Archive for June, 2013

Bacon and Blue Cheese Lettuce Wedge

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Today, I’d like to share the easiest salad. It makes the perfect appetizer for any main course, is fresh and rich at the same time and easy to adapt to your personal taste.

boxwood clippings_bacon and blue salad

What You’ll Need:

Iceberg Lettuce

Bacon

Tomatoes

Blue Cheese Crumbles

Blue Cheese Dressing

Directions:

Wash and cut the lettuce head in four to create a wedge. Drizzle dressing and then crumble tomatoes, blue cheese, and bacon over the lettuce wedge. Wallah and you’re done!

Iceberg is the perfect base to add any of your favorite flavors, so the possibilities are endless for those who don’t love blue cheese. Our favorite sub is Feta cheese and Feta dressing (we like Trader Joe’s dressing).

This salad has a huge wow factor and believe me when I say Iceberg lettuce never tasted so good!!!

How We Pinch Our Pennies

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

boxwood clippings_money

One of our main objectives for this little blog of ours is to live beautifully on a tight budget. While we are no experts, we thought it might be beneficial to share a few of our habits now and again that are helping us live a frugal life.

EXPENDITURE LOGS

Just like a food journal leads to a higher chance of success for weight loss, so does tracking each penny. This one principle has completely changed my responsibility over money. While most of us have checking accounts that track our expenses, an itemized list is the only way to get an exact record of that $50 withdrawal from Target. Every item goes into its separate catagory accordingly, food into groceries, that card you bought into the gift category. Tracking expenditures for a few months is the easiest way to set a budget on all variable spending (everything other than set bills such as mortgage, car payments, utilities).

Everyone’s categories will be different, but after a few months of logging each item your categories will become apparent. My main spending is in the following categories: Groceries, Housekeeping, Personal (clothes, make-up, hair etc), and Gifts. I also have a misc category where I track random expenses as well as going out to eat.

MAKE A REALISTIC BUDGET

This seems very intuitive if you want to lead a frugal life but is trickier than it seems. It’s important to start with an expenditure log for at least 3 months and then average out each category of spending to create a realistic budget. Our budgets change from time to time as circumstances change, but a good rule of thumb is to have a tight enough budget to keep excess spending under control, and at the same time feel you have enough of the things you need. Not everything, but enough. To make a budget livable it’s important to include a few things that may not be 100% essential. For example, entertainment and eating out are always part of our budget, no matter how small we make these categories. It’s also a good idea to re-evaluate expenses at least once a year. The potential to save money on things such as insurance, cable, and phone are worth the time it takes to investigate.

.SET GOALS AND REWARDS

Everyone is different and you have to figure out how you can live frugally without wanting to kill yourself. It’s so hard for me just to save and watch the numbers grow, I want to know we are trying to reach our six month reserve, saving for a car, a trip etc. Budgeting is so much harder if you are not convicted on your goals. Setting realistic goals after you make a reasonable budget will help you stick to your plan. The reward is so much sweeter when you have worked hard to make your goal happen.

SHOPPING LISTS

Uggg, shopping lists. I hate ’em, but they are such a valuable tool for frugal living! Not only do we make shopping lists for the grocery store, we make lists of everything we may need and want. For example, I keep an ongoing lists on my iphone of things I need in my closet, with the most important at the top of my list. If my budget doesn’t allow, it’s easy to look at my list for the next month and prioritize. I also try to have a little money set aside in my shopping budget in case there is a clearance item that is a steal of a deal. It’s hard to part with money when you don’t need something right that second, but you’ll be happy in October when you bought that cute sweater back in April for 70% off.

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SELL AND BUY ON CRAIGSLIST

I love, love, love selling things we no longer need on Craigslist or local classifieds. Having someone come over, and give you cash for your junk is the best feeling EVER! How much stuff do you have laying around your house that you never use? Try selling it! Likewise, if I need large items for our home I am always scouting the classifieds for a while before headed to the store. We have saved so much money doing this.

DONATE

If you have items that you cannot sell, make sure to donate your items to a thrift store. One man’s junk is another’s treasure! It feels good giving something away, hoping it will bring joy to someone else. Another perk are donations receipts, which you can keep as a charitable donation when it comes to filing taxes. :)

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Although money is not always fun to talk or think about, we feel a great sense of satisfaction knowing we’re doing our best. However, we’d love to know more, what tips can you share with us?

Holler Dollar Contest Winner

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

A big congratulations to our winner, Terri for her patriotic holler dollar!!!

She purchased three flags for $1 at her local Target and placed them in all her hanging baskets. Aren’t they adorable?! We love how you can decorate seasonally with dollar finds.

WINNER

Thank you to all of those who entered, you truly know how to spend a buck we were so impressed. :)

Worth the Splurge: Guerlain’s Terracotta Bronzer

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

One of Em’s friends we suggested we do a “worth the splurge” post every-now-and-then, we loved the idea (thanks Bethany), so here we are our first recommended splurge…

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This Guerlain’s bronzer was recommended to us when Mum was shopping for a new bronzer, we were sold on the spot which doesn’t happen very often! I’m not kidding when I say, I actually went to the ladies while Mum was trying some on and when I got back my mother looked more fresh and beautiful than when I left. I had to try some for myself, and also instantly feel in love.

$51 is way more than I usually pay for a bronzer, but our generous mummy surprised us with our own…naughty woman!

We each got matched to our shade, and surprisingly I wasn’t the lightest! Mine is 04 Sun Blondes, shown here…

boxwood clippings_guerlaire terracotta bronzer

We’ve had no buyers remorse as this baby has us looking radiant all day. Can you see the difference?

boxwood clippings_guerlaire terracotta bronzer

Picture 11 copy

(It’s even better in person:)

Usually bronzers last at least a year so we figured it’s actually quite cheap when you divide $51 into 365!

Also, (as mentioned before) we LOVE shopping at Nordstrom, especially with new expensive products it’s great to have the guarantee that we can return it at any time if we’re not happy.

On that note, have you local readers been noticing how Fashion Places’s Nordstrom has not been so great lately? We’ve totally switched to City Creek, way better customer service.

Anyhow…do you guys have any splurges we need to know about, do tell?!

Patriotic DIY Origami Stars

Monday, June 24th, 2013

My nephews have been into origami lately, isn’t it amazing what you can create with a piece of paper? I’ve seen little stars on strings of lights, and after googleing origami stars I found THIS site with very easy instructions for any type of star you’d like. I fell for these 5 pointed ones.

I was playing around with just ordinary white paper while practicing but to my surprise they turned out cute enough to use, and complimented my simple patriotic banners perfectly. Again, I’m loving the not-so-over the top patriotic look. Do you like it too? Or are you missing the red and blue?

boxwood clippings_origami stars

 In a couple I decided to hole punch around the edges.

boxwood clippings_origami stars

A great project to do with bigger kids, or even the little ones could help decorate them once they were made.

boxwood clippings_origami stars

 Can you believe this was the result of 25 sheets of plain paper?

Decorations don’t get thriftier than this!

(Again, instructions found HERE)