QOTD: what brings you joy on a budget?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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


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A glamorous home full of gorgeous light fixtures…

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I saw this home office and immediately added it to my computer’s background. There isn’t much in terms of a lot of decor but the decor present makes a lot of impact. First, my love of black continues with a wall treatment done soley by using painters tape and a combination of flat and semi gloss paint in the same color. See more examples here. It’s so precise that it looks like wallpaper. The gold really contrasts nicely and that console table is stunning.  The use of a glass desk allows the beauty of the rug to show through as well as keep the room light and airy and prevents a heavy feeling which is important when using dark colors in smaller areas. Lastly the lamps and fixture are very nice pieces as well….

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Then we have this entryway with a beautiful rug similar to this one which can easily hide dirt and a skirted console table which probably hides eyesores. You can see how a skirted table does that here

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Unsure if this is navy or teal but the color is pretty and the white molding looks nice against it. I just love dark rooms. Some people find them depressing but it’s the selection of everything else that matters. When you use light drapery or bedding and have adequate lighting, it can create a nice moody feel that isn’t somber at all…

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A calming sophisticated home by SmithBoyd Interiors

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Michael Boyd creates a functional, sophisticated, liveable-luxe home in calming color palettes and rich in texture with tailored furniture and interesting lighting designs. The elegance is there but done in a timeless and tasteful approach. I am such of fan of this man’s design work. He really makes homes feel inviting…

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I love this sitting area especially the lacquered octagon table. The creamy tone is more of a softened spin on black and white but still classic…

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Such a pretty light chandelier from Restoration Hardware. Speaking of….I found out they closed down the only Milwaukee location. Shameful. You can see more of the home’s beauty over on Atlanta Homes.

{Photos by Erica George Dines}
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A home and blog with nothing but black and white…

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Color schemes. Well for the most part at least. When I first came across Stylizimo Blog, I literally went page by page in the archives. It’s just that good. I like the poster size art which I’m slowly incorporating in my own home. I like them for the large scale and you can find inexpensive prints at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby…

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Pretty kitchen styling…

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See more shoe storage ideas here..

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Pretty office supplies from Effie’s Paper

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I don’t even remember how I stumbled on her site but I believe it may have been something I read in a magazine. Enter Effie’s Paper…

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You’re bound to find some beautiful stationary, Scandal quoted pencils and more on Effie’s Paper. I even used some other pencils in this black and gold design before. No this isn’t a sponsored post I just think her product selection is fun to jazz up any boring desk supplies.

{Top image via The Everygirl}


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