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7 Ways to Maximize Your Budget

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A woman works in her notebooks at her desk. The title "7 Ways to Maximize You Budget" is overlaid.

If you don’t budget, you should. Even if, by some miracle, you have money pouring out of your ears, you should still have some sort of financial plan and outline. So let’s say you’ve taken care of the creating a budget part and now you’re looking to maximize it and stretch every dollar. This is the guide for you.

I’m going to skip over the things like “make coffee at home instead of buying a daily latte” because if you’re on a budget, you’re already not spending $5 a day on coffee (and if you are, you need more help than I can offer). This tip-sheet is about maximizing your budget by addressing the little things.

Related Reading: Creating a Bullet Journal

1. Adjust your diet

I’m not saying reduce down to Ramen noodles and peanut butter! Hopefully you can afford a little bit more than that. There are ways to adjust your grocery list.

First things first: stop spending money on “happy snacks”. You know, the food you eat that makes you happy but doesn’t give you any good nutrients; I’m talking about chips and cookies and donut holes. You love them, but you don’t need them. Don’t spend $3 on those Cheetos and instead get yourself two apples for $1.

Second, cut back on meat. I know, I know, how dare I suggest giving up bacon!? But I’m not. I’m just suggesting that you reduce. I won’t go on about the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet here, but instead focus on the financial benefits: it’s one less thing you have to buy, and meat is fairly expensive. For the $6 you would spend on some chicken, you could buy a bag of quinoa, some veggies, and eggs instead and still feel full. You don’t have to cut it out entirely, but switching to one day, two days, or weekdays without meat can provide a lot of benefits.

Third, get creative with your staples! With the right spices, you can do a lot with rice, beans, tomatoes… Check out our Pinterest board dedicated to eating on a budget, and/or this
Hot Mess Kitchen: Recipes for Your Delicious Disastrous Life cookbook.

2. Cancel Your Subscriptions

While getting athletic leggings for a third of the price at the store or boxes of snacks from around the world sent to your home each month sounds like a great deal, it can actually be a waste of money if you’re on a budget. Think about it: how many of those makeup products you get in your monthly subscription do you actually use after your first try them out? Maybe one out of five. So now you have a growing pile of products that you don’t use. See? Wasteful.

3. Sign Up For Smart Subscriptions

I know, I know, I just told you to cancel your subscriptions because they’re not budget friendly. But some of them are! Like Dollar Shave Club: for $9 or less a month, you get four razor heads sent to your house instead of spending $15+ at the grocery store. The little things add up, so shop smarter not harder… Does that work? We’re going to say it works.

4. Shop Sales and Stock Up

Make a point of shopping thrift and discount stores first whenever you can. Need a new pair of jeans? Check out TJ Maxx and Ross before going to a designer store; you just might get lucky.

And when your regular-buy items go on sale, buy them. Even if you already have one at home. (This is of course dependent on how strict your budget it). This happened to me recently: I ran out of my favorite Dry Shampoo but couldn’t spare any money to buy more. But behold! in my closet was a backup that I had bought the month before when it was on sale. At the same time, I had bought two bottles of mouthwash because it was a BOGO sale. If you know you buy it often–toilet paper, toothbrushes, canned beans–buy it when it’s on sale, even if you don’t immediately need it. In the long run, you’ll save yourself some cash and some heartbreak.

Related Reading: 7 Ways To Enjoy a Night Home Alone

5. Fill Out Surveys and Sign Up For Cash Back

Grocery stores will often have some sort of rewards system. In Colorado with King Soopers, it’s point towards gas discounts. At the bottom of my grocery receipt is a chance to fill out a survey and get an extra 50 gas points (I need 100 for $0.10 off every gallon). It’s a bit tedious, but it’s something I can do while watching TV, and if I do it twice in a month, I get my savings. It’s all about the pennies sometimes.

There are also great apps like ibotta that can earn you some more cents on the dollar and get you cash back. It’s not a get-rich-quick solution, but it adds up over time and can make for a nice gift to your future self.

A man works on his laptop on his coffee table. It's important to take a few minutes to utilize reward and cash-back programs in order to maximize your budget.

6. Think “Big Picture”

When you’re on a budget, every penny counts. But in the long run, it’s worth it to buy things like mouthwash and floss. Think about it: it’s cheaper to pay for these items than it is to pay for a cavity. Don’t sacrifice your health in the short run to save ten dollars: take care of yourself and avoid a $500 doctor bill.

7. Shop Where It’s Cheap

I already mentioned shopping at discount stores, but this time I’m talking about zip codes. Different cities have different prices and different sales tax percentages. Example: it cheaper for me to buy gas in Longmont than it is to buy it in Westminster; it’s a difference of a couple of dollars to buy food and goods in Westminster than it is in Denver. Now, I’m not going to drive thirty miles to save $0.05 per gallon of gas, but I make a point of filling up where it’s cheaper, even if it’s only a quarter of a tank. Things to think about.


Two pineapples float in a blue pool, lit by the sun. The title "7 Ways to Maximize Your Budget" is overlaid

These are the tips that help me get through the rough patches and make the good patches all the better. What budget hacks do you use?

Two pineapples float in a sunlit pool. The title "7 Ways to Stretch Your Budget" by TwoFeelsWrite is overlaid.
February 27, 2018

5 DIY Christmas Gifts for the Office

Posted in Lifestyle by

DIY Christmas


If you’re anything like me, you need a lot of gifts for various people with little money. I like to spend a decent amount on friends and family, so my colleagues get something a little smaller; more affordable. For this, I’ll need something relatively the same and a lot of it. For gifts like these, I look to Pinterest. Here are just a few of the DIY crafts I’ve used that are cheap, easy to make and gender neutral!


Mason Jars

Mason jars will always win people over because of their popularity and many uses. A couple of years ago, I found a pack of 4 with handles at Ross for about a dollar a piece! I filled the bottom with Hershey kisses and placed cotton balls on top, and dusted the top with sparkles. Then I placed a tea candle on top and tied different colored ribbon around the tops and wrote names on small tags. This way, people could have a sweetie and also reuse the jar afterward!



Because who doesn’t like soap? Especially at this time of the year when there are so many holiday scents! I saw a tag on a holiday scent of soap saying “Just ‘soap’in’ you have a Merry Christmas”,  and “We wash you a Merry Christmas“, which was clever. You can also pair it with a bag of goodies to eat or a bar of soap.




Plates or Mugs

If you go to the dollar store, you can stock up on white plates or mugs. If you do this, you can write a personal message in sharpie and stick it in the oven at 150 degrees for 30 minutes to make it permanent! Then you can fill the plate with baked goods or makings for hot chocolate.


Goody Jar

This can also be made with a Mason jar, however you can use any jar. Fill the clear jar with M&M’s, Skittles or Reese’s Pieces and label the jar “Chill Pills” with instructions on how/when to take a pill. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, glue three black buttons vertically on one side of the jar. Tie a red ribbon around the rim and fill the jar with white chocolate covered pretzels for a snowman jar!


Hot Chocolate Ornament

This year for my office, I bought candy canes, hot chocolate mix, mini marshmallows and clear ornaments. I poured the bag of mix into the ornament first, then added the marshmallows before putting on the top. I slid the candy cane through the loop at the top and then wrote my coworkers name on the ornament. This is easier said then done: I spilled hot cocoa mix all over my sister’s coffee table and dropped so many marshmallows on the floor, I was pushing the dog away with one foot and the cat with the other. This took me longer than expected and mine definitely don’t look this pretty, but hey, I tried.


There are so many ideas on Pinterest, I would highly recommend looking up ideas there if you’re in need of an abundance of gifts this holiday season! Just give yourself plenty of time, you will make mistakes and it WILL NOT look like the picture on the post. That’s okay, as long as you try and get the general idea, your coworkers or friends will be appreciative!



December 13, 2017