Photo Credit: SquireHaggard via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: SquireHaggard via Compfight cc


It’s official!!!! This week will be Thanksgiving and officially the craziness of the holidays start! The stores have been prepared for Thanksgiving and Christmas for weeks already. Cue the Christmas music that will play endlessly and forever stuck in my head through the beginning of next year. And of course there will be all the crazy sales and people trying to get the newest products. Another holiday season, another few month of trying to stay sane and remember the real meaning behind the holidays.

Each year that passes by it seems like the holidays get crazier and crazier. The stores begin crazy sales in October it feels like and there’s a lot of potential stress with trying to find the perfect gifts and hold the perfect holiday celebration. It’s always a good thing to remind myself about why the holidays are here and what they are really about.

Keeping it real
This is the one thing I need to tell myself over and over during this time of year. It’s too easy to go overboard and get really stressed out when really it’s time to celebrate with family and friends. It’s so easy to lose track of that in this materialistic time, but doing so will keep me grounded and hopefully as stress-free as possible. Oh and more mula in my wallet I hope.

I have a pretty long gift list and honestly it can be pretty stressful and money can fly out the window quickly if I’m not careful enough. I actually started shopping a long time ago to give myself a ton more time to buy people gifts that are actually useful and hopefully things they do want (and on sale or on clearance too!). One thing I started last year that I’m continuing now is to give charitable donations instead of physical gifts. Or a small gift paired with a charitable donation. It’s the thought that counts right? I have a lot of fun buying gifts though so I don’t want to stop entirely. Giving myself plenty of time though ensures I do it smartly, with less stress, and can budget my mula correctly.

Everything does not have to be perfect
Being a perfectionist is the one thing I’ve been fighting a lot. In the end if it’s not perfect it doesn’t mean I’ve failed. It just is. I don’t need to have a live Christmas tree that’s 6 feet tall to decorate the house. Some stuff across the fireplace is just fine too. Every gift I buy doesn’t have to be amazing either. Only for my sister. Hehe.

Avoiding the crazy shopping days
Admittedly…I am one who loves to go Black Friday shopping. I don’t wait in line on Thanksgiving night or anything, or go to the big box stores. I would go to the outlet malls and shop all day. The bargain hunter in me loved the great deals I could get on kitchenware and clothing. This year I’m going to avoid doing that at all! I really have everything I want and my gift list is already pretty complete. I’ll just relax this year and avoid the temptation of another set of Pyrex. The one thing I might do is small business Saturday just to support the local businesses. That should be a lot more chill than Black Friday!


It’s the holidays!!!!!!! I’m going to spend time with family and friends and just enjoy the moment as much as I can.

What’s your game plan this holiday season to enjoy it and not spend all your mula?

Photo Credit: GotCredit via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: GotCredit via Compfight cc


It’s crazy looking at the calendar and seeing November across the top of the month. Where the heck did my entire year go? Stores are already geared up for Christmas and I’m already hearing about black Friday sales. A lot has already happened this year and I’m pretty ready for it to wind down. It’s certainly a good time to remember what goals I had for this year and see if I’ve been able to reach them or what I can do to reach them.

And……….I just maxed out my 401k for the first time ever!!!!!!! This was my major goals for this year and I did it with time to spare. It’s such an amazing feeling to know I was able to do this! Of course I’ve always wanted to but never even got close until now. Things like high cost of living and a smaller salary unfortunately got in the way. It’s been one of my goals since I started learning more about personal finance and I finally got there!!!!!

Better yet…my husband is on track to do the same this year too!!!!! He didn’t start his 401k plan until midway through the year but we’ve ramped up his contributions and it’ll get there before 2016. That would be his first time maxing out too!

With that said and done…I think I can go celebrate and be lazy for the rest of the year. But oh wait…it’s holidays time and it’s when money gets sucked out of my purse like no other. I guess I still have some work to do before 2016.

YTD goals completed

  • Continue to raise our net worth
  • Contribute continuously to investments (even if stock market keeps swinging)
  • Do a full kitchen renovation
  • Pay extra on mortgage ever single month (automatic so we don’t even notice)
  • Max out my 401k


I’m feeling pretty accomplished!!!! After years of practicing frugality and adding on different methods to save and automate mula, it’s all paying off and it’s so easy!!!! It amazes me too since so much has happened this year that definitely we spent more mula on than normal. We had a lovely trip to the grand canyon earlier this year. Four weddings total this year with 2 being out of town weddings where I was in the bridal party. It’s a sure way to spend money when you are in a bridal party. I just found out that my best friend and her husband will be coming to LA to spend Christmas with us!!!

Now I need to figure out how first of all not overspend during the holidays, and secondly splurge a bit when my friend is here but at the same time not go full on crazy! I’ve already started Christmas shopping months ago and have bought gifts that were on sale/clearance that I thought would be good for people. That definitely gives me more time to shop around and get good deals instead of mad rushing last minute! Now as for the holiday festivities, I’ll have to figure out a good mix of frugal/fancy things to do. I have to admit that my mind already did jump to getting a 6 foot live tree….but then shut it down after realizing how wasteful that is (money and earth wise). Perhaps a small potted plant?

Either way my work isn’t done yet for this year! Some big accomplishments already but always more I can do!


How has your year been going and have you accomplished any goals you’ve set for yourself already?


Photo Credit: jacobsas via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: jacobsas via Compfight cc


Well it’s October and Halloween is just in another short two weeks!!!! I already see lawns being decorated like crazy with all sorts of monsters, ghouls, witches, inflatable cats and all other random stuff. It’s time for to think of what I want to be for Halloween and if I want to give out candy to the hordes of children that will overrun my neighborhood. It’s hard being frugal when it comes to the holidays!

Halloween is the start of the holiday season which means my wallet will be pulled into a million different places starting now! With every single holiday comes a set of money sucking decisions to be made. Decorations made specifically for each holiday alone and all the festivities that come along with it! Usually I end up making a lot of decorations by hand to save some mula and cutting down on those “must have items.”

Handmade everything!
For Halloween costumes I definitely cannot justify buying a pre-made crappy costume that I will only wear once. I usually end up throwing something together out of items I already have available or with minimal cost from a craft store. Luckily I do have a lot of materials lying round from other projects that I usually can scrap something together out of felt. It’s also kind of fun scrapping something together and seeing if it works or not. Last year I was a gnome and made a hilarious tall cone hat and beard made out of felt. Pretty funny. Cost was nothing since I already had materials on hand! Fun!

Use what you already have or make sure you can use it again
If I can’t make it I usually try to re-purpose something I have around. For a gnome outfit I used my husband’s bright blue collar button down shirt with a belt across the middle. This year I had to buy some socks to complete my outfit unfortunately but at least it’s something I will wear again.

Candy for the kids
Last year was my first time ever handing out candy in my home! I had no idea what I was in for. I bought a Costco sized bag (150 pieces) of good brand name candy and thought I would be set for the night. An hour and a half later I was out! I had to turn off my porch lights and hide in my house so that kids wouldn’t come trick or treating. For the next two hours after that every time I looked out the window it looked like a Halloween movie set with kids covering the sidewalk. Most of these kids aren’t from the neighborhood but since it’s a safe area they get dropped off by the truckload. This year I’ll try two big bags of candy to see how that goes and then shut off my lights. I could get cheaper stuff but when I was a kid this was the stuff I was excited to get. Well, in truth I was excited to get full size candy bars but I’m not willing to shell out money for that!

I’m skipping out on these for sure. As much as I would like to I figure I’m already buying a ton of candy to give out. Kids will come up to my door no matter what anyway. Plus I’m honestly not so into Halloween that I need to have tons of decorations to celebrate! Perhaps if anything I’ll take a look at the sales after Halloween to see what there is. Most of it is pretty cheesy though so I doubt I’ll get anything.


Another Halloween another year of dressing up and getting bomboarded by a bunch of kids. Fun! Haha and thank goodness it’s once a year.

How are you keeping Halloween low cost this year?

Photo Credit: ordinday via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: ordinday via Compfight cc


Every time I try to do something new I usually start by researching it, get confused, have a ton of questions, and then just kick myself to start it up and learn from trial and error. The first time I ever tried composting it ended pretty quickly after I found some wiggly little white bugs hanging out. I quickly learned from that experience. Now I’m still composting and still learning from it. My most recent discovery? Don’t compost anything with seeds…sometimes they will sprout and I will find random plants all over. Of late I’ve been digging up a bunch of avocado plants.

Why compost?
For a two person household we don’t make as much trash as our neighbors. A good amount of it though is all fresh veggie peels, skins, cut offs, etc etc that is totally compostable! It’s a good earth friendly habit to add that enriches soil and cuts down on landfill trash. Once you get used to it it’s really not very hard. Of course it’s up to each individual on whether or not the time to do it is worth it. If you’re a gardener then it’s an absolutely great way to enrich your garden soil. If not well, depends on how earth friendly you want to be.

Doesn’t it cost money?
This is one of those earth friendly things you can do that actually might end up costing you more money to do it than to not. There are many ways to compost and the method I’m doing is the simplest, doesn’t require any mula, but requires a yard for sure. I don’t do a pile of compost I just dig a hole and dump in my compost and leave it. Oh and cover it with soil of course. Bokashi and worms composting both require some money upfront. For bokashi you have to buy some special ingredients unless you make it yourself. I’ve done that method before when living in an apt and I bought the supplies needed. Over the course of the year it wasn’t much but it’s more expensive than just digging a hole in the ground. The most traditional way of composting is just a simple pile in your yard, but I know that there are composter bins available for sale. Overall though the money for composting isn’t that much unless you buy a fancy bin.

Quick tips
Those little produce stickers are all made out of plastic!!! It’s one horrible thing I never knew about until I started composting. I would find little plastic bits all around until I figured out what it was. Other things that don’t break down well are cloth and nut shells. Even years later I still find bits of cloth that I thought would break down in the soil. Oops. Cutting up everything into small pieces also really speeds up the breakdown process. Don’t have to but if you don’t want huge chunks of rotting veggies then break it down smaller before composting.


Does anyone want an avocado tree? I’m definitely still learning as I go! The most important thing is that I’m doing it and it’s going pretty well with a few hiccups along the way.

Are you into composting?

Photo Credit: ucmediaproducties via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: ucmediaproducties via Compfight cc


I was lucky enough this weekend to have the time to go to a day spa and relax for half the day. Time of course passes by really quickly when you’re having a good time and my 5 hours there were quickly over. While there though I was talking my friend and she had a brilliant idea! The spa we were at happened to be an overnight one on the weekends.For one flat price you would get access to all the facilities and have the option to stay overnight until the next morning. What a great money saving option for a traveler!

Overnight day spa
The first time I had gone there I had decided to get the full experience by staying overnight. Only on Friday nights but I thought it would be pretty fun. Relax in the hot tubs and saunas, chill out, sleep the night away in their sleeping room, then get up and pamper a bit before heading out. It wasn’t the best sleeping experience though as I found that a lot of late night party people used the spa. At 2am in the morning I could clearly hear the loud discussions of some drunk person discussing how delicious the $1 hot dog they had eaten was. The sleeping amenities also didn’t include any comfy pillows and instead offered a lovely wooden break with a concave portion for your head.

For $25 as the flat fee for use of everything there though it’s a steal compared to a hotel! If you were traveling with a small amount of luggage it could totally work! Relax, de-stress, bathe yourself silly, and save a ton of money. It makes so much sense! Except for the fact that it’s overnight spas are not the norm.

This got me thinking of other unconventional lodging.

Moveable places
Tents are pretty commonplace and many people have used them before for camping or for having an outdoor night in a backyard. Pretty normal. What about a yurt??? I first heard of a yurt from a co-worker that was talking about a friend who owned a yurt and had to move it because it was in the path of a lava flow. Totally foreign word to me and I had never heard of it before. It’s a moveable dwelling usually used by nomads. Similar to a tp but without the pointy tip at the top and a flat roof. I was pretty amazed to learn about yurts.

Fast forward a few months where I was bored on a plane and decided to read the in flight magazine provided. Who reads those??? On the very last page was an article about yurts! Not the traditional ones but blinged out yurts made out like a cabin. Pretty interesting how they’ve transformed it. Coincidentally the article happened to beĀ  written by my cousin-in-law. I don’t know how much it costs to rent a modern yurt, but a traditional yurt would be a great low cost option I would think.

RV living
Venice, California is known to be quirky and free-spirited. The boardwalk area is a great tourist destination to see strange events and feel the spirit of Venice. It’s also one of the only cities in LA that allows for RV parking. RV’s are parked everywhere in Venice! You’ll see old beat up ones, small ones that are like a big van, and sometimes even brand spanking million dollar RV’s! There are a ton of people who live in RV’s instead of a traditional apartment or house. It’s definitely not the easiest way to live but the cost can be pretty low (provided you are fine with an older RV).

Rocking a boat
I used to live in an area where tons of boats were able to dock. There are some that are houseboats and you can see people living in them year round. I even know a few people who have entertained the idea of buying a boat and living on it. The price to rent a slip is only a few hundred a month! Compared to $2000 for a one bedroom apartment in that area that’s a steal! Well of course you would need to buy a boat too…and it would be limited resources and adjusted living with shared onshore restrooms and shower possibly. Depending on what type of boat you owned and how fancy it was.


With the high prices of housing in LA there are plenty of people with unconventional lodging. Never really thought of it until today!

What’s the most unconventional place you’ve ever stayed or know of?