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Budgeting Utilities + Tips to Lower Utility Bills

Budgeting Utilities + Tips to Lower Utility Bills

There are a few ways that might be helpful when budgeting for utilities. I can tell you upfront that when we began, we took a complete guess based on the square footage of our rental and hoped that it wouldn’t be over that amount. It […]

My Hair Background Story

My Hair Background Story

I figured it would be beneficial to talk about my hair background prior to my natural hair journey. I first straightened my hair in 7th grade and was hooked. Suddenly, my hair was smooth and not frizzy! I got hooked. Thankfully I was always great […]

We’re Debt Free Pt 2: Our Debt Numbers

We’re Debt Free Pt 2: Our Debt Numbers

Not long ago, I shared the emotional story of How We Got Out of Debt (and I wish We hadn’t)….Yes. It sounds crazy that I wouldn’t want to be out of debt, but you have to read the story here to understand.  But I decided to share the breakdown of the debt numbers because I feel that it is essential to be transparent in our financial journey. I plan to write though ALL of the baby steps!

 

Starting Debt Numbers:

 

NICU from our daughter’s birth: $3000 (our out of pocket max – the total bill would’ve been just over 50K so thank God for health insurance!)

 

Student Loans: 158,XXX (Breakdown: 26K mine, 132K Travis = 158K ours. note: I’ll probably write about this eventually. The huge difference in our loan totals was extremely hard to deal with at first, but I had a lot of help along the way.)

 

Personal Family Loan (Travis borrowed from parents while in college): $5,700

Total Starting Debt: $163,7XX in February 2016

 

From February until June 2016, we were single income. Technically I was finishing my last undergraduate class remotely and I officially graduated in May 2016.  I began work in June. We lived with my in-laws from January 2016-September 2016 while we were (slowly) searching for an affordable place to live. We were very lucky to have this option and I can’t stress that enough. It gave us thousands to put towards our snowball, and allowed us to find a steal of a rental.

 

From March 2016 until May 2017 we paid off $46,700 in debt on our own. We were gazelle intense with a {payoff date calculatedto be December 2019 assuming no promotions or extra income. In 2015, my Grandma passed away, and from her estate we received $20,000 in July 2016.   My mother reached out to us in mid May 2017 and offered to pay the rest of the student loans (97,XXX). To say I was shocked would be an understatement, but the backstory is that during this timeframe, my father passed away. My mother is now in Baby Step 7 and she felt it was time to help us (again, read that story HERE). We then were able to pay off my in-laws in only a couple of weeks. 

Some obstacles we faced:

  • Two cars: Yes TWO. The first actually was an even trade at first, but we ended up having to cash flow $2500 in repairs until it finally died. A 2005 Subaru Outback with only 110K miles. The engine got destroyed out of nowhere and the quote was $5400 for just the engine. Trust me it’s a sore spot! We replaced that vehicle with a TrailBlazer about two months ago and we love it! It’s just a gas guzzler but otherwise is excellent.
  • Emergency tickets home: I don’t think I’ve talked about this, but I am originally from Alaska. We now live in the eastern half of the United States. Due to a family emergency, we all had to get last minute tickets home. Trust me, last minute tickets to AK are not cheap (and every single airline that flies to Alaska refused me any emergency/bereavement discount trust me, I tried!). Then while home we ate out a lot and paid for other’s meals here and there. Really money was the last thing on anyone’s mind. The tickets were $2700, and we spent about another $500 over the few weeks in restaurants and miscellanoues.

So that’s it. Those are our debt numbers. We are debt free. And I don’t know if I quite believe it yet. 

 

– Rachel

Anything surrounded with {} is an affiliate link. Happy to say that anything from affiliate links is going towards our fully funded emergency fund!

We Are Debt Free, But I Wish We Weren’t.

We Are Debt Free, But I Wish We Weren’t.

Well….we are debt free. YEARS earlier than expected. And I wish we weren’t.   You are probably thinking I’m crazy or wondering what is wrong with me for wishing we were still in debt, but let me explain. I received a call from my mom […]

First Impression Review: SheaMoisture Fruit Fusion Coconut Water Weightless (on 2B Waves)

First Impression Review: SheaMoisture Fruit Fusion Coconut Water Weightless (on 2B Waves)

I finally used up my DevaCurl Celebrate Wavy Kit! (full review coming very soon!) and decided to pick up a less expensive replacement option. I was looking at a few options (that I’ll probably eventually purchase) but settled on the SheaMoisture Fruit Fusion Coconut Water […]

YouTube Beauty Videos I Specifically Avoid

YouTube Beauty Videos I Specifically Avoid

 

Recently I went over my thoughts about Why I Don’t Watch Beauty Videos on YouTube anymore. But this doesn’t necessicarily mean I have gone and unsubcribed to everyone I used to love. In truth, I have unsubscribed from several, but there are a lot of YouTubers I still follow that I just don’t watch every video. I dislike a lot of the videos…

So what are Youtube videos I avoid? Well….

  • My _____________ Routine: Now several years ago, it was super helpful to watch a “morning routine” video. This usually equated to an everyday makeup routine or skincare & makeup routine. They were informative and simple. In the last five years, these have become a full on production of the most perfect morning ever, as if we all live in a great big fairytale. It’s usually laughable, and often, these are to highlight a single product. Show me a big Youtube beauty content creator who has made a ______ routine that DOESN’T contain a sponsored product. Trust me, it won’t be easy. These have also gone from “My Morning Routine” to evenings, weekends, events, you name it. And most are made to sponsor a product.

Note: some videos, like “current skincare routine” or hair-care are hit or miss. I pause the video before watching anything, and read the description box. If the video is sponsored by a specific brand, I don’t watch it. It’s a guranteed commercial.  If there is one or two products that were PR I might watch it.

  • Monthly Favorites: sometimes these can be informative, but if a YouTuber does monthly favorites, I have to really question how much they are using of each product. When a new month starts, do they just switch products? I’ve also seen (more than a few times) a “favorite” mentioned that was used ONCE. Um…..maybe that is possible, but I just don’t believe it. I’ll wait for your empties video that includes it:)
  • Opening PR videos/ “What’s in my PO Box”/ New In Beauty: these became more popular about a year ago, but when big content creators began showing what they got in the mail. While it is nice to disclose this, it is SO MUCH excess of product, and the reactions don’t always seem genuine. There is just no way a person can be SO excited over every single product, but the creators also don’t want to be rude to a brand by saying something negative right away. From a business standpoint, this completely makes sense and I would act the same way. But from a consumer standpoint, it feels fake. These just highlight more products that are on the market and feel like a huge commercial, even if that isn’t the intent.

Note: I also know that creators make these videos because they are asked! I see the comments too, but I personally don’t like them.

  • Makeup Hauls: On the opposite end, I don’t like watching hauls either. I DO completely appreciate that creators are still using their own money to buy makeup occassionally, but there is just SO MUCH EXCESS. The amount in one haul is often what I would need for a year’s worth of makeup. And this is from people who already own a lifetime supply of makeup. I love makeup, but I’m so happy to have gotten to a point where I love everything I own so much, that I don’t really care what else is out there right now. I have a small but wonderfully curated collection. And I don’t want to be tempted to buy something I don’t need, so I avoid these videos. These are the biggest youtube videos I avoid.
  • Fashion Hauls: Similarly, there is just so much excess that I see. Sometimes, these can be nice if I know I’m going to need something for inspiration. Usually though, the fashion haul videos I see are put up regularly by the same people. And I’m talking a year’s worth of clothes about every months. It’s be nice to see how clothing is rotated, which a few creators have shown, but very few.

Last in this mini-series is going to end on a good note, which is some YouTube videos I do still enjoy!

-Rachel

Why I Don’t Watch YouTube Beauty Videos Anymore

Why I Don’t Watch YouTube Beauty Videos Anymore

This is the first of a three part series on the YouTube beauty community…. ‘I feel like I “grew up” watching YouTube. The OG Youtube. The Lollipop26, Juicystar07, Pancea81, MichellePhan era of YouTube. I remember when Ingrid Nielsen first came onto the scene. To say […]

Critical Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Review

Critical Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Review

So if you are familiar with my website, you know that I was able to score the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz for $1.50 at Ulta a while ago. Yea. AWESOME DEAL. And I was so excited to try this because it is such a […]

My Mostly Healthy Grocery List 5/21/17

My Mostly Healthy Grocery List 5/21/17

Sorry that I have been MIA lately. Some crazy things have been happening and I have a major announcement coming soon. But in more simple life things….we just got back from camping, and keeping it real….we ate out a few meals this week. Yep. Multiple times in the same week. And we feel totally gross (and guilty for the budget!). But we are hopping right back onto the budget health train and moving forward. Mostly. The reason for the title mostly healthy grocery list My husband had some completely not healthy requests that I didn’t bother arguing – see below. Camping was great by the way 🙂

Here is my mostly healthy grocery list…

ALDI

 

  • Mushrooms
  • Eggs
  • Bacon (not Whole30)
  • Arugula
  • Strawberries

Sam’s Club

  • BBQ Sauce (not W30)
  • Pork Chops

note: I was going to get pork spare ribs, but the chops wre so much cheaper that I couldn’t bring myself to pay almost double for the ribs. Some other time when we feel like splurging!

  • Smoked Turkey Deli Meat (not W30 – but a GREAT paleo option)
  • Chicken and apple sausage (not W30 but also a great paleo option!)
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Pretzel nuggets (hubby’s request)
  • Tomatoes
  • Digorno 3 pack Meat Lover’s Pizza (hubby’s request. gross.)
  • Cat litter
  • Batteries – D and AA

Another note: this week we are intentionally not eating a frittata, but are instead eating chicken and apple sausages with sides. I found myself overly busy and making excuses to not eat frittata. Even after my ways to mix up frittata post, we have gotten to the point of needing something different. I hope that we can return to our typical frittata next week though because the sausages are more expensive, and are not Whole30 approved (Aidell’s Chicken and Apple sausages ARE Whole30 compliant, just more expensive)

Some meals we plan to make:

  • Pork Chops with Basalmic Brussel Sprouts
  • Shrimp Curry over Toasted Cauli-Rice (W30)
  • Grilled Chicken Salads
  • Chicken& Apple Sausage w/ sides

With Motivation,

Rachel

Makeup & Skincare Worth Saving (a Lot) For

Makeup & Skincare Worth Saving (a Lot) For

Before worrying about budgeting and our debt snowball, I would’ve probably called this article “Worth the Splurge.” While that is similar, I now believe that these items should be saved for, or requested as a gift. These can’t be impulse buys. I’ve been there, done that, […]