Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cash Chronicles - Entry #1

Online payday loan
In an attempt to blog more frequently and revamp my posts so readers actually find them useful and relatable I've decided to make weekly post about my personal journey to save money and become financially stable without worrying all the time.

I come from a modest background, I was raised by a single mother in New York City.  My mom was well educated and cultured and she made sure that my brother and I were also.  We went to the best private schools, took music lessons, studied art and theater etc.  All the while, my mother was struggling to provide those things.  She sacrificed and stressed in order to take care of us.  My mother is an amazing woman as I'm sure most mother's are.  I'm grateful for her and I am who I am because of her.  But stress ruined her life.  She became very ill because of it and eventually stress killed her.

Now it's my mission not only to be financially successful but to do it without stress. 

Stress is a leading killer among Americans.  We live in a fast paced, goal oriented society that values success and ambition more than anything else.

I'm an ambitious person, growing up in NYC I really had no other choice but to be.  In order to learn how to deal with my own stress I began studying several Eastern philosophies and have come to realize that I believe in many Taoist principles.

The main principle of taoism is not to be ambitious but to go with the flow.  To be present, not living for the future, but appreciating the moment.  After a  mini stress related breakdown of my own, I finally understand what this means and I feel free.  Free from worry and stress.

In my blog I simply want to share my experiences with others. On this site I'll recommend several tools and tricks I've found that keep me living a happy stress free life.  Also I'll share tools I use to be more financially responsible.

I hope you enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Discount Fashion Files

I don't consider myself to be a fashionista.  I do, however, consider myself to be a smart shopper that likes looking cute.  Here are some of my favorite styles for less, all of them can be found over at yesstyle.

You can't beat these comfy, stylish pants for $16.

I just love harem pants.  These are just$19.50

I love this look.  Comfy and chic.  Great price at $22.50.

I love this chiffon blouse and you can't beat it for $31.50.

I'm a huge fan of jumpsuits.  My style tends to center around chic, loose fitting, flowy clothes.  For my everyday styles, I need to be comfortable.  And this print jumpsuit is a great find at $30!

I like this one also for $34.20.

A couple things to keep in mind when shopping overseas:
1. Size - know your measurements and you should be able to find the perfect fit.
2. Shipping Time - be patient because these shipments can take weeks, but the discounts are worth the wait!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Luxurious Living on a Budget

Luxurious living is not just for the rich.  You can pamper yourself on a budget.  It takes a little time and a little imagination but just because you're watching your pennies, doesn't mean you can't have a moment to enjoy life, to relax, to be in the moment.  In fact as someone who emphasizes the importance of living stress free, I think it's important to pay attention to yourself, indulge a bit, even if it just means taking a relaxing bubble bath once a week.  Do what you can to live without worry, stop and smell the roses and appreciate being alive, whatever that may mean to you.

Here are some ideas for leading a luxurious, stress-free life without stressing about money.


1.  Candles and Bubble Bath
Discount stores sell decent candles and bubble bath.  Yes they may be generic, but all you have to do is peel off the labels, even transfer the bubble bath into a nice glass jar, arrange them by your tub and start running your bath water.  Dime the lights, spark the candles and soak for a bit.  In this day and age, a moment spent with yourself, soaking in a tub by candlelight is truly a luxury.  And one that you can afford.

2.  Flowers
Fresh flowers in the home are certainly a luxury, but well worth it.  They cheer up any space and are such a lovely romantic touch.  I'm big on designing my living space to be relaxing and calm.  When I come home, I want to feel like I'm somewhere peaceful, beautiful and welcoming.  Flowers can be a costly expense at florists and supermarkets so work to find someone who sells them at discount.  Trader Joe's usually has a nice bundle of flowers for $3.99 that can last for almost two weeks.  Also if you have a flower market in your town this is your best bet.  In my city, there's a flower guy who sells flowers on the side of the road at a great price. He knows everything about the flowers and is extremely personable so I enjoy making my weekly trips to him.

In these harsh economic times, most people have to cut costs on necessities, and flowers are certainly not a necessity.  However, I believe the point of life is to live and enjoy living.  Life is all about the details and the attention we put into it.  So find ways to make it special.  Whether it's sweet smelling fresh flowers or some other luxury, there are ways to enjoy life's little luxuries while watching your pocketbook.

3.  Happy Hour
A good way to go out on the town and not spend an arm and leg is to find a good happy hour.  Depending on your work hours this may be tough to swing but many restaurants have weekend happy hours and late night happy hours as well.  I live in a small beach city so I just love to enjoy happy hour at a place with a gorgeous view of the ocean, makes me feel like I'm on vacation.  Find a place near you that you like and find out what deals they offer.  Every good establishment has some kind of great deal.  It's up to you to take advantage.

4.  Mystery Shopping
Mystery shopping is a good way to get paid while enjoying a little luxury.  I'm registered with one company and have done a few shops myself so I know for sure that they are a fun and legit way to enjoy a dinner, retail shopping, and hotel stays.  As a mystery shopper you get assignments to patronize various establishments and are responsible for compiling detail feedback reports.  It's work but it's interesting and many people really enjoy it.  Most companies have strict rules you must adhere to and it's a commitment but it might be for you.  I have a friend planning a trip to New York City next week and she signed up for some hotel shops so will have a few nights at a hotel completely free of charge and will even be paid for completing the assignment!

Here's the site I'm a member of: jancyn .  If interested, do a little research to make sure you go with a reputable company.

5.  Thai Massage
Massage is the ultimate luxury.  Just because fancy spas are expensive doesn't mean you can't get regular massages.  That massages are fantastic!  They run $40 an hour (excellent price) and are so unique in style and technique.  I prefer them to most western styles of massage and what's great is that they're half the price.  As long as the place is clean and the masseuses are skilled, I'm happy.

6. Beach Stroll
I live walking distance to the beach and just living in this city makes me feel like I'm on vacation.  Not everyone lives near the beach but maybe it's the mountains, or the country, the lake, the woods.  Whatever it is, get out in nature.  Take a stroll, a jog.  Sit on a park bench.  Just chill.  Chilling is a luxury these days, a luxury that doesn't cost a dime and a luxury that you deserve.  Get out and just be.

7. DIY
There are so many interesting web sites that have incredible suggestions on projects you can do yourself.  From making your own jewelry and clothes to making your own furniture.  If you can figure out how to make something you want yourself, you can cut costs tremendously.  Make it a family project, host a DIY party, just believe and trust yourself and make it happen.  So many people aren't motivated and just want convenience but the joys of life are not in convenience and material possessions.  Appreciate the moment, spend time with others, take care of yourself and most of all -- don't stress!!

Here's a DIY project I found on Pinterest from designformenmag --  can't wait to try it myself.