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Hey girl, hey!

January has definitely been the month for new connections and awesome collabs, because today... I have another wonderful guest post for you from the lovely and multi-talented Marliceia Chavers. She is the author and creator of the lifestyle blog, Love Marliceia, where she shares personal stories that describe how she's grown in her journey of self-love and re-discovery. She encourages women to live their best life, love with their whole heart, and laugh until they cry... all of which are right up my alley! 

So without further ado, please give a warm 'hey girl, hey' to Ms. Marliceia as she dives deep into how our love for ourselves (or lack thereof) can manifest into our money. 

​Let's chat! 
I know you are probably thinking, how does money and my love for myself relate in any way? Well, that’s what I am here to explain...

Are you an impulsive buyer? When you feel down, does buying something you want release endorphins that make you happy? Do you have a savings account that you contribute to regularly? Is instant gratification more appealing than long-term gain?

These are all questions I had to stop and ask myself because living paycheck to paycheck was becoming a painful existence.

Robbing Peter to pay Paul is no way to live for anyone, but unfortunately this is very true for many, especially in the African American community. Outside of this instant gratification lifestyle becoming an epidemic among Americans; I felt like my personal struggle linked to something deeper.

I pondered this seemingly daunting plague of my finances and then I had an “Ah ha” moment. I said aloud, “I don’t love myself or at least not like I should”. You see... when you love yourself (or someone else), you create a space of safety and comfort... an environment where everything is alright and all your needs (and even some desires) are met.

​Well, it hit me that I had not done that for myself and if I loved myself the way I should, then I would prepare for a stable future and not just the “feel good” moments that bring me joy.

This is the exact moment that I began to chart my course for loving myself better by creating a safe place through financial freedom. I watched YouTube videos about successful budgeting, paying off debt, saving, and even investing. I then invested in a deluxe planner from Erin Condren once I decided upon my plan of action in budgeting.

Now, I’ve always been one to budget, but my issues has always been actually sticking to the budget I created. One of the things that I believe helped me get off track was keeping my budget in an excel spreadsheet where I could easily delete or change something... so I decided to switch to a notebook.

There is something about having to scratch out or white out things in a notebook that makes you come to a screeching halt knowing that the physical appearance of your well thought out plan brought to life is about to be wrecked with permanent ink. Let me tell you... that will definitely make you think twice about making potential changes.

​Seeing scribble on my perfect pages would give me hives and this is how I knew that this plan will work for me. It made me uncomfortable... and in order to grow, you have to get a little uncomfortable.

So, let’s discuss the different ways your self-love and money correlate a little deeper. When we are in a state of “not enough”, it causes a ripple effect of so many negative things to happen to us. For example: 

  1. Stress levels and anxiety increase.
  2. Your lack of planning ahead limits you in the activities you can enjoy.
  3. You didn’t budget your grocery money, resulting in unhealthy eating.
  4. Due to the increase in stress and anxiety, you are now losing sleep.
  5. Losing sleep causes you to be lethargic and now you are missing out on the benefits of waking up early and getting things done before work (i.e. workouts, planning, meditation, etc.)
  6. Your overall well-being suffers and your productivity decreases because the burden of not having enough is working against you.

Remember... our love for ourselves is shown through creating a stable environment of existence with our money.

Now, let’s think about how we feel when we have taken the time to budget, save, and spend our money wisely.

  1. We are living life like it is golden because we understand that short term inconveniences equate to long term financial gains.
  2. Stress and anxiety are minimal.
  3. All of our bills are paid on time; therefore, helping us to avoid late charges and interest fees that would rob us of even more money.
  4. Sticking to our budgets allows us to have money for every need including groceries, and now we are eating healthier.
  5. Waking up refreshed and alert because stress about money is not causing us to lose sleep.
  6. An increase in productivity because our minds can focus on the tasks at hand and not our money problems.

Now I know what you are thinking... just because I am mindful of my money doesn’t mean that my life will be peaches and cream, but just try looking at it from another perspective!

I just captured how the lack of financial prowess affects every area of your life... and I really mean every area; spiritually, emotionally, mentally, socially, and physically. It can be hard to find a balance in life, but trust me, when money is the least of your worries... the sun shines a whole lot brighter.

Money literally makes the world go 'round, whether you are blue collar worker trying to feed your family or a world leader calling all the shots.... money is in everything we do and is a part of every pivotal decision made in the world. So how can we not be mindful of how this valuable resource relates to how we value ourselves?

Simply put... it’s impossible not to.

It is time now that we renew our minds and our love for ourselves by revisiting our spending habits. It is only when we take the time to be truthful with ourselves and make the necessary changes, that we catapult into living our best lives.

​In my personal self-love journey, I am inspecting every nook and cranny to ensure that I am loving myself in the best way and my finances was definitely one place I did not want to deal with; however, now I am so glad I did. I am well on my way to living a life for the love of Marliceia instead of for the love of money.

When you love YOU in every way, your money will align in just the right way!​​
ABout Marliceia

Marliceia Chavers also known as “The Beauty-Preneur” is an Internal Auditor, Entrepreneur, and “Lovestyle” Blogger. Marliceia envisions a world where women love themselves so undeniably that everyone around recognizes them as a force to be reckoned with. Her goal is help everyday women develop into extraordinary women by way of inspiring and empowering them to create their best life through self-love and pursuing their passions with purpose.

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Hey girl, hey! 

Today I have an awesome guest post to present to you from the creator of the Health and Beauty Blog, LaDawn Kaye. Ms. LaDawn writes about old school cures in a modern day world... and let me tell ya, this lady definitely knows a thing or two (or ten) when it comes to natural alternatives for health and beauty... all while staying within budget.

So without further ado GFBers, let's give a warm 'hey girl, hey' to Ms. LaDawn as she enlightens us on 5 essential beauty products we may not have already known we had... 

Let's chat!  

​The beauty aisles in any grocery or drug store are stocked full of impressive looking jars that promise you the moon, the stars, and everything in-between, but in addition to costing a pretty penny, they include tons of ingredients that you probably can’t pronounce and are hazardous to your health.... and at the end of the day they may not even work.

I have a rule of thumb that I’ve tried to live by for the past few years: If I can’t put it in me, then I probably shouldn’t put it on me. Loosely translated... our skin is our biggest organ in which we can actually ingest things as well as expel things (have you ever smelled curry or alcohol leaching from someone’s pores), so we should probably be way more careful with what we put on our skin.​Whether I’m putting on a topical for pain relief or looking for a toner to tighten my pores, I’m always reading the labels.

While I was on the search for all natural cures for everyday ailments like sinus infections, athlete’s foot, and diaper rash... I was pleasantly surprised that some of the same products that I was using for health purposes could also be used for vanity purposes. And the added bonus of not having to purchase another product and find another spot for an already tight bathroom counter made these double duty darlings a win/win for me.

The following are some of the products that I have on hand at all times in my kitchen because they serve so many different functions... and not only are they inexpensive but they WORK! I'm sure you could find most, if not every single one of these products already in your home.

​This is definitely not an exhaustive list of the products I use, but if you’re trying to take a step in the direction of improving your fiscal as well as overall health, these products are good for both your body and your budget.
Apple Cider Vinegar.

I’ll bet you didn’t know that one of the best things you can do for your hair is to incorporate apple cider vinegar rinses into your hair routine. I personally only use Braggs ACV because it has the “Mother” (the stuff that settles at the bottom and makes it cloudy).

I like to use this rinse before washing, if I have a lot of product build up or between shampooing and conditioning if my hair is fairly “gunk free”. Depending on how much hair you have, you can use anywhere from 8 to 12 oz. of warm water.  I like to use 3 parts water to 1 part ACV. Not only is it a natural conditioner, but there are enzymes in the acid of ACV which kill the bacteria that causes dandruff.

When used regularly, ACV keeps your hair soft, shiny, and flake free.
Aloe.

Most people are familiar with the anti-inflammatory properties of aloe which makes it an instant go-to for minor household burns, but what most people don’t know is that it also kills the bacteria which causes acne... making it equally beneficial for maintaining blemish free skin.

If you don’t have the plant growing in or around your home, you can purchase aloe vera gel almost anywhere for easy application.
Honey.

Honey is one of my favorites because, fun fact, it is the only food known to man that does not spoil... it crystallizes, so you never need worry about losing money with this one. Even the honey found in Egyptian tombs today is still safe to ingest.

I could go on for quite a while about this one product, but for the purpose of this post I’ll focus on scrubs and exfoliation. So whether you’re using oatmeal, baking soda, or brown sugar for your homemade scrub to use on your face or feet chances are the recipe calls for these products to be blended with honey.

Honey moisturizes and hydrates skin with an added bonus of having a slight bleaching effect so that if you have old scars, and you use this on a regular basis, you’ll see those scars gradually beginning to fade.

Talk about more bang for your buck, girlfriend!
Garlic. 

This one shocked me, too.

I’m accustomed to using garlic internally for flavoring in my Italian dishes and also for its antibiotic properties during illness, but what I didn’t know was that if you mix a little minced garlic with warm olive oil and soak your nails for a few minutes... it will make then rock hard! I know this to be fact because I tried it.

​Now as with most things, moderation is key. I was so overjoyed to finally have naturally strong nails that I began soaking for far too long and made my nails sore, so use this remedy with caution.
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. 

​I saved the very best for last!

People who know me, know that I consider this one “my precious”. If I had to spend my last dollar for one product to cover it all, it would be spent on extra virgin coconut oil. This is truly one stop shopping.

I use EVCO as a moisturizer when my hair is dry. I use it as a lotion all over when I’m just stepping out of the bath. It has anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic, and anti-inflammatory properties... meaning that stubborn athlete’s foot patch that just won’t go away will be taken care of while you’re moisturizing your skin to keep it soft and hydrated. I’ve also used it for diaper rash, hemorrhoids, and to make my own vaginal suppositories for yeast infections.

In addition to these external uses, I use it internally when I have sinus infections or viruses. I just take a tablespoon of the oil and chase it with 6 to 8 oz. of orange juice.

I also use it in place of butter. It’s a lot healthier, has tons of health benefits, and makes a pretty mean grilled cheese sandwich!

So there you have it, ladies!

These products cover all of your beauty needs from head to toe for a fraction of the price. So as you run out of the drug store products that are laden with chemicals, why not gradually begin to incorporate some products from your kitchen to replace them?

Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!

About LaDawn

I’m LaDawn Kaye, also know as everyone’s favorite auntie! I’m the one you call when you have something that doesn’t feel quite right and you either don’t have the money or the time to get to a doctor. Most of the time I can direct you to something in your kitchen and if I can’t tell you off the top of my head, I know where to go to find the answer. ~ For more posts like this, follow me at www.ladawnkaye.com. ~

​*If you're interested in purchasing these products and would also like to support the blog, consider using our affiliate links below. The price always stay the same, you'll just be helping to support the GFB family so we can continue to produce content you'll love!*  
Apple Cider Vinegar: 
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil: 
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Hey girl, hey!

Can you believe this is my very first product review?!  

I’m so very excited to present to you the ZTE Blade X Max. I mean... even the name sounds like some type of super-cool hero ninja, right?!

So recently, I was contacted by the company ZTE, the 4th largest phone manufacturer in the US, to check out one of their newest smartphones and give my honest feedback on the device… and since I’m a low-key (okay, maybe high-key) tech geek, I was elated to have the opportunity to try out some new technology.

After taking the device for a spin, I definitely have some things to share. So today, we’ll review the good, the bad, and the budget of the new ZTE Blade X Max… (ahhh I just love saying the name!)  

Okay, let’s chat!

The Good:

This phone is definitely user friendly for those who are #teamandroid and it’s packed full of features that make it competitive with other more expensive android smartphones on the market.   

The Design.

The first thing that caught my attention is the large size of this phone. It may require handling with both hands, but personally, I prefer a larger phone over an itty bitty one any day.

Despite the size, I love the lightweight, sleek, and stylish design. The device is crafted with glossy dragontrail glass which gives the phone extra durability, while providing better protection from both scratches and cracks.

The massive 6-inch HD screen makes it super easy to do everything from scrolling social media, playing your favorite games, streaming YouTube, and even drafting emails.   

The Camera.

The 5 megapixel front camera with 4x zoom is exceptionally decent for capturing that perfect selfie, especially for a budget phone. The 13 megapixel rear camera with 4x zoom works best in natural lighting and takes very high quality images that will have you sharing and posting pictures like a pro. Plus, the Blade X Max also records stellar HD video.

The Battery Life. 

So, of course the battery life will vary depending on the way you use the phone and how often you use the phone, but on average I was able to get about 6 hours of battery life by using the phone as I normally would... checking my emails and social media, text with friends, Snapchat (because I’m always on there, follow me @ mselle21) and other general use.

Now if you’re an avid video streamer or gamer, then you may need to re-charge more often, but you can still get some serious battery life out of this device without having to be tethered to your wall charger.

Plus, the battery saving feature is a huge life saver when the battery begins to die, helping to preserve the little bit of battery you left until you can actually recharge.

The Storage.

Off top, the phone already comes with 32GB of internal storage which can actually hold quite a bit, but with the built-in microSD slot, you can install a nano-sim card… expanding your storage up to 128GB (winning!) .  

The Speakers.

The speakers on this device are no joke, and I’m definitely one to listen to my music turned all the way up! The Dolby Audio speakers provide premium, high-quality sounds that allows you to immerse yourself into your music, games, or movies.   

The Fingerprint Sensor.

Now if you’re worried about anyone seeing something they shouldn’t... don’t fret because the fingerprint reader keeps all your personal information on lock. And unlike other smart phones, the fingerprint sensor is located on the back... making it super discrete (like hero-ninja style).

But here’s where things get really cool...the fingerprint sensor not only keeps your personal information secure, you can also register your fingerprint to quick launch apps of your choice!

Want to be able to open your Snapchat really fast, or YouTube, or Emails? The device can do all that, simply by reading your fingerprint... and each registered fingerprint can be assigned a different app!

So. Freaking. Cool!  

The Warranty

All Blade X Max smartphones come with a 1 year parts and labor warranty. So should anything happen to the phone within the first 12 months... ZTE has got you covered!

The Bad:

With all the pros of this device comes a few cons. I mean... nothing's perfect, right?! 

Adware Apps

So the device does come with some pre-installed adware apps that can slow down the processor and take up some storage, but to remedy this… you can simply delete the apps you don’t need.

Limited Availability

The Blade X Max is offered exclusively through Cricket Wireless, so unfortunately you cannot just buy the phone and take it to your current cell phone provider.

The Budget:    

What I love about this phone is that it’s packed full of all the features we just discussed, plus way more at such an affordable price of $129.99 or $99.99 with a number transfer.

To learn more info, check out the details on the ZTE product page!

Giveaway Time! 


So now that you’ve gotten all the specs... it’s hard not to want one, right? 

Well, guess what?! 

ZTE is giving away a free Blade X Max to 3 of my amazing readers! For more information on rules of the giveaway, like our Facebook page here and follow the instructions to enter a chance to win! 

Good Luck! 

Until Next Time, 
Elle

*This is a sponsored post brought to you by ZTE. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*  ​
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Hey girl, hey!

Guess What? I’m 31 today! Yeah girlfriend, your girl is getting wiser (ahem...not older), because I honestly believe that you’re only as old as you feel. But with that being said, 31 is that awkward age that reminds you that you are actually in your 30’s now. Like before I could still kinda say I had one foot in 29, but nah… at 31 you’re grown! You are officially (or should be) adulting by this age and I can definitely say it has its perks.

Your 30’s should be where you’re more established, you’re more sure of yourself, and more comfortable in the skin you’re in. And it’s also at this age that you learn the importance of maintaining balance and preserving your energy for things and people that are there to help you reach the pinnacle of being your best self.

But I am realist, and I do know that every month, week, or day will not be sunshine and roses. However, it’s during those difficult times that we’ll need to find ways to re-group and re-charge in order to keep our focus on bettering our life and achieving our financial goals. So today girlfriends, I want to share some of my wisdom with you on how you can find and maintain your zen without having to blow your budget!

Let’s chat!
1. Meditate.

Ever come across someone who is on 10 twenty-four-seven? Like always hyped, always turnt-up, always ready to pop off, and always ready to start and/or finish a fight…

Or what about the person who is always stressed out, always emotionally overwhelmed, and always crying and upset because their world is in a constant state of chaos and devastation.     
There’s no balance, no calmness, no zen….

Here’s the thing… If you’ve never tried the art of meditation, I must say you’re missing out on something special. No one wants to walk around with the weight of anger, sadness, anxiety (or whatever you struggle with) on your shoulders on a daily basis. It’s draining and exhausting carrying around all that emotional baggage with no relief.

But mediation allows you to unload all that junk and replace it with love, gratefulness, and understanding. It teaches you to go from being the person that would go from zero to ten to being the person that goes from ten to zen... because you now know that protecting your energy is worth much more than wasting it on a reaction to a situation that is solely just one moment in time.

While there’s no amount of money that equates to finding your internal peace, at least getting there through mediation is free!  
Pictured here: Me meditating on top of foggy Machu Picchu.

2. Take a Warm Bath.

Did you know that water has some serious calming effects?

Because I am a Scorpio (water sign), my mental and physical well-being requires hydrotherapy on the regular. And when I say hydrotherapy, I don’t mean some ultra-expensive spa service, girlfriend. Oh no, I’m talking about… my bathtub!

I'll usually throw some bubbles or bath salts in that thang, grab a glass of wine, and tune into my Pandora nature sounds… girlfriend, at that point, you can’t tell me I’m not on the beach of Tahiti somewhere experiencing pure. bliss.

According to a post written by Huffpost, water allows your mind and body to sink into a more calmer, meditative state, while slowing your brainwaves and inducing creative thoughts. So the next time you’re trying to navigate yourself through a stressful life situation, perhaps taking a warm bath will help conjure up just the right positive and creative thoughts to change your circumstances. Plus… it costs you zero coins!

3. Indulge in some much needed Girl Time!

There’s some amazing benefits to having girlfriends that help to encourage and uplift you while still keeping it straight-up with real with you. And no, I’m not talking about those girlfriends that will sit and gossip or talk negatively with you. I’m talking about those girlfriends who will call you out on your bullsh*t in the most loving, supportive way and offer candid advice to help you get through your sh*tuation (yea, I said it).

Let me be honest with you, as much as I love GFB, there have been times where I’ve wondered if it was really worth continuing. Thank God I have my girlfriends who refuse to let me quit on my passion just because the going gets tough. They remind me that anything worth cultivating is going to take time and patience (one major thing in life that is a daily struggle for me). But they push me to be better, to continue to follow my dream, and use my gift of money management to inspire other women.

Because of them, I push through and persevere. If you don’t already,  I’d encourage you to find a group of girlfriends that will do the same for you. And the girls that bring all the drama… drop ‘em, you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life... mmkay!

4. Spend Time with Mother Nature.

Ya know, I’ve never really been much of an outdoorsy chick, but the older I get, the more time I actually want to spend outside. Being out in the middle of God’s natural creation is one of the most calming activities one could experience.

If anything, it’s a serious stress reliever and fully awakens all your senses. While you’re out smelling the clean air, taking in the beautiful sights, listening to the wind rustling through the trees, the water flowing, the birds chirping… it’s then that you have the opportunity to appreciate the more simple things in life. It’s also then when you realize the sh*tuation you may be going through, is actually minuscule when you put it on a grander scale.

The facts that you have breath in your body and you woke up today are definitely reasons to be grateful and humble. So find a trail or nature park to walk through on days when it feels like the world is coming to an end. I promise, you’ll have a whole new outlook on life afterwards.
Pictured Here: Me meditating in the Rocky Mountains.

5. Rest.

We women often times have a million thoughts a millisecond going through our brains at once.

“Did I pay that one bill?”
“What are we having for dinner tonight?”
“Did I tell Bae about that event coming up?”
“Am I doing a good job at work?”
“Did I already text Sandy back?”
“Did I forget to pick the kids up?”


It’s like “ughhh, make the thoughts stop already”. We will literally tire ourselves out with all the thinking, and overthinking… putting our brains in supreme overload. And when this happens, it really might be a good time to give that noggin a break and treat yourself to some serious zzz’s, girlfriend.

Resting your brain and your body can do wonders for your mental and physical health, and it’s a necessary component to finding your zen. So when you feel yourself becoming drained from all the ping-ponging thoughts going through your head, take a nap boo. You deserve it!     

6. Get your Financial Sh*t Together!

You know I’m always going bring it back to the mula, right?! I mean… that’s what I do!

Girlfriend, if there is one thing I know is a serious mood killer… it’s constantly having financial woes. When you’re drowning in unpaid bills and you got bill collectors calling you every 5 minutes, anybody in their right mind would be completely and utterly stressed. TF. out.

But when you have a financial plan and you’re controlling your money through a well planned out budget, you’d be surprised at how much better you’ll rest at night knowing that your finances are in tact, your bills are paid, your debt is under control, and you got money stacking in the bank!

So like I mentioned before, finding your zen is all about finding balance in your life and internal peace in your soul. And once you find that place, your “happy place”, life just gets so much better… year after year.

My 31st chapter begins now… and I’m so excited to see what it will bring!
Until Next Time,
Elle
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“Okay Elle... I can probably do the Salmon, but Brussel Sprouts?!... Ewwww!”

I definitely thought the same thing before I tried this recipe... but before you get all grossed out on me, have you tried roasted brussel sprouts lately? I mean seriously… these veggies are not your average, yuck-nasty, boiled brussels sprouts that your family seemed to make you eat as a punishment when you were a kid… oh no, girlfriend… the way these veggies are prepared will actually make you crave them on a regular basis. Ask my wife…this recipe changed her life!

On the flip side, if you love healthy and filling meals as much as I do… you’re definitely going to want to add this to your recipe rotation! Here’s how you make it:

You’ll want to pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees and break out the chopping board because we’re about to do some slicin’ and dicin’ (unless you have one of those handy-dandy chopping gadgets that cuts down on soooo much time).  

I first take about a pound of brussel sprouts and rinse them off to ensure their clean. If some of the little leaves come off, that’s okay, they make tasty little crispy pieces when they get to roastin’. Then I cut the ends off one by one, slice them in half, and toss them all into a foil-lined pan sheet. Make sure they’re lying pretty flat and not all on top of each other.

After, I chop up about 6 to 7 large garlic cloves as fine as I can get it (this is where that chopper thingy would come in handy) and I’ll throw about half in with the brussels, leaving the other half for the salmon (OMG… this is already sounding good). Sometimes I’ll even add in some diced yellow onions if I’m in the mood to do some extra chopping, but today... wasn’t one of those days (lazy).

Next, I’ll take about a tablespoon of olive oil and pour it all over.

And because we don’t want no bland ass brussel sprouts, now is the time to season. I sprinkle in some garlic salt (yes, more garlic because it’s so good), creole seasoning, and black pepper.

Then taking my hands, I mix… making sure everything is coated evenly.

By this time your oven should be ready to go, so just pop the pan sheet in the oven for 15 minutes, making sure to stir every 5 minutes.

While the brussles are roastin’, you’ll want to start prepping your fish. If I’m feeding 4 people, I’ll use about 2 pounds of salmon cut into 4 servings. I like mine without the skin, but some prefer to leave it on, so that part is totally up to you.

Once you rinse the salmon (because I rinse everything whether you’re supposed to or not), you’ll coat it with a little bit of olive oil. Then take the other half of your garlic, and press it evenly into each fillet.

When the timer goes off letting you know the brussels are done, you’ll notice they’ve shrunk down a bit. At this point you can find the gaps between the brussels and place the fillets of fish on the pan sheet. Pop it back in the oven for another 10 - 12 minutes or until the fillets are white and flaky.

If you really want to get fancy, when all is said and done, you can place some fresh lemon slices on top of the salmon, grab a glass of wine and snap a pic for the gram, showing off this healthy, bomb ass meal you just made!  

While a seafood meal can be a little pricey, I definitely think this one is worth it. The most expensive thing on the ingredient list is the salmon, of course, but everything else is kinda on the cheap side so it evens out.

I hope you try it out and let me know how you like it! Download the full recipe below!

Until Next Time,
Elle  
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If you’re a regular reader of Girlfriend’s, Budget… you’ll know it’s no secret that saving is my very favorite part of this whole budgeting thing! While I do love that accomplished feeling of knowing all my bills are paid on time, my debt is minimal or non-existent, and I have some extra money to blow (because I’m living below my means), it’s just something about saving that makes me feel so boss every time I hit that transfer button and see those digits in my account increase!

It’s like my little pot of gold that I know is tucked away at the end of the rainbow, ready and waiting for me in the event life throws me any major financial curve ball.

As a financial coach, I teach all my clients how to get on the path to financial freedom by using a very simple budget pyramid. The lessons of one step leads up to the next until this budgeting thing becomes your normal way of life. Saving is like the 3rd step in the budgeting pyramid…
The foundation of getting your financial sh*t together starts with knowing how to first manage your money by living below your means and paying all bills on time (since that is 35% of your credit score).  The second step is to then pay off some debt in order to free up funds to start saving… because you can’t really save if your debt is eating up all your extra cash. 

RELATED: How to Dig Out of Debt.

Once these two steps are tackled. You’re now ready to move on to saving, girlfriend!

But it’s not just one pot of gold, there’s several. 

I’ll explain what I mean… ​
When it comes to savings accounts, I always encourage people to try to have more than just one. If you think about it, often times you’re not wanting to save for just one goal. Most individuals want to simultaneously save for a new house or car, while also wanting to save for a vacation and stash a little away for a rainy day. 

So that probably seems like a lot of freakin’ saving, right?!… But it’s all possible with a well-planned out budget. 

I cannot stress this enough. Your money can go so much further than you think when you really learn to use it as a tool to do the things you want… instead of blowing it on meaningless frivolities.

I’m a living witness. 

So today... I'm sharing with you some savings accounts that I’d recommend and the purpose for each one. Let’s start saving, girlfriend!

Incidental Savings

An Incidental Savings is an account that allows you to have money set aside in the event of a minor or major emergency. I’d highly recommend building this account up to equal at least 9 to 12 months of expenses. You can calculate how much should be in this account by adding up all your monthly bills and multiplying by 9 (on the low end) and multiplying by 12 (on the high end). There’s your range… and the goal you should shoot to achieve in this account. 

You really want to reserve this account for emergencies only though. Here’s a few scenarios to think about:

Scenario 1: You get into a car accident and your insurance is requiring you to pay (at minimum) a $500 deductible to get your vehicle repaired. 

Scenario 2: In that same car accident you hurt yourself and now need to get x-rays at the emergency room. 

Scenario 3: Your job is downsizing and you have just been laid off. 

So where’s a girl to turn to for help?... Your Incidental Account, girlfriend! 

You see... when you set yourself up to be financially prepared for some of life’s gut punches, it truly makes disastrous events like the ones listed above much less stressful. 

​Personal Savings

Here’s where you get to be a little selfish, girlfriends!

A Personal Savings is an account that you’ll want to build on in order to make a pricey purchase for yourself… that way when something comes up that you just gotta have, you’ll already have a little money stashed away and won’t have to go digging in your Incidental Savings.

I actually highly recommend this account specifically for couples who have intermingled their finances together. I suggest this because… let’s face it, we all want a little stash of our own.

Let’s say you want to save up for a fancy date or a nice gift for a birthday or anniversary celebration. Or what if you just want to treat yo’self to a trip or a hangout with your girlfriends.

You can use this account to save up for those types of things without your partner feeling like you’re taking from the money you all have saved together. It will be your own money that you’ve set aside for yourself… to splurge how you like.

I’ll give you a personal example:

Recently my all-time favorite artist, Janet Jackson, came to my city to perform. And if you know me personally, or follow me on Snapchat… you’ll know how much I absolutely LOVE Janet Jackson. So, of course, this was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up, because who knows when (or if) she’d be going on tour ever again!

Thank Heavens for my personal savings... because this concert was definitely not something I had budgeted for. But since I already had a nice cushioned amount saved up in this account, I was able to pay for the ticket in full without the worries of having to put it on a credit card or figure out how to pay someone else back later.

Actually, I really splurged because I bought this $40 t-shirt… that nobody but Janet could have made me pay $40 for, but still had a few hundred dollars left over in this account... because I’m choosy about my purchases.

Disclaimer:
No, this is not an excuse to have every little thing on your “gotta have” list, but you’ll more-so want to be reserved and choosy with what you spend this money on… especially so this account has time to build. If you’re spending it on every little thing, you’re defeating the purpose of this account and ultimately… you’ll have nothing in it.  

Travel Savings

We all need a little vacation from time to time right? And if you and your boo (or friends) like to travel as much as Dee and I do, you’ll definitely want a dedicated travel savings. If you and your partner are putting a little money into this account each time you get paid, you’ll see how quickly it begins to add up.

While you’re saving, you can begin doing your research on pricing for the places you want to go and things you’ll want to do while there. That way you’ll know exactly how much you’ll need to be saving in this account. There’s no faster way to ruin a wonderful trip of rest and relaxation than to come back faced with a pile of vacation debt.

So do yourself a favor… prepare and save prior to taking your trip. Trust me, you’ll thank me and yourself later!  

RELATED:  How to Incorporate Vacations into Your Budget!

401(k)

So while you’re doing all this saving for Incidents, Personal, and Travel… we can’t forget to set ourselves up for retirement, right girlfriend? That’s where your 401(k) plan comes in.

Don’t know what a 401(k) plan is? Let me briefly explain…

According to The Wall Street Journal, a 401(k) is a retirement savings plan sponsored by an employer. So basically, you contribute a percentage of your paycheck (before taxes) to a plan that offers a spread of stocks, bonds and money market investments managed by an administrator that your employer usually hires.

The best part of a 401(k) plan is that nearly every plan offers matching funds. In other words... FREE MONEY!

Let’s say you choose to put in 3% of your $50,000 pre-tax salary and your company offers a 3% match. Well guess what, girlfriend? By the end the year you’ll have at least $3,000 stashed away in a retirement account just for you!

And since these funds are tied to the stock market, you’ll gain what’s known in the financial world as… compound interest! Which means at this point, your money is now working for you… even while you sleep! (Well that was easy, huh?!)

I know many individuals who refuse to put money into a 401(k) plan because they think their net check will be significantly less and they’ll be struggling to get by. But listen hunty, when you master step one of the Financial Freedom pyramid, Money Management, you’ll learn to make it work with what you have and live within your means… especially if that means setting yourself up to enjoy the fruits of your labor in your golden years.

I mean really… who wants to work forever? Definitely not I…

I’ll be on the beach somewhere in my old age sippin’ a pina colada without a care in the world…

And I’m hoping you’ll be there to join me!

Drop a line below and let me know what you think of this post!

Until Next Time,
Elle

P.S. This is not a comprehensive list of savings accounts...just accounts that I suggest. Each individual or household will be different.

Other ideas for savings accounts: house savings, car savings, new baby savings, college savings, medical surgery savings, etc.
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It’s Friday and for many… it’s also payday (Wooo-hooo)! And in most of our minds, that’s definitely something to celebrate.

So you convince yourself that it’s okay to “treat yo’self” because after all… you did just go through two weeks (a month for some) of pure workweek stress (sometimes the only thing I really wanna to make hangout plans with is...my bed).

But your friends and co-workers are all ready to hit the happy hour scene annnnd… why not?!

YOLO!

​Let’s just be real with each other. Many of us 20 to 30 - something year olds like to go out on the town to socialize, drink, and eat with our friends  And the fact of the matter is… I get it… you work hard, you want to play hard too. 

But when the situation turns from “treat yo’self” to “ball outta control” (when you know you have rent to pay)… that’s when we got a problem! 

​So let’s discuss some ways that we can still enjoy going out, without blowing our entire budget!  Shall we... 

1. Happy Hour = Happy Prices = Happy Bank Account!

Happy Hour is probably one of the most affordable times to indulge in some fun eats and drinks, because most places have some seriously reduced prices to entice you into their establishment.. Grant it, the hours are early, but hey… it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, and on Friday (my very favorite day of the week) it’s okay to break the rules a little bit..right?!   

2. Pick Budget Friendly Spots!

To be quite honest, some of the best food (and drinks) I’ve ever experienced have been at places dubbed as ‘hole in the walls’. I loooove hole in the wall joints because the food is usually bomb, the drinks are usually cheap, and the people are usually so friendly!

And as much of a foodie as I am, I’m always looking for a new spot to try… that’s where yelp comes in!

Yelp is usually my best friend (if you don’t know about yelp, what rock have you been hiding under?). The thing I love most about Yelp is the fact that you can filter by price. I usually pick the $ or $$ filter, because that’s what’s in the budget! I also love to check out the menu beforehand just to make sure their prices and my budget actually agree.

And guess what?!... It hasn’t failed me yet.

Tap the box below to access Yelp Deals that can save you more money on your next outing.    

​3. Order Water to Drink.
        
Mostly at times other than happy hour, the moment I sit down in a restaurant... a little imaginary calculator pops up in my head. When the waiter/waitress comes over to ask what I’m drinking tonight, the answer is usually... Water!

Why?!

Because water is free and that imaginary calculator balance... it’s still at $0.00!

Not only that… let me tell you a little secret. Most people are not drinking enough water daily... period. In fact, 43% of adults are drinking less than 4 cups of water a day, 36% are drinking 1 to 3 cups a day, and 7% are actually drinking no water at all according to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (gasps)!

While water intake varies from individual to individual, the rule of thumb is to drink about half your weight in ounces.Your mental and physical well-being is much better off if your body is staying hydrated with the right stuff, which can ultimately help you make better financial decisions (just saying).

Remember… “Mind, Body, Soul” (the mantra for 2017).

RELATED: How to Maintain Your Sexy!

Now I can’t lie and say that when I go out, I don’t like to enjoy a martini (or two) from time to time, but if I’m watching my coins closely... cocktails, cokes, and other specialty drinks are not even on my radar.

Think about it like this… with each sip you take, you’re affecting both your wallet (cost of the drink) and your waistline (cost of your health).

“But I don’t like the taste of water, Elle.”

Well girlfriend, grab a lemon, sprinkle a little sugar in it, and call it lemonade for what it’s worth... but do try to increase your water intake and reap all the benefits it has to give both physically and financially.

And if you want to cut back even more on your caloric intake, drink an entire glass of water before you even begin eating... then see tip #4!

4. Skip the Appetizer... and Dessert!

Listen… going out can be fun, but it doesn’t have to be an all out royal feast (let’s take it down a notch or three, especially if your funds are low). I mean seriously, I’ve gone to out to eat with folks and before the entrée even gets to the table, we’ve already had 3 different appetizers and the button on my pants is literally about to pop!

Sound familiar?

Then when my main course comes, my appetite is completely shot and I can’t even think about dessert without my stomach hurting.

But many people (and families) like to eat like this allll the time.

Did you know that in 2015, the average American household spent over $3,000 on restaurants and takeout alone? And that most eating establishments charge a 15% markup on the food they serve?

So  yea, that twenty dollar entrée you just ordered, actually only cost the establishment $3.00 to make for you. And when you look at it that way… who’s the real financial winner here?

Let me tell ya… it ain’t you, boo!

Plus, an estimated 80 billion (yes, 80 BILLION) pounds of food is wasted every. single. year. So not only are we as Americans overspending by eating out and ordering everything under the sun (racking up that bill because our eyes are bigger than our stomachs), we’re also wasting ridiculous amounts of food just from pure gluttony.

I could go on and on about how our wasted food could feed entire populations in third world countries, buuuut I’ll spare you… this time.

My whole point is this…  eating out can and should be a treat that you indulge in periodically (and sometimes you may just have to say 'no' altogether), but the key here is to maintain self control and keep your budget and financial priorities in mind.

Don’t eat your way out of your future financial goals.

5. Share Plates and / or Sides.

Because I like numbers and facts… I’m going to throw another statistic at ya!

Did you know that more than ⅓ of Americans are obese and much of that is due to what we discussed earlier in this post, but it’s also because portion sizes in America have grown astronomically over the years.

We’re “Super Sizing” this… and “Biggie Sizing” that, making our bank accounts skinnier and our waistlines fatter.

But there’s a way to counter this, girlfriend... Share plates!  

Most entrées ordered in restaurants have enough food to feed two (maybe three) people, but if you’re hungry enough for your own plate… at least try sharing the sides.

Ordering two burgers?!... Then share a side of fries.

Tacos come three to a serving?!... Order one more and share the rice and beans.

Look... how you actually do it is totally up to you, but the fact of the matter is that sharing plates will keep you from sweating bullets when the bill comes at the end of the evening and allows your belly to be satisfied (not stuffed).

And I think we can all agree that those are two things we definitely want to keep in check… pun intended! ;)

Drop a line below and let me know what you think of this post!

Until Next Time,
Elle
​Ready to start your budget? Get the GFB Guide now! Click "Learn More" to read about all you'll get with the purchase of this helpful guide!
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Hey girl, hey!

How many times have you been ready to turn up for the weekend, but after looking at your account balance your “turn down for what” mood quickly changes into “turn down for real”?

Listen… we’ve all been there and I can speak from personal experience. But just because your funds are low doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun weekend… it just takes a little creativity.

“So I’m supposed to go all weekend without spending anything, Elle?!”

Ummm…. Yeah, girlfriend!

I know, I know... just the mere thought of not spending any money can send some people into a full-blown panic attack, but it can be a lot easier than you think.  

One thing you absolutely have to remember (especially as a beginner budgeter) is that financial freedom is a marathon, not a sprint. Just as you wouldn’t go to the gym for 30 days and expect to have your perfect, ideal body… the same works for budgeting. The key is to keep going.

When you’re first starting out, budgeting can seem scary, overwhelming, and sometimes downright painful, but girlfriend… no pain, no gain… right?! I’ve had people adamantly express to me how they’ve been budgeting faithfully for 3. whole. months. but cannot understand why they can’t do all the traveling, all the shopping, all the ballin’ out they want to do.

​But the fact of the matter is… there has to be some sacrificing initially to get to where you want to be ultimately.

How can you enjoy the fruits of your labor when your “labor” is minimal or non-existent?

No hunty, it takes real work and dedication to get to the enjoyable side of your financial situation, and you have to be realistic about your expectations.

How long did it take you to rack up that credit card debt?

How long have you been indulging in poor money management habits?

How long have you been disregarding your financial obligations only to satisfy your needs for instant gratification by spending money on things that 1 month, 6 months, or a year from now will basically be...meaningless?

So in all honesty, you’re setting yourself up for failure thinking that you can erase all the financial damage you’ve done your entire life with just a couple months of budgeting. Nah girlfriend… not gon happen. I’m being blunt because there’s no time for sugar coating.

It takes several months, sometimes years to see real changes in your finances... but that is solely with steadfast consistency. And anything worth having is definitely worth working and waiting for… right?

The keyword here is: SACRIFICE….

Say it with me… SAC-RI-FICE. (Yeah.. you got it!)

In order to change your whole financial situation, you must change your whole mindset. Budgeting is a lifestyle change… not a diet.

So don’t worry about where Erica and Lisa are going this weekend and what they’re spending.

Don’t worry about what kind of luxury cars Jasmine and Destiny are driving.

And don’t worry about where Amy and Krystal are going on vacation.  

Listen… people straight up FRONT in real-life and on social media (not all, but many), so while you’re sitting over there sacrificing and trying to get your sh*t together, you may see your friends out and about “having the time of their lives”... but don’t believe the hype...

If you were ever able to actually see the inside of their financial situations, I’m sure a lot of things would be put into perspective for you.

Focus on you. Focus on YOUR goals… because you only have one life to live, so why not make it the best.

So with that being said, below I have listed 40 fun, guilt-free activities that you can do on a no-spend weekend to help you stay focused on bettering your financial situation.  

  1. Play a board game.
  2. See what meals you can make from what you already have in your pantry.
  3. Paint your nails and toes with polish you already have.
  4. Invite a friend over for girl talk.
  5. Have a movie marathon on Netflix.
  6. Take a walk.
  7. Create / Re-create your budget.
  8. Read Girlfriend’s, Budget! blog posts.
  9. Call a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while.
  10. Organize your closet.
  11. Deep clean your house or apartment.
  12. Go to the library.
  13. Surf the internet to learn something new.
  14. Research your next travel destination.
  15. Catch up on laundry.
  16. Start a blog or journal.
  17. Find things to recycle.
  18. Meditate.
  19. Create a vision board.
  20. Exercise at home or around your neighborhood.
  21. Relax in a bath.
  22. Catch up on rest.
  23. Explore your city and take pictures.
  24. Clip coupons.
  25. Listen to music.
  26. Hang out at a local pool.
  27. Think of short term and long term goals and write them down.
  28. Find a nearby volunteer event.
  29. Finish up some projects around the house.
  30. Write down ways you can make more money.
  31. Have a garage sale.
  32. Spend quality snuggling time with your partner.
  33. Rearrange your furniture.
  34. Learn a foreign language.
  35. Create a Will.
  36. Go to church.
  37. Find a free concert to attend.
  38. Babysit (and maybe earn some extra cash)
  39. Take your kids to the playground.
  40. Read a new book.

Who can be bored with all these FREE things to do? And there’s really so much more if you just start thinking creatively.

But more importantly, you’ll gain fulfillment in knowing that you can accomplish things you may have put off and enjoy yourself all without spending a dime.

Girlfriend, I tell ya… a no-spend weekend can really do wonders for you and your budget. And when the week starts over… you’ll realize how much extra cash you have leftover in your spending account, which then can either be dumped into your savings or used to pay off some extra debt! (Work it, girl!)

RELATED: How Should I Organize and Separate My Money?

I highly suggest doing a no-spend weekend at least once (maybe twice) a month depending on your financial situation. Well... to be honest, any financial situation can benefit from a no spend weekend every so often!

Dee and I will be documenting our no-spend weekend activities on snapchat (mselle21 & prettygreen_21), so join us and hashtag your own no-spend activities with #nospendweekend #GFB

You can do this… hang in there and take it one day at a time!

So are you up for the challenge? Cancel your plans… let’s start this weekend! Your bank account and future self will thank you for it.

Drop a line below and let me know how you liked this post.
Until Next Time,
Elle
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Hey girl, hey!

When you think of the word “sexy”, what exactly comes to mind? Most people automatically think about a physical attraction, but girlfriend it’s waaay more than that! True sexiness comes from within and after three decades of being alive, I finally learned what being sexy is all about… so today I’d like to share with you how I maintain my sexy and how you can do the same. Let’s chat!
1. Stay Active

If you follow me on snapchat (follow me @ mselle21) you know that I’m always talking about staying active. However, I cannot lie and say that I’m a gym rat... because that, my friend, would be far from the truth. In all actuality, I hate going to the gym, so I try to find activities to do that are both fun annnd active. Whether it’s going on a long walk with my dogs, riding a bike around the city on nice days, running on the beach during vacation, or finding groupons for activities to do around my area.

My wolfpack (that’s what we call ourselves, you’ll see them on snap) and I get together sometimes to do some type of group exercises, because we all know how important it is to keep your body active. It’s not just to stay looking good (although that’s a very nice side effect), the more important part of staying active is that it decreases stress (we all have stressful jobs), uplifts your mood, and helps keep away many diseases and ailments caused from being overweight and under-active.

​By no means am I telling you to immediately start going beast mode with the physical activity, but I am saying that you should at least start somewhere… even if it’s only a couple days a week. Trust me, you’ll find yourself doing a double take in the mirror...loving the way you look and feel after a few weeks of steadfast consistency.  

2. Find Balance

“Major Key!” (in my DJ Kaled voice)

All jokes aside, balance is a key component to being victorious in life. My 2017 mantra that I’ve worked so hard to live by is ‘Mind, Body, Soul’. When all three of these things are in balance, it’s a recipe for happiness, harmony, and success.

When I say find balance… it’s literally just that. Had a burger for lunch? Okay…. maybe eat a salad for dinner (and skip dessert) to balance it out.

Like to splurge on shopping? Okay… determine your next savings goal and then set aside a little bit of money to reward yourself with something nice and within reason.

Have high anxiety (like me)? Try meditating in a quiet space a couple times a week to release those anxious thoughts and calm your mind.  

Just don’t make it complicated.

Like they say… even too much of a good thing can be harmful. I’ll share a quick story with you:

When I was about 13 years old, I would always see those commercials about V8 juice (“Shoulda had a V8!” Remember those?!).

Anyway, I was convinced that by replacing water with V8 juice that I would be giving my body all the fruit and veggie nutrients it needed and I would be healthier solely by changing this one thing.

Needless to say... after about 2 weeks of drinking non-stop V8 juice, I woke up one morning to find that I had literally turned orange because of all the beta-carotene from the carrots in the juice! And what made matters worse… I had completely broken out into hives all over!   

So there I was… orange and hivey all because I indulged in too much of a “good thing”.

Ultimately, I think we all want to someday reach a balanced level in life… it’s just all about finding what works for you.

3. Keep Your Cool.

Let’s keep it all the way real… there are going to be times in life when (ahem..excuse my french)... a MF’er just really wants to try you… and it could happen at anytime! It could be someone at work, someone in your personal or dating life, or maybe a complete stranger that just wants to act a fool with you for some unknown reason (ugh, I hate that).
 
In my younger years, I can admit that I never really handled situations like this with tact. In fact, it would be more like:
 
“So you wanna get loud?... Watch me get louder!”
“Oh, you wanna be petty?... Guess who’s the petty queen!”
“You think you got an attitude?... Wait until you see mine!”
 
But fortunately, I learned that matching ignorance with ignorance is no way to go through life. If anything, people will respect you more for keeping your cool and maintaining your sexy in heated situations… because ladies, we’re just naturally too sexy to let anyone take us out of character.  
 
So the next time someone wants to act a donkey with you… don’t give them the pleasure of seeing you react. Just remember to keep your cool and keep it movin’.  
 
4. IDGAF.
 
Over time, I’ve really learned to be comfortable in my own skin, with whom I have become, and with whom I’m growing to be. At the end of the day, I do not need approval from anyone in order to be happy and neither do you. If someone dislikes how I look, dislikes my blunt honesty, or dislikes who I am and what I stand for, guess what? ... IDGAF!
 
Literally learning the lesson of not giving two shits is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. For so long I was always worried about what certain people would say, or how certain people would feel, or what people on social media thought of me… but no more! Because in reality not nan (yes, I said nan) one of those people are paying my bills, cultivating my growth, or providing me emotional or spiritual fulfillment.
 
So when I’m presented with information about what some hater said, I typically have the same reaction:
 
*Blank stare*. Unbothered.
    
Why?... Because IDGAF!
 
Haters are those people who despise seeing you win! They are clapping with you, but not actually clapping for you. They are smiling in your face, but talkin' mad trash behind your back.

But the way I see it… if someone has enough time to discuss what they dislike about you and what you’re doing, they seriously need a hobby!
 
Real winners are too busy focusing on actually winning to be worried about the next person.  
    
So the next time you find someone talking down on you when you know you’re putting forth your best effort to be your best self… shake them haters off girlfriend, because you’re just too damn sexy to be worried about things or people who are irrelevant to your well-being.
 
5. Keep your Finances in Check!

Perhaps one of the sexiest things a woman can be is financially savvy... knowing how to make those coins... then knowing how to make those coins work. for. her. Have you ever seen a woman negotiate? (So sexy!)

The key here is not to look the part, but actually be the part.

"Oh nice, you drive a benz?"... 

But does your checking and savings account validate the fact that you're driving that luxury car? Or are the people calling you every other month to repossess it.

"Girl, you slayin' in those red bottoms!"

But does your checking and savings account look like you should be shopping at the $9.99 Shoe Deals shop down the street?

You see, sexiness is the mindset of knowing when to downplay materials things so that you can build on things that actually matter for your financial future... like budgeting, stacking money, and investing.

Because when a girl has her finances in check... that's the ultimate definition of sexy!  

So go ahead, get your sexy on and drop a comment below and let me know what you think of this post!
 
Until Next Time,
Elle
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Hey girl, hey!

Summer is officially here (well, at least the scorching hot Texas temperatures say so where I live) and let’s face it, sometimes we all just need a break… from life! So what better way to get that break than to plan a summer girlfriend’s getaway (sun’s out, buns out!). The good news is that traveling doesn’t have to be a big production, nor does it have to be expensive. So I have listed some tips below on how to keep those coins in your pocket, while still having a good time with the ladies! Let’s chat:
1. Did Someone Say… Road Trip?

There ain’t nothing like a good ol’ road trip, and sometimes a quick getaway requires just that! You’d be surprised at how many hidden gems you can find that are only a few hours away. So do a google search of some places to travel to within your driving limits (my limit is 5 hours in the car, any more than that… no can do, hunty) get your girls together, and start planning! Don’t forget to have everyone chip in to help the driver with gas.

2. Check out Airbnb or VRBO!

For those of you who may be thinking… what the hell is Airbnb and VRBO? Girlfriend, let me put you up on game! These are sites where you can rent apartments, homes, town homes, and condos almost anywhere in the world. I love renting one of these places, because often times they are significantly cheaper than hotels and allow way more flexibility. You pretty much get to experience living like a local in the area you’re visiting. Not only that… some places have major accommodations like private swimming pools, game rooms and other entertainment ideas (Awesome Sauce!). You may not even have to leave the house much… how’s that for saving money!


3. Grocery Shop & Cook at Home


Yes, I know… eating out can be quick and easy, but where’s the fun in that?! If you have a decent group of ladies going along, try splitting up in “teams” and rotating which team cooks breakfast, lunch or dinner. Or if you have some Chef Girl-ardee’s in the house that love to cook, ask if they’d mind whipping up some grub for the crew. Just find a nearby grocery store and grab all the ingredients you’ll need for the weekend (you'll definitely need snacks too). I guarantee you, this grocery run is so worth the money you’ll be saving on eating out and you'll have so much fund bonding with your girls over delicious home cooked meals!

If you follow me on Snapchat (wink... mselle21) you may remember a while back when me and my girls took a fun weekend getaway trip to Wimberley, TX (yeah, pretty much the middle of nowhere). There were 6 of us and everyone chipped in $121 (Total $726). That money was enough to cover not only our rental home for the weekend, but also all the groceries we shopped for while we were there! 

Now let me tell you, my boo, and my girls Porsha and Sandy made some bomb ass Backyard Burgers, Shrimp & Grits, and Breaded Chicken Parmesan, respectively (haha... can you tell I love food?). Those dishes created in that weekend were umm, ummm scrumptious... and way better than any restaurant we could have found, because not only are they great cooks… they made each meal with love! (Awww).

4. Be Flexible

Sometimes you have to be a little flexible with your schedule in order to score a great deal on a trip.  More recently, you may have seen on my snapchat (ahem... mselle21) that my girls and I took an epic trip to Atlanta (we turned all the way up... lol) and the round trip flight only costs us $181 per person. Now, grant it, the flights took off at a crazy, un-godly time of the morning (like... 5:30 am), but hey… you can catch up on sleep during the plane ride, right?!

In addition to that, we left on a Thursday and returned home on a Sunday. However, in personal research that I’ve done, flights mostly seem to be at their cheapest on Wednesdays and Saturdays. So if you can leave and/or return on a Wednesday or a Saturday… compare the prices with your preferred timeline and see how that may help your pocketbook!

Personally, I have two vacations planned for this summer. One is right around the corner, where my wife and I will be kicking off the season at an all-inclusive resort in Isla Mujeres, Mexico... swimming with dolphins, eating our asses off, and chill-axin on the beach with a drink in our hands while listening to the waves (ahhhh... relaxing)!

And a couple weeks later, my bestie and I will be living it up in Miraflores, Peru (get your passport, girlfriend!).

Both trips have already been budgeted and paid for… and we already set aside our money to spend. #Prepared #GFB #Thiscouldbeyoutoo

So with that being said, start planning some girl’s trips, budget for them, and let me know how these tips worked out for you! And don’t forget to send me some pictures!

Until Next Time,
Elle

​P.S. Special thanks to my girls Sandy, Kristie, and Porsha and my wife, Dee (behind the camera) for making the photoshoot for this blog post so much fun! We were laughing so hard, we almost forgot the camera was there. Take a look at a few of our bloopers!
Snapchatting!

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