Tag Archives: ballin on a budget

Simple Ways To Cut Down Home Ownership Expenses

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Simple Ways To Cut Down Home Ownership Expenses

Owning a home is a significant investment move. But, unfortunately, the costs involved do not end after your final payment. Whether you paid fully for your home or working with a mortgage, you will still face various home ownership expenses. Some of these are pretty much predictable, while others can take you by surprise. And unless you already have some financial cushioning, these expenses can be a source of stress. So, are you drowning under these waves of home ownership expenses? Use these tips to cut down on how much you spend:

Switch utility and insurance providers:

Suppose you’ve used the same home insurance company, utility provider, or electric company for over a year. In that case, it’s time to shop the market for alternatives, as you may be overpaying at this point. You will be pleasantly surprised by how much utility providers and home insurance providers vary in their price range. Take the time to check other providers and compare their prices and other special offers they may have, and settle for the ones that give you the best deal in terms of service and price.

Try refinancing your mortgage loan:

If you have a mortgage on your property and it’s eating chunks off your income, then you might want to consider refinancing. Thankfully, getting a refinance mortgage quote is easy, as you can do it online. According to some experts, the average interest rate on a fixed-rate loan for 30 years is 3.14%. So, if your current rate is even a fraction higher than that, opting for a mortgage refinancing could help save you hundreds of dollars every month.

You can also speak with a mortgage broker to determine what rate you can qualify for if you refinance or get a refinance mortgage quote online. However, you need to note that refinancing may come with some fees. So, be sure that you intend to own your home long enough to recoup the expenses saved.

Generate income from your home:

An effective way to reduce your expenses is to generate income from your property. Depending on where you are, the size of your home, or your special interests, various options are available to you. One option is to rent out rooms in your home. You can also rent out spaces in your yard for small home dwellers looking for land space for their tiny homes. Another option is to register for short stay hospitality services like Airbnb or rent out storage space in your garage.

Find out if you can reduce your property taxes:

There is always a chance that your property tax is not being assessed correctly. And that’s not all, as you can also enjoy tax breaks for various reasons. Property tax is probably one of your most significant expenses as a homeowner, so it pays to find if there are tax breaks for you or if you’re overpaying.

^^^ Pexels Image

Saving money where you can when it comes to your home will save you lots of stress in the long run. These extra savings will sure come in handy for home ownership surprise expenses that can’t be avoided!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Cost Effective Ways Of Losing Weight And Being Healthy   

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Cost Effective Ways Of Losing Weight And Being Healthy   

One of the main reasons why people struggle to lose weight today is because they deem it to be too expensive. You only need to take a trip to a supermarket to see that the processed, unhealthy foods are exceptionally cheap, while it costs a lot more to get your hands on the good stuff, like fish, organic fruit and vegetables, and white meat. Plus, you then have the likes of a gym membership and exercise equipment to add into the mix. It’s not hard to see why the expense can be off-putting. Nevertheless, you can lose weight healthily without spending a fortune, and here are some ways to do so:

Embrace free exercise options:

Yes, joining the gym is going to cost you money. However, there are many different ways that you can lose weight. You don’t need a personal trainer, nor do you need to buy expensive exercise equipment. What about a good old-fashioned run or power walk? This is one of the best ways to exercise and it doesn’t cost a dime. Also, thanks to the Internet, you can gain access to so many different exercise videos free of charge. All you need to do is a quick search on YouTube or another video site and you will see all different types of exercise videos you can follow, from Zumba to yoga. You no longer need to pay to go to a class.

Rethink your commute:

Another easy and effective way to incorporate free exercise into your lifestyle is to rethink your commute. If you live within a few miles of your place of work, how about biking or walking there? If this is not an option, small changes can make a massive difference. For example, take the stairs and stop using the elevator.

Skip ‘healthy’ convenience food:

Not all healthy foods are expensive – carrots are probably one of the cheapest things you can buy in a grocery store! What is expensive, however, are those convenient ‘healthy’ foods. You know, those 100-calorie snack packs, and the ‘healthy’ ready meals that are available in supermarkets. These are nothing more than budget drainers. You would be much better off buying a packet of dried fruit and nuts and making your own snack packs with sandwich bags. Weight loss has a lot to do with budget control, but do you really need to spend way over the odds for someone to give you the right quantity? You can do this yourself. In fact, if you’re worried that you will overeat, all you need to do is carry a measuring cup with you, and this will ensure that you are always on the right track.

Buy in bulk:

One of the best ways to save money when you are shopping is to buy in bulk. You can buy the likes of frozen vegetables, wholemeal rice, and oatmeal in bulk, and this will save you a lot of money. Another option is to buy a whole chicken instead of buying chicken pieces. You can easily cut the whole chicken up yourself into portions for the week. This will save you a good deal of money over time.

Are you eligible for surgery?

If you are deemed morbidly obese, you may be eligible for surgery. This is something that you may have to fund yourself or you may be entitled to some form of monetary assistance from the government. This all depends on your unique circumstances and where you live. Nevertheless, it is something that is worth exploring further, and this is certainly a case of money well spent if your weight is having an extremely detrimental impact on your health. You can’t put a price on living longer, but as any medical malpractice attorney will tell you, selecting a surgeon carefully is critical.

Ditch the red meat:

Ditching the red meat is not only good for your diet, but good for your bank balance too. Lamb and beef can cost a considerable amount of money and they contain more calories than white meat, such as chicken and turkey. Instead of embracing the red meat one night a week approach, why not go meatless? Turning veggie, even if it is for one night every week, will make it a lot more cost efficient for you to lose weight.

Make the most of vouchers and coupons:

Last but not least, one of the best ways to save money on your grocery shopping is to make the most of vouchers and coupons. Nowadays, you only need to do a quick search online to find hundreds of vouchers for different stores. You can also make the most of money saving apps too. Also, a lot of supermarkets and grocery stores offer you a discount on your first purchase so it’s worth exploring the option of buying from different stores from time to time. Don’t forget to make the most of loyalty cards as well; those reward points certainly add up over time.

If you follow the advice that has been discussed above, you should be able to lose weight without it impacting your bank balance. While there are a lot of companies that profit from exploiting people’s want to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle, you don’t need to buy into what they are offering. Being healthy doesn’t need to cost a fortune!

Featured Image By: Unsplash

Budget Friendly Shopping For Your Home

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Budget Friendly Shopping For Your Home

Shopping for furniture, accessories, and appliances for your home or apartment can be so costly that it almost seems easier to leave things as is rather than updating or upgrading. Believe you me, I get it! However, I also know how effective budget shopping can be because I furnished my entire apartment on secondhand items. Today, we are going to explore a few different budget friendly options for your next home makeover:

Secondhand Stores:

The most effective eco and budget friendly option for making upgrades in your home is, hands down, second hand shopping. Buying secondhand is amazing because you are repurposing old things and preventing them from being dumped into a landfill. Your local Goodwill could be a treasure trove of unique furniture and accessories that you didn’t know you needed. This is also an ideal option for people who don’t want their homes to look like everyone else’s because of all of the cool accessories and knick knacks you can find. My art wall in my apartment is completely made from old pieces of art that I bought at the Goodwill.

Facebook Marketplace:

Another great option, similar to secondhand stores, is the Buy, Sell, Trade marketplaces on Facebook. This could be perfect if you are looking for used appliances for sale, furniture, or other odds and ends. The beauty of the Facebook Marketplace is that once you find the replacement for something in your house, you can list the no longer needed item and make some extra cash too. 😀

Always remember if you are purchasing from someone selling on a marketplace type website that your safety is paramount. It is best practice to meet up in a public location like the parking lot of a busy grocery store or coffee shop. You can never be too careful.

Apps:

The OfferUp app is a virtual garage sale where you can both post items for sale and make purchases. I haven’t used this app in a while but I have had a lot of luck in the past selling things on it. I have seen everything on OfferUp from cars, appliances, outdoor equipment, and clothing. The nice part about this app is that it categorizes all of the items on there which will really help narrow down your searches for something specific. You definitely don’t get this luxury at a local thrift store.

Yard Sales:

Summer is the best season for people to host yard sales due to the promise of good weather so now is a great time to do some browsing in your local neighborhoods. It might be a mixed bag but it is another option to save some money while making purchases for your home. You all know the old saying of one man’s trash!

Making updates to your home doesn’t have to break your bank. Get started with the ideas above and see how much you can save today!

Violet Voss Le Macaron Palette Swatches Pt. 1

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Violet Voss Le Macaron Palette Swatches Pt. 1

Hello! During my last Sephora Haul, I purchased two new eyeshadow palettes: Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez and Le Macaron by Violet Voss. I wanted some beginner level palettes to play with but I also didn’t want it to cost an arm and a leg, either. Rare Beauty was twenty-five dollars and Le Macaron was only eighteen! I was comfortable with these prices and the large amount of positive reviews made me feel confident with my online order.

Today, we are going to be taking a closer look at two of the eyeshadows in the Le Macaron palette. There are some colors that are similar to those in Rare Beauty so we will be bypassing them! Now, let’s get to it with the top left and bottom right shades:

^^^ There are no names for these eyeshadows so I guess I will do the honors. Let’s go with “Purple Haze” and “Birthday Cake”.

The only negative reviews I noticed on Sephora’s website for the Le Macaron palette were complaints on the pigment quality. Happily, I did not find that to be true in the slightest while swatching these shades. While the eyeshadow may have been drier in comparison to the Rare Beauty palette, which was quite creamy, it still applied easily and in a rich hue. You just can’t beat that for eighteen dollars!

I can’t say that I will be wearing Purple Haze very often because warm undertones don’t look the best on me now with my red and pink hair. However, I absolutely adore the eyeshadow in Birthday Cake and it was actually one of the biggest selling points of this palette for me. It reminds me of fairy tales, bubblegum, and all things sweet! Purple Haze is a swing and a miss but Birthday Cake is a definite home run. 😀

What is your favorite eyeshadow palette? What are your favorite makeup brands? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Bath & Body Works Semi Annual Sale Haul

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Bath & Body Works Semi Annual Sale Haul

Hello! The Bath & Body Works semi annual sale is like a siren call and, whether I need new bath and body care goodies or not, I always end up doing a little shopping. This past weekend, I met my friend Danielle at Summit Mall for an outing and I showed up early enough to run into B&BW beforehand to make some purchases. I got eleven items for under thirty bucks with a total savings of one hundred and two dollars. Talk about a steal! Check it out:

The Haul:

  • 2 Champagne Apple & Honey shower gels
  • 2 Pearberry shower gels
  • 2 Pretty As A Peach shower gels
  • 1 Raspberry Tangerine body spray
  • 1 Pretty As A Peach body spray
  • 1 Market Peach hand soap
  • 1 Boardwalk Vanilla Cone hand soap
  • 1 travel size Warm Vanilla Sugar shower gel (Free!)

I know what you all are thinking… Sarah, did you really need all of the above? And my answer is YES, yes, a thousand times yes! When it comes to my beauty stock pile, my motto is the more the merrier and why not buy products that I know I am going to use at a fraction of the cost? I exclusively use the shower gel, hand soap, and body spray from B&BW and if I can get a great deal on it, I am going to stock up.

Not only is my bath and body care hoard good for me, it’s especially beneficial during gift giving occasions as well. If I feel like whatever I am gifting needs a little something extra, I am happy to add in a goodie or two from Bath & Body Works to sweeten the pot. After this haul, I am thinking that I will be good for bath and body care products for close to a year…

The only reason I didn’t buy more? I knew the bags were going to be so heavy while shopping with Danielle that I restrained myself and I’m glad I did. Toting around the purchases above for over two hours was a work out!!

Which store has the best sales? What do you have in your beauty stock pile? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

How to Easily Brighten Up Your Home On a Budget

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How to Easily Brighten Up Your Home On a Budget

If your home is looking a little dull, what are some of the things you can do to brighten it up without spending much? If you want to get creative with your living space but don’t have a huge budget, there are plenty of ways that you can change the look and feel of your house without breaking the bank. Here are a few suggestions for easy ways to brighten up your home on a budget:

Paint the Walls:

A fresh coat of paint can significantly brighten up space and, when on a budget, you don’t have to work on the entire house but can paint one or two walls in each room. Make sure to choose bright colors that coordinate well with your decor. For a more professional outcome, consult interior painting companies. You’ll make fewer mistakes and end up with satisfactory results. For affordable color schemes, try pastels or choose a single color for the whole space.

Add Plants or Flowers:

Plants add life to any setting and are an affordable option when livening up space. You can also use plants and flowers to hide out-of-place furniture in your living room, hallway, or kitchen. Choose vibrant flowers that will make the space feel fresh, new, and elegant. Flowers and plants also make a room look expensive without spending a fortune. If you have some extra time, try planting some vegetables in containers for decoration inside the house. For the best results, place the plants at strategic locations near the windows and the front door to give your home a more natural look.

Buy New Curtains or Rugs:

One of the easiest ways to change a room is by replacing the curtains with new lighter or brighter ones. Switching your rugs up is another good option too. If you can’t replace all of the curtains or rugs in your house, start with the ones in the living room, then move on to other rooms such as bedrooms and kitchen. The most used rooms should come first.

White and Off-White Décor:

Just about any color scheme looks good with white or off-white décor, so it’s a great way to create a new look without spending much money. To get the most out of your investment, buy furniture, wallpaper, and artwork in coordinating but bright colors. This will make your home feel more spacious and radiant.

Lighting:

Think about the colors of light bulbs you use. Warm-colored light will create a cozy atmosphere that can make any room feel more inviting. This type of lighting is better in rooms for relaxation like the living room and bedroom. Brighter white lighting is good for rooms with high activity like the kitchen. You may also want to consider adding decorative lighting like table lamps or wall sconces for an even softer glow.

Refresh Carpets:

Vacuum and shampoo carpets, then add a deodorizer to keep smells at bay and refresh the color so they don’t look dull. If you’ve had the carpets for a while, replacing them eventually would be a worthwhile investment.

As you will realize, these suggestions don’t require much money and most of them are easy DIY projects – no local professional required!

Featured Image By: Pexels

How To Spend Less On Your Family’s Essentials

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How To Spend Less On Your Family’s Essentials

There are some things that we all need to pay for and costs we need to cover. And, thankfully, there are lots of ways in which you can spend on these essentials and manage the costs associated with them. If you want to learn how to spend less and keep the costs low, read on now:

Raise Your Insurance Deductibles:

Insurance is one of the things that we all need to have in place. And for most of us, there are lots of different types of insurance that are needed. In order to keep yourself and your family safe going forward, you’ll need to find the right deals and put the right coverage in place. But you can, nonetheless, raise the deductibles in order to get a better monthly rate on those policies.

Cook Your Own Meals:

If you’re someone who eats out a lot or orders takeout food a little too often, you’ll know how costly that kind of stuff can be. Cooking your own meals can take a huge amount of that financial burden away. You can cook and prepare meals very cheaply when you buy fresh ingredients and put the effort into cooking. It’s not as hard or as daunting as you might think!

Create a Debt Repayment Strategy:

Lots of people struggle with debt and get dragged down each month by the repayments they need to make. You can create a good debt repayment strategy if you want to, and doing so is almost always advisable. When you have a strategy and plan in place to pay the debt off faster, you’ll start saving money because you won’t be getting constantly hit by the interest.

Start Using Coupons Routinely:

If you’re not doing so already, you should definitely think about how you can start using coupons and discounts to your advantage. If you’re a pet owner you can use a Canada Pet Care coupon code for your pet food needs. And there are plenty of discounts, offers, and coupon codes that will help you with your regular shopping, including grocery store purchases.

When doing online shopping, there are lots of websites that you can utilize to find coupon codes for free shipping or percentages off of your purchases (Retail Me Not, Honey, Raise). If your family is in need of new clothes, you can find some great offers at https://www.raise.com/coupons/macys for a one stop shopping experience at Macy’s.

Cut Your Travel Expenses:

When you’re always traveling by car or public transport, it can get costly. There are many ways to cut your regular travel expenses, such as by doing more walking and cycling. Or you can try carpooling to work with colleagues so you can all spend less on gas. Traveling less and doing more activities closer to home might also be a good idea if you really want to cut those costs as well as be friendly to the environment.

Spending less on your family’s basics and essentials isn’t that difficult and it never needs to be. When you’re willing to put in the effort, you’ll be surprised by how much you can achieve and how far your money can stretch.

Featured Image By: Pixabay

May 2021 Finishes

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May 2021 Finishes

Hello everyone and happy last day of May! Normally, I am a huge fan of the month of May but this year, it couldn’t end soon enough. Not only are both mine and Johnny’s birthdays in June but our wedding is too! We are so incredibly excited and I can’t wait to share our joy with all of you. Before we say farewell to May, let’s discuss my beauty finishes for the month:

Would I Use Again?

Why/Why Not?

Neutrogena/Garnier Moisturizers: I love a good gel moisturizer, especially in the summertime and plan on using both the Neutrogena and Garnier moisturizers all season long. While I am more partial to the Neutrogena Hydro Boost, you just can’t beat the low price of the Garnier and it is a wonderful less expensive alternative. The Hydro Boost moisturizer is fourteen dollars on Amazon and the Moisture Rescue is around seven. To help cut the cost, I alternate between the two and think that my skin looks much brighter, clearer, and supple because of it.

Eclat Serum: The novelty of the Eclat Vitamin C serum still hasn’t worn off on me yet and I love the way my skin looks and feels after each use. I highly recommend this product and if you purchase it for yourself, I would also highly recommend buying more than one bottle. Despite the excellent quality and unbeatable price (Seven dollars!) one bottle alone will not get you through an entire month if you are using it twice daily. I find that I need at least a bottle and a half to last me for a whole month.

SkinLab Eye Gel: SkinLab products were my go to for the longest time because I could get them on the way cheap at TJMaxx. I would pay about eight dollars for the moisturizers and eye creams or gels. However, during the pandemic, I only shopped online and was shocked to see that the SkinLab products were over double what I paid at TJMaxx on Amazon.

I opted for different moisturizers but still would shell out for the Lift & Firm eye gel since one jar lasts me about three months. After a few repurchases of the eye gel on Amazon, I just couldn’t justify the twenty dollar price tag on it any longer. Once I finish the eye cream that I am using from The Body Shop, I will be testing out a seven dollar one by Elf and have my fingers crossed that it will work well!

There! Now we can officially bid adieu to May. 😀

Which products did you use up this month? What are some of your beauty staples? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Pro Tips For A Spring Wardrobe Revamp

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Pro Tips For A Spring Wardrobe Revamp

Hello! I consider myself a seasonal shopper and enjoy upgrading my wardrobe with a few new pieces as the seasons change. Unfortunately, I wasn’t really able to show off my fall and winter TJMaxx haul in public because pandemic. However, with spring just around the corner and the promise of socially distanced outdoor hang outs, now is the time to give your wardrobe a boost so you can step out for the first time in ages in style. Consider the following tips as you revamp your wardrobe for spring:

Do Some Pre-Shopping:

Prior to browsing online, I always like to go through my closet and see what I already have before I add onto it. You can only have so many floral dresses and light jackets so evaluating what you have beforehand will allow you to purchase pieces that will stand out more in your wardrobe. I also do a lot of window shopping online before I commit to anything to get a feel of what trends and colors are going to be hot for the season. Mid February is a great time to do some pre-shopping, especially since full spring collections typically don’t drop until the end of the month or early March.

Set A Budget:

Once I have a good idea of what I will need from pre-shopping in my closet, I like to make a list of pieces that I would like as well as set a budget that I am comfortable with. Setting a budget is a wise thing to do before seasonal shopping because you don’t need a whole new wardrobe. Rather, just a few new pieces to freshen things up. You can leave a little wiggle room for a find that you simply can’t live without just don’t blow your entire budget on one extravagant purchase!

Keep Statement Accessories In Mind:

Spring is one of the best seasons to accessorize for and you can completely transform a look with one statement accessory. Accessory shopping tends to be cheaper than purchasing brand new clothes and if you like what you already have in your closet, then it is a great way to go for a wardrobe revamp. Think bold necklaces, patterned tights, floppy hats, floral fashion scarves, and pastel hued purses. Don’t forget a soft shawl or cardigan to layer with for chillier days.

Come Up With A Color Palette:

Warmer weather encourages a brighter color palette and while pre-shopping in your closet, it is also important to consider what colors your wardrobe is lacking. I, for example, prefer clothing in a darker color – so much so that I never really realized how much fun it is to experiment with clothing in pink, white, yellow, and green. Incorporating shades that you have never worn before or shy away from will quickly revamp your wardrobe so come up with your own spring palette and give it a try. The worst that can happen is you not liking it!

Updating your wardrobe never has to break your bank – especially if you follow the tips above. Set your budget, snag some statement pieces and, like the beautiful flowers of spring, your wardrobe will blossom too!

Which colors are in your spring palette? What is your favorite season to shop for? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Eclat Vitamin C Serum Review

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Eclat Vitamin C Serum Review

Hey! Before my last skin care haul, I decided to look up the best recommended products for people in their late twenties. The resounding themes of the articles I read through included adding a Vitamin C serum as well as hyaluronic acid into your skin care regimen. For the hyaluronic acid, I ended up purchasing the Hydro Boost moisturizer from Neutrogena. As for the Vitamin C serum, I went with a well rated (five stars) and very cheap (six dollars) serum by Eclat. And, I will be damned if it isn’t the best, most inexpensive serum I have ever used. Let’s discuss:

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From every aspect, this Eclat Vitamin C serum rocks. First of all, it smells divine – just like freshly squeezed oranges and being able to use it first thing in the morning is invigorating. A little of this product also goes a long way because a dropper and a half full is more than enough to completely cover your face and neck. These are both important factors to me when it comes to a skin care product because I simply cannot use something that doesn’t smell good to me and having to use a lot of it to make it feel effective is definitely not the best bang for your buck.

The best thing about the Eclat Vitamin C serum, though? I am being one hundred percent truthful when I say that I noticed a difference in my skin after just one use. I had an extremely busy week at work and I was on my period so, needless to say, I was absolutely exhausted. And, when I get that tired my skin starts to look really dull. I used this serum for the first time during one of my melt into the couch tired days last week and my skin instantly looked more radiant and bright. It was amazing to me that I looked well rested when I didn’t feel it in the slightest.

I was curious to see if this product would keep seeming effective to me once I wasn’t so worn out and I was happy to find that it still lived up to the hype I built for it in my head. My skin just has this glow to it that certainly wasn’t there before with the Azure Lux serums that I have been using regularly for the past two or so years. I am beyond thrilled with the Eclat Vitamin C serum and highly recommend it because after one use I already knew that I would buy it again! GREAT SUCCESS!

What is one of your must have skin care products? Do you use any age specific products? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah