The Must Have Flower with Lasting Power

There is nothing like a vase of fresh flowers! Colorful blooms brighten up any space and if you are living somewhere where it is still snowing in April –

The Flowers Bring Hope!

Ever Saturday my fam bam takes a trip to Trader Joe’s and I sooo look forward to the trip. My husband focuses on getting the food, I ooh and ahh over the floral section, and our kids secure the snacks! My one and only responsibility is to secure the bouquet (maybe 2 or 3 –  if I am willing to sacrifice a snack 😀 )! That is my kind of grocery trip!

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As much as I looooooooove flowers – I refuse to break the bank to secure them and those petals better not fall off for some days!!! The cut flowers have to last. A few weeks back I was soooo “stressed” out about what flowers to select because every bouquet was saying “Take me home”! I would put a bouquet in the cart, wheel it around, see a lady with a different  bouquet, talk to her, switch my bouquet out so we could be twinsies, & repeat! Finally as we were nearing check out I talked to a fellow Mom club member –  who had the flower lover scent all over her and some kids! I asked her 21 questions about the flowers she had in her basket and she gushed about how they were the best in the land! So I got two bouquets of the flowers she had!!!
Let’s just say – I am a forever fan of these budget friendly flowers! If they can survive a photoshoot of being flung to and fro – they are a definite keeper!!! 🙂

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Bam!!! Here are the long lasting blooms and the thrifted Kaftan that better last a lifetime!

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Hanging flowers upside down helps them to open up and last longer !

Just Kidding!

It’s simply an extra AF pose that will cause others to laugh hysterically and question your sanity! & if you’re lucky they may ask you where you snagged your shoes from!

I promise this is not an ad – these clorox white sneakers are Nike and were snatched off the DSW clearance rack. I tip toe around town trying to stay clear from all signs of dirt 😉 

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Do you know what kind of flower this is?

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This is the ” Lily of the Incas”. 

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The scientific name is “Alstroemeria” & they come in a plethora of colors.

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*Abrupt  Pause* 

 The detailed print on this Kaftan needs proper acknowledgement.

Let’s stare and admire the wardrobe art.

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Originally I thought I’d only wear this $4 gem at home, but it makes me feel like royalty – so I’ve ventured out of my palace and into the supermarket with it on!

My new fashion motto is to: Standout & Wear Whatever I Want!

If someone has something to say – I am prepared to slide them my Reseller Stylist business card and offer to hook them up with some royal threads 😀 .

*Back to the Blooms* 

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Alstroemeria “Lily of the Incas” has lasted as long as 3 weeks for me!  I typically pick up 2 different colored bouquets for $8. Once I get them home, I sit down at the kitchen and let my mind drift while I prep them for the vase. The ends get cut and the leaves on the lower portion of the stem get snipped. I also clip off any leaves that look beat up. Then – in the vase they go.

As time goes on – the water will obviously need to be changed and I just keep cutting the stems down.

These flowers are so easy to take care of and truly have a 

“long lasting beauty”.

 

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Be on the lookout for these blooming beauties and a kaftan to elegantly sashay around in!
Do you have a favorite flower with some staying power – do tell!

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Peace & Blessings,
Lo Johnson

 

Festival Fashion

It is time to start getting ready for those art & music festivals! The extremely popular Coachella Valley Festival (aka BEYONCE concert 😀 ) is just a few days away! If you are looking for that last-minute stand out outfit – your local thrift store might just have your back.

Check Out The Scarves! 

 I love an item that can be worn an unlimited amount of ways and doesn’t take up a lot of space. Thrift stores are overflowing with this versatile accessory! Find a large square scarf with a fun bold print pattern – and make it into a trendy top!
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Simply  fold it into a triangle then tie the ends around your back!

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The larger the scarf the more dramatic the tie in the back!

If you think you would dance right out of a halter top – which is entirely possible – then there are a few other options:
  • Take the scarf (in its square shape) – tie one set of ends around your neck and the other set of ends around your waist. This makes for a well supported top.
  • Make the scarf into a fun statement head wrap or headband
     –  Perfect option for covering up that sweated out hairstyle!
  • Wear the scarf as a belt to accent your outfit

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Bam! You have one item and multiple styling options!

The best part is that scarves can typically be thrifted for less than $3! The one I am wearing cost me 2 dollars – which means less money needed to shop and more money available to have a good time with friends & family! Cheers to the non budget breaking – stand out – be kind to the earth and reduce waste fashion find – YASSSSS! Isn’t that the hippie way!?!

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I can almost guarantee that no one will have that same scarf pattern!
Which is something to smile about! 

Just make sure you don’t wear heels to get your festival groove on – that is a sure way to get awkward stares and have yourself crying in a field somewhere 😦 ! Wear comfy sandals or sneakers. The goal is to look effortlessly cute and unleash that free spirit!

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For the chilly mornings or evenings – search your local thrift store for an oversized lightweight jacket! The one I have pictured above happens to be my favorite color and matches my scarf color palette – it only cost me $5. I would also wear with a fun oversized denim jacket!
If you are like me and looking to attend Summer festivals like Lollapalooza or Afropunk  – you have a lot more time to prep and have pre-loved fashion shipped right to your door!  My poshmark closet is filled with festival friendly pieces and is constantly getting new inventory.  A few of my offerings are pictured below – keep in mind there is only one of each ;)!

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Wishing you the best of luck in building up your budget friendly festival wardrobe!!!
Have fun & much love ❤ !!!
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Peace & Blessings,
Lo Johnson

Hit Goals & Treat Yo Self

Hit Goals & Treat Yo Self

When you hit a goal:

Treat Yo Self

To level set – this is not a permission to treat yourself into debt post – it is a reminder that there are small ways to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Let me give you an example: For one week I embarked on a no spend challenge. I accomplished my goal and did not swipe my card for 7 days! As a reward, all I wanted was a couple of Charm’s Jumbo Blow Pop Suckers. Two for me and one for each of my boys. 🙂

Before satisfying my $1.50 sugar craving – I stopped at my local Salvation Army to source inventory for my Poshmark Closet. Then BOOM, the heavens opened up with angelic voices singing (just go with the theatrics) & my orange obsessed eyes locked in on a brand new BCBGmaxazria pleated cocktail dress – IN MY SIZE!!!

I was hoping the dress had a white tag attached as that was the ½ off color of the week. Nope, it was a red tag item. 😦 In Salvation Army lingo – that means pricey and slim chances of a mark down. 😦 

The price of this dress was $10 (after tax)!

That is a lot of money to spend on one item (in my world). The fact that the dress was gorgeous, high quality, new with tags, a reputable brand, and in my favorite color – changed the game completely!

Nevertheless, the war within was giving me whiplash! Should I spend $10 to treat myself or save the money to carry over into the next month?!?  The DJ Khaled voice won by a landslide:

Don’t Ever Play Yourself

The $10 dollar dress with a MSRP of $298 is now in my personal closet! Oh, and I got those suckers too – stackin’ treats! 🙂 Y’all I cannot wait to wear this reminder of hitting a personal goal! Warm weather come through, puhlease! 

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BCBGMAXAZRIA Eloise Saffron Cocktail Dress

 


Friends, my prayer for you is that as you compound victory after victory you remember to :

Take your Victory Lap & Do your Victory Dance

Whether the reward is small or whether it is large – it will give you the fuel to conquer the next goal! Stay the course Goal-Getters! 🙂

Peace & Blessings,

Lonisa

Money: January No Spend Challenge

I have officially completed day one of the No Spend Week Challenge!

A week ago, I had $354 of “play” money left for the month and I knew that I would be spending a nice chunk of that celebrating the birth of my husband. I gifted him some new basketball shoes so he can pretend to be LeBron in his work league. 🙂 We also had some time together without our dependents (YAY)!

My sister watched the kids and we got to catch up with some friends from our Alma Mater! Then later we went out for a yummy Sushi Dinner!

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       The Yellow Crotchet Top is Thrifted – cost $4! Brand: Free People

Every time my card was swiped I keyed the amount into my Simple Budget App.

After the birthday celebration, I had about $110 left. I used some of that the next day to ice my family with some Dunkin Donuts and fill up my car tank.

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I now have an Adulting Allowance of:

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I have no reason to spend that money in the next week and would like to carry over some funds into February. Based on what that month is looking like – the coins will be needed!

So I have challenged myself to spend no money between January 22nd – January 28th. Having a full tank of gas and bringing my breakfast/lunch from home – should cover all of my personal spending needs. There is nothing that I absolutely must buy and I have no planned hangouts.

Just because you have money does not mean that it must be spent!

Every month I try to pick a week or a few days to spend no money. There is nothing like challenging your inner self and it forces you to get creative! In all honesty, it is a jolt to the system that shakes off that “gotta have it” mentality!

The days that I have successfully spent no money are the days where I have:

  • Prepared
  • Practiced Self Control
  • Prayed (Temptation is Real!)

Fingers crossed that I can keep it going the next 6 days!  I absolutely love that on Instagram there is a community of everyday people sharing their journey of saving and getting out of debt! Lots of people have incorporated no spend days! I encourage you all to check out the #debtfreecommunity and #financialfreedom hashtags.

Do any of you have designated no spend days? 

Peace & Blessings,

Lonisa

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