Monday, September 17, 2012

Money Monday-The Dining Out Trap

Being a household of two Mr. Chic and I are TERRIBLE about dining out all of the time.  We grab breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner outside of the house.  We waste a TON of money!!  Last week we decided to do a little experiment.  We created a meal plan for the week, a budget and went shopping.

During the week of 9/8-9/14 we spent $79 on food. 2 people! $79!  AH-mazing!!! We made an effort to really plan, eat left overs, buy a bit more in bulk, eat a tad less meat, and we saved!

Friday night 9/14 we should have created our plan, budget and went shopping again.  What did we do??  NADA!!! Let me give you a glimpse at our spending from Friday-Monday at 9:29PM.

9/14/12: Wendys- Lunch for me $3.99
              Dions- Dinner for 2 $15.04
              TOTAL= $20ish

9/15/12- Rudys BBQ- $25.69

9/16/12- Wecks- Breakfast for 2- $21.25
               Pizza Hut- $34.80 (left overs for dinner on 9/17)
              TOTAL- $45 ish
Now.. add another $20 on misc crap we bought all weekend (soda, chips, water, etc for the dog event)

2 people spent about $110 dollars on food in 3 days.  We also ate like crap.

My friends.... this is a prime example of why meal planning, budgeting and shopping are sssooo important!

The lesson to be learned here is to stick to our plan because now our grocery budget is totally busted for the week and I have to go to the gym!!!

A very bummed out Mandy Jean :(

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Organizing My Pantry

Oooo... my poor pantry. For the last 5 years it has been a catch all, food storage, extra appliance storage, sometimes medicine cabinet, and the door that is ALWAYS shut in my house. Sad because it could be such a cute little area.

This week I decided to clean out my pantry. I love having a pantry in a small kitchen but the metal shelves do not help anything!

I started off by pulling EVERYTHING out of the pantry, tossing dated food, boxing up food that can be donated, pulling appliances out that we never use, washed all the shelves, door and floor.

I started putting items back in and I realized how much I dislike the wire shelving.  Seriously home builders!  Spend the extra $10 for wood please!!!!

After thinking about how I could add something stable to the shelves I had a bight idea! 

I could make temporary shelf covers with cardboard, decorative and decorative contact paper. 

1.  Using ribbon. Cut cardboard to size
2.  Cut contact paper to size.  Leave an inch on all sides to fold over
3.  Peel 1st quarter of contact paper back
4.  Lay cardboard on 1st quarter of paper and GENTLY peel the remaining 3/4. 
5.  Tuck edges under

All of the supplies that I needed to organize my pantry I had but if you were to go out and buy the supplies here is what you would need:
Dollar Tree: Cardboard Sheets (I needed 3), Contact Paper (I needed 3 rolls)
Supplies at home: Ribbon for measuring and sharp scissors. 


Friday, September 7, 2012

Fashion Friday- Fall Style

I am SSSOOOOO ready for fall.  This summer hasn't been terrible here in New Mexico but I am ready for some cooler weather.

When I think of fall I think of these 5 things:

  1. Roasted Green Chile
  2. Boots with socks
  3. The aspens turning gold in Santa Fe
  4. Parade of Homes
  5. Cooler weater
Fall is my favorite season to dress for.  I love the crisp air, warm sun and cozy evenings.

I created some fall outfits on polyvore.  Enjoy!!!  Don't you just wish all the outfits you created on polyvore would just fall into your closet....





What do you love about fall?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thursday Obsessions

A few of my current obsessions this week....

Beauty (Pictures are from Birch box)

I LOVE THIS!!  Every night I put a tad on a cotton ball and smooth over my eyes.  It removed mascara, liner, makeup and dirt without being greasy or drying out my skin. LOVE IT!!!!  

Best mascara I have tried in a while!  My lashes can be pretty lazy but this mascara gives them some oomph and curl.  Also you can't go wrong with anything Stila! 

Living in New Mexico my skin and lips are always dry.  I always feel a little self conscious because my lips can get so dry.  I started using Jouer Lip Enhancer after I received it in my July Birch Box. LOVE IT!!!  My lips look smooth and fuller!  I love the combo of Vitamin E, Shea Butter and Jojoba Oil. I have even used it before putting lipstick on and it made such a difference! LOVE IT!! 


Home Decor (Pictures from Pinterest)
We are getting ready to start updating our kitchen this fall.  I have been doing some "research: on pinterest.  I am OBSESSED with kitchens right now.  

Source: via Amanda on Pinterest

Source: via Amanda on Pinterest

As you can see I am totally crushing over white industrial farmhouse kitchens. 
Follow my Kitchen Board on Pinterest HERE

Fashion (All pics from Pinterest)
I am so ready for fall!!!  I love autumn colors, leaves changing, tailgates down, balloon-fiesta, and prepping for the holidays.  I am also getting ready to prep my fall wardrobe.  Here are a few of my favs...

Source: via Amanda on Pinterest
Source: via Amanda on Pinterest

Follow my fall fashion board on Pinterest HERE

What are some of your current obsessions??? 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Week #1- Organize my Kitchen

I decided to do the 14 week challenge at A Bowl Full of Lemons to help me get organized.  My house is a wreck right now.  Busy summer and trips have left it cluttered.  Not to mention 4 dogs, 1 ferret and a husband do not help!

Take a peak over at A Bowl Full of Lemons.  If you are taking the challenge leave me a comment and I will follow along.  You can follow me via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google.  Links are on the right.

WEEK #1- Kitchen (text directly from A Bowl Full of Lemons)

1. Clean out and organize all cabinets.
2. Clean out and organize all drawers.
3. Purge everything that is not used, expired, doesnt belong, collecting dust.
4. Clean out & organize fridge & freezer.
5.  Mop, wipe down cabinet doors, clean counter tops & tables.
6.  Take everything off the refrigerator door.  It makes the kitchen look messy.
7. Clean all appliances.

1. Clear off the kitchen table. This is your dumping grounds.
2.  Empty out all cabinets, drawers, and clutter!  Place ALL items into "categories" on the table.
3.  Wipe down the cabinet doors, shelves and drawers. Add new liners if necessary.
4.  Discard (trash) old, expired, and no longer used items & food. Check the dates.
5.  Place all items that are able to fit, into baskets.
6.  Place everything back into the cabinets & drawers (in categories).
7. Take everything off the kitchen counters and place onto the table. 
8. Wipe down the counters & backsplash with a good natural cleaner. 
9. Wipe down ALL small appliances & large ones too!
10. Put back items you use on a daily basis, onto the counter top.
11. Mop the floors and wipe down the table & chairs.  
12.  Empty fridge/freezer. Wipe out. Put back in an organized manner.
13.  You may clean and organize under the kitchen sink. I will share under my sink at a later date.

This is my normal kitchen.  We are fairly good about keeping the clutter out of sight.  Just don't open any cabinets ;) Bottles on top of cabinets. Mr. Chic's idea of decorating. Not mine.  

I have a small galley kitchen.  

After tidying up a bit I took the task of cleaning under my sink.  I will be brutally honest.  I have never cleaned under the sink and we bought our house in September of 2008.  Gross... I know... 


Not to bad. Just cluttered. 

After.  The red bin on the left holds my traveling cleaning kit.  The blue bin holds all dish washing products.  Green bin in the middle is for scrubbers, dusters, etc. 
Yeah for a clean sink :) 

Are you accepting the challenge??

Style Me September

I love a challenge!!!!!  This month I decided to do the Style Me September challenge over at Dean Street Society. 

Visit Dean Street Society for more info.

If you decide to accept the challenge leave me a comment or follow me viaInstagram.  I love following along!!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Be Back Monday :)

We are officially off to Thrill on the Hill!  Be back Monday.

Follow us on facebook at: AbbytheFJ
Follow us on Twitter: @abbytheFJ


Fashion Friday- JCP Haul

Am I the only one who is IN.LOVE with JCP???  I love their new clothes!  I love the new look!  I love EVERYTHING!  This evening I ran into JCP with hubby to spend my $25 gift card.  JACKPOT!!

I am a thrifty shopper by nature.  I always head to clearance racks first.  I love a great deal!  I walked away with $111 in clothes for $30!!! I saved over 73%.  Yeah!!!

Please be kind to my crummy photos.  I am getting ready to leave on vacation but wanted to share my great deals!!  :)

Originally $22 Paid $5

Originally $20 Paid $5

Originally $15 Paid $5

Originally $20 Paid $5

Originally $12 Paid $5

Originally $22 Paid $5

What do you think of the new JCP???

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

All-Purpose Cleaner Recipe and Prep for 20 Days to Organized and Clean Challenge

I desperately need to clean and organize my home.  I don't live in filth or anything like that but having 4 dogs, a husband, working full time, volunteering and my hobbies make keeping a cleaning routine or schedule hard.  I heard about The Organised Housewife 20 days to clean and organize your home challenge and decided I needed to try it!  Visit her blog for more details and if you decide to participate leave me a comment.  I love following along and comparing.  I also post pictures to Instagram of my progress :)

Pre-Challenge Day #1 was to create a binder to help you get organized for the challenge.  View my binder on Instagram. 

Pre-Challenge Day #2- Create a cleaning kit.  Visit the Organised Housewife for details and free printables. 
Contents: Micro cloths, rags, soft sponge, scrubber, large sponge, plastic bags, lint roller, water bottle, all-purpose cleaner and small spray bottle of vinegar (not pictured). 

I make the majority of my own cleaners.  In my opinion they are more pocket book friendly, smell better and  clean like a dream!!! 

There are MANY recipes for all-purpose cleaners on the internet.  If you are researching I would suggest peaking around and looking at the ingredients.  Some people want 100% natural, others want mild because of allergies and so on.  

Mandy Jean Chic's Clean Everything Cleaner 
Fits in a large bottle
3 cups warm water- Does not need to be boiling
1.5 Teaspoons of liquid castile soap
1/2 Cup white vinegar
2 teaspoons borax
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
*you can add essential oils if you want but I use castile soap with lavender so the oils are not needed :)

I store my cleaner with all my others and have found its ok to use on most surfaces.  Glass... NOT OK 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Money Monday- 5 Ways to Save Money from Your Daily Business Insight

I met Carl from Your Daily Business Insight a couple of weeks ago via Twitter.  He was one of my first followers. Thanks Carl!!  

I asked him if he would like to do a post about budgeting or saving.  I am a horrible saver!  I am thrifty but when it comes to fashion the money I save goes right back into more fashion. Horrible cycle!  I am going to try and follow Carl's 5 tips and make a promise to myself to save more.  

I love his quote "There is no shame in saving" 

Visit Your Daily Business Insight HERE
Follow Your Daily Business Insight on Twitter HERE

5 Ways To Save Money

Saving money is important. 

Ask yourself, are you a good saver?
If not, make a change and start saving more!

I am constantly thinking of ways I can save more money.
I know I have some big expenses in the future and I want to be prepared for them. Those expenses include new cars, a home, education, medical bills, children, and retirement. 

Here are 5 ways I save money. 
Pick some that work for you and start saving.

#1: Save your coins.

I love coins. I have since I was little. When I was a kid, my dad would keep a coin jar in his closet for his spare change each day and when it was full he would give it to me. Maybe a little embarrassing, but I still have him save his coins for me and every time he comes in town I get a big bag of coins from him. He sure knows how to put a smile on my face!

I have literally seen people walk out of a store and drop their change on the ground. This absolutely puzzles me, but I'm not complaining because I bolt over there and pick them right up. 

If you see a coin on the ground, pick it up! 
If you go to the grocery store and get 17 cents back in change, keep it! 

There is no shame in saving.

Starting today, keep a jar in your closet or dresser and put all your coins in there. You will be surprised how much money you can save just by keeping your coins. When your jar is full, take them to your bank or a Coin Star machine in a local grocery store. 

You will thank me for the advice!

#2: Drop the gym membership.

I grew up playing sports every day. I love being active and working out. Everyone should be active every day so they can have a healthier life. I think this is extremely important, but I don't want to pay $30/month to go to the gym to make that happen. If you want to save money, simply cancel the gym membership and find alternatives ways to exercise.

Go hike a nearby trail. Take a long walk around your neighborhood. Jog at the local high school track. Swim laps at the community pool. Use weights and elastic bands to exercise in your home. Buy inexpensive workout DVDs online. Play basketball, volleyball, or soccer with your friends.

This is an easy way to save money. 
And if you're like me, you will enjoy these activities much more than waiting for machines in a musty, crowded gym. 

#3: $ell what you're not using.

People sometimes have a hard time getting rid of stuff. I have found that getting rid of stuff I no longer use is one of the best ways for me to earn and save money. 

For example, if you have pants from when you were 5'8" and you're now 6'2", you probably won't wear them again. How about those books you read already and don't plan on touching again? Or those old CDs you never listen to anymore?

Find those items you don't use anymore and sell them!

I choose to use eBay primarily and Craigslist occasionally.

It's easy to make a profile and start selling.
Take some good pictures, list all the details of the item, charge a fair shipping price, and watch the bids start coming in. 

Selling on eBay has become a hobby for me, and it has become so lucrative that I actually sell for other people now and take a commission on the sales.

Go through your old clothes, books, and electronics today and make a pile. List your smaller items on eBay. Put the larger items that would be difficult to ship on Craigslist or another local listing site. 

And just so you know I'm serious about this tip, I shipped 5 items I sold on eBay and sold an old speaker for $75 and a used golf bag for $25 this afternoon.

#4: Buy generic.

Yes, I'm suggesting that you buy the generic, store brands rather than the popular name brands. 

And when I say this, I'm mostly referring to food items. For example, I suggest skipping the name brands for pain relievers, water, milk, butter, chips, cleaning products, and most beverages (there is no replacement for my Dr. Pepper).

Next time you're in the store, pick up Tylenol and the store brand pain reliever and compare the ingredients. They are exactly the same. The same thing goes for cleaning products and other items. They are essentially the same product, just much cheaper.

Pay attention to the price differences next time you are at the store and you will be amazed. You can save up to 60% on some items if you go with the generic opposed to the name brand!

#5: Use coupons.

I am intrigued by coupons and their role in marketing. I see how coupons are a form of price discrimination. A store will sell an item to someone for $3, and sell the same item to someone else for $2. The first person will pay the full $3 because they don't care about using a coupon for whatever reason. Maybe they don't have time, they are too lazy, or the opportunity cost of searching out the coupons makes it not worth it. The store uses coupons and attracts consumers who are not willing to pay the full $3 but are willing to pay $2. By doing so, they are able to sell to a larger market of people and increase the store's revenue. 

Take advantage of the store coupons. Most stores will even accept coupons from competitors. I'm not saying you need to become an extreme coupon shopper and make it a full-time job. Just be aware of prices and sales when they are going on and take advantage of them. 

For example, I planned a golf outing this morning with 3 of my good friends. I found a $3 off coupon online and sent the link to the 3 friends. Doesn't seem like a huge deal, but it sure adds up. Start checking for coupons before you go shopping, especially for larger purchases.

Review my 5 money-saving tips and see which ones you could improve on. Apply them and become a better saver today!

If you have money saving tips you would like to share, please comment on this post and share with everyone.

Please leave a comment on Your Daily Business Insight.  Let him know if his 5 tips helped you!