5 Greatest Financial Tips for Young Adults

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It’s no secret to my faithful followers that I have a senior in high school.  Now could not be a better time for me to gain financial knowledge, develop investing skills, and understand credit education.  I’m anxious to learn and share that information and the practices I’ve implemented to improve my financial situation with not only my audience but my children as well. Especially my teenager getting ready to soon transition into young adulthood.  Although, I have a wealth of information to share,  below are the greatest 5 financial tips for young adults!

5 Greatest Financial Tips for Young Adults

1.  Use Credit Wisely

When I started college in 2001 and even still now, freshman are bombarded with credit card opportunities.  It was those opportunities that introduced me to credit card debt myself.  I’ve been educating my high school senior on good credit practices.  This includes encouraging her to avoid credit (as best practice) or to only charge what she can afford to pay back at the next bill cycle.

2.  Avoid Student Loan Debt

As my high school senior approaches college, and even before, I’ve encouraged her to avoid college loan debt as much as possible.  I’ve encouraged to take advantage of the early college option which would allow her to have completed all her college prerequisites by high school graduation.  Taking college courses is another option available to juniors and seniors at her school.  Finally, picking a major and determining if she can reach the same goals with an associates degree as opposed to a bachelors.

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3.  Save 

My daughter has been working for about 6 plus months now, after quitting her first job.  Originally, we encouraged her to save something from her paycheck and she would, like $5.00.  Afterwards we challenged her to save $500 by Christmas, which she has and wants to continue.  She decided that she would like to save as much as possible so she will not be restricted by money (or the lack thereof) in college.

4. Minimize Expenses

Approaching college, I’ve taught my daughter how to shop with coupons, plan as much as possible, and determine needs vs wants.  These are all imperative in minimizing expenses.  Beyond college, we’ve discussed moving back home as opposed to renting, and avoiding purchasing a new car with a new job during or after college.

5.  Be Patient

If you are wondering what patience has to do with finances, I’ll explain.  In my debt story, most of my debt (aside from student loans) derived from wants over needs, and satisfying those needs immediately with credit.  Emphasizing the importance of patience as a life virtue, will hopefully prevent my daughter from those impulse purchases and additional costly (and unnecessary) credit transactions.

Honestly, all of these financial tips could be learned and implemented at any point in life.  Hell, I’m just learning them within the last 16 months or so.  As a parent, we can appreciate our mistakes so that our children can benefit from the lesson!

If you have a child in college or on the way, be sure to begin a Target College Registry.  Target has all the college essentials to make the college dorm room feel like “their room” away from home!

What financial tips are you teaching your children?  What financial tips would you have liked to have learned earlier?

Avoid Financial Regret

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Today’s post is a guest post from Michael.  Micheal blogs at Super Millennial.

Regret..it’s an awful feeling to have in your life.  I’m not quite 30.  I’m lucky to not have much regret, however this Business Insider article got me thinking of how much financial regret some people will have in their life. The article mentions five financial experts and the money regrets they look back on in their life.

Business Insider Financial Regrets to Avoid

  • Failure to do research to make an educated decision
  • Not listening to your gut if it doesn’t feel right
  • Not investing sooner
  • Living beyond your means & getting into debt
  • Ignoring a collection item

These are all very legitimate regrets and sure a lot of people are currently suffering from, or currently leading a life that will lead to these regrets. Let’s take a look at these five financial regrets and the necessary steps to take to make sure you never feel this type of financial regret in your future.

Failure to do Research

The article references a CPA who didn’t do his research when he bought their first house. Buying a home is most likely you’re biggest purchase ever and need to do your research. Before you even begin looking online at houses, do RESEARCH the following information:

· Use a mortgage calculator to find out what you can afford & the monthly payment amount (make sure to include taxes, insurance & HOA fees)
· Will you have any savings or will all your money be in your home?
· Evaluate if the house needs repairs, if so do you have the additional money?
· Is your credit score high enough to secure a low APR loan?
· How does it compare to other houses in the neighborhood?
· Would you be okay living there 5-10 years?

There are 100 additional questions to ask before buying a house but the same applies to buying or leasing a car. Make sure to do your research! These high-ticket items will be around in your life for a long time so make sure you really want it and can afford them.

Not Listening To Your Gut

The article references someone feeling pressured when meeting with financial advisors and the bad feeling they got during the encounter. Listening to your gut in most situations is usually the best solution; whether you’re unsure about taking a new job, feeling pressured by a salesman for a “limited time offer”, or hiring a financial advisor. In most situations you should at least sleep on big decisions for a night. If your gut still doesn’t like it the next day, don’t do it.

When it comes to financial advisors I think if you’re net worth is under $100,000 then you can manage your own finances. Paying someone to do it may be convenient but if you don’t learn now you may never. Most people who acquired wealth have had a solid understanding of their finances. That includes how much money they save, how much they spend, and where they invest. Here are some other ways to stay on top of your finances:
· Invest Enough in your 401K to match your employer match
· Open a Roth IRA to maximize retirement savings

Avoid Financial Regret 2

Not Investing Sooner

I’ve always been a saver but didn’t begin investing until I was 25. As the article mentions Jeff Rose, fellow blogger of Good Financial Cents said “if only I had started a Roth IRA at 18.” But let’s get real, from 18-22 the last thing on your mind is learning about low cost index funds and tax sheltered accounts.

Unfortunately after that age people then get busy with work, additional education, having a family, and keep up the same excuses. “I don’t understand investing, I don’t have the money right now, or I’m not going to retire for like 40 years.” While one or all of those may be true it’s important to take the time to learn about personal finance or investing earlier, rather than later. Not only will investing earlier compound your potential gains but it will create a habit for your brain to always invest a portion of your income and set up your older self for success. As mentioned previously start investing in your 401K and open a Roth IRA to ensure you can start benefiting from compound interest over time.

Living Beyond Your Means

How often do we all see this? People that make the same or less than you do but always seem to be living the life on Instagram…anyone can do it, but typically they’re just racking up high interest credit card debt trying to impress everyone.

Just STOP, do you need to buy bottle service every weekend? Or buy a car with a $500/month payment? Probably not. It’s important to understand how much you make, create a budget, and stick to it every month. Don’t rack up debt trying to impress everyone; you’ll create a vicious cycle that will be tough to climb out of when you realize how much interest you owe on your credit cards. Here are some other ways to stay on top of your spending:

· Track Your Spending with Mint or Personal Capital
· Track Your Net Worth (Download my net worth tracker here)

Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses…they’re broke!

Ignoring A Bill

Finally the last example is ignoring a bill that eventually ends up in collection. If you get a bill, pay it off, no matter how small, get the receipt and store it away. Even one item can have a serious impact towards getting a loan or even negatively affecting your credit. Bottom line…pay the bills! To ensure you don’t miss any bills I also recommend setting up automatic bill pay for your cell phone,
Hopefully everyone can avoid financial regret by sticking to a few simple, easy financial rules. Always do your research for big purchases, listen to your gut (it’s rarely wrong), start investing, don’t overspend trying to impress people and always pay your bills on time.

What has been your biggest financial regret?  

MichaelMichael L. is the creator of Super Millennial. He teaches millennials how to evaluate their financial situation, simplify money management & learn how to automate your investments to reach their financial goals. Subscribe for his personal finance “Keys To Success” and blog updates here. For additional updates, follow me on Twitter!

4 Reasons Why You Are Still Broke

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“I’m broke.” Something people say so often, nearly every day at one point or another.  Being broke is no fun!  Living paycheck to paycheck with no actual rewards, happiness, or enjoyment and added stress, is NOT in my opinion, living.  You’re unable to eat out with friends, take trips, or even travel.  Being broke is MISERABLE!

Fortunate for you, it’s still early 2016 which means there is plenty of time to develop new habits and set new goals aimed at living a better life style.  However, in my opinion, it’s never too late to set new goals and dream new dreams.  In order to develop new habits, you must first stop or change bad ones.  There may be a bunch of reasons, in your opinion as to why you are still broke, I’m sure the reasons listed below are the REAL reasons and they don’t have anything to do with the amount of money you make, how “unlucky” you are, or your level of intelligence.

4 Reasons You Are Still Broke!

1.  You won’t evaluate your relationship with money.

The type of relationship you have with money is probably why you are broke!  How you think about your money affects how you spend it. These thoughts about your money and your relationship with your money is probably heavily influenced by how you were raised and how your parents talked, or not, about money as well as how you lived.

Some things to consider are how you use your money?  Do you shop on impulse or make emotional and/or irrational purchases?  Do you shop when your bored, hurt, excited, or all the above?  Are you presenting a façade, living a life style you can not really afford? If so, why?  These are all questions that should generate the evaluation of your relationship with money.

Once you’ve began to evaluate your relationship with money, you should then begin to develop thoughts about your strengths and weaknesses that can improve or destroy your finances.  For example, a personal strength for me is that I will not spend what I don’t see.  Which makes carrying cash a weakness.  To improve my finances and decrease my spending, I never carry cash.  For me, keeping my money in the bank helps me to apply the “out of site out of mind” mentality.

2.  You won’t change your mindset.

Changing your mindset about your money, your life, or ability can be difficult, as difficult as being broke.  However, changing your mindset can have such a positive affect on your finances, circumstances and overall life style.  Simply convincing yourself that something is possible, and making a plan can be life changing!

Additionally, positive self talk is considered a changed mindset.  Simply changing, “I’m broke” to “I’m in between financial blessings” or “I’m beating broke” or anything that is more positive releases the shame and other feelings that are attached to the consequence of your poor money habits.

3.  You won’t sacrifice.

This concept is really simple, well actually more simply said than done.  However, once you’ve taken the first two steps, then determining your needs over wants and learning to sacrifice the wants should begin to change your financial situation by freeing up money.

4. You won’t commit to a financial journey.

Committing to a financial journey can eventually change your financial situation.  Especially, if you are broke due to debt.  Committing to a financial journey, paying of debt, and creating positive cash flow can become life changing and change “I’m broke” to “I’m blessed

There is an abundance of information and resources that can assist you with beginning a financial freedom journey.  I offer my advice from a very personal (this works for me) perspective.  I also offer a Blog Roll full of personal finance bloggers, whom I personally follow and value their advice.  Finally, there are podcast that you can listen to as well.  I like listening to The Dave Ramsey Show, His and Her Money, and  Financial Conversation just to name a few.

I’ve been “broke” before

Now that I’m more financially wise, or least wiser than I was when I was 20, I feel like had I been more responsible and educated about money and wise financial planning, I would be much more comfortable now than I am.  I would not have to work as hard as I currently am.  Despite the annual salary you make, evaluating you relationship with money and determining your strengths and weakness with money could make the difference between living from paycheck to paycheck and living comfortably.

Four years ago, I made $35,000 annual income.  I had 2 credit cards, a car payment, and my mortgage.  I lived comfortably only getting paid once monthly.  Now making over $10,000 more, I live paycheck to paycheck to get out of debt.  As my income increased so did my debt.  I made decisions on what I could afford based on the monthly payment as opposed to the overall cost including interest.

What do you think contributes the cycle of “being broke”?  What helpful information would you add?

 

December Goal and Budget Review

December Goal and Budget Review appeared first on Goal Digging to Happiness!
December Goal and Budget Review appeared first on Goal Digging to Happiness!

I know that it’s super late in the month to be doing a goal review but umm…better late then never right!

December was a super busy month at first then I like crashed for like 7 days where I didn’t do anything but the basics.  Literally, all I did was eat, sleep, and watch tv.  Somewhere in there I would bathe, check mail, and attend to the little ones.  I completely eliminated social media during this time and enjoyed every minute of that as well.  As a result, I’m pretty sure some of these goals fell by the wayside. Lets see.

FINANCIAL

1. Stick to my Christmas shopping list and budget.

SUCCESS-I had no choice but to maintain my budget and my shopping list, once I created it.  I had absolutely no access to go overboard which was a great thing.  And more importantly, I did not add any  additional debt on my credit cards because I’m so serious about getting out of debt.   

2. Improve my household budget.

SUCCESS-  You’ll see below how my budget improved compared to Novembers.  Actual payments were much closed to Novembers actual payments and the totals were not drastically over.  

I always get excited at the end of the year.  I go overboard with goals and plans for the following year which may be reflected in this post.  Also upon reflection and reevaluation, I realized that I did not want as many hands in my paycheck. So I worked diligently to eliminate as many hands in my paycheck as possible. 

3. Open a Christmas account for Christmas 2016

SUCCESS-I actually opened the account in December and made my first deposit this past pay period.  I hope that it continues to grow.  We’ll see.

I hated the feeling of being restricted when it came to being prepared for Christmas so I wanted to get better ahead this year.  I will continue to shop throughout the year for gifts as well to off set the cost in December.   

HEALTH

Take my vitamins daily

FAIL-I was not consistent with taking my vitamins in December but I have drastically improved and have only missed one night thus far.  

 Reach my FITBIT STEP Goal

FAIL-There were some days in one week that I reached my fit goal and then there were some weeks where I didn’t reach my step goal at all.  Now my fit bit it broken and needs a band replacement so I’m not even wearing it at all.  But I have decided to workout at least three times per week and I’m successful with that thus far. 

MENTAL

 Be content

SUCCESS-Surprisingly!  I think maintaining my Christmas list and budget, working hard and then getting a much needed break and regrouping towards the end of the year allowed me to maintain my peace.  I was well rested for my return to work and was actually excited to get back, although it did not last long. 

January 2016 goals

  • Purchase materials for the Mister to lay the floors
  • Get a builders permit
  • Pay half of my AM credit card balance- Completed
  • Earn or exceed at least $400.00 side hustle income
  • Work out at least once/week
  • Blog at least twice/ week and begin building my email subscibers
  • Save $50.00-Completed
  • Read one book-Completed
December Goal and Budget Review appeared first on Goal Digging to Happiness!
December Goal and Budget Review appeared first on Goal Digging to Happiness!

December Budget

You can refer back to November’s budget here to compare progress.

Fixed Expenses Projected Actual
Mortgage $1000.00 $1000.00
Utility $319.00 $319.00
Cell phone $60.00 $98.29
Cell phone2 $298.00 $330.00
Cable $123.00 $102.11
Car payment1 $354 $365
Car Payment 2 $414.00 $414.00
Car Insurance2 $165.00 $165.00
Life Insurance $70 $70
Total $2,813 $2,863.40

 

Other expenses Projected Actual
Groceries $300.00 $247.33
Eating out $50.00 $112.10
Clothing 0 $42.54
Transportation $160.00 $75.00
Entertainment 0 0
Credit Card (s) $394.00 $621.00
Miscellaneous 0 $222.86
Allowance $20.00 $20.00
Savings $25.00 $0
Totals $949 $1140.40

My highs

  • My major high was just being diligent, consistent, and determined to get out of debt by any mean necessary.
  • Also being aware of my miscellaneous spending amount from the previous month made me more conscience of what I purchasing and for what.
  • I was still able to pay an excessive amount of money on December’s bills and even a final payment despite the Christmas holiday.

My Lows

  • I continue to go over on my cell phone bill and really need to make the change to a lesser plan.  Maybe I’ll make that a February Goal.
  • I went over in areas that I zero’d out.
  • I still did not save anything in December despite the good money I made from my side hustle.

January I’ve continued to stay focus on eliminating debt aggressively.  I’m also doing lots of research on how to build my blog, subscribers, improve content, as well as continue to search for freelance and guest blogging opportunities.  I’m also considering other ventures but don’t want to speak as much on those as of yet.

So far how is January going?  Have you been successful on your goals thus far? Have any had to be adjusted.

 

How to Accelerate the Debt repayment process Pt 2: Cutting the Spending

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How to Accelerate The Debt Repayment Process: Part II appeared first on Goal Digging to Happiness.

Tuesday I blogged about my Accelerated Debt Repayment Process. Since then I’ve been analyzing my spending habits and my budget’s highs and lows, adding and subtracting to come up with a FAIL proof plan to ensure success on my accelerated debt payment process.

We all know that, or should know by now, or will know by the end of this post that the key to eliminating debt is to spend less and earn more.  In order  to determine where I could spend less, I combed through my spending from the previous three months.  I categorized each purchase, specifically of the miscellaneous category .  In the miscellaneous category, I discovered three monthly subscription fees that I immediately cancelled.  

  • Newspaper subscription #1    $11.99
  • Newspaper subscription #2    $8.99
  • Microsoft subscription             $ 10.66

Total                                                $31.64

Next, I discovered that I pay about $36.00 of insufficient fund fees that usually spike around the mid month paycheck.  I discovered this is the result of more than half of my monthly payments coming out of this check.  My resolution was to 1.) add overdraft protection by linking my checking account to my savings and 2.) switch two bills to the end of the month pay period.  This should eliminate the NSF completely.

Additionally, I’m incorporating two No Spend weekends.  I did this back in October and was pretty successful.  I usually do well planning , which reduces the chances of unplanned grocery store trips and/or fast food purchases. If anything is purchased on the weekend it is usually gas.  However because I am dedicated (for right now) I’m planning lots of ‘Netflix and chill’ weekends!

Finally, I’m ditching eating out from the budget completely adding another $50.00 per pay period as excess.  I’ve decided to adapt to vegan eating habits (but do not want to be labeled a vegan).  Since Wilson, NC has not joined the vegan bandwagon, my fast food options are limited to foods that are still not considered healthy (i.e.  Bojangles Cheese biscuits or KFC potato wedges) that I’m not eating either!

With success, I should have an additional $167.64 of excess to apply towards credit card debt payments.  If my calculations are correct, I should be able to eliminate each card in two months or less.  However, I’m still not sure if I will have had the truck  paid off by my target date.  We’ll just have to see!

Now that Christmas is over or a New Year is here, have you reevaluated your budget?  Did you make changes? Add or subtract catagories?

How to Accelerate the Debt Repayment Process

 

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In my 2016 Ready, 2015 outcomes post I discussed my goal to fully fund a home renovation and immediately jumped on the mini goals to accomplish  for January.  However, after receiving some depressing news before even getting started, we’ve decided to alter the focus until we can get professional help in running numbers and making the best financial move for the family.

Even though that plan has been halted at the moment, the goal to become financially free will be a benefit despite the direction we choose to take and continues to remain a major priority for 2016.

In October 2015, I posted my goal to be less $17,000 of debt.  You can read more about that here.  The $17,000 of debt I planned to have paid off included ALL of my credit card debt and one car loan.  I posted my my most recent progress here. I try to stay on target but somethings have gotten in way.  Some not so minor setbacks included, paying car taxes, getting new tires, getting a speeding ticket, and Christmas.  The silver lining of paying all those expenses which totaled over $1500 in the span of 2 months allowed me to come to the realization that I paid $1500 extra dollars in 2 months.  In other words, I could accelerate my debt payment process if I really needed to and/or could be better on track towards meeting my goals.  

I’ve been listening to a bunch of different podcast between Dave Ramsey, His and Her Money, Smart Passive Income, and Problogger.  After listening to several “I’ve paid off $$$ amount of debt” stories on His and Her Money, a couple of “debt shouts” on Dave Ramsey, I’ve decided to accelerate my debt payments as much as I can.

In October 2015 this was my original plan:
  1. Continue with my side hustle and bring in at least $350.00 a month.
  2. Establish at least 2 freelance clients to generate an additional $200.00/month.
  3. Complete over time at least 7 hours which should produce $220.00
  4. Apply my income tax refund to at least two credit card balances.
  5. Continue with the snowball method to pay of my credit cards.
  6. Develop a budget and stick to it!

January 2016 Accelerated Repayment plan

  1. Comb my budget and find extra money
  2. Earn at $400.00 in side hustle income/month
  3. Work overtime at least once/month and apply to debt payments
  4. Work to continue increase my freelance income and apply to debt payments
  5. Purge my home, attempt to sale items monthly and apply to debt payments.

Having credit card debt and brining it into 2016 has, for some reason, began to weigh heavily and be a more unbearable burden enough to drastically make me want to change spending habits to get out of debt much faster!  As a result be prepared to see significantly lower balances month to month so that I am able to reach my goal on or before October 2016!

Have your goals changed already?  Have you already discovered that a goal is not going to get achieved in 2016?  How are you adjusting?

November Budget Review

Finally...My Budget

I was able to put my budget into place for the month of November.  Check out my original budget post here.  Prior to completing my actual budget, I tracked my spending carefully with hopes of developing an accurate family budget that would prevent overspending, encourage disciplined spending habits, and allow money to be saved.   I had mini budgets for transportation and groceries but not a complete budget.  So lets see how we did.

November 2015 Budget

Fixed Expenses Projected Actual
Mortgage $1000.00 $1000.00
Utility $319.00 $329.00
Cell phone $60.00 $120.10
Cell phone2 $298.00 $293.00
Cable $123.00 $102.11
Car payment1 $354 $365
Car Payment 2 $414.00 $150.00
Car Insurance2 $175.00 $165.00
Life Insurance $70 $70
Total $2,813 $2524.91
Other expenses Projected Actual
Groceries $300.00 $302.05
Eating out $50.00 $83.09
Clothing 0 $119.76
Transportation $160.00 $181.00
Entertainment 0 0
Credit Card (s) $394.00 $601.00
Miscellaneous 0 $356.37
Allowance $20.00 $20.00
Savings $25.00 $0
Totals $949 $1664.08

As you can see my budget was unsuccessful.  I had way more red areas than green. After reflecting, I’ve discovered what I did right, what I did wrong, and what needs to be changed in the following months to be more successful.

What I did right

  • My projected bills compared to actual bill amount was pretty accurate.  I tracked the spending accurately and usually do not have a problem ensuring they get paid.  Now that the Mister and I have switched bills, due to pay schedules, he usually is able to pay bills so that we avoid the late fee (although not the case in November with the utility bill).
  • I was able to drastically decrease my “eating out” budget from the high $100’s to just below, although not sticking to my $50.00 monthly budget.
  • I actually really spent $289.12 on groceries, coming in under budget, after uploading receipts to Ibotta, Saving Star, and Walmart Savings Catcher.
  • I was able to pay extra on Car payment number 1 because of how we have the payment arranged.  I do not mind, although I should be contributing it to my credit card, but I plan on having this paid off by next year and don’t mind paying the extra $11.00.
  • I was able to pay almost double towards credit cards, resulting in another card being paid off in December.

What I did wrong

  • As you can see, I only paid $150 of my car payment as a result of car taxes and registration fees along with an inspection which totaled $277.00.  I was prepared to pay for the registration fee but not the other fees.
  • I did not originally set a budget for miscellaneous spending and ended up adding it once I totaled the amount spent on  items that were not originally in a category.
  • The cable and telephone bill was not paid timely resulting in a late fee.  In addition to the late fee, I drastically went over my data causing my bill to double. However, I will be moving over to a prepaid plan that is much less and includes unlimited data.
  • Although gas prices are at an all time low of $1.89 in NC, I went over my travel budget which was developed when gas was almost twice the amount per gallon that it is now.  However, I received a milage reimbursement of $302.06, so I actually came in under budget for transportation expenses.
  • I did not save a penny.  ALL my money went to “something or someone” which resulted my realization that we may be living way above our means even after paying off four credit cards!

What I will do differently

  • To be much more successful in December, I will better track the items I’m purchasing and categorizing the “miscellaneous” items.
  • I plan on setting up a savings account for the coming year to avoid having to skip bills to pay the taxes, registration fees, and any additional car related expenses for 2016.
  • Make sure I pay myself first, even if it is just $25.00 at each pay period.
  • Change cell phone carriers to an unlimited package to better meet my needs and avoid additional fees.
  • Continue to look for ways to reduce or eliminate bills.
  • Be more diligent in tracking spending throughout the month instead of totaling the amount at the end of the month.  Periodic or routine checks will help to prevent my overspending in all areas.
  • Continue to notice weaknesses and make improvements or changes where needed.

Developing this budget and reviewing it has encouraged some 2016 money goals to put into action.  I’ll share those goals closer to the end if the month.  I’ve most recently been inspired by Chone @ My Debt Epiphany who has recently paid off her car loan and was contributing $1000/ month towards debt!

 

What helps to keep you on track with your budget?  Are there any applications that assist with tracking spending?  Any advice on how to be more successful in the future.

How to eat healthy on a budget!

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 As seen in my 4 Things I’m doing to save money in September, I carried over my goal of continuing to eat breakfast and lunch from home.  This week I made a series of salads for lunch and drunk smoothies for breakfast (I still stopped for breakfast at Bojangles on Tuesday, Thursday and Today, holds head in shame.)

Continue reading “How to eat healthy on a budget!”