Thursday, July 31, 2014
I wanted to do a little weekend recap, even though we are on the brink of another weekend. Just pardon my tardiness.
1. I wanted this weekend to be relaxing and a getaway. So I brought three of the books shown in the picture with me. I love escaping into the book world instead of my own world. Would you believe me if I told you that I actually read two of them and gave the third book a try and decided it wasn't for me. Sorry those who love Firefly Lane, I just couldn't make it through. But come back and I'll tell y'all what I thought about the books.
2. Hell or High Watermelon beer by 21st Amendment Brewery. I saw this on a blog I happened to be reading and I thought, hmm... that sounds pretty good. I especially loved sipping it while looking out at the ocean. It was the perfect summer combination!
3. Saturday was my beach day. We spend the whole day out on the beach, relaxing, playing in the ocean and only getting slightly burnt. Well, the burnt part was only myself, John just tans.
4-6. After dinner on Saturday night we decided to play putt-putt. It was such a fun time. We had never been to that course before, but I had a great time. John and Lisande kept saying how the course wasn't that interesting or challenging. Yet I did manage to beat both of them by quite a few points. All in all it was a great time and we actually went and did some geocaching afterwards! Wonderful day!
One last picture for the road. It was a candid shot while John and I got distracted by a bird in the tree.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
The beach was a blast. I had an amazing time with Lisande and visitor John! Tune in tomorrow to hear more!
Common Discussions: Myrtle Beach
Monday, July 28, 2014
After almost completing the whole No Spend month, I think it's an okay time to reflect on the whole idea of not spending.
I'm so grateful to Katie from Chalk it up to Better Luck for participating with me. I can't speak for her exactly, but I think we both love the idea of dedicating a month to saving and getting our finances in order. And I think we might both agree this July was not the best month to try to not spend. She was in Kentucky having tons of fun and as for me, well, I had lots of things going on as well.
Yes, I went into this month thinking that I was going to be able to stick to my strict budget and do just fine. Budget + Birthday = Budget out window. Plus the fact that I started buying Christmas gifts didn't help any either.
If you total up my regular spending, not including Christmas gifts and other things I knew I was going to exclude from the budget, I spend $70 this month. But because I went a little Michael Kors crazy and I had the wedding and all of those activities, I spent more this month than any other month in a year!
This month little things kept popping up! The storage container I wanted to use for my makeup went on sale for 50% off at Michaels then I got my employee discount on top of that. I saved a lot by buying it now, but still that was $25 I wasn't planning on spending. The same thing happened with Christmas gifts. A ton of things I had my eye on for gifts went on sale a week ago. They wouldn't be this low of a price again. I couldn't let it pass. All those small things add up.
I think the one thing I've learned from this No Spend month is that you can't go willie nillie spending. If you know you are going to buy something anyway and it goes on sale, it's okay to get it. You are saving in the long run. But with that said, it's not okay to get something just because it's on sale. Then you are just spending money that you don't need to be spending. While my Michael Kors handbag I got this month might have been a "I got it because it was cute and a good price" purchase and I spent money that I really didn't need to spend, I am loving it and using it every chance I get.
What are your thoughts on No Spend?
Common Discussions: No Spend July
Friday, July 25, 2014
In my head I'm the fastest reader in the world. But really, that's not true. I think it will take me two or three days to read a book. But in actuality, it takes me at least a week and that's if nothing else is going on. I get caught up in a TV show or hang out with friends. Reading just isn't always the top thing on my list.
So can somebody please help me explain to myself that there is no need to rent four books from the library to take on a four day trip to the beach?! Yes, I brought four books to the beach with me. Granted, I am half way finished with one, but still. That's three books to read in four days. It's not going to happen.
And even though I know I won't get through all of them this week, I'm very excited to read them. I love taking a book out on the beach with me. I get to listen to the ocean while I'm reading about the snow falling in Minnesota or a fallen angel in Georgia.
Speaking of the beach, I think it's a great time to listen to a little Jake Owen while I'm beachin'.
What is left on your reading list for this summer?!
Thursday, July 24, 2014
I often get so caught up in life, I just don't feel like I'm actually living. I feel like I live from work day to work day with very little me time in between. Now don't get me wrong, I have plenty of me time. I just don't take advantage of the free time I have.
Do y'all ever feel like that? You don't know how you spend all your time not at work. Yeah, I pick up my book and read some and I watch Netflix. But what else do I really do?! What else is there to do?
Luckily, I'm getting ready to go on a vacation. I'm excited to get away for a few days with my friend Lisande. We are headed down to South Carolina, one of my favorite places. I will be laying on the beach for one full day so if you want to reach me, you'll have to send a message in a bottle that day!
Common Discussions: Myrtle Beach
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Oh boy, today is going to be a doozy! I'm working on a different team today that requires me to be at the store at 7 am to unpack all the merchandise! From what I hear, they work hard! We'll see how today goes, but for now let's get to Finish This!
I add spice to my life by stepping out of my comfort zone. I just started going with a friend to Game Night and it has really made for a fun time! The last time I went, game night turned into Try to be a Fire Breather Night!
|It didn't work, as you can see|
Bacon is only good if it's turkey bacon! I am one of those weird people that doesn't like the fat on real bacon, so turkey bacon satisfies me!
The perfect meal is when John fixes me Chicken Alfredo or anything on the grill! He's an excellent cook and I can't wait to live with him so he will cook for me more often!
My favorite food to grill is grilled skewers so I can have grilled chicken, onions and fruit all in one meal!
I beat the heat by taking a dip in the ocean! Okay, so that only works when I'm at the beach. Really, I beat the heat by going out early in the morning or later in the evening and only staying out for short periods of time.
Wish me luck today! Hopefully I will do okay with the unpacking process!
Common Discussions: Finish This
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
A few days ago I was visiting with my aunt and she asked me something about being back in college. It really made me start thinking about my days at Longwood and what I miss about it. I absolutely love the four years I spent there. I learned a lot while I was there and not all of it I learned in the classroom! Plus some fun pictures.
Seven. I really grew up when I started "living on my own". I figured out that there was a reason I went to bed at a certain time. 8 am comes really early, and that Australian music professor really isn't that nice to people who sleep in his class!
|Freshman year, walk around Farmville|
Six. You shouldn't eat icing straight out of the container on Superbowl night when you have to get up for an 8am class the next morning! It's not fun to stay up all night on a sugar high!
|Sugar High. Enough said.|
|Jamie, a fellow color guard friend|
|Valentine's Day Festivities|
Three. Things will happen when you need them the most! February 15, a Monday, I drove back to my college after saying bye to my boyfriend at the time. I cried almost the whole hour and a half back to my college before my 9 am class started. On the way from the parking lot to my dorm, I found this banner made by the Princeps (a secret society on campus that leaves good luck items for students to find). This could not have come at a better time to cheer me up!
|Valentine's Day banner|
Two. Sometimes you just have to put yourself out there! There will be people to stand beside you and support you!
|Alpha Chi Sigma Big-Little Reveal|
One. You should always look professional, you never know where your future job may be!
|Abby Scuito from NCIS for Halloween|
Common Discussions: College
Monday, July 21, 2014
Please forgive me as I put myself in the corner of shame for all that I have spent this week! Yes, I crumbled! Katie don't hate me, please! After receiving a Michael Kors handbag for my birthday, I went a little crazy. Along with the actual handbag, I got birthday money. Of course, birthday money means I get to spend it! So I went to TJ Maxx to see if I could find a Michael Kors wallet. I didn't find the wallet, but I found this adorable little blue handbag for $80 (originally $228 designer price). I just couldn't let it go; it came home with me.
Welcome to the post of shame version of No Spend July! While I stand here in guilt, I will tell y'all all about how I plan to not break the bank for Christmas gifts. While you're at it, check out how Katie is doing with her spending. Hopefully she is being better than I am!
My research of no spend and savings on Pinterest led me to some pretty interesting ways to save while living on a budget. One blog (Kosher on a Budget) had a very wonderful concept called "Sink Funds" that I am starting to practice.
Sink Funds are money you set aside each month to cover annual or semi-annual bills that you know will come up.
I read and researched different ways to hold your money in sink funds but I didn't really think I needed anything too fancy. Some people are very into banking and know all the great places to have savings accounts with sub accounts and very technical stuff. For me, a savings account at my local credit union works just fine. There's a low minimum requirement with no fees, so it's perfect for me. I can even name my accounts online so I will know exactly what the funds are for.
So what kind of sink funds do people have you might ask?! Kosher on a Budget set up 14 sink funds that works for their family. Some of their funds are family gifts, car insurance, emergency, computer, vacation as well as 9 other types of funds. Personally, I don't have that many bills as of yet so I only need two sink funds so far: Christmas/random gifts and wedding.
Christmas/Random Gifts: I have already started to plan out my gifts for Christmas this year. Heck, I've already bought a few! But I took my budget I am planning for each person added it up with a little extra for birthday gifts between now and Christmas and divided that by the months I have left (5 to be exact). I should be in good shape for all the gifts for the rest of the year thanks to this.
Wedding: This is a little more difficult because I don't know exactly how much money I working towards saving. I've taken the zero balance approach to this. I've set a specific amount that I call $0 and I won't go below that number. My zero is my few bills plus $400. So when the month is over I zero my account out to that balance and put the extra in savings for the wedding. It might not be the most efficient way to save, but it is working well for me.
I think having some sink funds will definitely help me with my savings and not pulling too much from my every day budget. Everybody's budget and personal fiances are different so this might not work too well for you. I get motivated when I see my savings numbers go up!
Don't forget to check out Katie's blog, Chalk it Up to Better Luck, and wish her luck for the fall semester at UNLV!
Friday, July 18, 2014
Girl with Saturday Free
Dear Firefly Lane,
While you had quite a few great reviews, I'm finding you to be a little slow and harder to get into. I'm still going to give you a bit of a chance. Please don't disappoint.
Tired of reading
Dear Michael Kors bag,
I can't wait to take you out and show you off! It will happen soon. Mark my words!
New MK owner
Dear Peanut M&Ms,
Why must you be so delicious and tempting?! I just can't say no to you when I open up the pantry. You are my weakness. MUST SAY NO!
First of all, I'm super excited about ball. I've been thinking non-stop about what dress I will get. Secondly, I think if you want a new truck you should get it. But make sure it runs well and will last!
Common Discussions: Friday Letters
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Do y'all remember a while back when Jane from Poppiness formerly Taingamala hosted Insta Tuesday? You linked up your Instagram pictures from the week and it was a complete blast looking at every bodies pictures. I miss that link up. So because I missed it so much, I decided to share my week through pictures!
1. This is Bo and I. Bo didn't want to sit still long enough for me to get our picture. Even if he didn't want to take a picture with me, I still love spending time with him and Christy.
2. As I have briefly mentioned in the past, I was a bridesmaid for my best Friend Becca's wedding. This super cute cup was part of my the gifts she got us. It has our names and bridesmaid on it. You can't tell me this isn't cute! I've used it ever since I got it on Friday.
3. The day of the wedding, we got to the church at noon for the 4pm wedding. We had a little extra time to relax, so after doing our makeup, Becca and I got a wedding day selfie. Don't we look great?!
4. After a beautiful ceremony, some pictures, and getting lost on the way to the reception, I was finally able to enjoy the reception with some of my best friends. Lisande, Becca and I posed in the beautiful garden behind the country club.
5. My beautiful bouquet that I got to keep from Becca's wedding. It is currently sitting in a vase in my room. Every time I look at it, I think how I might like to use sunflowers in my bouquets for my wedding.
6. Tuesday I went out shopping with mom for my birthday. I found 3 cute white dressed while we were shopping at Kohl's (did I mention I love shopping there?!) I tried all 3 of them on but ultimately fell in love with this one! It was super cute and fit well too!
7. Back when John and I went down to Keesler AFB for his eye surgery, we stopped in the BX to look around one day. I found this beautiful Michael Kors handbag that I loved. I've been eyeing them every since. But because I didn't want to drop nearly $300 on one, I just wrote it off. That was until Mom and Dad got me one for my birthday! I'll be sure to go into more detail later!
I really think sharing pictures needs to be a thing again. Anybody else agree?!
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
The only thing standing between me and a computer is a few months of savings! I've been really, really wanting a new computer. My computer is a Dell Mini operating on XP without any further updates. I think a new computer is needed!
I don’t have to be perfect to be me! My friends and family love me for who I am. I don't think they would want me to be perfect and honestly I think that would be boring!
I would improve my healthy by exercising more frequently. I've been a little bogged down by my job and life and haven't really put much into exercising and my health. I need to change that.
Linking up with Finish This!
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
It's my birthday! I'm full of all kinds of birthdays over here at American Honey! Yep, that's right, today is my birthday! Surprisingly I don't have anything special planned. I did want to go to Wine and Design, but I can't seem to find a painting that I want to do that fits into my schedule.
I think tonight we might be going over to Longhorn Steakhouse to celebrate. I'm pretty sure I won't get a cool cake like I did for my 22nd birthday, but that's alright. It was a really cool cake though!
I'll try to stay out of trouble whatever I do!
Common Discussions: birthday
Monday, July 14, 2014
Hello again, and welcome to another week of No Spend July! Katie and I are almost half way through the month! I can't believe time is going by so quickly. I'm not sure about how Katie feels, but I feel like I was just starting to plan for the No Spend month!
Let me tell you one thing though, I didn't plan this month very well. I am not saying that I'm doing horrible at my no spend month. I'm just saying that a month that includes my best friend's wedding, my birthday and a trip to the beach makes for a lot more money spent than I expected! But with that said, I am about half way through my planned budget. So I suppose I'm not doing so bad.
This month I decided I was going to use cash for most of my daily expenses excluding getting gas for my car. It is a good thing I planned it that way because my bank card decided to not work anymore. I went to get gas last Wednesday and after having trouble with the pump accepting my loyalty card that gets me an extra 3 cents off per gallon I went inside to pay. When I got inside, my loyalty card was accepted but when I swiped my debit card, it rang up as not allowed. I thought maybe it wasn't accepting it because I was trying to put too much money on it... $50 (as a side note, I will never let my car get to empty again, that's too much money at one time!) Finally I used a card with my USAA account and it went through.
I didn't think a whole lot about the gas situation at the time until I went out on Friday. The lovely bride and I went to get our nails done and have some lunch. I paid cash for my nails but didn't have enough cash left over for my lunch bill, so I went to pay with my card. Our waitress came back and said that my card said the purchase was not allowed. I was embarrassed, though the waitress said it wasn't declined, it just wasn't accepting it. I again paid with my other card. Needless to say, today I will be visiting my bank to get it straightened out.
Anyway, today I wanted to share with you one of the fun ways I decided to start saving money. A portion of my paycheck automatically goes into a savings account, but I wanted to save a little extra in a fun way. So I announce the 52 Week Saving Challenge. It's been all over Pinterest, so it's not new, but I thought it was a cool way to save.
I started my savings the week I started my new job. So far I'm still into it and also using it as a change jar for all of my extra change from my cash purchases this month. Yesterday was Week 9 and I added my $9 to the jar. Normally that would make $45 total, but because of the extra change I put in, I have $50 there so far! If you were to strictly stick to the plan, you would end with $1,378. Though I'm hoping by the end I'll have closer to $2000 in my jar (or the bank because I won't want that much money in a jar).
Hopefully next week, I'll have great news about my spending for the past week and my debit card will be working again! And don't forget to check out how Katie is doing!
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Two years ago today American Honey was born! I honestly can't believe the blog has been alive this long! This has been such a wonderful experience and I can't wait to continue this journey. I love making new friends and sharing experiences.
I am so thankful for y'all! Thanks for following me on my journey, and all of y'alls continued support! I can't wait to see where another year takes me!
Common Discussions: Blog
Friday, July 11, 2014
Today I had planned to talk all about John and his career. Telling y'all about how much he loves being in the Air Force and how he is going places. Well, he loves being in the Air Force and he still will be going places, he just won't be a Staff Sergeant this round.
He seems to be taking it okay, but how can he not be a little disappointed?! When we talked yesterday about it I told him how something better must be planned. The pieces of the puzzle will fall into place and getting Staff just wasn't in the pieces for his immediate future. God must have a plan, even if it's now how we imagined it happening.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
I'm one of those gals who liked to dabble in a little bit of everything. I love crocheting, painting, quilting, stained glass, cross stitching, scrapbooking and probably a few more things I am forgetting. Even though I love each of them, I go through fazes. I will work on one craft for a while then move on to another one.
Two years ago I started a scrapbook for John and I. At the time, I was completely gun-ho about it. I printed out tons of pictures and got lots of paper and fun stuff. Unfortunately, my printer ran out of ink for pictures and the scrapbook and all of it's components became dust collectors.
Recently I finally bought new cartridges for my printer and I started scrapbooking again! It feels good to be putting memories down to be kept forever. It's like writing my own history. I might be a little dramatic, but I already look back at the scrapbook and think how I forgot about that date, or remember a small moment that I would have forgotten otherwise.
I really love being creative and making my own scrapbook, but recently I've been wondering if I should try Smash Book or Project Life. Whenever I pull out my scrapbooking gear, I feel so un-creative. Like I can't come up with a cute layout or fun titles. It just feels so blah. When I think about other scrapbook options like Smash Book, I worry that it could be just as time consuming as making a full scrapbook, but Project Life might be a little too constricted for my creativity. Maybe I'm just too picky!
Do y'all scrapbook?
What do y'all use to hold all your memories?
Linking up with Nicole at Treasure Tromp
Common Discussions: Crafts
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
I woke up extra early Friday morning thanks to my lovely puppy dogs. The sky was dark and cloudy, I was worried it would cancel the cookout. Luckily it cleared up and turned out to be a beautiful day.
I loved the drive down to Hampton. Back roads offer little traffic with such a beautiful scenic views. When we got to the Paradise Ocean Club it was getting to be dinner. I was glad they had all you could eat hot dogs and hamburgers. With our admission, we got three drink tickets. I had Bud Light with lime. It was the best of what they had to offer.
After we ate, we went to listen to the band a little and dance. It was so much fun getting out there and getting my boogie on. I relearned how to do the biker's shuffle. We danced until the very end. It was such a good evening to a great day.
Some of these pictures were from my first attempt at a fashion / OOTD post. Let me know what you think.
Common Discussions: Fashion
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
I had heard about Journey Through Deployment on Pinterest and thought it could be a very helpful resource when that unfortunate deployment time came. So when I was contacted by Kathryn to review her book, I couldn't believe I could be so lucky.
Journey Through Deployment: Stepping Forward with Confidence During Military Separations
Author: Kathryn Sneed
Rating: 4 stars
From the first moment your spouse (or significant other) comes home and tells you he's being deployed to the homecoming and reintegration, this book covers it all! Journey Through Deployment is chalked full of helpful advice. Not only does it have advice about getting through deployment, but it also has personal stories from Kathryn and other wonderful military spouses.
As a future military spouse, one of my greatest fears is deployment. After reading this book, some of my fears have been calmed, others heightened a little. The main thing from this book that calmed me was the idea that women have done it before, and made it through but mainly, you are not alone in this journey. You have family and friends and other military spouses to help you out! Knowing that others are willing to help leaves my mind at peace.
I loved Journey Through Deployment because it is real; it isn't just a stuffy self-help book. As you turn the pages, the tears will roll down your face as you can imagine the same situations happening to yourself or your friends. It made me want to be a better friend to my best friend, currently going through deployment. It helped me realized that just a simple phone call, hug, and quality time spent together can mean more than I ever imagined.
This book is a wonderful resource, just like I thought it would be. It is a book I am glad I read and will re-read once deployment gets closer. I believe Journey Through Deployment will be most helpful for girlfriends, fiances, and new military wives who are new to deployment. While it might be most helpful to those who are on a first time deployment, I can also see how having the reassurance and advice to lean back on could also help more seasoned wives.
I've already recommended this book to my best friend. Pick this book up, I promise you won't regret it.
*I was given this book for free in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.
Monday, July 7, 2014
Welcome to the first update of No Spend July with Katie and I. I hope y'all had a wonderful fourth! Mine was pretty awesome. But I'll get into that a little later. For right now, let's talk money!
I suppose if I were strictly sticking to my budget, I went over this week. I feel like that was an awesome plan on paper, but kind of hard to stick to in person. July 4th happened and I went to a beach club (awesome night, by the way). I paid $10 for admission for all you could eat hamburgers and hot dogs with 3 drinks. My drink of choice for the night was Bud Light with lime. Not my all time favorite, but better than the other drink ticket options. I also went to Target and got an undergarment for my bridesmaid dress this coming weekend. I had a gift card from where I returned an item so I used that and had to pay $3.16 out of my budget for it. I think I should be able to stick to somewhere around my budget for the month!
So what I really wanted to talk about today was my favorite budgeting apps. Since I started my job, I had been on the hunt for a good way to keep track of my money and something that I wouldn't get tired of keeping up with.
Enter the Level Money app. This app is an awesome way of making sure that you stay on budget. It has a simplified design that easily lets you see if you are on track for the month. When setting up level, you will link it with your bank account and then set up your budget. You tell Level what your income is, the amount of your bills and how much you want to save. I personally tell it my income is lower than what I actually make, that way I spend only what I want to spend from my paycheck and I can save the rest.
As you go about the month, if you under-spend, it accounts for that and is called Rollover. It adds up all the rollover for the month and allows you to count that towards their newest feature, Goals!
I have two minor complaints about this app. It's slow to retrieve your transactions (at least in my personal experience), and it doesn't account for cash. So enter the second best budgeting app! Budge. Budge allows you to set up how much you want to spend in specific categories. But it is a manual app, so if you are using cash or feel a little leery about linking your banking account with an app, this might be the one for you.
After you've spent you go to the add expenses screen and enter in your amount and category. You can also see where you are spending a lot of your money. It helps if you are trying to cut back in some areas (cough, alcohol, cough). I think this app might have been designed with college students in mind since alcohol has it's own category.
These two apps have been helping me keep track of my spending for the past two months and will definitely help me with the belt squeezed budget this month.
Be sure to go over to Katie's little piece of blog-land to check out how she is doing this week!
Common Discussions: No Spend July