Sunday, April 17, 2016

Life on a Budget

Today, I am going to share the background behind this little blog, how I got started, and how I manage my budget since they are questions that I often get asked. Please let me know if you have any questions or anything you want to know more about. I'm an open book!

I've shared before how I got started blogging but I'll share again to give you a better idea of how I got to where I am currently. I started this blog back in 2009 when I was about 20 weeks pregnant with my first child. I started it as a place to document my pregnancy and family moments. I've actively blogged since then but I didn't post daily back then like I do now and it wasn't really about fashion until I was pregnant with my second child. I posted some maternity outfits that I had created using mostly non-maternity items and pieces that I found at thrift stores. When my second child was born, I resigned from my full-time teaching job to be a stay at home mom. My husband lost his job not long after I quit my job so finances were very tight at that time. But I needed to get out of my yoga pants and get motivated. I started creating outfits from thrift store finds again since I couldn't afford anything new. One of my close friends now (but I didn't know very well at the time) would occasionally share her outfit of the day and I loved seeing how she put outfits together so I decided to give it a try. I started using tons of hashtags related to fashion and style. To my surprise, many people started following along on Instagram. 

I went back to work part-time in January of 2013. I started as a third grade teacher at an afterschool program for at-risk youth in my community. I currently still work there as the lead STEM teacher and I absolutely love my job! A month after I started my job, my husband went back to work. God completely took care of us during that time because we put our trust in Him to make ends meet for our family.

Over the next two years, I continued posting and sharing my outfits. There were moments when I wanted to stop and just give up because my "real life friends" started to unfollow me on Instagram. But I never did because I enjoyed creating outfits each day and sharing them with others to offer inspiration. I am so thankful for all of my friends who have supported me and encouraged me along the way!

I started using an affiliate company to start monetizing my blog in 2014. I began sharing my favorite deals from Groopdealz and started to see my blog make a little money. In February 2015, I started using Reward Style and to generate some revenue but mainly so my followers could get direct links to items that are in my outfits. I always tag the brands in my Instagram photos but I loved the idea of my followers getting the exact item sent to their inbox and making a little extra money was great, too! My links on my blog are through Reward Style and I make a small commission from purchases made using my links. So yes, I do make money from blogging (which is the question I get asked most often). This commission is what I use to make my "wish list" purchases. I think this is a tip for anyone. Make a wish list to prioritize your purchases. I rarely make impulse purchases. I add items to a wish list and when I have the extra money to buy it then I do. I also have a clothing/accessory budget that I stick to. If I don't have enough money left to buy something, I have to wait. It keeps our finances on track! Below you will find my current wish list:

My family lives on a budget! Yes, I purchase a lot of clothing and accessories. I have to in order to keep this blog running with new and different ideas. But I usually only use money that I've made from commission to make these purchases or I use my small clothing/accessory budget. Bonus: I make commission from my own purchases! So if you were ever wondering how I afford something, that's pretty much how.  I also get a lot of "free" items from amazing businesses for collaborations. I have been honored to work with so many amazing brands and small business owners! I work part-time at my teaching job, I also work part-time at home for my family's business, and this blog consumes a lot of time and it's a lot of work, too. I don't ever stop working it feels like! I will keep this blog running as long as it is fun. That's always what I tell myself. It's work but right now, it's enjoyable work.

I titled this blog post "Life on a Budget" because my family truly lives on a budget. My husband has a great job and I work as well, but we still have a lot of bills and things to pay for so we find as many ways as possible to save money but still live to the fullest. We take a lot of road trips and to make this happen, we have a vacation account through Josh's company. Each month, a set amount of money is deducted from his paycheck and it goes into the vacation account. We do the same thing for Christmas and we never even notice the money being gone from his paycheck but it really adds up over the months. We also only have one car payment. I drive a new vehicle but it's the only car payment we have. We made it a priority to pay Josh's car off as soon as we could. We shop at Aldi for groceries. I literally can't buy groceries anywhere else because the prices there are just way better than any other grocery store. For a family of four, about $70 will buy our groceries for the week. We eat out pretty often during the weekend because we are usually on the go but we are pretty thrifty when it comes to dining out too. We often share plates which saves so much money. The girls always share because they eat like birds! We also always drink water when dining out- it's better for you too so that's a win-win. My husband calls me cheap but I prefer to be called thrifty! Those are just a few of the main ways we save money.

I hope this clears up any questions anyone has but again, feel free to ask anything! I'm happy to share! Have a great day, friends!


1 comment:

  1. $70 weekly grocery budget. That's awesome! You should do a post about that- I always enjoy hearing how others budget, plan and shop. I'm always looking for ways to adjust & improve my own process.