Shopaholics Guide To Saving Money

Hi everyone! I’m wishing you all a happy Thursday or just a happy day in general if you’re reading this at a later time! In today’s blog post, I wanted to give you all some insight on the different ways I’ve been budgeting, saving, and planning lately. Budgeting my money and planning for the future was never really my forte when I began making a steady income. So to begin this guide, I’d like to take you back to-day one. My very first real job!

I got my first job when I was 18 working at an amusement park selling glow sticks. You heard me, glow sticks. The cash flow was little to nothing but it was something and much more than anything my friends were making at the time. Each Friday my pay would roll in at a couple to a few hundred dollars. For someone who had just graduated high school, this was a lot of moola to be carrying around. Here’s the bad part, as soon as I received my paychecks I would immediately start spending. I’d buy whatever I wanted when I wanted it until I ran out and there was nothing left. The next week? I’d do it all over again without a penny saved.

To make a long back story short, I moved on from that job, went to college, worked my way up in a few positions, and now we’re here. Do you think things would have changed dramatically? The answer is no.

As I moved up roles in different companies, I began to make more money. But with more money came more responsibilities. Responsibilities and no doubt bills were always increasing. Just to name a few this includes my car payment, rent, utilities, phone bill, insurance, and so many others. Every raise, promotion, or shift in my career that happened I’d assume it meant I was somehow able to spend more. In reality, I was just tacking on and creating bigger issues for myself.

Fast forward through some boring details, I’m still not the best at saving money. However, I’m positive there are others out there who struggle the way I did/do on a weekly basis and are looking for some direction! So today, without further a due, I’d like to share my tips!

Below are just a few of my most used money-saving and budgeting hacks that always help me stay on track. Not to say I don’t drift off of it sometimes!

Pay The Bills ASAP

This is an important tip because it’s something I’m beginning to learn will allow me more financial freedom in the long run. Each time I get paid, I go through my finances and try to see which bills are manageable to get rid of that week. It’s the first thing I spend on and leaves me worry free for the remainder of time until my next pay cycle. It makes knowing how much I have that much easier!

Save At Least 10% Of Your Paycheck

It can sometimes be difficult to see the value in saving money when there are more luxurious things you’d rather see it go towards. I’ve found a happy medium in saving my money by automatically removing 10% each pay period from my checking into my savings. It’s not much but it’s something and leaves me with enough leftover to budget the rest of my expenses, wants, and needs.

Take Advantage Of Sales

A good rule of thumb when trying to save your money is buying sale items! You’d be surprised how many gems are hidden in your favorite stores sale section. Just recently, I was able to pick up two dresses on sale at Forever 21 for less than $15 bucks each! Choosing to bargain hunt and spend some extra time searching is well worth it when you get to save a few pennies. It’s not a whole lot but it for sure adds up!

Make Your Own Food & Coffee At Home

Simple life hack that will save you tons! Making your own food or beverages from home can be very rewarding, less expensive, and delicious! Head to the grocery store once a week, pick up what you need, and try to avoid eating or drinking out. Some meals can cost anywhere from $10 to $25 bucks and coffee can add up just as quick too!

It’s okay to treat yourself sometimes but remember the end goal, to save as much money as you can! What I enjoy doing is giving myself a little leeway on the weekends. I try to grab a coffee and bagel on Friday and on Saturday I’ll splurge on a dinner with friends. Find your balance!

Write It Down

I find budgeting to be easiest when I write down my most important saving goals somewhere I could never forget. Try buying a small white board for the fridge as a daily reminder to keep things on a smooth path.

Eliminate Subscriptions You Don’t Use

My biggest pet peeve are those who choose to keep monthly services going when they don’t even use them! Think of all the extra money you could have if you got rid of that gym membership you don’t use? This is valuable money longing to be saved!

Download Store Apps

There is so much missed opportunity from not having in particular stores apps. Some of my favorites always have deals going on. The two I’ve always loved is Cartwheel for Target and the Starbucks app! There’s always a coupon on Cartwheel and when you join the Starbucks app program you get a free drink! Lots of goodies and savings waiting for all of you! Make sure to see if your favorite store has their own application!

The 2 Day Rule

Okay, this tip is good and I mean really good! If I’m shopping and I see something I like I automatically throw it in my cart without thinking. I don’t contemplate about whether or not I need the item, I just know I like it. For everyone out there like me, here’s what you should do next time!

The next time you’re debating on buying something you really want, put it back. Set the item back where you found it and leave the store. I know, it sounds horrible already right?! There’s more. Think about that item for the next two days and consider the reasons why you need it or don’t. A majority of the time I can guarantee, you won’t be coming back to buy it or at the least will realize it’s an item that you’re unable to buy at the moment.

The BEST Avocado Chicken Wraps 

As many of you know, I’ve been trying to expand my cooking skills. With my husband deployed, I’m beginning to realize how much extra time I have on my hands. Time I’ve been able to use towards my new two favorite things, blogging and preparing my own food! 

Stating the obvious, I’m not sure if this is the Pinterest in me talking or not but I’m pretty sure I’ve created the most delicious chicken wraps ever. Who wants to learn how to make em?! Today, I’m sharing my top secret, bomb.com, best avocado chicken wrap recipe with all of you! So easy to make and my recent go-to healthy lunch for work! Let’s get started! 

Things We Need

  • Cherry Tomatoes 
  • Spring Green Mix 
  • 1 Avocado
  • Mini Chicken Fillets 
  • Wrap Or Tortilla Of Choice 
  • Briana’s Honey Mustard Dressing 
  • Garlic Powder 
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • Medium Sauce Pan 
  • Olive Oil

1. In a medium sauce pan, set heat to low and prep pan by applying small amount of olive oil. 

2. Once pan begins to warm, set mini chicken fillets in a row side by side. Top with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Increase heat gradually as chicken begins to cook. Allow chicken to cook evenly and slow. Turning the heat up too quickly will cause chicken to burn and get dry. 

3. Flip chicken when browning begins to occur. Cover with garlic powder, salt, and pepper like before. 

4. While the opposite side of the chicken is cooking, start preparing the veggies and base of wrap.

5. Cube the inside of the avocado and slice the tomatoes making sure all are in bite sized pieces. Line the wrap down the middle with the fresh spring salad mix and veggies.

6. Remove chicken from pan once fully cooked. Cut into small pieces and apply on top of tomatoes, greens, and avocado. Also, if you’re looking for a crispier taste, cut your chicken while still in the pan near the end of its cook time. So good!

7. Drizzle salad dressing across the wrap to your liking. But be careful, this specific brand doesn’t have a small hole at the top for easy pouring! We definitely don’t want a soggy meal filled with too much of one ingredient. 

8. Cut in half if desired and serve with a pickle, veggie straws, or both! The left over chicken I had was used during the week to make multiples of this recipe. You could also use excess chicken as a topper for a garden salad. Yum! 

Food For Thought

I love this lunch option because it’s fast and virtually anyone can make it! The tangy taste of the dressing added at the end really gives it that needed kick. However, if you’re not a fan of honey mustard and would prefer something else I suggest blue cheese or spicy chipotle! There are so many different variations you can make out of these simple base instructions. Give it a shot and put your own spin on it! I’d love to see your creations!

What I’ve Learned Since Becoming A Blogger

Hi everyone! I hope your day is going well. Today, I wanted to focus on something that’s been on my topic list for a while. I’ve been holding this off for quite sometime, debating whether or not this would be something I’d like to talk about on the internet and to all of my followers. After lot’s of consideration and thought, I decided to write a few paragraphs today about the top things I’ve learned since becoming a blogger! 

I’d also like to touch on some of the mistakes I’ve made thus far, where I’m planning to go in the future, and my biggest inspirations for starting a blog in the first place. I’m hoping this post will give some of you insight on what it’s like to be a blogger and if this may be the avenue for you! Let’s get into it!

Not Everything Will Be Perfect

Going into blogging, I was under the impression that things were going to go smooth for me. Hundreds of views, comments, and shares the moment I made my blog live. Right? Boy was I wrong. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case. 

Since diving into the blog world, it’s taken me three months and a ton of hard work to become content with my writing style, design, and views. To add, all of those things are still in the process of changing dramatically and there’s never been a day where things have gone as planned. The harsh reality of starting a blog was that it wasn’t going to be easy and definitely not perfect. 

Views Shouldn’t Matter If You’re Enjoying Blogging

Despite wanting people to read what I was writing, I knew I loved to create things and had fun doing it. ChiGoalDigger.com came to life because I wanted an outlet for anything I couldn’t necessarily post on other social sites. It was never always about the views and became my full-time hobby. Now, seeing what I have built and where it can go from here, I’m focusing more on growing as a brand.

Don’t Be Afraid To Use Images

This was something I struggled with when I first started this site. I like to think I’m pretty good at taking pictures for Instagram but I didn’t know if I’d be able to put out the same energy and time towards doing shoots for just the blog. It became time-consuming to capture specific photos of things for the sake of one blog post. That’s when I discovered stock images.

Stock images are royalty-free and allow you to attach them to your blog without getting in trouble from a third-party brand, individual, or company. Two of my favorite sources for this are Unsplash and Pexels. Since using these, I’ve been able to make my site appear substantially more cohesive. Everything pops and looks professional (in my opinion).

In the future, I plan to stop using stock images. I don’t necessarily use them for everything but right now I just wouldn’t have the time to shoot my own pics for the multiple things I cover on here. One day though. 

Pinterest

Pinterest has recently become such a large part of my growth plan. It’s bringing more attention to my blog and is easily accessible at the bottom of each post. From there, viewers can pin the post on their boards and share with others. I’ve been super into creating my own boards on Pinterest. Each board I make I always try to incorporate one of my created blog posts. My hope is that Pinterest will assist me in finding a larger reach in the future towards a bigger audience.

Canva And Setting A Featured Photo

A photo at the top of each post I publish appears with a little summary on what the post might be about. It’s pretty much the first thing a viewer is going to see on your post next to, below, or above a title. This has truly made a difference in the way my posts are seen. Canva is to thank for that. 

Canva is an editing app that helps businesses, bloggers, and creators of all kind make awesome visuals for whatever they may need. This expands to users of all platforms too. Best part, it’s completely free of charge to play with. Some added features can cost you but you’re able to opt out and recreate if you’re uninterested.

Pay Attention To Trends

Okay, so the last and one of the most important things I’ve learned from blogging is to follow the trends. When I say this though, I say it lightly. What I mean is that you should be aware of what is working around you and try your best to put your own spin on it! What I’m not saying is to do everything the way another person is doing it. Make whatever it is unique to your taste or start your own trend and see where it leads. 

I remember starting my blog and being clueless about what was trending versus what wasn’t. It boosted my traffic substantially once I knew the things my audience was interested in. Know your viewers and make it clear the people you’re trying to reach.