Three of My Most Popular Budgeting & Savings Posts!

On Thursday I finally reached 100,000 views on my blog! I was kinda freaking out a little bit! Feels pretty crazy knowing that over 100,000 people have come to my blog at some point for some reason. So thank you to everyone for checking it out!

Anyways, in the past three weeks my views have spiked because at the beginning of every year everyone wants to get their budget in order, along with other things like lose weight, adopt a healthier lifestyle, out with the old and in with the new, and all that good stuff. A few of my budgeting and savings posts from 2013 and 2014 were getting a lot of attention because they’re super easy to use so I thought I’d link you to them in one post so that you can easily find them.

1. Monthly Budget Spreadsheet! – Before you can determine how much money you can and should be saving a month you need to figure out your monthly budget! I promise it’s not as painful as it sounds and doesn’t take too long to put it all together. But honestly, it’s a necessity!

aa3f6b9345f073749c066b04b50c79df

2. Yearly Budget Spreadsheet! – Once you get your monthly budget together the yearly budget spreadsheet is just a place to keep you on track all throughout the year. It’s also fun to see how much money you’ve saved at the end of the year!

yearlybudgetsample

3. The Revised 52 Week Money Challenge! – It’s not your average 52 week money challenge. Believe it or not it’s actually a little more challenging. See which of the three challenges tickles your fancy!

26-week-double

All of the links to download the spreadsheets and the 52 week challenges are in each of the posts. I hope they help you and happy saving!

IMG_0898

New Years Project!

I’ve been waiting for the perfect table to come along that I can paint and refinish and I FOUND ITTTTT!

00O0O_criKBklTmZm_600x450

This is the picture from the craigslist ad and as soon as I saw it and noticed that they were selling for $50, I had to pick it up quickly! The guy that was selling it took the legs off and helped get it in my car because it’s a pretty heavy piece of furniture, so thanks to him!

IMG_0750

IMG_0753

As soon as I got home I laid down my plastic and took off all the hardware and just sanded all of the pieces a little bit but knew that I was going to use a primer so I didn’t go crazy.

I was thinking about leaving it white but felt like it would look way too fancy and the room that I wanted to put it in desperately needed a pop of color so I chose to paint it Hawaiian Teal!

IMG_0783

I also left the bottom of all the legs unpainted which I’m currently loving the look of! I took off the hideous, gigantic knobs that were on the cabinet and exchanged them for some glass hardware and they look perfect!

IMG_0785

I also distressed the whole thing and I love it! I really wanted a cabinet just like this but was not willing to pay like $300+ for it. Luckily, at the end of the day this whole table cost less than $100!

2015-01-02_0001

2015-01-02_0002

Happy New Year, everyone!

Creating a Home Office/Guest Room!

Well, hello there!

This past weekend I was in Pittsburgh for my little sister’s senior homecoming 😦

I can't believe how big she is now!

I can’t believe how big she is now!

Anyways, my mom works from home 95% of the time and every time I come home I have to be quiet during the day and keep the TV turned down because she uses the dining room as her office. I couldn’t stand how inconvenient it was, not only for her, but for me as well. I knew that she was going out of town the first week of November and I was planning on sneaking into town and turning my sister’s old room into a home office/guest bedroom for her. I got to thinking about it and wasn’t sure if she’d actually utilize it or not, so I figured I would ask first – haha.

This is how the conversation went:

MeMom, do you think if I painted Nicole’s old room and turned it into a home office you’d use it?

Mom – *eyes open really wide**chin drops to chest* Are you kidding? Of course I would! Do you wanna do it this weekend?

MeWell I don’t know about this weekend. I might be a little busy getting Nicole ready and doing her make up and stuff.

MomOh, painting won’t take that long, you could probably get it all done this weekend!

MeOk, I’ve never painted a room before but I’m sure it’s no big deal. Let’s do it!

And the rest is history! My mom gave me a $500 budget. I went to Lowes and spent $70 and got some white paint and some supplies and had to paint over dark blue walls that had purple stars painted around the window and the closet! (I really wish I would have taken a before picture! The room was horrendous!) I thought painting would be fun but it turned into the worst day of my life (ok, I’m being dramatic, but holy shit!). So after two days, three coats of paint, and plenty of cursing, I finished the paint job! It was rewarding to basically do most of it myself, with little help from my sister Rachel and absolutely no help from my youngest sister Nicole. I knew after I painted the room, the fun part would begin!

So on Sunday morning I went to Ikea and got a desk, a desk chair, a bookcase along with some drawers for the bookcase, a lamp, and a cart with wheels! In all, I spent $280 at Ikea. When I got home my sisters and I put everything together which was actually kinda fun. Once we set everything up where we thought it should go we knew it was missing some stuff, so we made a trip to Walmart. At Walmart we got new curtains, new comforter, some throw pillows, a dry erase board, small cork board, and some decorations for the walls. At Walmart we spent about $108.

The next day I went to Target because I felt we were still missing some cool knick knacks and a desk lamp. Little did I know, I was about to have the greatest Target trip of my life!

DSC_0604

The cute blue stool thing had a clearance tag on it that said $24.98. The laser cut metal mirror had a clearance tag for $14.98. The small trash can was on sale for $12.78. And the Threshold white lamp had a clearance tag of $17 something. I get up to the register and the girl informs me that everything on clearance was even lower than the tag price. I THOUGHT MY FREAKING HEAD WAS GOING TO EXPLODE! I told her I might need to call my mom and have her pick me up because I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to drive home – HAHA! My total for all of the things above was originally $50 and some change but with a mobile coupon for $5 off home purchases, I paid $45. Felt pretty good!

So, if you’ve been keeping track of the totals from all my purchases, you’d see I only came in $3 over the budget for this room! Pretty spectacular if you ask me!

The end result was pretty awesome for one weekend of hard work! So without further ado, here’s the new home office!

DSC_0595

DSC_0598

DSC_0614

DSC_0609

DSC_0592

My mom loved it and I couldn’t be happier because she deserves it and so much more! I heard her the next day talking to people on the phone and telling them how she was working in her new home office that her daughters put together for her and how it was the nicest thing anyone has done for her in a long time. It feels great to make someone’s day!

It’s almost Hump Day! Happy Tuesday, everyone!

So much happenin’!

Well, I’ve done it again. I’ve abandoned the blog for months and months but I do have a good excuse!

Sam and I went to Disney World for the first time in May and had a blast! I’ve also been trying to really work on my photography and have had some really awesome photo sessions these past couple months.

Photography

Now, vacation is over and summer is here and I have a new project that I’m super psyched about. I get to help decorate and plan my grandma’s 90th birthday party! It’s been pretty exciting and we’ve decided to do a 1920’s themed photo booth! I love my photo booths, as you know from my sister’s country themed graduation party. I’m also helping with centerpieces and what not so I’ll definitely be sharing those with you guys as I work on them.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Happy New Year!

My sister was in NYC for NYE last night and took this awesome picture!

My sister was in NYC for NYE last night and took this awesome picture!

Happy New Year, everyone! I know, I know.. I walk in after a good 6 months of not blogging and think I can just start over without any explanation. Let me start by saying, I apologize. I’ve been fairly busy with work and personal stuff and needed some time to just really think about where I want this blog to go and what I really want to utilize it for. Good news… I’ve made a decision! (Sounds so serious but I promise this is no Lebron James situation here!)

I decided that I really miss blogging and I want to start blogging again regularly. Now, regularly for me might mean two or three times a week but I’m nowhere close to being able to blog every day. I want to bring a lot of useful content to my space and not only help myself becoming a better and more responsible adult but I want to be able to help others also.

My goals for this blog throughout this new year consist of the following:

1. I want to bring more financial tips and tricks that I’ve learned, read, or came up with.

2. I want to learn how to coupon. For some people, couponing is really easy but for me it seems super complex and I’ll be blogging about everything I learn in the hopes that it’ll help others too.

3. I want to do a monthly DIY project. I want to keep it cheap but creative. Whether it’s redecorating a room or creating new storage solutions, it’ll all be here!

4. I want to learn how to go grocery shopping the proper way. How to plan weekly meals and then go to the store and get the things I need without having to make multiple trips (and hopefully be saving money with all the couponing that I learn to do 🙂 )

I’ll come up with more ways to evolve this blog throughout the year so stick around! Now that the holidays are over and everyone is kinda getting back in the swing of everyday life I think it’s a great time to start. I hope you guys are with me because this year is going to be great!

Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 12.45.59 PM

I haven’t been posting a lot lately and I apologize but I wanted to let you guys know what I’ve been up to. I just started a new blog!!! It’s a photography blog and I know, I know, you can’t throw a toothpick into a crowd without hitting someone with a photography blog. I’m not claiming to be any good but I do enjoy photography and pictures and I wanted a place online where I can start to compile a photo album of sorts for family, friends, and strangers to look at and give me some tips and tricks. I also wanted to keep track of my progress as I’m just beginning to learn all the settings and what they mean and all that “jazz“.

I’m going to find a way to make it more accessible from this blog but for now you can just head over to http://coordinatedkatephotography.wordpress.com/ (WOOO! That’s a long link) so check it out and pass along the link to some of your photography friends. I know you have some!

I hope everyone has an awesome Friday and a lovely weekend!

Tips to get your new grad ready for COLLEGE!

F1.medium

If school isn’t out already, then it’s about to be out and it’s the perfect time to talk about getting your child, sibling, niece, nephew, or whoever ready for COLLEGE! My younger sister, Rachel, just graduated from high school and you already know that if you’ve been keeping up with my blog for the past month or so LOL. Luckily she’s doing her first year at a community college but if your recent high school graduate is getting ready to pack up and leave for college there’s a few things you may need to do.

Start by getting them to do everyday things on their own. Things that you may be doing for them like waking them up or doing their laundry or doing their grocery shopping. It is now time to have them waking up to an alarm clock, doing their own laundry, and try giving them the grocery list and sending them to the grocery store. You’re not going to be there to walk into their bedroom and rip the covers off and tell them to wake up so make sure that when they need to get up at a certain time, that they’re a custom to waking up to an alarm clock. If your graduate doesn’t know how to do laundry at this point in their life, they really need a wake up call! Show them and have them do their own laundry for the summer. Most colleges don’t have a mommy laundry service. A lot of college students go on meal plans and such but at this point they should have developed some kind of money management skills so try writing out a list of the groceries that the household needs and send them to the store with a budget. Not only will this give you a break but you’ll get to see how they do on a budget, which is what they’ll be working with when they go off to school.

And speaking of budget, if you’re going to be giving your children a monthly allowance while they’re away at school, go to a bank branch near the campus. Talk to them about the monthly budget they’ll be receiving, if any, and discuss how to handle it as far as groceries and everyday expenses go. Also talk to them about what to do if they run out of money. Don’t say things like, “call us and we’ll transfer more money over”. You don’t want to make it too easy for them. Tell them that you’ll figure out things for them to do in order to acquire more money.

Most college students have a dorm mate or a suite mate or something along those lines. Usually they’re able to communicate with their new roomie before hand but they’re not able to get to know each other that well through email, texts, or phone calls. Talk to them about how to resolve problems that may arise regarding their new room mate. Advanced problem-solving will definitely help when confrontations come up.

College is way different than high school especially when the student is away from home. Try printing out or going to the school and picking up their course load for the first semester. Try and put together a game plan of how they’re going to accomplish this along with other activities they may be partaking in. Go over what needs to happen if they can’t make it to a class and the procedure they’ll need to take in order to let their professors know and get the work or notes they may have missed.

How will they get to class and around campus? Do they have a car? If not, transportation may be a big deal. Bikes are a BIG mode of transportation to getting around campus. Normally, everything you need is around the campus and can be reached by bicycle. Ask the campus about bike storage facilities. If they don’t have a car and you’re looking for one, consider buying a clunker.

Make sure your new college student knows where the student health center is and what services are available, including birth control. I know, it’s a touchy subject but sometimes they’re not the ones that need the help. It could be their roommate. No matter what, just have a conversation about all the services that the health center provides.

After they’ve been at school for awhile there may be a little friction when they come home on breaks. They’ve been away and on their own for awhile now and may not want to accept your house rules again. Just realize that this is a new phase for them and for yourself. Sitting and having dinner and not being able to answer their cell phone or go out with friends may be a problem. Just be prepared for the tension!

I hope some of these tips help get your new high school grad ready for this brand new chapter in their lives!

Total Slacker!

I’ve been totally slacking on the blog! I apologize. The last week and a half have been a little crazy and way too fast for my liking. Last Thursday I had to take a half day from work because I was driving back to Pittsburgh for my sister’s dance recital weekend. She did beautifully, by the way. The next day on Friday Sam found out that he was being promoted at work but at a different store. Great news but it was a little sudden and I was excited but saddened that I was unable to be with him to celebrate or anything.

All last weekend was dance recital stuff. Friday night was dance rehearsal night and then Saturday and Sunday were both crazy because of the actual recital. My sister’s senior solo was amazing and I’m not ashamed to say that I cried three nights in a row, dress rehearsal included.

Screenshot_2013-06-02-16-28-08-1

This is my sister Rachel with one of her adorable dancer students

I left Pittsburgh on Sunday night and got in around Midnight on Sunday night or Monday morning (whichever way you look at it). I came in early because I had to go look for cars to lease. Before Sam got promoted we were lucky enough to be able to share one car. We both worked really close to home and were able to drop each other off and pick each other up and what not. It worked great! But now that Sam got promoted to a different store, the one car was not going to cut it. I spent all day Monday, which happened to be Memorial Day, with my mother and father in law at the dealership. Negotiating is exhausting, let me tell ya! We got a pretty good deal. I was just freaking out all day due to the fact that I really hadn’t got to talk to Sam about any of it because I got in late Sunday when he was still sleeping and he left before I got up to go to work. It was insane!

Anyways, I ended up getting a Hyundai Elantra to drive back and forth to work in. I like it a lot.

This coming weekend is my sister’s graduation party. I’ve been blogging about it for a little over a month now and it’s finally here and I’m freaking out! Did I get enough? Do I need anything else? Did I forget something? Oh my! I know it’s going to be fun so I’m trying not to stress about it! I’ve already got a stress pimple on the bottom of my cheek! Guh! Anyways, I’ll be blogging more often, I promise and I actually have some good stuff coming up so stay tuned!

Day 10: Most Embarrassing Moment(s)

Oh boy… I’ve been doing everything humanly possible to avoid writing this post today. I watched The Place Beyond the Pines and I even watched 21 & Over. What an awful movie! I haven’t drank any caffeine this morning thinking that maybe I would take a nap and forget about this post. I went to sit outside and catch some rays but an annoying bee chased me back in. Gosh!.. I guess I have no choice.

Let me begin by saying I have a nervous stomach. My story starts off in July of 2010. Sam and I were driving from New Jersey to Pittsburgh for my Uncle Joey’s wedding. After I picked Sam up from work we decided that we would get something to eat before we hit the road. I’m a lover of anything Panera Bread so we decided that we’d stop there. I got the cheddar broccoli soup and Sam had gotten some kinda sandwich or something. We made sure to eat quickly because we wanted to beat traffic near Philly, which if you remember is one of my big fears!.. We get back in the car and we’re on our way! After about an hour in the car my stomach starts to bubble.. severely. Oh man, this is so embarrassing. We’re on the turnpike and there’s traffic! I’m freaking out. I’m breathing as if I’m in labor and I’m sweating through whatever it was that I was wearing. I needed a bathroom, and fast!!! We’re sitting in traffic that is literally crawling and I’m thinking to myself how bad it would be if I HAD to get out of the car right here in front of everyone and just release myself! I make it to the first exit that we saw and I’m searching for a place with a bathroom. We drove for like 5 minutes and didn’t see anything but farm land and I couldn’t hold it anymore. I park the car on the side of the road, grabbed some tissue from the glove box, shuffled down a small hill (which luckily was hidden from the road), and pulled down everything and shit. How lady like! After I was done I noticed there was a huge house that was about two football fields away from me with wall to ceiling windows and I thought how lovely it would be if someone had seen me in this ridiculously hectic state. I get back in the car with my head hung low and Sam says, “Feel better, fertilizer?” You would think that a situation like this would become funny after time has past, but for me… it’s still not funny.

Blogging about this makes it 10x worse!



Mother’s Day Gift Idea! It’s Not Too Late!

If you haven’t already got something for all the mothers in your life then you should definitely consider checking out Fairytale Brownies! I was introduced to them a couple years ago when the insurance broker for our company sent a huge box of them to our office. They are AMAZING! I started sending them to family for special occasions and I actually sent a box to my mom this year. I think I saved $20 by having it delivered early instead of on Sunday (the sooner the better!) and my mom received them today.

IMG_1864

Isn’t my mom so adorable?!

My mom’s favorite brownie is the cream cheese brownie. My favorite is the cheese cake brownie which is to die for and Sam’s favorite is the mint chocolate brownie. They have all different kinds like raspberry swirl, pecan, toffee, peanut butter, espresso, caramel, and a ton more! They’re all individually wrapped and come in big and small sizes. Also, the packaging is beautiful! Not only were my coworkers fighting over their favorite brownies but they were also calling dibs on the adorable boxes that the brownies came in. They have holiday boxes around Christmas and Thanksgiving and Easter and they also have ‘Get Well’ boxes and ‘Thank You’ boxes and ‘Sympathy’ boxes and a box for any occasion that you can think of. Do yourself a favor and CHECK THEM OUT! If you decide to purchase anything use code ‘ML608’ to save 15% before it’s too late.