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Ready For Fall

Well hello to my GORGEOUS readers (I’m drinking wine so I may or may not, but probably do have my beer goggles on).

It has been one looooooooong summer and I am so ready for fall (and no, it is not because of “pumpkin spice latte” season…geez, I’m not THAT much of the stereotypical white girl).

Summer sucks for the following reasons:

  • Any temperature over 85 degrees is miserable.  I already know I am going to “Hell”, I don’t need to get acclimated to the temps yet.
  • anigif_enhanced-buzz-29343-1373055715-0Wildfire season.
  • Bugs.
  • Bikinis (I gained 15 pounds this summer, so even a moo moo was hard to squeeze into).

P and I also had a very expensive summer.  With a summer mix tape that included songs like “Not Cooking At Home Boo (Too Hot To Turn On The Oven)”, “Oh SH$# My Car Broke Down…Again”, “We Broke As F&%$, But Let’s Go Out Of Town Anyway”, and the always classic “Sipping On $8.00 Beers With Our Friends (You Only Live Once) Remix” our debt has gotten out of control.chow-yun-fat-lighting-cigarette-with-burning-money

Why is it that I always feel like we take two steps forward with our debt promptly followed by two steps back?

Whoa…

Holy late 1980’s Pop Song Epiphany Batman!

I just realized when it comes to how P and I view money, I am Paula Abdul and P is that cartoon fox with the wife beater and suspenders (it is a fox, right?) in the classic “Opposites Attract” video.

See?  Who needs therapy when some old school Paula vibes will suffice?!

Back to what this blog is about:  Fall!!!!

This is what I LOVE about fall:

  • Soup.
  • Hot chocolate.
  • Boot weather.
  • Football season (Go Hawks).
  • Leaves changing.
  • Bugs dying.
  • Halloween.
  • Clothing that covers everything is finally acceptable to wear once more.full-body-sweater
  • Blissfully making the transition from summer social butterfly to spinning a hermit cocoon for the fall.

I LOVE FALL!!!!!

Can’t wait to drop some lbs and save some monies (not a typo, just had to drop a rhyme) this fall!

Ang

5 Simple Ways To Start Getting Out Of Debt Now

After years of drowning in credit card debt and student loan debt, this gal started a blog 2 years ago in the hopes of chronically her journey to becoming debt free.

2 years later…

Well, shit!!!   I am still in debt but at least my head is finally above water enough to breathe again.  Ahhhhh.

Even though there is still a loooooong way to go for me to becoming debt free, my debt is dwindling little by little each month.  If you can relate to being in debt (which according to an article published by nerdwallet.com most of you can) I would like to share some simple things that YOU can do NOW (God, don’t you just love the power of capping specific words) in order to get out of debt sooner rather than later.

1.  Get Honest.

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Though I am sure there is a more eloquent way of expressing this step, to put it simply this step sucks donkey balls.

Get honest with yourself.  Get honest with your partner if you share (or are planning to share) finances.  Find out how much you owe, to whom you owe it, and how much interest you are getting slapped with each month.

Yes, this means opening up that stack of mail you have been avoiding.

Yes, this means getting on the phone and trying to lower your interest rates.

Yes, this means being proactive about your money…or lack thereof.

2.  Put Those Credit Cards On Ice.

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Saw this trick in one of my fave guilty pleasure movies Confessions of a Shopaholic.  Any credit card you have in the house, freeze it.

Now.

If by chance you don’t heed my advice, think of it like this:  Credit cards are like the Kardashians.   Evil, vile things made of plastic that do more harm than good for the American public.

3.  Cut Off Your Cable.

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This step sucks too, but only initially.

Do I miss my DVR?  On Demand?  Bravo?  Yes, yes, and sweet Jesus, YES!

By shutting off the cable, am I saving money?  Am I still breathing?  Did life continue to go on?  Yes, yes, and YES!

My husband and I shut off our cable last spring and we ended up saving an additional $70.00 a month.  That is an additional $840 a year we can put towards our debt.

With options like Netflix, hulu and youtube do any of us really need cable?

4.  Staying In To Eat.

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It is amazing to me how much it costs to go out to eat.  I didn’t realize it was an issue for our household until my husband and I had an epiphany a few summers ago.  We could not figure out where our money was going each month.  When I went back a few months to review our bank records (step 1, getting honest) I was shocked to learn that we had been spending an average of $1,000 a month on eating at restaurants and going to bars with friends!  Shocking and also embarrassing.  Now we try to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner ourselves 85% of the time.  That extra money we save goes to extra payments on our debt.  You live and you learn.

5.  Start Now.

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When it comes to getting out of debt, it is a marathon, not a sprint.  Unless of course you win the lottery, then getting debt free is a sprint.  A beautiful sprint that ends up with beachfront property in Maui, and with a pool that comes with a pool boy named Fernando with washboard abs and an ass you can bounce a quarter off of…errr…sorry, got off topic.

Where were we?  Oh yes, start getting debt free by making small changes in your everyday life.

If you go to Starbucks twice a week, change it to once a week.  Then cut it down to just a monthly visit.

If you make it a habit to routinely go out to dinner with friends/family and order an appetizer, an entree and a couple of cocktails, cut it down.  Opt for just an appetizer or entree and a water (alcohol is waaaaay more expensive at bars/restaurants, and people won’t judge you as much when you down a few drinks in the privacy of your own home).  Not only are you cutting down on the price BUT you are cutting down on calories too.  Win-win.

Instead of going to an expensive salon, try out a beauty school instead.  This past fall, I got a great haircut for $10!

Prioritize what your “wants” are vs. your “needs”.

You will be feeling like a baller as your debt gets smaller.

Thanks for reading!  Now go get honest with your bad self!

Ang

Also, don’t hesitate to like my facebook page and follow me on instagram!

Sunday Quotes: The Child Within

Good Sunday Morning to you all!

Anyone else out there feel a little lost?  I definitely feel like I am lacking some focus and direction in my life.  The last time I felt this lost was over 10 years ago when my heart got broken for the very first time.  After what felt like years (but in all actuality was only weeks) of feeling depressed and very alone, I stumbled into a book store which had some self-help (*shudder*) books about depression and rediscovering your child within.  In one of many moments of weakness during that period of time, I bought it.  And do you want to know something?  Surprisingly, the book actually helped.  After reading it, I realized that as children we just keep it simple.  We play, we explore, we try everything and we most definitely live in the moment!  There is nothing more confident and honest than the mind of a child.

Then life happens.

Doubt happens.

Rejection happens.

Failure happens.

Heartbreak happens.

The child within us gets smaller and smaller and that child’s voice turns into merely a whisper.

Needless to say the book I bought a decade ago actually helped me rediscover what I loved doing as a kid and to live in the moment more.  May need to dig that book back up again, dust it off and rediscover the child within.

Thanks all for reading!

Ang

Let the snowball roll

This morning we finally paid off P’s dental bill!!!!  Gif3With this last unexpected expense finally paid, we can get our debt snowball rocking and rolling to start paying off all our other debt (credit card, student loan, car payments, mortgage…the usual).

If you aren’t familiar with Dave Ramsey’s snowball method to get out of debt, let me break it down for you.

You write down all your debt starting with smallest to largest.  By the way, this is definitely the most cringeworthy part of the process (it is nauseating to see all of your debt on one piece of paper).

So for example, our debt from smallest to largest goes like this:

P’s dental bill.

My student loan.

Credit card.

P’s student loan.

Jeep loan.

Mortgage.

You pay the minimum payments on all of the debt except the smallest debt.  Any extra money you have during the month is put towards the smallest bill along with your minimum monthly payment.  Once the smallest debt is paid off  you then start to tackle the new smallest debt (which for us would be my student loan).  So next month I can put the dental bill payment (which was $225/mo…I really need to introduce P to floss) as well as any extra money we can come up with and pay that amount in addition to my minimum student loan payment I already make (which is currently $150/mo).

giphyBreathe. Save. Repeat.

With one debt gone, I am sure that I am going to be able to sleep a little bit better this Labor Day weekend.

Hope you all have a frugal weekend!

Ang

Valentine’s Day Deciphered

Valentine’s Day is here, and if you are in a relationship that means you will be receiving a gift or two from your honey.  The gift is great and all, but what is your sweetie really telling you this Valentine’s Day with the gift they give you?  Read on for some clarity.

Cards: 

  • Cards With Just Your Valentine’s Signature:  You are awesome as a friend but I don’t want to see you naked OR I’m just too lazy to write anything besides my name so now I definitely won’t see you naked.
  • Card With A Personalized Love Note: You are so very special to me.

Balloons:  You are just swell so let’s get silly and inhale this helium.

Chocolate:

  • Cheap Chocolate:  I hate you.
  • Expensive Chocolate:  love you.

Dinner:

  • Homemade:  I love you and let’s run the risk of food poisoning so we can have an intimate night at home.
  • Restaurant:  love you and I love food, so why not make this a really delicious threesome in public?!

Movie:

  • If You Get To Pick:  I would love to pick the movie, but I love you more.
  • If Your Valentine Picks:  I would love to pick the movie, so I will because I love me more.

Wine:  Drink up and let’s get naked before you pass out.

A stuffed animal holding a heart:  I forgot about Valentines Day until 10 minutes ago, so I picked this up at the gas station along with my 6-pack of beer AND I would really love to be single again and move back in with my Mom.

Lingerie:  I find you to be the most attractive person on this planet, now put this on so I can take it off.

Jewelry:  I am wooing the Fruit of the Looms off of you as we speak.

Flowers:

  • At Work:  I love you so much I want the whole world to know.
  • At Home:  I don’t have to tell the whole world how much I love because you already know.

Anything Not On This List:  Our love is not traditional, so why should my gift be?

Hope this gift guide helps and wishing everyone a very “love”ly Valentine’s Day!

Ang

Special thanks to Trish and Ally for helping me with ideas for this blog!  Thanks ladies!

Life’s Jarring Moments

So I must begin this post by stating that this is not an original idea of mine by any means but it is simple, fun and most importantly FREE! Towards the end of 2012, a facebook friend of mine posted this idea from pinterest and I saw it and thought to myself “That is a fantabulous idea and I will do it for 2013”.  Then something tragic (and by “tragic” I mean “typical”) happened:  2013 came and went and I didn’t do it.  However, redemption came in the form of 2014, a new year full of opportunities to do all of the things I procrastinated at doing in 2013.  With all of that being stated and without further ado, I would like to present to you the idea that is now  a reality (I wish there was a way to accurately type  drum roll sounds):

THE 2014 GOOD TIMES JAR

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So the idea is simple.  Put all of your memorable moments of the year on a slip of paper and stick it in the jar (if you don’t have a jar use a vase, or a glass, or just about anything that you can stick things in).  At the end of the year you open the jar, vase, glass, or stick things in thing and relive all of the best/funniest/memorable moments of 2014.  You can use your jar to help write your Christmas letter or just bust it out New Year’s Eve and read them all with a bottle…errrr…glass of wine.  Maybe at the end of the year you can read them then light them on fire as a symbolic “Out with the old, in with the new” gesture.

Obviously you see my 2014 Good Times Jar in the picture above.  Why name it that?  The answer is simple, I had a sticker that said “Good Times” on it that fit the size of the jar.  I am using my jar to celebrate all things memorable in 2014 (focusing on the funny and positive) and happy to announce that I am sticking my first piece of paper in there with today’s date.

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Yes, it’s true.  I flashed my entire office.  My pants caught on my car door this morning and I thought I heard a rip.  Upon inspection with my hand I noticed that it was just a simple button popping off of the back, and went about my merry 30 minute commute.  At the start of my shift I was up and walking around the entire office doing a little bit of this and that (side note:  working in the “this and that” business is pretty awesome).  It seemed a little drafty, but our office is always cold in the mornings.  About 45 minutes into the day, a co-worker summoned me to her desk and asked if my pants had a rip in the butt.  I reached back and my blue granny panties and a hint of cellulite touched my hand.  My butt was completely hanging out of my pants!!!!  She ended it on a high note by saying “At least you are wearing underwear”.  Ugggggghhhhh.  Thank you baby Jesus I had my gym bag in the car with some long yoga pants that I could change into!

Despite the humiliation,  I am proud to document that January 9, 2014, I survived exposing my undies to a very cool breeze and some concerned onlookers (the plus side is that at least I don’t work with the public).

Thank you again for spending your time reading this little blog of mine and maybe you will join me in life’s “jar“ring moments of 2014!

Ang

10 Things Not So Fancy BUT Free

Egads!  Life has a way of deciding to be expensive at inopportune times.  So this gal is sick of talking about money, thinking about money and looking at money.  I even took Billy Idol’s “Mony Mony” off my  workout playlist because it reminded me too much of the word “money”.  Needless to say this blog is not about money (spending or saving it) it is about all things free.

Free.  Nothing is for free anymore right?  Wrong.  I came up with a creative list of ways to bide your time until spending money is an option for fun again.  Until then, I hope this list helps.

1.  Sleep.  Not only is sleep 100% free BUT it is so easy you can do it laying down (bah dum chi).  There is also the bonus of dreaming.  Now dreaming is also free but it comes with a downside.  If it is a good dream, it must come to an end.  If it is a bad dream, then you just don’t have a good night’s rest.  Sleep fits into anyone’s budget.

2.  Daydreaming.  Though this is not as rejuvenating as number 1 on my list it has the perk of you being in the driver’s seat of your daydream.  You can steer your daydream anyway you want.  For instance just today (when I may or may not have been working) I was thinking about the Seahawks.  They are good this year.  Really good.  Just maybe good enough to go all the way.  Oh wait, I am daydreaming and have full control of this situation so they just WON THE SUPER BOWL! Side note to Richard Sherman:  You complete me.

3.  Playing with yourself (oh God, I meant playing “by” yourself not playing “with” yourself, but no judgement if you take it that way).  Spend some alone time with you.  After all, you are with yourself 24/7, so you better get to loving yourself.  Go window shopping, take a stroll, or make yourself a nice bubble bath.  Spend time with you.

4.  Vent to a friend.  Venting to a friend is therapy.  It is always good to stay positive, but sometimes you just have to lay out on the table what is irking you.  It is healthy and normal to “irk”.

5.  Throw a pity party for one.  This one isn’t fun BUT it is free.  I think all of us have those moments when we question what we are doing with our lives.  Self-doubt starts to enter our thoughts and all of a sudden you are the only one who RSVP’d to your pity party.

TMI ALERT: A personal example happened to me a few weeks ago when I was in the midst of being my own worst enemy and thinking to myself that I wasn’t thin enough, pretty enough and worst of all not living up to my true potential (just to give you an idea of the incredibly pathetic state I was in I was watching Lifetime’s “The Anna Nicole Smith Story”).  To make matters worse P was in his man cave playing GTA V and I could hear some sort of lady of the night whispering something about baby oil.  Why were the women in GTA V more appealing than me?  Why would he rather escape to a world where women could be controlled with a button vs. being with me and having me bawling my eyes out about all of my insecurities and talk about how much cellulite I have on my…hmmmmm.  I guess I would pick the ladies in GTA V over me after writing this out.  Come to think of it, just ignore this one in the list.

6.  Move.  Psssst.  I have a secret to tell you.  Exercise is free.  There are always a million excuses not to do it ( I think I personally have used all million of them) but if you take the time to just move it is worth it.  Who can’t afford a quick 10 minute walk?  As a matter of fact do some lunges as you are reading this blog.  Get up and get down with your bad self!

7.  Cleaning.  Though 7 is my favorite number, number 7 is not my fave on this list but is free.  Vacuuming “sucks” while your doing it (see what I did there) but it does feel good to have been productive with your day and to look upon a clean house.

8.  Explore your DVD collection.  Currently I am getting lost in Lost.  P has all of the seasons on Blu-ray, but I have never actually watched the show.  Currently I am in the midst of the “black smoke” of Season 2.   So go find an old movie/tv show that is in your basement or garage and get to watching.  Side note:  If anyone spoils the show for me, I swear on all that is Mr. Eko I will go Sayid on your ass. 

9.  Be a kid for a day.  Remember when life was much more simple as a kid?  I know I had to get inventive with things to do with my time, but I remember it was all fun and FREE.  I loved to write and journal.  I loved to belt to Mariah Carey songs and make everything a microphone while serenading myself in the mirror.  I loved to dance and draw and take pictures.  Find that inner child and go be a kid, if not for a day, for just a few hours.

10.  Find the silver lining.  Life happens, bills happen, stress happens, and a huge majority of things happen for a reason.  So when life throws you little things like emergency root canals or needing new tires for a jeep or people spoiling the new Walking Dead episodes on facebook before you get a chance to watch them, just remember someone ALWAYS has it a whole lot worse than you do and just breathe.

Signing off while searching for that silver lining and taking deep breathes,

Ang

P.S. Thanks for reading and please, please, please no LOST spoilers.

Thirty Dollars Or Less: 1 street fair, 2 gals and a hell of a lot of mason jars

O to the M to the G!  Very excited to present my first post about dates for 2 under $30.00.  This post is all about celebrating a very belated birthday for my girlfriend Alexis*.

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(Actual picture of Alexis*…and to all of my eligible male readers out there, she is single and ready to mingle and even more ready to kill me for just writing that)

Alexis had a birthday at the beginning of the month but for various reasons we weren’t able to connect  and celebrate it until this past Saturday.  So we did, all on a Hamilton and a Jackson y’all (in case you don’t speak white girl gansta, that means a $10.00 bill and a $20.00 bill you all).

First stop:  Lunch.  We met at Red Robin and had a great meal.  She had a petite burger and I noshed on their $3.00 classic mini wedge salad (yum) and their $5.00 pretzel bites (double yum).  She talked about a certain boy in her life, pinterest and mason jars. I talked about my cat.  We also talked about Syria (okay we didn’t, we talked more about those damn mason jars on pinterest).

Finished our meal and got the bill.  This gal was able to take her girlfriend out for her birthday (tip included) for $23.91. Alexis my girl, you are one cheap date (I mean that in the nicest way possible).  Our girl date was starting off just swell and I still had $6.00 to spare.

Next stop:  An unexpected street fair just behind Red Robin.  Neither of us knew this was going on so it was an added perk to our girl date.  Street fairs are perfect for walking off a meal at Red Robin, people watching and window shopping.

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We found a cute boutique (which is French for “cute but ridiculously overpriced”) and wandered in.  What was there to greet us?  MASON JARS.  So many mason jars.  Mason jars as wine glasses, bride/groom glasses, shot glasses.  Mason jars were everywhere.  I even suggested to Alexis she should go as a mason jar for Halloween this year.  Who knew these glass containers were such a “thing”?  Pinterest knew it was a thing and so did Alexis.  This blogger wasn’t in the know and it was time to step away from the store with all the mason jars and get back to the street fair and fresh air.

Though it was a particularly  overcast day, we found some beautiful scenery to enjoy.

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It did get a little chilly so Starbucks was calling our names.

Last stop:  Starbucks.  We each got a small…oops, I mean “tall” drink.  Alexis pulled out a gift card with a couple bucks on it and the total came to:  Well I can’t find my stupid Starbucks receipt but it was $2 or $3 something or other.

Regardless,  the entire date was less than $30.00.

Hope you liked this new feature on my blog and let me know what you think!

Comment below, e-mail me @thefrugoal@gmail.com or tweet me @frugoal

Thanks for reading!

Ang

*Alexis may or may not (but probably is) her real name

Damsel In De-mess

I must preface this post with the following:  If you are a type A personality where everything in your house has a place to call home and even your chotskies are in perfect order this post is NOT for you (but since I adore you for even starting to read my blog, please keep reading).  It is for those of us who live a cluttered and disorganized existence.  Much like my cup size, my personality is very much a B.  Possessing a type B personality is great in a lot of aspects (a cup size B, not so much…this girl has to pay for a lot of her own drinks when she goes to da club).  We type B personalities balance out work with fun, we don’t take life too seriously, and household chores…forgeddaboutit… cuts into our playtime.  However (cue Sarah McLachlan music) being a type B has a downside.  It is confusing, cluttered and exhausting at times.  Being a type B results in an office that can look like this:

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(Pretty accurate dramatization of what the author’s home office really looks like)

Overwhelming right?  Well if my finances…wait don’t close out this tab yet!  I know,  the word “finances” creates instant boredom and makes you want to stop reading this and go on to more important internet happenings, so let me share an antidote with you so you will keep reading.  The word “finances” kind of sounds like “fine a*#es” so if you need to swap out one word for the other to continue reading please do (I won’t mind).  Now, where were we, oh yes, “finances” (more interesting read already).  If I were a type A personality, my desk would be orderly, no bills would be lost or forgotten and I wouldn’t be surrounded by a mountain of debt (figuratively and literally).  Coulda, woulda, shoulda.  The reality is my desk is not clean nor is it organized.  Due to my reality, I have lost bills and my mind on multiple occasions.  If I want my finances in order, it would make a whole lot of sense to keep the space where anything and everything dealing with finances goes to get sorted and paid:  My home office.  So let’s get organized!

How?  Well where does one go to seek advice/help/tips on anything in life?  The one place that is always reliable, dependable, and would never lead me astray:  Google.  So I googled and googled and after a few minutes found an article called “De-cluttered Desk Equals Happiness” on the National Women’s Holistic Institute website.  Perfect!  My desk is the definition of cluttered and anything that equals happiness has to be good…right?  What made this article even more perfect was that I was a woman who lived nationally, who has a lifestyle (albeit cluttered one) and I have holes (mainly one that gets me into trouble and one that gets me out of trouble)  That is what “holistic” means right?

Dirty jokes aside, it is time to get my desk happy and de-cluttered.  Who is with me?!

If you want to join me on this de-clutter venture here is a link to the article I mentioned:

http://www.womensholisticlifestyle.com/2013/03/de-cluttered-desk-equals-happiness/