took a good, hard look at my finances and spending habits. I’ve gone through at least one raise and one rent hike, so it’s about time I take a good look at where my money is going. After several failed attempts at using a cash budget and an online tracker, I’ve decided to just keep a written log of my spending—keeping my receipts, tracking my purchases, and just reviewing where my $ is going at the end of the week, when I’ll pop it into a spreadsheet and tally up the amount. I tried tracking in my bullet journal, but that just didn’t work, so I’m using a dedicated notepad just for spending.

I’m fine when it comes to money, but I would like to scale back and take better control of my spending. Mostly impulse buys… and coffee. That’s kind of a problem, but one I hope to address by building better habits. We’ll see.