QOTD: what brings you joy on a budget?

image

Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have good home style. Just because you have a strict amount of disposable income, doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself occasionally. We all work too hard to not enjoy fruits of our labor. This isn’t to say you should splurge or buy every pay period when you’re in debt up to your ears or have a large bill that you need to handle. Just try to at least think of ways you can enjoy your money without spending a lot.

image

I think buying experiences is more meaningful than items. If I know a concert is coming up, I’d much rather use my own money to buy tickets than to go shopping. I’m all about not charging anything outside of hotels and flights and even my flights are booked with my debit card. It’s so much more better knowing you paid for stuff with your own money than borrowed.  So if I’m taking a sizeable chunk of my cash, know that it will be for something really fun like those Kevin Hart tickets or a wine and paint bar experience. I’d rather have several good shindigs to attend a month than random things. It helps me feel more fulfilled even when I haven’t bought something tangible. I at least have some exciting moments of the month to look back on. I spoke about that here.

image

I also got in a habit of writing down everything I wanted and needed and DIY projects I felt I could complete in my condo. Having a house (my condo is stand alone, no shared walls) is awesome. I have so many plans for next year like landscaping and furnishing the rec room that I’m constantly dreaming of directions I want to go. Writing things down helps me keep track of my spending so that if I AM going to buy stuff, I’m at least tackling the NEED list first and want list second. I also have the list based on the rooms that need priority. It’s helpful in all aspects of our lives. If we know we need to get certain items of clothing or wardrobe staples, we should write it down so when we buy, we are deleting things off the need list and not adding to more junk. Nothing worse than coming home from the store and having buyer’s remorse because you just bought 5 shirts at the mall that you didn’t need and still can’t find a solid blue blouse to go with (insert pants here). Follow me? I do that often with jewelry. Maybe it’s old age. I just find that I am more fulfilled now when I shop more than ever and it’s not just because I have more money disposable. I’m truly getting what I need and making better decisions on buying what I want.

image

I know when my job wasn’t giving us raises years ago due to the economy (meanwhile, everything else was increasing), it was very difficult to justify buying anything really. I started getting into buying fun colors for my nails. And no, I don’t buy brands that are near $10 a bottle. I actually love the N.Y.C. colors sold at
Target and they are 99 cent and 1.99. I would buy several at a time. Now I’m in a place in life where I get raises and have multiple sources of income. Though I still have a frugal mindset most of the time, I do often allow myself to buy something each pay period, whether it’s for my home or something for me. I still love the mall and affordable home décor places like Marshalls but buying one item (or a couple small items) does wonders. I don’t have to do happy hours weekly and dine out for lunch daily…I’d rather buy clothes, jewelry and décor and save my coins by bag lunching it mostly. You have to pick and select what is important to you if you can’t do it all. I’d rather drink at one of our houses instead of going out buying rounds at a restaurant for a drink that’s going to be watered down and overpriced. Also doing this allows me to really truly savor the moment when I DO decide to meet up with someone for dinner or lunch. I’d rather redbox movie it up than going to a crowded theater and getting irritated at cell phones ringing and loud mouth talkers.

image

image

With traveling, a lot of times I stay in really nice hotels where a bulk of the money is going to the room because I enjoy laying my head in a room that is designed fabulously. I cannot do a rinky dink hotel even if I’m going to be exploring the city. With that said, I have a smaller spending budget. Some people would rather not travel if they can’t live it up. I’m happy traveling regardless of how much cash I have. As long as I can stay somewhere nice and still do the things I want, I’m fine with not being able to buy a lot of stuff to bring back with me.

image

One of my cheapest trips was to NYC staying in Times Square the at the beautiful Ameritania Hotel during the Christmas Holidays. That was such a budget vacay for 2 nights and 3 days. I really didn’t come home with much outside of some jewelry from H&M, and a few other items. We didn’t dine out anywhere extremely fancy or expensive. We had the most fun walking all around looking at stuff for absolutely zero bucks. The holiday window displays, the skating rings at Bryant Park and the Rockerfella center, etc. There was so much to do and look at without paying for more than another hot chocolate beverage to stay warm. It was so much fun. I encourage you to continue to travel and see the world even when funds are small. Not sayin forego paying bills to travel but don’t get discouraged just because you don’t have a stack (1,000) bucks to spend while there.

image

What are ways you enjoy life while being on a budget?


{Keep indulging….follow me on instagram, twitter, & pinterest}

Weekend Summer Recap No.2

image

I wasn’t able to post yesterday because I had a very eventful day and night. It all started with me taking my god-daughter and teenaged cousin to Milwaukee’s botanical gardens, the lake (Lake Michigan) & the riverwalk downtown to eat at Rock Botttom…

image

Here are some pics of the Riverwalk. I wish our river was more like Chicago’s and green. Hate this murky brown color..

image

While dining out on the patio, we watched the boats go by. It was hot outside…

image

There are some sculptures along the riverwalk too….

image

image

image

image

Later that night I had drinks with a friend at the The Iron Horse Hotel. I have to blog about this place’s interior and patio soon.

image

Since it was nice out, we even hit up another spot for rooftop drinks at Cafe Benelux. People rave about their brunches so that’s definitely on my to do list…

image

The domes are 3 egg shaped buildings filled with flowers…

image

This was my favorite picture…

image

image

Continue reading

Hotel Indulgences: My review of the vibrant The Saguaro resort in Scottsdale Arizona…

image

Beware of sensory overload with these colorful images of The Saguaro-Scottsdale. This above is my own picture. I lost a lot of photos when my Galaxy S4 wouldn’t turn back on so I had to resort to instagram screenshots and pics I emailed myself along with others found online.

image

Yeah I know I am a whole 10 months late with this but with the constant rain and flip flopping 80-one-day-55-the-next tempertures, I have done little else than dream of going right back there…somewhere hot consistantly. This isn’t a sponsored post, I just really loved my two night three day stay there last August.

image

Designed by Stamberg Aferiat Architecture, the Saguaro Scottsdale is a very vibrant, colorful fun stay in Arizona. It was a standout search for me as everything else is the color of sand and neutral. That’s because there are building codes prohiting the exteriors to be anything other than that. The colors are based on Arizona’s wildflowers.  It’s located in oldtown Scottsdale which is simple walks and short golf cart rides to restaurants, bars, and shopping. The golf cart rides are free, you just tip the drivers and that was a ball of fun. One recommendation is have them take you to the nearby CVS so you can stock up on snacks and waters for your room as there are no……..I repeat………NO soda machines or vending machines which I find incredibly odd. For the resort fee, the least they can do is offer you one complimentary bottled water per day per guest.

image

image
The hotel used to be a motel so you walk outside to get to your rooms which can be noisy depending on where you face (pools vs cityview). We opted for a city view which pretty much was just the hotel’s check in area and landscaping. The balconies aren’t really big at all, just standing room but still nice to get fresh air. It would be nice if they had small stools that are bar height to sit on while out there. However people on ground level with pool views had little patios to lounge out on.

image

image

The hotel looks exactly like the pictures which is all I really cared about. The beds were super comfy and the Kuerig coffee makers were a nice touch each morning. The landscaping and colors just really perked up my mood. One minor goofy thing was the bathroom sliding door. The idea is cool but it really didn’t leave you feeling private. It wasn’t as if there was a gap or anything just a little odd for a bathroom setting. I roomed with my friend so it was fine.
image
Although we didn’t dine out at the hotel’s restaurant, we did partake in cocktails poolside at the main pool which was super chill.  We lounged at the pool before our spa appointments (which were affordable for an hour service and had complimentary drink vouchers to be used at the pool)! We soaked up enough sun to have 2 rounds of cocktails and burning skin. I guess the crowd didn’t come until after our spa appointments because afterward the pool was packed and the music was more lively than when we were there.

image

I just loved the southwestern landscaping. The furthest west I’ve been was Vegas but I don’t remember much except the strip, the ride on top of the Stratosphere and seeing West Side mountains for the first time.  So this was a way for me to soak up all of the landscaping the desert has to offer.

image

I just couldn’t stop staring at the unique formations of cacti…

image

The pool was such a calming place on Monday. I guess everyone had left the resort on Sunday…

image

image

image

image

Although we didn’t use them, I liked how the resort offers free use of the bikes.

image

The pool bar had water misters that cooled you off and some shade for sun relief…

Continue reading

Hotel Indulgences: The Ganesvoort NY

wpid-image002-93

So I have been meaning to blog about The Gansevoort Hotel in New York ever since watching The Kardashians take NYC. I remember drooling over the ginormous houndstooth chairs and the mix of patterns, textures and the glamorous look of … Continue reading

My stay at the Ameritania Hotel in Times Square New York…

lightbox-image03

As you know I was in New York last Sunday thru Tuesday night. I knew it would be magical to stay in NYC during Christmastime and indeed it was. We stayed at the Ameritania NYC and I can’t deny part … Continue reading

Hotel Indulgences: The Korakia Pensione in the Palm Springs Desert

image

The Korakia Pensione is a Mediterranean-style resort and spa located next to mountains in the Palm Springs desert. I like the Moroccan architectural details and decor found through out the space.

image

The black and white striped lounge chairs are exactly what I would want for my so cal outdoor space.

image

image

MMMMMmmmm yummy. Lately I’ve been cutting fruit up at night, storing in containers and taking to work to eat alongside my daily instant oatmeal. Fruit really does make a regular breakfast feel much more special.

image

This is so picturesque. See more on 100 Layer Cake.

Tuesday’s Tips: budget friendly bed & breakfast wedding ceremonies

image

Face it. Weddings cost a ton but that is no reason to start your marriage off in debt if you don’t have the means to pay for an elaborate affair. Having a small scaled wedding but want the details to remain elegant? Consider an intimate wedding gathering by booking a bed and breakfast.

image

Book all the rooms to the house (which b&bs typically are……big ‘ol mansions) and if it’s picturesque enough (most have nice pretty yards), have the ceremony there. Depending on how far in advance you book, try to book all the rooms in the B&B so that the entire wedding party can stay. Arrange it where everyone stays overnight so that the morning of the wedding you won’t have to worry about rushing to the location site. You also will save money by not having to rent party buses or limos for the wedding party since you all will already be there.

image

If the party is small and there are more rooms, consider booking a room for the hair stylist and makeup artist too since they play important roles in the wedding party look. You may want to eliminate any chance of them running into traffic the day of your wedding.

image

As a thank you, host a Thank You brunch the morning after for everyone if it’s a destination or road trip. Otherwise a brunch for the wedding party is a nice parting gesture.

image

Most B&B’s tend to have a fancier backyard and landscaping. Look for one with fountains, a gazebo, manicured landscaping, pool, rose bushes and flower gardens. The more flowers and already decorated, the less money you will need for the florist. Also if there are benches along the property, you will less likely need to rent additional lounge seating for “cocktail hour” or informal times during the reception.

image

You can also look for a B&B located on a wine vineyard, rolling hills, polo ground (horse back riding would be amazing for picture taking or possibly a horse drawn carriage), ranch, along a golf course or lake. The more beautiful the surroundings, the better. It will make the guests stay that much more enjoyable too. If the B&B is a short road trip away, and the whole guest list is staying in the same place, arriving the day before, you may wish to do something with them as a welcome. You could arrange for various activities to get the families to mingle like horse back riding, golfing, chartering a boat ride or fishing.

Continue reading