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Weekly Recap: Aquariums, Target and House Hunting! 4

Weekly Recap: Aquariums, Target and House Hunting!

Did anyone else’s week zip by? One second it was Sunday evening and I was scheduling all my social media for my Spending Ban Update and then bam it was Thursday night. I haven’t gotten anything done this week. I had many an aspiration to get a lot of blog work done this week because I knew the weather was going to be crappy. And, none of it happened. I actually had quite the jam packed week! So, in old school style I thought i’d write up a nice weekly recap! 

Weekly Recap: Aquariums, Target and House Hunting // Being Leanna

// Aquarium

I went to a new aquarium in my area and it was actually a lot of fun. I’m a big fan of aquariums, especially ones with jellyfish, so I was thrilled we got one near here. It was a bit small but it was perfect for families. The best part was that they had a huge area where you could pet the stingrays! I’m not sure if you’ve ever pet a stingray before but it’s the best. They’re like dogs. But they feel way cooler. 

// In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

I’ve been reading this for ages and I finally finished it! Everyone has been reading and recommending this and I loved The Woman in Cabin 10 so I thought i’d give this a go. Not a huge fan to be honest. The entire first half was pretty slow and uneventful. The ending didn’t have as big of a twist as I was expecting. It’s well written but you can tell it was her first novel. If you’re interested in suspenseful novels I suggest picking up The Woman in Cabin 10 instead. 

Weekly Recap: Aquariums, Target and House Hunting // Being Leanna

// Target

Need I say more? I went to Target for the first time in 2017 this past weekend. You heard me right, the first time in 2017! As soon as my spending ban was officially over I grabbed my keys and headed straight to Target. I mostly grabbed necessities (shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste) but I also grabbed some things I’ve been dying to try. Keep your eyes peeled for a review of these two mascaras and the cult favorite Pixi glow tonic!

// House Hunting

Is still going pretty slowly. I want to be picky but not too picky so nothing out of this world amazing has shown up. I’ve gone and seen a handful of places but they all fall short somewhere. It’s starting to get a little discouraging but all the excitement i’m getting to be able to decorate my own place again is keeping my spirits high. If you’re interested in the house stuff I’ve been loving lately check out my Pinterest page!

Weekly Recap: Aquariums, Target and House Hunting // Being Leanna

// Sushi

I go back and forth with what my favorite type of food is all the time. The past few months though all I’ve wanted is sushi. I love it. I had a little girls night Tuesday after work and met up with a friend for dinner. No, that’s not all mine, just most of it haha. We went to an amazing sushi place in Albany (Kuma Ani) and I about died with excitement. I tend to try something different every time so I don’t have a favorite but i’d love to hear what yours is!

// 13 Reasons Why

Yes, i’m watching and yes i’m obsessed. I read this book way back when I was actually in high school and this story was relatable. I had to tune in and I started watching this week. I’m five episodes in and although dramatic and obviously centering around a depressing topic i’m loving it. Are you watching? 

If you’re ever curious what else i’m up to be sure to follow along on Instagram and Twitter!

How was your week? What are you looking forward to the most this weekend? Let me know in the comments! 

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Spending Ban: Month 3 Update- Final Thoughts 15

Spending Ban: Month 3 Update- Final Thoughts // Being LeannaSpending Ban: Month 3 Update- Final Thoughts

Guys, my spending ban is over!! Cue the fireworks and noise makers. (Also cue my first trip to Target in 2017!!!)I am so excited to share with you all the final month in my 3 month journey of spending as little money as possible. I’ll take you through all of the goals and tips from my first post to tell you what worked and what didn’t. I’ll be sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly today so stay tuned!

To give a little background (if you want the full story click here) I started this spending ban to get me to my savings goal by the time I was ready to buy a house. I’m working with a grant program where I had to deposit money into a special savings account for 10 months. Well, my last deposit went in on April 1st. So, officially, i’m done with the grant program and all I have to do is find my house! 

Before you get into this post, you should read the full story, my month 1 update, and my month 2 update!

Set an amount that’s do-able:

At the end of my three month spending ban I wanted to save up an additional $1,200. That may not sound like a lot for you, or it may sound like a ton of money. If you’re thinking about going on a spending ban you need to set a goal that’s attainable. $1,200 was attainable for me and I did it (plus a little extra!). I could have done more but by month three I honestly wasn’t feeling the spending ban any more. It was my most expensive month yet. Luckily, I received a nice tax refund at the beginning of the month and I was able to put all of it into my savings account! 

Set an allowance:

This did not work for me at all. In January I used some Christmas cash I was given as my allowance for the month. In month 2 I just kept track of what I spent every week and tried not to go crazy. I started this ban telling myself that I would allow myself $40 per paycheck to do whatever I wanted with. I’m sure it it would work for some people but it just didn’t for me.

Cash is king:

Also great in theory but it just did not work for me after month 1. I used up my Christmas cash and then it was strictly a card in month 2. I used some cash in March but that was only because I collected money at work for a group lunch and paid on my card. So, I used the cash as spending money the rest of the month. I’m not a cash person. I know it’s a great budgeting tool but I like to think that I have enough self control to not go crazy on my card. I exclusively use my credit card for purchases and pay it off each paycheck. It’s just what works for me. Plus, I earn miles which is how I was able to go to Philly and not pay for my hotel room! 

Keep the temptations away:

Probably the best thing I did was unsubscribe from dozens of email lists. It is so refreshing to go into my inbox and only see emails I actually want to read. There has been no J. Crew, Banana Republic, Sephora or Express emailing me every day to tell me what deals are going on. I couldn’t unsubscribe from Ulta but I didn’t spend a dime there this whole three months. And I even had a gift card! 

Eye that checking account:

I mean, I did this and I didn’t do this. I wasn’t religious about it in March but that’s because I knew I had the safety net of my tax refund. Also, because I mainly use my credit card for everything I checked that statement way more often. I pretty much only went into my checking account on days I knew bills were coming out, I was getting paid, or I was going to make a credit card payment. 

Lessons Learned:

Don’t be to hard on yourself if you spend a bit more than planned! January I spent $368.40, February I spent $193.42 (and $377.81 from my vacation account), and in March I spent a whopping $695.85. Whoops. See the full breakdown below. 

Here’s why i’m not mad about March being crazy expensive. I was really over being on a spending ban. Somewhere in the second week of March my mindset switched from “save every dime so you can buy a house” to “spend the money while you still have it!”. So, I spent the money. I bought hiking boots that were $128.74 and couldn’t be happier and I bought a $95 Groupon to go parasailing in May and i’ll be checking off a 30 before 30 bucket list item. 

Spending Ban: Month 3 Update- Final Thoughts // Being Leanna

More tips for starting your own spending ban!

If you’re looking to start a spending ban for yourself I’ve got 5 of my best tips right here:

// Set an attainable savings goal. There is nothing more disappointing and discouraging than setting yourself up for failure. I knew I could set aside $1,200 in 3 months. I wish I could have done $2,000 but I knew that wasn’t realistic so I didn’t make it my goal. 

// Set a time frame for the spending ban and mark it on a calendar. 3 months was just too long for me. I was itching to spend money come the middle of the third month. Maybe a week, a month or even just a weekend will work best for you. 

// Tell your friends and family. My friends knew I was on a spending ban and were more flexible with cheap hangout options. It was incredibly nice having their support. Some people thought it was dumb so I just had to remember that I was doing this for me, not for them and that kept me from being bummed if I had to not do something. 

// Don’t completely deprive yourself! There were a few times I had to say no during my spending ban but I never deprived myself. If there’s something you really want, or something you just can’t live without don’t say no. I bought hiking boots! Do I need them? I mean, they’ll be super useful because I want to get into hiking, but I didn’t need them immediately. LL Bean was having a sale so I snagged them. Same goes for the Groupon for parasailing. Groupons don’t last forever and it was a great deal. 

// Write down every single thing you buy. Do it. I promise, it’ll help. It can be a pain but it’s so worth it. Keeping track of everything you spend seems so much more real when you’re actually writing it down instead of just looking at your bank statement. It’s scary seeing what you spend money on. So much food! 

Have you ever done a spending ban? If so, let me know how it went in the comments!

Spending Ban: Month 3 Update- Final Thoughts // Being Leanna

 

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Spring Bucket List & 10 Free Blog Post Ideas 25

Spring Bucket List & 10 Free Blog Post Ideas // Being Leanna

Happy first day of spring!!! After what has felt like an endless winter I am so happy that today marks the first day of spring. There is still 2 feet of snow on the ground here (yuck) but i’m hoping it’ll melt quickly so that I can start to break out my t-shirts. We had a teaser of a nice week in February of 60+ degree weather and I’ve been dreaming about spring ever since. The daffodils were even starting to pop up but now they’re covered in snow.

Last year I wrote a spring bucket list post so I figured what way to celebrate the equinox by doing the same thing for this year! A lot of the things on my bucket list this year are the same so I figured i’d sweeten the deal for you guys by also including 10 free blog post ideas for spring! Click on the link at the bottom of this post to see the list, no downloads or signups necessary!

Spring Bucket List

//Go hiking now that I’ve got real hiking boots

//Finish up Helene’s course Instagram For Success – I’ve been majorly slacking on finishing this for some reason!

//Eat outside! This is one of the best parts of the spring and summer for me. 

/ Go to a happy hour outside! Again, being outside is the best part about spring. There’s a bar right next to my work that has the most amazing patio and I can’t wait to get out there and relax. 

//Buy a house! Yeah, lofty goal but i’m currently very seriously looking. So exciting and stressful all at once! If you’re looking to see how I’ve been saving up for a house, check out my spending ban post here! 

//Clean out all of my books. I’m a book hoarder. I still have books from my teenage days that really just need to get donated. 

//Start running outside. I said this last year too and it barely happened. I hate running but it makes me feel so good afterwards so I need to get back in the habit. 

//Clean out my closet. Before I transition my wardrobe from winter to spring I want to try everything on. Donate what I don’t want, toss what can’t be donated and make a list of things I need in my wardrobe. 

//Create more fashion posts. Keeping on the theme of going through all my clothes, I want to do more fashion posts! I miss them and even though I probably won’t have a ton of stuff to link i’m hoping you guys would still like them. 

//Book my fall trip to Denver! That’s right, i’m going to Denver in the fall for a long weekend! I’ll have more details when the plans are more solid. 

//Spend a weekend up at camp! 

10 Blog Post Ideas For Spring

Hope you liked my spring bucket list, be sure to share your bucket list with me in the comments or tweet me @BeingLeanna when you write your own spring bucket list! 

You might also like my 30 before 30 list!

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Spending Ban Update: Month Two! 15

Spending Ban Update - Month 2 // Being Leanna

Spending Ban Update: Month 2!

It’s that time again! Time for the month 2 spending ban update! If you’re looking for why I put myself on a spending ban, you can read the entire post here or just catch the synopsis. 

Basically, I plan on buying a house this year. I’m participating in a grant and the money is available to me starting April 1st. While getting a grant is incredibly helpful, I still want to put down some of my own money on the house. I have a set goal that I want to have in my savings so that I can put a certain amount down and still have a safety net. Because I want to have a set dollar amount in my savings by the end of March, I need to put myself on a spending ban to get me up to where I want to be. 

How I’m starting and how you can too!

First of all, set a dollar amount that’s doable.

You want to pick a goal that’s difficult but still attainable. Don’t overestimate what you can actually save in a month or you’ll get discouraged. My savings goal for February was to set aside an additional $500 on top of my regular savings into my account. 

Go through your budget and decide what is a necessary expense and what isn’t.

Obviously bills are non-negotiable. You may have heard that I went on a vacation this month. How’d I manage that on a spending ban you ask? Well, I have a separate vacation savings account that had some money in it. I didn’t spend over what was in that account and I had miles on my credit card that I was able to use to pay for a hotel room. You can go on vacation on a budget!

Set an allowance. 

You can’t just not spend any money for three months. Dinner with friends will be tempting, a car will need an oil change and an ice cream might just be what the doctor ordered on a crappy day. Set up an allowance to account for those things. I already set aside $40 from each of my paychecks to go into a vacation account and I’ve decided that for the next three months i’ll be allowing myself to use that as my allowance. If I need a new toothbrush, a dinner with a friend or just really need to go to happy hour I can use my allowance and not feel guilty. Definitely failed at this one this month. I didn’t give myself an allowance at all and just sort of spent money as needed and deducted as necessary.

Cash is king.

Keeping your allowance in cash helps you to realize just how much you’re spending. I always keep a credit card on hand for emergencies but, leave the debit card at home. It’s too easy to swipe. While I didn’t give myself an allowance I did do most of my spending in cash so that I’d keep better track of what I was spending. On both of my paydays in February I took out some cash, whatever I didn’t spent I used towards my vacation so I could use less from my vacation fund. 

Keep the temptations away. 

Unsubscribe from emails, uninstall any shopping apps on your phone and don’t clip any coupons! Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you’re saving money. If you weren’t going to buy it in the first place you aren’t saving anything. Use a holiday gift card to shop if it’s an absolute must. I don’t want to go three months without new makeup or clothes but I know I’ve got plenty of both. I’ve been doing a great job of using up tons of products that I’ve had lying around. No new purchases for me so far this year. I’ve still got that Ulta gift card but i’m saving that for a rainy day. The only problem with this is that my skin has not been too happy lately. Let me know what skincare products you’re loving in the comments!

Eye that checking account. 

You probably pay all of your bills online. To make things easier, add up what you need to have to pay your bills for the month and transfer the rest out into your savings. If you’re on a bi-weekly pay schedule figure out what bills get paid out of which check and transfer the extra to your savings accordingly. The less extra money you leave in your checking account the less likely you’ll be to spend it. This has really been the most important thing for me. Keeping better track of where my money is actually going. I kept on top of my checking account so much better this month! With transferring money around for vacation and getting my tax refund back  I was in and out of my checking account a lot making sure all the extra money I had immediately went into my savings account. 

Results:

How much did I save? I was able to put away the extra $500 I budgeted for into my savings! That was a huge accomplishment for me. 

How much debt did I deduct? I had a debt pay down goal of $200 which I didn’t do, at all. My State refund will be about that much so when it comes in i’ll be transferring it right onto my car loan.

How much did I spend? Less than $200 this month! I checked and double checked my receipts because I couldn’t believe it. Luckily I had no unexpected charges this month. Most of my money went to food, unsurprisingly.

 March Goals:

I want to save an additional $500 and be able to put $100 back into my vacation account. Can I do it? I’ll let you know come the end of March!

Hope you enjoyed my spending ban update, it’s really helping to keep me accountable! I hope you all are getting some tips and inspiration out of this little series i’m doing. Please, let me know if you’ve ever been on a spending ban in the comments!

Spending Ban Update - Month 2 // Being Leanna

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Spending Ban Update: What Worked and What Didn’t – January 12

Spending Ban Update: What Worked and What Didn't - January // Being Leanna

Hey ya’ll! It’s time for my first monthly spending ban update

If you didn’t read that post, or just need a recap, I’ve put myself on a spending ban because I want to buy a house! And soon. I’m participating in a grant and the money is available to me starting April 1st. I want to put down some of my own money on top of the grant money for the house. I have a set goal that I want to have in my savings so that I can put a certain amount down and still have a safety net. Because I want to have a set dollar amount in my savings by the end of March, I needed to put myself on a spending ban. 

My Monthly Spending Ban Update!

Set a dollar amount that’s doable.

You want to pick a goal that’s difficult but still attainable. My savings goal was an additional $400 per month. Normally I have a certain amount every paycheck that goes into savings and I wanted to put $400 on top of that. 

Go through your budget and decide what is a necessary expense and what isn’t.

Obviously bills are non-negotiable. I did end up getting a small deduction in my cell phone bill which was great. I wasn’t using nearly as much data as I was paying for so I changed my plan. $10 a month doesn’t sound like a lot but that’s $120 per year!

Set an allowance. 

You can’t just not spend any money for three months. I already set aside $40 from each of my paychecks to go into a vacation account and I’ve decided that for the next three months i’ll be allowing myself to use that as my allowance. If I need a new toothbrush, a dinner with a friend or just really need to go to happy hour I can use my allowance and not feel guilty. This ended up not working so well. I never ended up doing the allowance thing. I had some cash from Christmas that I used up and my brother gave me cash that he owed me so I used that as my allowance and never took a withdrawal from my account. 

Cash is king.

Keeping your allowance in cash helps you to realize just how much you’re spending. I always keep a credit card on hand for emergencies but I leave the debit card at home. Cash is king for sure. I really thought about the purchases I did make because I was watching my wallet empty. Below i’m going to lay out every. single. thing. I spent money on in January.

Keep the temptations away. 

Lots of stores have sales right after the new year. Unsubscribe from emails, uninstall any shopping apps on your phone and don’t clip any coupons! Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you’re saving money. If you weren’t going to buy it in the first place you aren’t saving anything. Use a holiday gift card to shop if it’s an absolute must. I don’t want to go three months without new makeup or clothes but I know I’ve got plenty of both. My inbox has never looked nicer! I couldn’t give up my Ulta emails (I’ve got a gift card burning a hole in my pocket) but everything else went away. 

Eye that checking account. 

If you’re like me, you pay all of your bills online. To make things easier, add up what you need to have to pay your bills for the month and transfer the rest out into your savings. If you’re on a bi-weekly pay schedule figure out what bills get paid out of which check and transfer the extra to your savings accordingly. The less extra money you leave in your checking account the less likely you’ll be to spend it. If you can, setting up automatic transfers into your savings account will greatly help. I sort of did this, and sort of didn’t. I logged into my checking account online the day before each paycheck and transferred out the money I didn’t need. 

So, what did I buy?

On Amazon I bought Buffering by Hannah Hart ($3.99). It has been on my reading list and the price was too good to pass up. PicMonkey– ($33.00) I pay for a yearly subscription and it just happened to be up in January. Sunoco gas – $26.33. 1TB Harddrive ($57.23) I picked this for my mother for her birthday, she’s been needing one and I had gotten our home movies digitized for Christmas. DMV Vehicle Registration ($57.00) this only happens every 2 years and it just happened to occur during my spending ban. Groceries ($55.74) yes, I am aware at how lucky I am that I don’t have to pay for most of my food (thanks mom, i’m eternally grateful!). SiteGround Domain 1yr ($14.99) I recently switched hosts and had to pay for the domain. Phone charger ($28.34), mine finally died. It had had been holding on for dear life for months. Housing Class ($70.00) this was required by my grant program and was a one time expense. I bought Towels ($47.20) at Target. They were having a white sale and I have no towels for my new house. No excuses and I don’t feel guilty. Sunoco gas ($25.62). I went out to eat and had 2 beers and shared a pizza at Browns Brewery ($20.00). And finally, I went to an Ice Bar and got myself a beer ($7.00). 

What did I save?

I mentioned earlier that my goal for the month was to save $400. That’s an additional amount from what I normally put in the bank. I ended up depositing $383.11 extra into my savings account which I think is pretty awesome.

What did I learn?

Not to be so hard on myself when I spend money! Some of those expenses I listed above were a bummer (the phone charger, DMV and the housing class) but, they were all necessary expenses. Things are going to come up and it’s good to be prepared. I also learned that I can still have fun and not spend a lot of money! I still went out with friends and managed to have a great time. 

What are my February goals?

Same as January, save $400 on top of what I already put into savings. I’d like to to be able to put $200 extra onto my car bill for the month. Over President’s Day weekend i’ll be going on a mini vacation. I know i’ll be spending some money (I got my hotel for free using my credit card rewards!) so i’m going to try to not be too hard on myself. I do have a “vacation” fund that should cover me fully though. It’s also tax season! While I haven’t filed my taxes yet I know that if I get a refund I’ll be adding to my savings.

Do you guys have any plans for your tax return? I also really want to know if you’ve been on a spending ban before! Let me know in the comments!

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Spending Ban Update: What Worked and What Didn't - January // Being Leanna

 

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