Money: January Adulting Allowance Check In

Wow! We are officially halfway through the first month of the year! One of my goals for this year was to share how I live below my means and hold myself accountable. If you missed my first financial post – take a second to read it here so you can understand my approach to “Adulting on an Allowance”.

I started off this month with an Adulting Allowance of $600 – the goal being not to spend beyond that amount. Anytime I have swiped my card for lunch, gas, or picked up a random item – I have quickly keyed the amount into my Simple Budget App. I love this because I can see trends over time and understand my personal spending habits.

As of January 16th – I have an Adulting Allowance balance of $354! Not bad at all!!!

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The majority of my money has gone to – gas. In second place is the date category – I spent $66 for an April date with my husband  – I am taking us to a concert. In third place is eating out  – basically my lunches and random we hungry, don’t feel like cooking family fast food meals. 🙂

 

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Misc. – I did a  $20 Walgreens run for diapers, toothpaste, and hair product. I also had to pay $15 for misplacing my work badge – FAIL!

 

Typically food would be my #1 or #2 highest category. At work – I had a blessing come up at the start of the year! I received $90 meal dollars on my work badge as we have lots of working lunches. I have been using this “free” badge money on days where I have not brought my left overs. Next month – I am going to have to get my life together and diligently bring my lunch – because that $90 has dwindled.

For the remainder of the month – I know I will have to spend the remainder of my Adulting Allowance on:

  • Birthday gift & dinner to celebrate my husband (estimated $200) – maybe less 🙂
  • Gas (estimated $60) – currently my tank is full and should last a week
  • Eating Out (estimated $50) – maybe less 🙂

These estimates show me that I really only have about $40 dollars of play money available for myself. I am cutting it very very close! I am not going to let myself go over without putting in some effort to increase my coins.

Soooo, I have gotten back into:

Market Research Studies

I highly suggest looking up ones that are in your area. Basically the company will email me surveys – I take them and pray really hard that I will be scheduled to come to the facility 20 mins away from me. I will usually taste & review food (yummy) and get paid $40 dollars for 45 minutes of my on site time . I don’t side-eye $40 dollars – that is a lot to me – because that is more than a tank of gas! There have been times where I have participated in a 3 day wine tasting study (held in the evenings) – I received $175 and my required designated driver $75. Shoot, one time I showed up to a study late and they no longer required my participation – I still walked out with $200! Paid for being late & not adding value to a focus a group! Umm yea this is real life! Look into it 🙂

There are so many ways to put yourself in a position to get some extra cash. I will let you guys know if I get called in for a study (fingers crossed) and share I how I use the funds.

I hope that your Adulting on an Allowance journey is going well! If you feel that you are already over – do not beat yourself up. Understand your situation and look for ways to help yourself out by either securing some extra funds or reducing personal spend (where possible). 

I’d love to hear how you are doing and knowledge share!

Peace & Blessings,

Lonisa

Money: Budget Based Adulting Allowance

Money is a tool. A tool that is used to help you, your family, and ultimately communities. Talking about money can sometimes be very difficult because many of us want more of it, yet do not have habits established to be good stewards of the money that we do have. We think that getting more money – will get rid of our debt, increase our savings, and/or enable us to be out here LIVIN LIT LIVES!

Sure (with a shoulder shrug) – that is possible – but more money does not make that happen.

You do.

It is a personal choice – what are you going to do with your hard earned money? How are you going to spend it?

Will we throw money towards debt? Will we save and invest our money? Will we take a combo save & debt repayment approach?  Will we give our money? Will we spend money that we do not have and keep a credit card balance?

I am not going to tell you the right choice for your current season – I don’t know your life.

However, I am going to share with you how I have been living off an LFS.

In our house this acronym equates to “Left For Spend”. It is basically the adulting allowance that one has in a given month – after all the required adult responsibilities have been paid.

So here is how to calculate the monthly Left For Spend – Adulting Allowance :

Monthly Income – Bills – Savings – Giving = LFS

In my household – we have all of our recurring bills, monthly saving, and monthly giving amount, plus our LFS in our budget sheet. As a family we have decided that we are going to save, give, and play with a certain percentage of our income. The amount allocated to saving and giving – does not get reduced if I overspend that month. In doing this we are ensuring that we do not financially short change our future and community giving.

After applying the formula – I am left with an LFS Adulting Allowance of $600.

Any spending that is not a required bill, savings payment, and giving payment- is taken out of this $600 LFS sum.

My allowance spending falls into categories such as:

  • Pampering (Hair & Nails)
  • Clothing (My boys and I)
  • Random household spoiling
  • Gas (because this amount fluctuates – it comes from here)
  • Entertainment
  • Eating Out
  • Bday gifts to others
  • Gifts to myself 🙂

At the start of every month there are two things that I do to set myself up for success:

1.  I write out how much I think will be spent in each Miscellaneous Category depending on what is coming up and any known needs

  • Doing this helps me to realize there are boundaries on my spending and that in fact – the majority of it is already “spent” before the month even starts – because I want to get my nails done, eat out once or twice, grab my husbands bday gift, and get my boys a few things.

2.  I key into my phone app my $600 Adulting Allowance Amount – then once I spend money – I just add the expense and it keeps the running total. Takes 2.2 seconds to log this -> I swipe my card then type the amount into my app.

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  • I love this app because let’s say it is day 7 of the month – and I’ve gotten my nails done, picked up my husbands gift, ate out with girlfriends, and gotten my boys new boots. I may have dropped from $600 down to $300. So knowing that there is more than half the month left – with gas to buy, some more eating out – I am encouraged to choose wisely. I think twice before swiping my card – is this purchase really worth it?  Hmmmm. Maybe not.
  • Suggested Apps: Simple Budget (Android) and Left to Spend (iPhone)

Please do not read this and think that this is easy – it requires discipline and being a fan of delayed gratification. Plus you have to have a debt vengeance.

Credit Card Debt – I had it at one point – l was adding to it – then I started to change my spending choices – say no to things – work to increase my income – and not spend the increase  – this enabled me to ultimately get rid of it.

Student Loan Debt – There was a time that I was so focused on getting rid of my student loan bill that my saving was minimal and so was my LFS Adulting Allowance. My husband and I had lawn chair living room furniture because we refused to buy a new couch until our student loans were gone. No shame.

It is during these seasons that I truly learned that with self control it is possible to live below ones means in order to hit a financial goal.

My desire is to see more people getting rid of the credit card balance mentality and to eliminate student loan debt. Learning to live below your means – helps to achieve this.

Over the next few months I will be sharing my monthly personal spending in full transparency. The months I come under will be shared and the months I go over will be shared. If I go over – my LFS Adulting Allowance for the next month will be reduced. I hate when that happens!

To make it very clear I do have an emergency savings fund established for true emergencies – like my furnace suddenly needing to be replaced (happened last month). The emergency fund is not used to fix me overspending on shoes I just had to have. If you do not have an emergency fund – I strongly encourage you to start saving up some money to have a little cushion.

Alright – so – if this post is talking to you – there is an action item. Set aside time to figure out your Adulting Allowance and set yourself up to spend within that amount. Be a good steward.

It is my hope that in reading this you understand the importance of not overspending and that in the coming months you can see this in action. The true goal being to enjoy life without creating/adding debt.

Thank you so much for reading & happy adulting on an allowance 🙂

 

Peace & Blessings,

Lonisa

Look Comfy – Cozy – Chic at Home

Look Comfy – Cozy – Chic at Home

After I had my first born – I had the treat of my mom staying with me for a week. While I recovered from sleep deprivation she shopped for us and chef’d it up in the kitchen. I remember waking up to our apartment smelling like Collard Greens (soooooo good) and her passing along lots of wisdom.

One nugget of wisdom she gave me was to –

Stay Looking Nice Around The House

Puhlease do not assume this means I’m walking around the crib looking like a Stepford Wife. She (Lonisa) does not have time for that – plus my husband would laugh at me.

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To really break it down – the message was to –

Take Pride In Your Appearance even At Home

Sure my husband compliments me when I am looking like Felicia out of the movie Friday – but that does not mean I can’t say “BYE FELICIA”.

 

Y’all my man loves me soo much that he took to Facebook on October 20th, 2013 to post me in my full “FELICIA” glory!!! 😉

Listen – BUH BYE FELICIA! 

The wonderful thing about my Queenie Mommaz is that she showed me her wisdom and equipped me. She gave me the nugget, a few comfy dresses, and put comfy – chic on display throughout my upbringing.

One thing to note is the importance of wanting to look cute for yourself – it revs up that self confidence engine. For those married “securing the man” does not mean to retire from the cute attempt. I am sure your man will appreciate the effort – just always remember

Do It For You 

Getting up, taking off the beloved head scarf, and jumping into something cozy & cute – helps me send that message to myself, my husband, and my 2 little kings. Plus – it shakes off the sluggish slumber vibe so I can be productive.

I have discovered a few“Bread & Butter” lounge wear brands.  Basically if you find these while thrifting – get it to resell for a solid price and if it is in your size – wear that ish first! An added bonus – is that some can transfer into office wear!  Here is the: 

Bread & Butter – Comfy Chic List* 

  • Comfy U.S.A (just discovered this brand!)
  • Athleta (an absolute favorite of mine that resells quickly!!!)
  • Lularoe
  • Lululemon
* I will add to this as new discoveries are made.
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My first Comfy U.S.A. thrift find – worn at home, church, & work

So here it is ladies – sometimes we will look like “Felicia” and that is okay (I do often – y’all saw the evidence!).

Be inspired to find balance, give “Felicia” an occasional BUH BYE, and attempt to look lounge-wear chic.

Thanks for reading & I’d love to hear your favorite lounge brands.

Peace & Blessings,

Lo

 

Put Self Care on the To Do List

It is a priority – period – point blank – end of story.  

For the past few years I’ve planned an Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party to catch up with my Sorority Sisters that live in the Chicagoland area. This year the numbers were small, but the tugs on my heart were mighty. I am always 110% down to break away from the norm to share how life is really going and not give a canned surface level “Things are Great” response. We talked about our struggles (we all have them), how God is moving, and of course our families!

Being surrounded by Dynamic Diva’s fills my bucket and is one of my favorite forms of self care!

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Plus – when you’re all dressed up in festive sweaters how can one not get warm and fuzzy feelings! My thrifted vintage sweater gave me the boost I needed to  shake off the crazy work day! Literally, shake it off with the sound of 100 gold rings clinging together!

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            Sweater: Bonnie Boerer & Company (Large) – available here

Taking time for you is much like those instructions the flight attendant gives on the plane. It doesn’t matter if you are a frequent flyer or an occasional one – the attendant always gives the Oxygen Mask Reminder. Basically, if ish gets crazy on the plane and an oxygen mask drops – put the mask on yourself – then help others.

 

This is your reminder. Put the oxygen mask on yourself – first.

Grab the YOU time, breathe it in to the max, and then get back to conquering the world.

I am not a self care expert by any means, however, I know what it is like to be running on E for days on end. To be honest it can be weeks. To be suuuper honest it can be months with lots of patch fixes applied. I will do my self care favorites like a girlfriend hangout session, solo thrift store trip, manicure, or a car jam session (I love this!!!). All of these help me take the edge off , but they do not last! Like for real – the girlfriends have to go back home, the clothes get sold off, the no chip – chips, and the dang song ends (nooooooooooooo)!

 So, what was the point of you reading all of this?!?

It was for me to tell you the best form of Self Care in all of the Land!

Pretty bold statement, I know. Here it goes –

1:1 quality time with the Lord.

This is the form of Self Care that should be at the top of every To Do List.

Listen, snuggling up with my Bible has been at the bottom of mine and I can feel the impacts. This is coming from an extremely flawed human being that tries to do it all in one day! Sound familiar?

The Holy Spirit has been nudging me to hit pause and bask. So I am listening, finally.

Many times we need to just sloooow down and talk with our maker.

In my personal journey – I have jumped into reading one chapter of Proverbs to correspond with the day of the month. 

There are soooo many ways to connect with the Lord and the beauty of it is that he is right in the midst of our favorite self care outlets.

1:1 time with Jesus + whatever helps you unwind (responsibly Image result for smile emoji ) =  Self Care

It is my prayer that every person reading this comes to know that the best oxygen to breathe in is the presence of Jesus and that he belongs first. May Proverbs 3:6 take root in your heart.

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Peace & Blessings,

Lonisa

P.S. I would love to hear ways you spend time with the Lord and your favorite self care activities.

Thrifty Lookbook

My personal closet is made up of mostly all thrifted finds! I curate pre-loved items for women and sell them in my Poshmark Closet. If you have something coming up and would like me to personally style you for the LO – contact me with details on what look your going for and your size!

Here are some of the ways I’ve styled myself for vacations, work, casual Friday, and Mommy Night Hangouts.

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Thrifting for skirts, dresses, and bright bags is an all time favorite! Even Fanny Packs 🙂

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Like what you see? Check out my Poshmark Closet to find trendy items in all sizes. If you don’t find something in my closet – let me know what your looking for and I will hunt it down 🙂

Peace & Blessings,

Shop with Lo

To Thrift or Not To Thrift

To Thrift or Not To Thrift

 

That is the question on my mind – EVERY.SINGLE.DAY!

Thrifting has organically become such a huge part of my life.

In college, the mission was to go to the thrift store to find a Halloween Costume.

As a mother hustling to pay off student loans, the mission was to thrift dresses for the corporate world.

Now, the loans are gone (praise Jesus) and I cannot convince myself to go to a department store. The only time I go is when I have a giftcard and even then it is straight to the clearance rack. Walk in store, 1.5 mins later I’m looking at “CLEARANCE” stickers. Paying full price for anything – feels like losing.

The majority of my wardrobe is pre-loved. My closet holds a lovely mix of thrifted garments with new price tags still attached, high end labels, and head-turner designs.

I could write a book of all the side remarks from my husband and compliments I get from folks in these streets!!!

One of my favorites is  “Oohh cute – where did you get that?”!

Y’all, the look on their faces when I respond “The thrift store for $3 dollars”. Priceless!

A woman once replied back “ I hate you” as she got on the elevator. Meanwhile I’m thinking…..thanks?!?

Listen, it is entirely possible to look fashionable without spending a lot of money.

Here are the reasons I thrift:

1. Unbeatable Low Prices

  • What more can I say! Don’t even get me started on when items are marked ½ off or the goodwill outlets!

2. Wardrobe Gap Filling

  • I spend soo much of my time in corporate attire and love wearing work dresses. I ran into this problem where my closet consisted of just that part of my life –  to the point that when the weekend hit – I had a stack of old sweats and random t- shirts. This gap has been thrifted in and now -> Hi! Street Style! 🙂

3. God Sightings

  • The Lord meets me there as I unwind and drift. I have seen his deep love for me ooze out of the seams of garments. I know that I know that I know – the Lord is the master of details and in the things we consider “small”.

4. The Thrill of a Treasure Hunt

  • Discovering a piece of fashion that I never knew existed or a brand name item that I always wanted – makes me do a happy dance right in the aisle! You won’t be the only one out there though. One time I had to snatch this shirt I wanted right out of a guy’s hands. So much fun!

5. To Flip a Find

  • Buy low, sell higher on Poshmark for a profit. This pays for my personal wardrobe and more. When I have gotten my wear out of an item – off to list I go 😉

6. Mad Money Spending

  • My Mother in Law, “ Mama J”, told me before getting married to keep me some Mad Money! If I get mad at her son she has given me permission to go shop.Yea! I love my Mother in Law! I promise I do not argue just to thrift 😉 I love you Josh, forgive me!

7. Inexpensive Family Affair

  • The Kings in my world tag along from time to time! My husband will take a stab at helping me hunt, my 4 year old loves the toys, and Boss Baby gives his serious back off look. There are no words to describe the adrenaline rush of quickly searching and trying to check out before the Fam Bam starts fussing. The love is real and it means so much to have them along for the adventure!

8. Money Handling Game

  • This is a safe place to play. Get $20 dollars out in cash and go into the thrift store on a mission to spend no more than that! If you go over – figure out what you really need and put back what you cannot afford per the budget. Great place to practice the art of self control!

9. To Passion Dive

  • This makes me smile so hard. For so long I whined that I didn’t have something that was “my thing”. My husband helped me to see what was right in front of me and now thrifting is all I want to talk about. Please don’t ignore what others observe you loving naturally. Signs are real.

10. Community

  • The woman that works the register at my local thrift store – she works every single day from open to close. The regular thrifters that come in saying “ Anything good today” and then of course the folks that get too close to my cart. I am there for it all!

Why do you or don’t you thrift? Comment below!